DRC (MNN) — Many cultures rely on orality methods like storytelling to communicate values and concepts. In these cultures, orality is critical to sharing the Gospel!
That’s why Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) teamed up with Seed Company to reach the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) remote communities with the Gospel through oral evangelism training.
These communities have no Bible translations — either because their language is unable to have a written form or because they are still waiting for a written Bible translation in their heart language.
MAF flies remote pastors and Christian leaders to a centralized location in DRC for these oral evangelism trainings with Seed Company. There is follow-up roughly every six months to make sure the oral Bible stories and doctrines are remaining true to God’s Word.Brett Reierson, a pilot and mechanic with MAF says, “Part of the teaching is not just imparting a biblical story, but part of the discipleship that happens with these pastors is they take the time with them to talk about, ‘How does this story change the way I live today?’”
Stephen Hale is also an MAF pilot/mechanic and serves as the program director in the west DRC. Hale says, “It’s a three-year project with multiple workshops, with the same people coming back again and again and again, sharpening themselves in the Word and through fellowship and prayer and then going back out.”
MAF and Seed Company are currently focusing on seven or eight languages for this oral evangelism training.
“Among these seven or eight languages, they are trying to identify which of them is an ideal candidate for a real written [Bible] translation project,” Hale explains.
Reierson shares an interaction he had with a chief in a remote village. “We were explaining why the Seed Company is here and what they are doing, and he said, ‘Why don’t you have any Bible translations in my language?’ So we had this great opportunity to say that’s why we’re here.
“He said to our group, ‘It’s like we are forgotten. The Church has forgotten us.’
“So I turned to him and I said, ‘People may have forgotten you. But God hasn’t forgotten you. That’s why we’re here is to bring that element of the Gospel here and…the beginning of this work is starting with us today.’”
Reierson says, “That just brought a total sense of peace to the whole situation and it was really powerful. They were very excited to see people reaching out to develop a work. Ultimately, the end goal will be to bring a Bible translation to those people. But the storying value of it is, as they are developing the Bible, they are using that as a discipleship tool along the way.”
Without MAF planes, many of these remote pastors and Christian leaders would have to travel for two weeks or more one-way to access the training. But with MAF flights, the trips are typically an hour or two.
Still, to reach the closest remote airstrip to fly to the training site, the pastors and Christian leaders sometimes have a long trek from their village.
Reierson says, “We heard from the storying project after I dropped them off…. They had to go at least one day around a certain area because these two tribes were not getting along. They were in conflict with one another and it was dangerous, they would threaten each other. So they circumvented their area to get around [and] they went to the training.
“Then during the training, [a man in] the group that was from that village really felt from one of the Bible stories…that he needed to make peace with that tribe that they were in conflict with. And so he did! He came back and they started a conversation and started the reconciliation process and explained why in relation to the Gospel with using the Bible and these storying things they had just learned.
“Now those two villages are at peace with one another and they now have a healthy exchange! So that was a very direct impact of that work that they’re doing.”
Please pray for traveling safety for the training attendees and MAF pilots — and for spiritual protection.
Reierson says, “We have felt and experienced opposition for doing this work, whether it was in the flights or whether it was the individuals who came. Challenges were faced and so we just pray and continue to pray for them.”
Also, Hale adds, “The airplanes are expensive to fly, fuel is expensive and getting more expensive, so if people want to contribute in that way, they can always give to MAF…with [an] indication that they would like this support to go to the Seed Company project in Congo.”
Header photo courtesy of MAF.