Last week myself and a friend where able to go and spend some time at the local youth authority outside of Chiang Mai. I have been training in Simply The Story, a way to do inductive oral bible study. I decided that I would try it out on the group of boys we meet with on Thursday. This is a group of young men from ages 14 to 18 in a kind of youth prison mostly for illegal drug use. Most weeks a group of about 20 boys show up who want to grow in their faith or who are curious about what we will be teaching on and what we will be talking about. This last week I did the story of Jesus calming the storm. As I stood up and acted out the story and said it in Thai, the boys where engaged and tracking well with me. Then when I was finished I told them, now you turn to your friend on the right and each of you tell each other the story. I thought they would not want to do this and would just be quiet and stare at me. But, to my surprise they excitedly turned to their neighbor and told the story. It was great to see them telling the story to each other. As I listened I noticed at least 4 different language groups from the local area. All of these boys were tribal from the hills north of the city. They know Thai, but it was great to see them tell the story to their friends in their heart language. After this we did an easy review and I started to ask them questions. This part was hard, but exciting for me because they started to see what the people were saying and doing in the story. Then they started to discover the choices people made in the story and the results and consequences of what happened in the story. Then they saw God in the story. And finally they saw how this story impacted their life today. It was no longer an old bible story, but it came alive for them. I feel like God is using this oral way of teaching with Thai people. I am excited to tell bible stories to many different people around the area. Next week I will be telling the story of the paralytic with his 4 friends who lowered him down into the house in front of Jesus. This will be another day of the week with a Buddhist friend who always wants to compare and argue. I feel the apologetic method of sharing Christ has failed with him. I have shared the gospel many times with him and his monk friends, but no response. I am excited to tell them bible stories from the gospels and let the word of God be planted in their hearts. I will be praying for them to change and be good soil.
I never realized that the bible is 70% narrative and for the most part we spend most of our time in the letters of the apostles. I also discovered that Jesus was asked a question 183 times and he answered people only 3 times directly. He used a story, parable or another question when he answered and taught people.
Over the past 14 years I have been in Thailand I have seen more an more that the Thai people are more of an oral culture and do not spend lots of time reading books.
I am an artist and use art to communicate the gospel and teach the bible. I am excited to blend stories with art. As things develop, I hope to write more stories of how God is working in the lives of Thai people.
-Written by Kennedy Paizs, TEAM missionary in Thailand
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