We are still in Bamako, the capital city and so far this week we have been doing a lot! There is another volunteer here who is teaching an English class. It's a free class so Malians can come learn English with hopes that they will be able to get a job as a translator after completing the class. It' s also a great ministry opportunity because we are able to share Bible stories as the method teaching them English and the skills of a translator.
Each morning this week, we have gone to the class and shared a story from the Bible. First, we tell it in English. Secondly, we tell one line at a time and allow them to translate into Bambara. Then we let them tell it and English and also translate it to Bambara. After all of this we ask them question about the stories.
The method of telling Bible stories as a way of evangelizing seems elementary, but it is a pretty deep concept that I know I haven't thought about. It is the idea of letting God speak for Himself! We have been taking stories, such as The Demon Possessed Man", "Creations to Church", "Abraham", etc.... Simply read the scriptures and simplify them into a story; being careful to keep it anchored to scripture, then tell the story. Afterwards we ask a series of questions, such as: "What did you like about this story?"; "What did you not like/not understand about this story?"; "What does it teach you about God and man?"; "How does this story effect you?". These simple questions have a big impact. We have realized that we should read the Bible with these same questions in mind for ourselves. We discuss each question with the class. The answers the students give are pretty awesome; ranging from, "This story made me realize that I am a sinner", to "God is graceful and merciful". It is really cool to see God speaking for Himself rather than us stressing about what to say about a piece of scripture. In our personal Bible Study, we can clearly see where Paul does the exact same thing, he simply reads the scriptures to people and lets God do the work.
Most all of our students are Muslim. God is using these stories to change the way they think about Jesus. Muslims are familiar with Jesus and they of course believe in God, but hearing them answer the questions after sharing a story is showing us that God is truly bringing His word to life and drawing His people to Himself.
We have also been taking Bambara lessons from one of the students in the class. All week we have assumed our teacher, Nonjon, to be a “seeker”. Which is someone whom God is speaking to and who is very interested in knowing about Jesus. We talked with for a long time, today, to see what he believed. After a short time it was completely clear that he knows Jesus. It turns out, that he found a Bible a few years ago and read it. Since then, his Bible and prayer has been his only discipleship. It was wonderful to hear the wisdom and purity that comes from a faith in God that is unhampered by the traditional misconceptions and conflict that can come with today’s churches. It almost made me not want to even talk to him so that I would not pollute his virgin faith.