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The Spoken Worldwide ministry requires the dedication and hard work of many saints, from many walks of life, to build and nurture relationships and create indigenous audio content that will transform lives.

We humbly walk together with Christ, with each team member bringing their unique life experience to pour into our mission.

Today, we’d like you to meet Yohannes Faye, our Director of East Africa Programs.

Yohannes, tell us what you do at Spoken.

Hi, thanks for sharing my story. I currently lead the Pastor Development Program in East and North Africa. I also oversee some programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and contribute to other sister programs and initiatives in the Spoken ministry.

Can you tell us more about the Pastor Development Program (PDP)?

Our Pastor Development Program is instrumental to the success of our mission. It was developed specifically for the oral learners of the world to help fulfill the Great Commission as described by Jesus Christ in Matt 28:18-20. At the heart of the Commission is the command to make disciples of Christ by, among other things, “teaching them all that I have commanded you to observe, and equipping these believers to do the work of ministry.” (Eph 4:12) Within the PDP, we partner with churches and ministries which are working in their respective mission fields to design and implement effective programs. This partnership work aims to raise and develop leaders that will eventually reach their oral learner groups with the claims of Jesus Christ.

What brought you to Spoken Worldwide?

Prior to Spoken, I had spent nearly two decades in missions in various places and areas of ministry, predominantly in oral communities. Though I was fully aware of the challenges encountered in communicating the gospel clearly through orality, I was yet to find an organization that applied a well-conceived strategy to overcome this difficulty. It was this focused articulation of both the challenge, and the opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission among the oral cultures of the world, that drew me to Spoken.

Tell us about your experience in coming to Christ.

Well, let me take you back many years to when I was growing up in an Ethiopian orthodox family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I had the privilege of going to a parochial Catholic School for my elementary and middle school years. It was during this time that I was introduced to some religious instruction. Then, one day when I was in high school, my pharmaceutical salesman father brought home to me a gift he received from a pharmacist. The gift he brought me was a Gideon New Testament and it triggered a pivotal point in my young life.

Keep in mind, at the time, there was severe persecution of evangelicals in Ethiopia, where nearly all evangelical churches were closed, and most Christian activity went underground. Since community resources were not available to me, I read the New Testament on my own, and came to understand the saving power of Jesus Christ. Contrary to what I thought was the right way of earning favor with God, I read in Rom. 4 that Abraham was not saved because of his good deeds, but through God’s grace alone. What a powerful moment for me! This drove me to read the New Testament in full where I was provoked by the claims of Jesus Christ and the saving grace He offers to those who come to Him in repentance and faith.

Where did you go to school?

I earned my first degree in Science from Addis Ababa University (AAU). I then went on to attend the Nairobi International School of Theology and Dallas Theological Seminary where I earned my theological and biblical degrees.

Walk me through what a typical day looks like for you with Spoken?

I am not sure there is a typical day at Spoken because each day is so dynamic! Since our ministry revolves around local partnerships, communication with our partners and the mission fields takes a significant amount of time and focus when I am not in the field. We currently have over 14 projects in five countries that keep me quite engaged. In addition to these direct responsibilities, there is always something going on with other strategies within our ministry that might benefit from my involvement, especially if that strategy involves the East and North African regions.

When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy doing?

Family time is always fun. I also enjoy riding a bike and watching a good deal of documentaries of all sorts. A real treat is catching a Dallas Cowboys or an Arsenal fc game on TV. Oh, and I also enjoy taking care of the lawn!

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What is one of the most inspiring times you’ve experienced working at Spoken?

One of the most inspiring times was working on the Borana project in Ethiopia. To explain, let me first provide some context…

Shortly after I began working as a young missionary 25 years ago, I was asked to help with a church plant in Nairobi, Kenya. At that time, I was also working weekdays, helping students at the University of Nairobi. The new work with the church plant was in Kariobangi, with the oral people groups of Borana and Burji. Needless to say, these two experiences were vastly different from each other – working with literate students during the week, and oral learners on the weekend. The experience with Borana and Burji proved to be a challenge, as I believed was ill- equipped to work among an entirely oral population. In contrast, I had the tools and the training to work among the university students.

