Storytelling keeps spreading: Ireland – Report from ‘Simply the Story’ training

A man who struggled to read becomes excited about storytelling

WOW! I just love Alex. He’s sooo honest. He came to me today and said, “I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and I’ve never been able to remember names.” (He also said he’s never been able to learn the stories like he has here). Last night he remembered the stories and the names, and thought about the stories so much.

He told his wife, ‘This training is on my level, this may be the first Christian training I’m able to finish!’ Today, his group did an eleven-verse story. He admitted to the group he almost left because it was difficult. But HB lovingly spent time with him, reading the story. Once the group discussed the story, he could remember it.

Alex continued talking to the whole group when we were gathered together. “The church is for the middle class. People like me either bluff our way through or we don’t go.” Alex’s excitement just encourages everyone.

Alex wants to bring STS to Brazil and the Canary islands. He wants to be very involved with STS because it speaks immensely to his heart and the difficulties he’s faced as a non-reader his whole life (up until 2 years ago).

Sometimes we dont’ realise people are interested

Our instructor, Tony did a story in a church Sunday. He said the people in the church seemed generally unengaged. However, when Tony noticed he had gone a bit over time, the pastor saw something new. The people actually wanted Tony to continue!

Passing on stories

When Bryan told a story to the pastor’s family, they were all participating for over an hour. The daughter even went to her gymnastics class and told her teacher the story. His daughter is around 10 years old.

Oral learners in Western contexts

We had two more oral learners step forward in admission today. One lady hid her learning difficulties behind her computer the first day. Today she didn’t have her computer out at all. Another man, William, in her group admitted her need to learn orally as well. These both are very bright and EXCITED people.

Influencing pastors

On Tuesday HB did ‘Jars of Oil’ ( for us, and the pastor joined us). The story touched him because he shared how many people in his church were going through difficult situations, some of them having to leave the country. Later, during tea break, HB and Caryl spent more time with the pastor and discovered to a greater level how much the story impacted this pastor.

The next day another pastor asked if we could teach him this method. I personally saw this man go from non-interest at breakfast the first day, to being like a little boy seriously seeking something so important, he seemed like he would cry if he didn’t get it.

Wednesday we met another pastor at breakfast, a man from Northern Ireland. I noticed he was somewhat stand offish. He showed polite interest in STS. We invited him to join Caryl and me during our Exodus 17 practice time.

” At the end during application, we asked if he had people who complained or came to him criticizing.” His response floored me – ‘no,’ he stated. “People typically came for prayer or with difficulties needing counsel.” I thought to myself, ‘He’s the first pastor without people problems I’ve ever met.’ 

It wasn’t until the end of our discussion that this pastor opened up and told us that he was in the area visiting his spiritual advisor and that there were problems in his church and people were complaining. Inside I chuckled. Apparently the Hebrews 4:12 knife was super sharp and it just took awhile for the pastor to see that he was bleeding.

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