Europe - Testimonies of Use
Wonderfully we have been able to lead STS workshops and the shorter vision castings of STS in France, Kosovo, Ireland, Hungary, Macedonia, Spain, Scotland, and UK and Ukraine, Still, there are many countries and regions yet to cover!
As people are trained in using the Simply The Story process and make use of their new skills, I have seen God work time and again in amazing and powerful ways.
One man attended a workshop I helped lead here in Grand Rapids. Soon after, he went to Poland for two weeks and while there he was asked to preach at the church. While he had not come prepared with a sermon, he was prepared with a story he had learned at the recent workshop. He was able, without any more preparation, to present the Bible story and lead the church in a Bible-based discussion about the story.
Also while in Poland he visited a prison and shared a story with the inmates, who became actively involved in the discussion.
An STS Instructor
“The past few days of training have been wonderful. God’s Word is washing the trainees already. During the clean up time, a seemingly standard Kosovo man, helped Val to clean the room. This shocked everyone. Apparently, it’s unusual for a Kosovo man to do any domestic work. He said he saw that Val cleaned up alone the day before and no one helped.
"One group had the Burning Bush story. One man was in this group who had not yet done a story. Apparently he struggled greatly with the idea of presenting a story and said he couldn’t do it. I felt strongly God wanted to a break through in him and that this man supposed to do the story and not run from the struggle. I found out that the man had really wanted to go to College, but had failed the tests two times and therefore struggled with feeling stupid.
"HB worked with the insecure man at lunch and he decided to try to do it. During presentation, this man did a fantabulous job. Another break through!!
"One lady struggled to stay in the story and often had a spiritual answer. I learned later she’s only had the New Testament. She is a wonderful lady and I was blessed to hear her story, but she is struggling to master STS. Our translator for the three days, grew up with the Old Testament in her Muslim family and tends to have the strongest foundation in the Word.
A special young lady probably in her 20’s, works with some of the others in the Roma colony, a gypsy group. Apparently the Romani God’s Story works with the Roma people.
"The first day of the 3 day training has been the most touching thus far. For me the highlight came when a saw a story speak to an American lady serving here. First I saw her light bulb brighten when she said Jesus had to go outside the gate because he touched the leper. When she realized what Jesus did with the touch, she started tearing up. She saw the cross as after the Leper story we told 2 Corinthians 5:21.
"Later 4 kids came to the door of the Smile housing facility asking for a story. So HB and Ricky went together. HB shared the story of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful. The young girl about 8 finally admitted the Jesus is Lord if Peter and John were able to heal in the name of Jesus.”
Instructor Leading Workshop.
Scotland After Taste of STS
“It was great to have you guys in Aberdeen. I'm sure we'll get plenty interested in the full training - everyone who was there thought it was brilliant. Actually last Sunday we were sitting around chatting with one of the young guys and he was asking about what Simply the Story was and we decided to demonstrate - we did the Jars story.
"Amazingly I managed to recall the story, albeit not perfectly, but pretty good. It was quite incredible actually because when we started discussing it one of the applications that came out of it for him highlighted something God had already been speaking about! It's amazing the way God uses stories."
"WOW! I just love Alex. He’s sooo honest. He came to me today and said, “I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and I’ve never been able to remember names.”(He also said he’s never been able to learn the stories like he has here). Last night he remembered the stories and the names, and thought about the stories so much.
"He told his wife, ‘This training is on my level, this may be the first Christian training I’m able to finish!’ Today, his group did an eleven-verse story. He admitted to the group he almost left because it was difficult. But HB lovingly spent time with him, reading the story. Once the group discussed the story, he could remember it.
"Alex continued talking to the whole group when we were gathered together. ‘The church is for the middle class. People like me either bluff our way through or we don’t go.’ Alex excitement just encourages everyone.
"Our Instructor, Tony did a story in a church Sunday. He said the people in the church seemed generally unengaged. However, when Tony noticed he had gone over a bit, the pastor saw something new. The people actually wanted Tony to continue!
"When Bryan told a story to the pastor’s family, they were all participating for over an hour. The daughter even went to her gymnastics class and told her teacher the story. His daughter is around 10 years old.
"Alex wants to bring STS to Brazil and the Canary islands. He wants to be very involved with STS because it speaks immensely to his heart and the difficulties he’s faced as a non-reader his whole life (up until 2 years ago).