Fast forward to when I came to Spoken, and one of the first programs we started in Ethiopia was the Borana project. After learning of the project, I could immediately see God’s wisdom and how He was using me to fulfill His work. This second time in Borana was so meaningful and exciting because I was better equipped and had a viable strategy to effectively communicate the Word of God among the Borana. Nearly three years after starting the program, we are rewarded by seeing men and women become fully equipped for the task of ministry, in the manner and language that makes the most sense to them and their communities.

Is there any one thing you’d like readers to take away today about Spoken and the work we do?

It is not uncommon to spend a significant part of our Christian life without learning the plight, the need, the challenges, and the opportunities that orality and oral cultures present to world mission. The most rewarding aspect I have enjoyed at Spoken is the focused dedication our organization has to help fulfill the Great Commission among the oral learners of the world.


Pray for Yohannes

Please ask God to grant Yohannes wisdom as he leads the Pastor Development Programs in East and North Africa.

Interested in joining the Spoken Worldwide? Check out our Employment Opportunities.

THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


DELIVERING TRUTH

2020 Q2 Newsletter

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TRANSFORMATION STORY: COACHING PROGRAM

Female Storytellers Leading the Way!

In Northern Ghana, a quiet revolution is happening. In the past, women have been overlooked as a resource for local churches where most members cannot read or write. Consistently, not only in Ghana, but around the world, women make up a large percentage of oral learners as their families typically do not prioritize school attendance for them growing up. Today, more women in Northern Ghana are taking an active role in ministering through the form of storytelling to their church members. Dr. Ray Neu, Spoken’s Director of Orality Coaching, was honored to share and provide orality training to a group of women who have proven how effective their storytelling is as a tool for evangelism and church planting.

After three years of putting their training into practice, dozens of women continue to gather each week to learn additional stories, create new songs, and practice older stories. Then, they fan out to other villages, sharing what they’ve learned and leading others to Christ. A district leader has said that they had to stop church planting in the past because they ran out of literate pastors, but that is no longer an issue. The women have helped make sure that literacy is no longer a barrier for God’s Word to be shared!

Additionally, when they encountered a need for funding, they sprang into action, and began producing and selling shea butter from the shea nuts they harvest. They have eagerly contributed to the costs of travel and training so that God’s Word is not limited by a lack of funds.

We praise God for the multiplication we are seeing as a result of the original training done by our Coaching team, and thank God for these amazing and faithful women!

Spoken’s Coaching Program: A key initiative in the Spoken Worldwide global ministry.

The Spoken team works closely with partnering ministries by providing training, coaching, and development to internal personnel, and then activates newly trained staff through our partners’ existing infrastructure, systems, and resources. The result is a solid approach to equipping leaders that multiply disciples of oral learners.

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PROGRAM UPDATE: COACHING PROGRAM

Program Snapshot

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AFRICA FIELD STATS


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Curriculum Development Through Partnerships

Community Bible Study

The first quarter of 2020 saw increased content development and training workshops moving forward. The CBS Training Manual and Book 2 of Old Testament Survey are now complete.

Walk Through the Bible

Since last winter, the Coaching team has worked to develop a new partnership with WTB. Now we are acting as consultants/trainers as well as oralizing a new series created.

Coaching Program Highlights

For the past 15 years, Spoken Worldwide programs have been sharing Truth and ministering in small groups. The structure and design of Spoken’s methodology has allowed us to continue to minister safely during the COVID-19 climate and our field teams continue to identify new and creative channels to share the gospel. We continue to pray for wisdom and innovative ways to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.


COACHING PROGRAM GOALS

Increase national staff in more countries. With the reduction in international travel, the availability of additional staff would greatly enhance our ability to serve our partners quickly and with reduced cost.

Continue to lead in the development of oral versions of the written curriculum of other ministry organizations. This is a new means of serving our partners which can greatly expand existing ministries globally.

Insights from Dr. Ray Neu, Director of Orality Coaching

Spoken’s Coaching Program applies the best of our many years of hard-earned experience, distills the DNA of those valuable learning experiences, and pours it into the existing infrastructure of other ministries.

