Story-telling plays a significant role in the way Papua New Guineans process information. Stories flow naturally when told in a person’s heart language, leading to greater understanding and impact. According to Duncan Kasokason of PNG Bible Translation Association (BTA), “In our life in the community, we get together, make the fire, sit around the fire, and tell stories.”
The PNG Bible Translation Association sees the impact that story-telling has on people throughout PNG and believes that story-telling is an important way to bring Biblical understanding to many language groups. Duncan says, “Story-telling is a very powerful tool … people go inside the story. It brings out the emotions. We cry, we laugh– all because of stories. When we listen to a story from the Bible, we know that God is alive and He is active.”
The PNG Bible Translation Association sponsored a story-telling workshop, funded by The Seed Company and held at the SIL and BTA training facility in Alotau. More than 20 participants from seven different language groups attended the workshop.
Participants in the workshop learned how to take stories from the Bible and communicate them accurately and effectively. They learned how to find and focus on the main point of a story. They also learned the importance of a good opening and closing and how to follow up with questions, leading to continued discussions and greater understanding. Some of the students recorded their stories so that large groups can hear the spiritual truths that they communicate.
At the workshop graduation, participants received certificates, and one student shared how learning to tell Bible stories has impacted his life: “When I read the Bible and study the words and then put them into my language and tell it in my own language, it changes my life. That is one good thing about story-telling.”