Saturday, July 25, 2009

Raining on Today’s English Club

Early this morning I was unhappy to not be able to take my brand new bike on a 4 hour round trip bike trip with some friends to Dongshi in Chiayi County due to the threat of inclement weather. I was especially unhappy about the trip’s cancellation when the weather this morning turned out to be just fine! That changed this afternoon just before my afternoon English club for neighborhood kids… the rains began coming down resulting in a reduced attendance of 8 kids with one parent.

It went well though. Last week for the short bible story segment I began using a new set of bilingual children’s stories for kids which relate events from the viewpoint of animals (a lion001 hungry lion’s view of the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den; an elephant’s perspective of the Noah flood story. The English is simple with Chinese above it, and there’s no more than a sentence or two for each beautifully illustrated page.

Today I’m sure it wasn’t lost on the kids that when we got to the part of the Noah story about the rains coming down, exactly that started happening outside to dramatic effect!  I added the part about the rainbow since the storybook didn’t share about this symbol of God’s promise.

We went on to a book about numbers and finished the class. The rains stopped. After the last 3 kids were picked up, when I was riding my scooter home, there ahead of me above the wide road was a beautiful rainbow with one end of the arc coming down just over my house. For any of the kids who were outside at the time, I’m sure this visible representation of God’s promise which we had just talked about wasn’t lost on them either.

Story Telling, Story #2

I wrote in my last entry about the opportunity to practice sharing the first creation story with 11 people the first week back from the conference about story telling. I’ve moved on to a simplified Taiwanese version of the second creation story in Genesis 2.

Although I’m still not able to tell either story without peeking down at the written Romanized spelling every couple of lines, at least my delivery is getting smoother and pronunciation understandable to local Taiwanese speakers. I’ve already been through the second story with 6 people (2 adults and 4 children) in two separate tellings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible time-wise to have the desired interaction and feedback with most of them this afternoon in the second telling. But I’m encouraged that my attitude so far has been to  加油 (add oil) rather than give up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

11 People Heard the First Creation Story So Far This Week…

Last week my colleagues and I attended seminars on bible story-telling at an annual conference for workers from different Christian mission organizations and churches. When just beginning to tell stories, we were encouraged to just be willing to give it a try no matter how imperfect the initial effort. The goal is then to make sure the listener got the details right, and to gather feedback in order to improve.

About 6 months ago I began studying basic Taiwanese versions of some New Testament stories. Although I went through the lessons in class, my intermediate language ability left me feeling inadequate to tell the stories. Anyway, even though I’m not telling stories the way our speaker recommended (I’m trying to memorize and sneaking peaks at the written story instead of visualizing), the last few days I made the goal to start trying harder.

Two weeks ago I began studying vocabulary related to some Old Testament stories. So last Saturday I shared the first creation story in Taiwanese with a mother and son who came early to my English Club. Then today I shared with my friend Roger at the Middle School, who gave me very constructive and helpful feedback and repeated the story back to me. Surprisingly, he then invited me to share with the 8 junior highers whom I met with at the middle school’s summer school English Club.

11 people have heard the story so far in less than a week… Not a bad start, even if my Taiwanese story telling skills leave much to be desired! At least I’ll be able to tell the story of God’s creative Word better in the future because I’ve started telling people now as best as I’m able. Next week I’m going to back to the other book and try to start sharing some of those Taiwanese bible stories  a bit more proactively as well.