A wonderful advantage of the Coaching Program is that we are applying the best practices and principles of Orality into our partners’ organizations. This allows them to take advantage of all that Spoken has to offer, while applying it to their own ministry goals and dreams.

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COVID-19: IMPACT & RESPONSE

As Coronavirus reaches the farthest corners of the earth, it is not difficult to imagine the many ways our Coaching Program is being affected. Our Coaching team is working hard to respond appropriately to challenging situations, including canceled training workshops and temporary holds on major partnerships. Their efforts in exploring new ways of equipping the Church for ministry ensures our work in transforming lives is not interrupted, and the innovations put in place today will help oral learners for many years ahead.

The areas now active or currently being explored by the Coaching team include social media distribution of content, workshops via video conference, and a series of pre-recorded lessons that can be viewed at any time.

While new opportunities like these are just beginning to surface, we are well positioned to help partners find solutions for training during these challenging times.

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TESTIMONY: YOUNG HEARTS FOR JESUS

Nigeria’s Newest Disciples

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Fred Lama, one of the sons of Pastor Sam Lama, the District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene for Liberia, regularly takes young men with him on the back of a dirt bike to far-reaching places to share the Gospel. These young men have learned well from their elders the Orality and Jesus Film training which have been offered.

They have taken to heart not only the messages, but also the responsibility to “Go”! They go to some of the most remote and difficult to reach locations in Liberia. These areas are not always safe, yet they choose to go because of the great need for the Gospel.

Fred has shared, “Listening to these young men, I could not help but be amazed at their poise, professionalism, and heart for Jesus as they share stories from God’s Word. They lead discussions with wisdom, seemingly beyond their years. Multiple times, I found myself asking them, “How old are you?!” Then once again rejoicing in the gifts God has poured into these young men.”

The results are so clearly of the Lord’s leading, and as a result, people respond freely. Churches are being planted and people are being built up in their faith as these young men continue to work on the front lines of where the Word of God is most needed.


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A WORD FROM ED

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Now in its fifth year, the Coaching Program was the collective brainchild of our board of directors in 2011. As the ministry grew and developed, God seemed to be doing so much, and through it, He was teaching us immensely. Yet, we knew that with as many as five billion oral learners in the world, our organization alone would never be able to grow to sufficient size to meet all the orality needs. Through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the solution hit us… “what if we equipped other organizations that had the footprint and resources to meet the needs, but maybe not yet the expertise?”

Today, the need for this type of ministry has not only been proven, but the response is humbly rewarding. We are grateful to God for His direction and for fueling the teamwork needed to generate the type of impact you see in this newsletter.

Will you make a commitment to our Coaching team (most of which are indigenous to their cultures) to help increase their already amazing results?

Keep Spoken in Your Prayers


Pray that new oral versions of written curriculum will be available to serve oral learners.

Pray for the addition of local leaders in more countries so that our training may spread far and wide.

Pray for God’s continued guidance on effectively adapting the Coaching program amidst travel restrictions.

Your donation will help advance the Coaching Program, helping us to equip partnering ministries that multiply disciples of oral learners.

THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


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Pastor Edward

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Listen to more stories:

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THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


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We’ve found ourselves, unwillingly, in the middle of a medical crisis. A pandemic that has swept the world and dramatically changed our daily lives while creating so much uncertainty about the future. Our once busy lifestyles of commuting to work, shopping at a vast array of retail stores and restaurants, and traveling across the country or the globe, have come to an abrupt halt. And we are suddenly aware of our dependence on these elements, these habits and routines that once occupied our days. Other tragedies and diseases have plagued us in our lifetime, but there has been nothing we have personally experienced that has caused such disruption and uncertainly like the novel coronavirus.

Desperate for “Normal”

This new coronavirus and the disease it causes ¬— COVID-19 —has our undivided attention. We tune to the news throughout our day to understand the latest data and hopefully get a glimpse of a promising treatment plan. We spend much of our days trying to understand when we will get back to business as usual and how to manage our days until we get there. Millions have lost jobs and many more will follow. We pray daily to Father God to protect us during this time, shielding us from the disease, and pray that he uses this crisis to glorify His Kingdom. Yet, each day we continue to grasp for what is normal, longing to know when our lives will get back to the routine we know so well. This is what I like to call horizontal living.

