International (MNN) — There’s more to orality than an odd name. One Scriptures In Use worker says it fuels their outreach to women.
“It’s not just something we add on to a plan,” she states. “It’s actually a whole strategy of how God is moving in a powerful way all across the world, and especially in closed areas.”
Why women? Women make up a majority of the world’s 2.5 billion people who cannot read or write. They’re also one of the most oppressed and impoverished people groups. By equipping female believers to carry the Gospel to these forgotten women, the hope of Christ shines brightly.
“We call them the ‘Brave Women’,” says the worker. “They’re like Shiphrah and Puah, that’s one of the favorite stories among Muslim women. Those women were willing to stand against the very authorities of the land in order to obey God.”
Evangelism carries a heavy price in some of the places SIU works.
“In many countries, to proselytize is instant death,” the worker says. She gives Indonesia as an example, saying many parts of this country operate under heavy Sharia law.
“They (believers) literally take their lives [into their hands] to do any kind of proselytizing of any of their Muslim friends or neighbors.”
“[In] one particular country in Central Asia that’s extremely closed to the Gospel,” she continues, “the women aren’t even allowed to carry Bibles.”
In addition, Christian literature of any kind is strictly forbidden.
“Many of the women that have been in our classes have been arrested, have been jailed; have been fined up to one-and-a-half year’s salary.”
Despite the risk, many indigenous Christ-followers are using SIU training to share the Gospel with their fellow countrymen.
Through a program called Bridges for Women, SIU teaches oral strategies like storytelling, dance and song to in-country Christians. Using what they’ve learned, believers then share the Gospel with unreached women in their communities.
“They memorize those stories and they are actually writing the Word of God on their heart,” the worker explains. “They tell us all over the restricted countries of the world that no one can take this Bible away from them.”
Last month in Malawi, 24 “grassroots” Christian trainers — leaders of widows’ groups, volunteer groups, etc. — came together for SIU Bridges for Women training. Most work among non-literate people, and leaders weren’t sure how to evangelize and disciple them.
However, by the end of SIU’s training, each participant left encouraged and equipped for the Great Commission.
“It was some of the best Oral Arts reinforcing the core of the Scripture story that I have seen around the world,” said SIU trainer Carla Bowman. “Their talent was unbelievable.”
“An average oral learner can memorize a story within 45 minutes that might be anywhere from 6 to 8 verses long,” the SIU worker adds. “They have to hear the complete story in its entirety maybe 4 or 5 times, and then they have the story memorized verbatim.”
Depending on the location and number to be trained, each SIU workshop costs around $1,500. You can help by sponsoring a session.
Ask the Lord to open doors for women believers to reach the lost. Pray governments in restricted nations will give people freedom to choose their religion.