"We had two more oral learners step forward in admission today. One lady hid her learning difficulties behind her computer the first day (oh duh!). Today she didn’t have her computer out at all. Another man, William, in her group admitted her need to learn oraly as well. These both are very bright and EXCITED people.
"On Tuesday HB did Jars of Oil for us, and the pastor joined us. The story touched him because he shared how many people in his church were going through difficult situations, some of them having to leave the country. Later, during tea break, HB and Caryl spent more time with the pastor and discovered to a greater level how much the story impacted this pastor.
"The next day another pastor asked if we could teach him this method. I personally saw this man go from non-interest at breakfast the first day, to being like a little boy seriously seeking something so important, he seemed like he would cry if he didn’t get it.
"Wednesday we met another pastor at breakfast, a man from Northern Ireland. I noticed he was somewhat stand offish. He showed polite interest in STS. We invited him to join Caryl and me during our Exodus 17 practice time.
"At the end during application, we asked if he had people who complained or came to him criticizing. His response floored me – 'no,' he stated. “People typically came for prayer or with difficulties needing counsel. I thought to myself, He’s the first pastor without people problems I’ve ever met.
"It wasn’t until the end of our discussion that this pastor opened up and told us that he was in the area visiting his spiritual advisor and that there were problems in his church and people were complaining. Inside I chuckled. Apparently the Hebrews 4:12 knife was super sharp and it just took awhile for the pastor to see that he was bleeding." A
Ireland Ongoing Impact
“Last night at church I got some really encouraging news that you will no doubt find encouraging too - I was speaking to one of the team who were out on mission in Mozambique recently. He was in the STS training day at Deeside.
"He taught a couple of the team what he knew of STS and they used it as the basis for everything they did with the children there. He said it was really effective. He thinks most of the team will be up for the full training.
“I just had a meeting with a young fellow this morning who, with his wife, has been doing ministry in schools for a while now. He saw my story in the Methodist church here a couple of Sundays ago and was ecstatic at the power of STS-style.
"He had already seen the power of story, but has used lots of props to present "attention grabbers". I challenged him to go simply the story, and he saw that again as we discussed it this morning.”
Surprising Contemporary Application
Just in the door from the STS grads meeting where a local guy told a story and we had a blast. I told them the Jacob/foreign gods/Shechem story from Genesis 35. It happened again! They all fell down the hole they made for themselves! ;-) Imagine the POWERFUL time we had with them making the application into Orange Order and Freemasonry.”
"As a family we made a missions trip this summer to Peru and the Amazon. We have a family principle that we do not "go on outreach" but that "we are the outreach", and so with a layover of eleven hours in London on our first day of travel we had begun asking Jesus for His plan for the time "on the ground" in that city.
“He led us to a couple of old (prayer partner) friends who live seven minutes from Gatwick airport from where we were to fly out the following morning.
"Once we were met at the airport our hostess friend said she was receiving a twelve-year old girl in her home that day who was being released from hospital after three weeks of tests vainly trying to diagnose her "fits".
“She told us that the girl's father was incapable of looking after her, the mother hated her, and her sister wanted nothing to do with her either! So the hospital released the girl to our friend.
“After supper, we were all relaxing in the living room when the girl began to get into 'stuff' on her computer and to involve two of my daughters with her. The atmosphere in the house was changing. I began asking Jesus what He wanted to do. Like a flash I sensed He wanted the story of the One Leper told.
“My oldest daughter 'had' that story (of the sixteen stories we had prepared for the trip). I told her she was 'up' in 5 minutes and to get ready.
“A little while later she told the story and our hostess re-told it. I walked through it again and we began to explore the story with questions.
“As we discussed what it must have been like for the ostracised leper I asked what it must have felt like to not have been touched. The girl (with much feeling) said ‘Unloved!’ We could feel the pain in her response.
“Shortly afterwards we were looking at the cleansing that Jesus did for the leper and all of a sudden the girl fell on the floor and went into a fit. Our hosts, the two of my daughters present and I all began praying for her and rebuking the enemy. She began to cough and splutter and then relaxed. She sat up but I could tell it was "not over".
“She then fell back again and her eyes took an unnatural position. What could have been doubted up to this point was pretty clear by now and so we began to rebuke the enemy again and speak to the demons to leave her.
“A little while after that she completely relaxed and was 'at peace'. She lay there a considerable length of time and then sat up saying that "Jesus spoke to me". She then began to share how Jesus had told her how to view her Dad, Mum and sister and herself in light of His love. We went to bed a while later rejoicing at what God had done on the first night of our trip.”
Irish Family in UK