Faith and Hope for the Win

While all this is true and we’re fixated on the issue at hand, we also know our God is faithful, proving time and again that his plan, his narrative of hope and His promise are to be believed. Consider the story of Joseph, a man who experienced one trial and crisis after another. Joseph was not forsaken by our Father, but instead, God used the trials and stories in Joseph’s life to not only shape Joseph, but to fit His larger narrative. It’s also important to remember that Joseph trusted God and focused not on what had been; not on what he had hoped for, but on what his God needed him to do in the present moment.

Shifting our Perspective

Yes, the Coronavirus does have our undivided attention, but this virus passed through the fingers of our sovereign God – so it’s fair to say that God is looking for our undivided attention. He’s shaking us free of our daily routines, our social media, our absorption with work, and all the other things that fill our daily lives.

Hebrews 12:27-29

The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

While we feel out of control, we rejoice in knowing that God IS in control, and His sovereignty covers this pandemic and any other crisis we’ve been through in the past, or will go through in the future. As we focus on this comfort, we are free to shift our gaze from the world around us to the Lord above us and move ourselves into action, rather than focusing on the routine that has slipped from our grasp. And with this comfort, our horizontal view now shifts to one that is vertical. We no longer dwell on the single story we’re living in, but instead gain perspective of God’s greater narrative.

What had been — the days before the Coronavirus — now move to the background, with the understanding that we are free to lean into and onto each other to create the next story, and to help fulfill God’s sovereign plan.

Contributed by Mandy Alegnani

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THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


DELIVERING TRUTH

2020 Q1 Newsletter

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TRANSFORMATION STORY: PASTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

A Focused Strategy Creates a Unified Community

Through the efforts of Pastor Moses and Pastor Gimba, two ILT (Indigenous Leadership Team) leaders, new pastors and leaders have been trained in the use of stories and holistic Truth in Riyom, Nigeria, effectively multiplying their reach. Almost the entire Tah-hoss and Bacha districts in Nigeria are responding to the gospel and community development education presented in their heart language and preferred learning style. 

Notably, the stories on security guidelines and how to work effectively with displaced persons have gone viral in 33 communities under 33 discussion group leaders in the districts. The insight received through these stories is pulling community elders, Church leaders, and other stakeholders together to create an initiative for a co-operative society. Doing so will help support the economic life of their communities, whose farm produce has been repeatedly attacked by local herdsmen. At this time, there are ongoing deliberations regarding strategies to help listening group members join resources to improve the economic, social, and cultural life of their communities.

Pastors Moses and Gimba have shepherded these leaders through their local Pastor Development Program to increase the number of disciples sharing Truth in the local communities. At Spoken, our goal is to see these indigenously-led, self-sustaining, disciple-making movements thrive and we are grateful for the Lord’s hand in their success.

 Spoken’s Pastor Development Program (PDP) serves communities that are oral in their style of learning. This 3-year program enables emerging local leaders, pastors and partner ministries to create and utilize at least 100 passages of Scripture and 30 pieces of community development information in the form of stories, songs or dramas as MP3 files for sharing. These are used in active discipleship and evangelism to create a multi-generational network of leaders for lasting and sustainable ministry in each community.

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PROGRAM UPDATE: PASTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Equipping Local Leaders to Share Truth

18

PROGRAM PARTNERS

36

LANGUAGE PROGRAMS

253

LEADERS IN TRAINING

7750

INDIGENOUS LEADERS TRAINED

WITH A

$600,000

PROGRAM BUDGET

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In the last year, we have added 3 language projects to the program that will open doors to reaching more than 460,000 people who don’t currently know Christ.

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God continues to use Spoken’s focus on orality to make the Word of God more penetrating and transferable.


