Last night, I took my family and a friend of ours to the small town to the families on the hill for our storying session on Moses. When we arrived, we were told to go to a different house. Lu, the man in the wheelchair, was out of town.
We arrived in the house, which had a much smaller area and sat tightly together. I began by retelling the first part of the story of Abraham from last week. Once they were oriented, each person began retelling a part of the story. One person began giving details from the end of the story and was helped by another person who said "wait to the end of the story to tell that part." Al was the one who was to tell the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt Moriah. He began just by telling a summary. This didn't please the group and we all coaxed him to tell the story. He did.
My biggest problem is impatience. I want to get through these stories to the resurrected Christ as quickly as possible. To do that, I have to tell fewer and sometimes shorter stories. I elected to skip the stories of Jacob and Joseph and go straight to Moses. Since continuity is very important I used another short story from Abraham to bridge the gap. I told of the covenant God made with Abraham and the warning he gave that Abraham's decendants would live as slaves and be mistreated in a foreign land for 400 years, but that God would punish the country that enslaved them and that they would leave with wealth.
Once they had repeated that story, I began the story of Moses from his encounter with God at the burning bush. I could tell that they were familiar with the story. I asked if they had seen this story in a movie. They had all seen the Charlton Heston 10 Commandments movie. This was good in that it gave them something to hook the story on, but was bad in that they put details from the movie into the story, even though I did not tell those details. They did understand the purpose of the sacrifice of the lamb and passover, so this will help when I present Jesus.
One cultural barrier to the gospel is the worship and veneration of saints and particularly Mary, who has several forms and names in this culture. I wanted to emphasize the 2nd commandment, which prohibits the making and worshiping of graven images and prohibits serving idols.
I made another mistake. I wanted to highlight the difference in the 10 commandments of the Bible and the 10 commandments as taught by the local Catholic church (in which the second commandment has been removed). I printed out a copy of the 10 commandments and gave a copy to everyone. Instead of telling the 10 commandments as a story, I read them one by one. Their eyes glazed over and from that moment on, the Bible became abstract and difficult to understand. No was able to tell what God was commanding in the first several commandments.
Next week, I will reteach this part, and tell the 10 commandments as a story. I am going to find a way to slow down a bit too. I am telling so many stories its becoming overwhelming.