Women, Once Without Voice in Their Communities, Share the Gospel

Women, Once Without Voice in Their Communities, Share the Gospel

December 1, 2018

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The Esther Initiative—Impacting 26 unique languages and 107 million people

In some cultures around the world, it’s common for women to experience abuse and oppression. But today, in those same cultures, women are using their voices in their communities through the Esther Initiative. It trains and engages women in Bible translation ministry in their language communities. Women boldly share the Word of God in their heart language through Oral Bible Storytelling through this program. Hope and value are being restored in the lives of many!

Esther Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) projects are successful, in part, because they are operated by women, for women. They are flourishing in areas of the world where women are often considered possessions. The first Esther project started in South Asia in 2014, and its accomplishments led to the launch of Esther Project Ethiopia. Two more Esther OBS projects have begun in South Asia: Esther Coronation Cluster and Esther Hope Cluster. Four projects active from 2014 to 2020 are impacting 26 unique languages and nearly 107 million people.

Listening to God’s Story

*Penny expected that her marriage would be arranged. That is common practice for young girls in her South Asian culture. But she was surprised at the outcome. Penny followed the majority religion, and she assumed that her husband did too. But her husband was a secret Jesus-follower.

Penny was angry at this revelation, and she consistently threatened to run away. Her husband was forced to lock her in the house when he went to work so she would be there when he came home. She had contact with only two people – her husband and her mother-in-law. Over time, Penny became curious about his beliefs, and she even accompanied him to church. But she remained angry, and most people left her alone.

One day Penny was asked to join the Esther Oral Bible Storytelling project. She agreed, but her anger kept her quiet; she sat apart from the team. As she learned the Bible stories, she discovered that God loved her and, “He took my anger away,” Penny says.

 

The Esther Initiative equips women to tell Bible stories.

 

Penny was brought up to pray for only herself and her immediate family. But she noticed that Jesus-followers prayed for people in their community too. So, she learned to pray for others and found that she began to take an interest in them.

Living in a community where everyone else believes differently might be difficult for some believers, but Penny has become salt and light in her area. Even her neighbors ask what has happened to give her such peace and happiness. This becomes Penny’s invitation to share with them the Bible stories that she is learning.

The Esther Cluster

Anjana’s sister-in-law is a staunch Brahmin lady who follows the majority religion. But she always cursed and was cross with Anjana for following the Lord. Recently this lady fell off a three-story building while offering water to the sun god. Now she wants Anjana to pray and tell Bible stories. She is listening to God’s story and wants to follow the Lord.

Ethiopia Cluster

One day Martha, a storyteller from the Gofa language team, was telling the story of Jairus’ daughter. This story of Jesus’ power to raise the dead is found in Mark 5:35-43 and Luke 8:49-56. One of the women listening to the Bible story suffered from bleeding in her mouth and nose. While Martha told the story, she suddenly shouted out loudly, blessing the Lord. She knew God healed her through this Bible story.

Coronation Cluster

Christina, an OBS storyteller, visited the home of a believing couple. They were doing ministry independently with the Surjapuri people group. But their efforts were fruitless. The wife started visiting house to house, telling Bible stories she learned at an Esther workshop. These stories touched people’s hearts. They accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. Recently, two were baptized and they attend fellowship every Sunday.

Hope Cluster

Storyteller Sunita went to one family’s house to have a story group. An old woman would not allow her to sit and tell the Bible story. “Go to another house to tell a story,” she said. But Sunita sat and told the Story of the Lost Sheep to her two daughters-in-law. The old woman was very angry and told her to “get out.”

Sunita went to this house a week later and found the old woman was ill. She prayed for her and left. She returned to the same home and the woman was totally changed. Before she was not talking to others, but now she is telling everybody about Jesus Christ.

*Pseudonym

There are thousands of people groups, representing hundreds of millions of people that do not have a single verse of Scripture in their heart language. Seed Company exists to come alongside these people groups, to help resource the Bible translation process. We invite families and churches to partner with us through prayer and financial investments.

For more about Seed Company, check out this video.

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Help Reach People Waiting for God’s Word

God’s Word changes everything. And everyone deserves to have God’s Word in the language they understand best. You can help make that happen.

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