Language Groups with Pastor Development Programs

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2020 GOALS


Complete 30 Bible stories and 10 Community Development stories for each language group represented above

Seek new, effective ways to integrate principles of shepherding into our leadership training

Discuss with our partners how they can extend the PDP beyond the current 3-year format, as this would provide advanced spiritual growth for all local leaders

CYCLE OF MULTIPLICATION


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Indigenous Leadership Team

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1st Generation Leaders

Recruited 3 yrs prior

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2nd Generation Leaders

Recruited 2 yrs prior

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3rd Generation Leaders

Recruited 1 yr prior

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At the core of the Pastor Development Program is an Indigenous Leadership Team (ILT) leader that initiates the effort in multiplying disciples. Each ILT recruits additional quality leaders to help foster the growth of disciples. These new leaders are not paid to promote the Word, but do so because they believe in it, and they invite others in their local community to hear the Gospel stories and become disciples. As each member becomes more involved, they advance to becoming a leader and learn more about sharing community development information and Bible stories with oral communities. Each group of leaders invites additional community members who then invite additional community members. These disciples, no matter their current training cycle, are encouraged to start Small Discussion Groups, gathering 5-10 people to listen to stories and discuss their meaning and application.

In the graphic above, what began with four indigenous leaders, could grow to include hundreds of Small Discussion Groups with thousands hearing the Word of God for the first time. This continuous cycle of new disciples and leaders is how the Spoken Worldwide team creates a self-sustaining, indigenously-led, disciple-making movement.

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TESTIMONY: AUDIO DEVICE IN NIGERIA

Sharing with the Dukawa, Reported by Luka Isah Kwako

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“I thank God for the device I received. I am a native of Marafa village, but I have migrated to Kwara state in Nigeria. It was when I came to visit Joshua, the local leader, that I saw he was using audio devices. After some discussion, an audio device was given to me, and I went home to Kwara state to share.

In the community where I lived, I was the only Christian. The Dukawa people in the village were Muslims. I have been preaching to them about Christ. I did not know how to read and write in either the Hausa language or in English – which became a barrier to preach or share the love of God for them through Christ Jesus. Anytime I go to them to preach, I am always short of words to convince a sinner to see the need for him to repent. But since the time I received the audio device, it became my voice to share the love of God. We started having joint meetings, with almost all the men in the village. We meet in the evening after a hard day’s work.

As a result of this device and the stories on it, seven Muslims and their families have accepted Christ to be their Lord and personal Savior. There was no Church before in the village, but now we are a Church. The people who had these stories recorded did not know I would be using them as my voice to evangelize or the people it would be reaching. If I had not been given the device, the seven saved Dukawa families could have been forever in the dark without the love of God. The audio device is my voice for evangelism. And I will continue to use it because I lack the words to share with people the gravity of the love God has for humanity, which is Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

My words of encouragement are for Spoken Worldwide, and to those who took their time to share these stories through recording, they should know that there are people like me who have the zeal to evangelize and these audio recordings enable us to share Truth, even though we have never gone to school. Therefore, they should know their labor is not in vain, people are being blessed, and souls are being won for Christ.


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A WORD FROM ED

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Life is complex, isn’t it? Matthew 24:38 says: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” – sometimes we are surprised by challenges that show up in our lives unexpectedly. But we serve a faithful and sovereign God who is worthy of our trust and praise. A friend recently mentioned the familiar passage Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It is with that PEACE that we continue to serve boldly, with you by our side. We are grateful for your prayers and continued financial support as we let God lead us through these unexpected times.

Keep Spoken in Your Prayers


Pray that God would reveal to our Program Leaders where to begin new programs. 

Pray for the safety of our Program Leaders as they travel to new communities. 

Pray for the fulfillment of our goal to complete 30 Bible Stories and 10 Community Development stories in each language group. 

You can also help Spoken Worldwide advance the Pastor Development Program by providing necessary resources for the effective training and advancement of local leaders.

THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


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Ray Neu, The Story Doctor

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Listen to more stories:

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THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


Spoken Newsletter

2019 | Issue 4

A Year In Review

Throughout our newsletters in 2019, we’ve covered what Spoken would consider “the basics” of why and how we do our ministry. We’ve broken down what it means to be an Oral Learner, and the literacy barrier that often exists when delivering Truth to the far corners of the world. Contextualization was then discussed, showing how vital it is to deliver messages in a context and manner that each community will be most receptive to hearing. After presenting the importance of holistic, contextualized Truth, we shared about the trusted local leaders who distribute Truth in story, song, and drama format to Oral Communities, sometimes using technology as an aid. If you missed any of this information, you can catch up at spoken.org/connect

Defining

Oral Learners

Three Types:

100% Oral

Can Read Some

Literate but orally preferenced

Overcoming the

Literacy Barrier

 A barrier that is easy to overcome with appropriate communication strategies. 

Literacy should not be a requirement to receive life-saving Truth.

The Importance of Contextualization

 Our method: Contextualize the information while retaining accuracy to place (something, such as a word or activity) in a context, the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs: ENVIRONMENT, SETTING 

Delivering

Holistic

Truth

 Spoken addresses needs from the Gospel to disease prevention, clean water management to proper livestock care. 

Using

Stories, Songs, and Dramas

 Using stories, songs, and dramas is our biggest tool among oral peoples. We adopt the local communities’ style of learning and deliver the Word of God in the same style. 

Through

Trusted Local Leaders

 We train and equip local leaders who are: 

  • Trusted in the community.
  • Know the local context and needs.
  • Christian believer with the desire to share Biblical Truth.

The

Role of

Technology

 Audio devices are an effective tool in multiplying truth despite the limited number of local leaders.

 Our ministry goal is to utilize the knowledge above to create effective programs so that all may hear Truth in a manner that can open eyes and hearts to what the Lord has to offer: 

 TRUTH received with open hearts leads to transformed people and communities! 

Experience It

Stories play an important role in all of our lives, whether you’re literate or an oral learner. We have all experienced influential stories from our families, teachers, leaders, and coworkers. Stories have power. 

Visit here to hear a story told by Dr. Ray Neu, Spoken’s Director of Orality Coaching.

This is a great example of how a Bible story would be shared in the field. Groups listen to the leader, then tell the story to the person next to them, which helps internalize the message. The group then discusses and answers questions about the meaning and application of the Truth they’ve just been a part of. 

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Dr. Ray Neu

Stories of Transformation

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Disciples Making Disciples: Myanmar 

Dr. Ray Neu, Spoken’s Director of Orality Coaching, trained Benjamin in Oral Storytelling Methods in order to share holistic Truth. Benjamin has since trained these additional small group leaders who will go out to start their own small groups, or incorporate it into their existing groups. This is second and third generation training: a true example of disciples making disciples in order to reach more with Truth! 

Power of Orality: Northern Ghana 

Through oral storytelling methods, this group of Muslims was exposed to Christianity for the first time. Even though they had not previously had access to Truth, the stories were able to help open their eyes and hearts. After experiencing the Bible firsthand, in their heart language, they came to Christ and accepted Him as their one true Savior and were recently baptized! 

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Making Everlasting Life with Christ: Nigeria

Mama Chundung lives in Nigeria and is an oral learner. Through a listening group, she has a good relationship with Pastor Moses who is a local leader partnered with Spoken. Each time she listens to a story, she shares it with her household. One day she heard the story about Jesus’ parting words with His disciples saying “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also”. 

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Mama never knew that there is life after death with Jesus. She had always thought that after death one will go and be with their ancestors. If you live a good life on earth, you will live with the good ancestors after death, but if you live a bad life, you will live with the bad ancestors after death. The above story prompted Mama to share with her husband who has been sick and had lived what would be considered a bad life. He received Christ Jesus and a few months later he died. One thing that resonates with Mama and truly gladdens her heart is that her husband knew Christ Jesus before he died. Mama has the assurance that her husband has gone to be with the Lord. Mama also testified that she has heard so many stories in her language and these stories remain so much alive in her heart and she needs to listen to more! 

“He is the one who has healed me from all that I did in witchcraft. I have no more pain. My body isn’t twisted anymore. And I can now stand and teach others how to follow Jesus.”

This testimony comes from a woman who previously practiced witchcraft but found Jesus through the stories she heard in a small discussion group. She is now a small group leader. What a wonderful transformation story of her deliverance from witchcraft, her newfound belief in Christ, and her willingness to be a disciple to others! 

