"The crying was barely audible at first. Julie glanced at her teammate, Doreka, then turned back to the crowded sanctuary, sweeping her arms wide as she told of the disciples’ amazement when encountering their risen Lord.
It was the third day of an Easter camp in a Maiwala-speaking village, and each day the two women had stood before the ever increasing crowd, dramatically telling stories of Jesus’ trial, then His crucifixion, and now, as tears began to fall more heavily and a whole row of women rubbed their eyes, His resurrection. Julie dropped her arms, and the muffled weeping grew louder and louder until everyone in the church was sobbing. The story had touched their hearts.
When Jesus sat before the crowds, He wrapped Truth in story after story of lost coins, buried treasure, missing sheep, vineyards, and paths laden with seed. Although bullet-pointed facts are efficient, stories have the ability to pierce through defenses, navigate cultural barriers, and ultimately impact hearts, especially in the oral cultures of Papua New Guinea.
I've had the privilege of working with Julie to train translators in a method called oral Bible storytelling which allows for dramatic, accurate translations of Bible stories—before the language even has a written alphabet!
But not all the tears were of sorrow. After the service, one woman ran up to Julie and wrung her hand, 'I almost got up to shout hallelujah! because I knew that my Lord was not dead forever! He was risen!'