“Some persecutors, who in the past have targeted believers by beating them up and threatening them, have asked to join listening groups so they can learn. They are amazed at the way the people of South Sudan have responded in love and want to learn more about Christianity.”

Praise God that the Christians of South Sudan are living in the image of God and causing non-believer’s hearts to be softened! 

How will you respond?

Now you know about the need, the method, and the transformation that can take place, but how do you become part of delivering Truth around the world? 

Prayer. We ask that you pray for: 

  • the Lord to provide for Spoken financially and through fruitful partnerships
  • effective local leaders to feel a calling towards helping Oral Leaners
  • our programs: that the Biblical and community development content created would be effective and meaningful
  • hearts to be open and receptive to hearing Truth and transforming for God’s glory! 

Financial Support. There are many ways that your dollars can help provide for our ministry: 

$35 – Provides a MegaVoice player and MicroSD card to a local leader in the field 

$100 – Supports the needs of an Indigenous Leader’s ministry for one month 

$1000 – Equips 10 leaders with Program Technology needed to effectively reach surrounding communities 

Ultimately, we want to help our friends and followers experience what it means to be a part of sharing God and His many life-saving messages with those in need. YOU are an important and vital part of spreading God’s name to the ends of the earth and there is truly no greater gift YOU can provide someone, much less an entire community, than the opportunity to know and accept Jesus into their lives. 

How will you choose to be a part of this story today? 

THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Contact Us


Spoken Audio: Genesis 2 – Man & Woman in the Garden

Ray Neu, The Story Doctor
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 Rapid Distribution of Truth

In our past few newsletters, we’ve outlined who Spoken reaches, how they best receive information, and the importance of contextualizing the message needing to be shared. If you missed these newsletters, you can read them at spoken.org under Resources. In this newsletter, we will explore the impact of our model of discipleship and how it allows for rapid distribution of the information that is recorded.

Who

 Oral learners (All three types)

Who

 Contextualized Truth (Spiritual & Physical) in story, song, and drama (oral) format

Who

 Through Local Leaders shepherding small discussion groups, often aided by the use of available technology

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Trusted in the community.

 Know the local context and needs.

Christian believer with the desire to share Biblical Truth.

Why Local Leaders?

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 At Spoken, although we understand the impact natural forms of communication make on the reception of the message, we equally recognize the importance of properly equipping local leaders to shepherd this process. Ideally, dedicated training, accompanied by prayer and God’s provision, will create opportunities for previously unreached people to come to faith and be discipled. 

Our 3-year Pastor Development Program for local leaders involves a process of modeling and training to select and develop contextually appropriate biblical content, storytelling, effective ways to start and facilitate small discussion groups that will encourage spiritual growth, and raising up emerging disciples to multiply efforts.

Small Discussion Groups

A piece of feedback often shared from our ministry partners is that preaching doesn’t always work well – especially among people in rural communities. Their style of learning involves less direct teaching of information or proclamation, and more discovery of truth through open discussion.

There are studies testing a person’s memory, and on average, people remember only 10% of what they hear, but up to 90% of what they say.* Therefore, if we want to increase the amount of learning that occurs in a ministry environment – we need to increase the time others talk about the Bible. This is what happens in a small discussion group environment – rather than a lecture environment. 

Value of Quality Discussion**:

  • Ensures that People Remember the Content
  • Gives Insight into the current Spiritual Condition of Participants
  • Lets Listeners see the Relevance of Scripture to Their Lives
  • Stimulates Curiosity and Spiritual Hunger
  • Increases the Desire to Delve into the Bible Further
  • Grows Relationships
  • Creates a Sense of Gathering 

Facilitators (Local Leaders) Act As:

  • Motivator – stimulate thinking
  • Enabler – keep the discussion on track
  • Clarifier – Explains what is being said
  • Affirmer – Encourages the group members
  • Redirector – Draws others into discussion 

* Glaser, R. (1983, June). Education and Thinking: The Role of Knowledge. Technical Report No. PDS-6. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Learning and Development Center.

** Telling The Gospel Through Story, Christine Dillon 

Asking good questions during the story and discussion time is key. Questions invite more development and clarification of an answer given by a participant and draw others into the discussion.

DISCIPLE-MAKING MOVEMENTS:

As part of our 3-year training program, local leaders multiply their efforts by reproducing themselves. After identifying candidates that are Christ followers, in good standing in their community, willing to lead rather than preach and able to report back on their discussions, they are trained to: 

  • Lead storytelling, facilitate listening groups, and train others 
  • Raise up leaders to take over the group so that they can start others 
  • Form new groups through leveraging existing group relationships 

This multiplication model ensures that the work, and Truth, continue to reach those in need far beyond what Spoken could do on its own.  

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The Role of Technology

Technology is not WHAT we do, but it is a part of HOW we do what we do. It is an effective tool in helping deliver Truth to oral learners. With a limited number of leaders in any given area, and large numbers of people needing to hear Truth, technology helps speed up the discipleship process while delivering accurate content that is shareable.

Once the appropriate people-specific messages needed for the community are developed, they are then reviewed for Biblical accuracy, recorded on an audio recorder, and downloaded to the appropriate tech for use.

Depending on the community, and their available resources, Spoken currently utilizes two different types of technology. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the geography and demographics, but both are extremely useful and effective in the hands of local leaders sharing Truth with oral learners. 

MicroSD Cards

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Pros

7+ billion cell phones in use worldwide

Cost Effective (10 cards = 1 MegaVoice)

Cons

Reliant on available cell phone + charger and electricity

MegaVoice Audio Players

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Pros

Solar-powered

Community can be “off the grid”

Cons

Requires a specialized device that may be new to a culture 

Both

Allow groups of 5-15 people to listen together, ensure consistent content that remains true to the word of God, are shareable with surrounding people groups, and allow villagers to hear stories repeatedly – enabling them to internalize and share the message

We are thankful for the opportunity to utilize both forms of technology as community needs and resources rapidly change. Spoken continues to search for innovative ways to cross barriers and eliminate the category of “unreached people groups”. 

Program Update: Teach To Transform Partnership

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The hill country of Kenya was recently the site for a new kind of training event that merged health information and skills training with story creation. Teams from four different language  groups participated and after the training, we received this feedback from a local leader:

“This is the kind of wisdom that Proverbs talks about, the kind that will multiply our days and add years to our life.” 

One group began introducing their stories with this wisdom to highlight the great value they saw in what they were learning and how important it would be for their community. 

Spoken Worldwide collaborated with Teach To Transform (TTT) to hold this unique event. TTT health professionals travel the world training local pastors and leaders in basic medical skills to expand their ministry in the community. The compassionate health care they give is a gateway for sharing the Gospel, and is in line with our holistic approach at Spoken. The staff from Spoken provided the expertise and training on taking information and creating easy-to-understand stories that could then be recorded. 

Kenyan medical students were a key part of the TTT staff, leading presentations on a number of topics like Health and Hygiene, Wound Care, and Vital Signs. Table groups reviewed the information with the staff, and then worked to create and record stories, songs and dramas that captured all important pieces.

The recordings that were created during this time will increase the impact of the training far beyond those who participated at the actual event and are a more efficient and effective way to reach oral learners with important information. The potential listening audience of these four language groups is over 2.3 million people. 

We are happy to report that this trip was the outcome of a successful partnership with Teach To Transform. At Spoken, we know we can accomplish far more by working hand in hand with other organizations, churches, and locals and are thrilled when partnerships bear fruit in the form of new recordings and transformed lives! 

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THANK YOU FOR GIVING TO SPOKEN


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GIVE WHERE NEEDED MOST

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SUPPORT A MISSIONARY

Pray


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Volunteer


Are you interested in volunteering with Spoken Worldwide? Sometimes we have events or tasks that require a few extra hands!

If you’re interested in helping, send us your information and we’ll contact you when we have a need!

Pray/Newsletter


“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

– Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

Contact Us


Spoken Audio: Exodus 19 – God’s Earthly Kingdom

Ray Neu, The Story Doctor
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