July 8, 2015

Your Story Hour

Adventist Review/ANN

“I grew up on these stories and loved every last one of them,” said a gentleman in his 50s.

“I used to memorize them so the stories would stay with me wherever I went,” said a young woman of 18.

Few ministries have had such a wide reaching impact, physically and generationally, as the unique radio drama ministry
Your Story Hour. For three generations, the radio dramas of Your Story Hour have made a significant impact in the development of children’s character by telling the stories of exemplary individuals worth imitating. Aunt Carole and Uncle Dan may be the most familiar relatives of those who grew up Adventist.

The ministry began over 66 years ago by founder Stanley Hill, aka “Uncle Dan,” in response to the lack of good, character-building children’s stories. The use of the town hall above the fire department in the small village of Eau Claire, Michigan was secured for a Sabbath afternoon story hour. Each week, regardless of the weather, children who had never heard the wonderful stories of the Bible would gather together to hear them be brought to life.

The opportunity for wider sharing came when Hill had the chance to share his experiences with radio evangelist, H.M.S. Richards. Richards was impressed by the work, saying, “We ought to have a radio program for children. For years I’ve been trying to get such a program started, but I have never been able to get anything done. It’s a field that is wide open, and we ought to be doing something about it.”
Your Story Hour president, Julie Clayburn (left) and Chester Damron, aka “Uncle Dan”

Hill reported Richards’ comments to his program director, Jay Clymer, who immediately suggested that the stories be adapted for radio, and proceeded to secure a half-hour of free broadcast time at a local radio station on a weekly basis for a year. The team then undertook the daunting task of producing scripts and finding engaging readers. Their early struggles now remind them that God has carried this ministry in the palm of His hands. What started as a weekly neighborhood storytelling session has grown into a ministry that airs on 4,000 radio stations around the world in English, Spanish, and Russian.*

When asked why
Your Story Hour has decided not to go visual, CEO/President Julie Clayburn responded, “One thing that prevents video is that it is so expensive, and we do audio so well. We feel that kids nowadays are missing out on using their imagination, we call it the ‘theater of the mind.’ When you feed children all those visual things, they do not have that theater of the mind like you get from reading and listening to audio stories.”

By conducting in-depth research to develop an accurate account of each historical character, each
Your Story Hour program ensures the delivery of a wholesome and character building lesson that children absorb and adults cherish. Using the mind’s eye to see Desmond Doss in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address, or Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey spurs creativity and teaches valuable lessons. The ministry also offers free Bible correspondence courses to anyone in the world, called “Adventures in the Holy Bible.” Clayburn shares a story that captures for her the impact of the ministry:

“Yesterday I met a little girl from Papua New Guinea who listens on a radio station there and she was so excited [to visit our booth]. I don’t know if it’s the emails and letters from the kids who listen to it now or hearing from adults that say how much it changed their lives. I don’t know which is more exciting to me: that we’re reaching kids now, or that we have reached generations of adults that still feel the impact of what they learned when they were little.”

Your Story Hour ministry has made an indelible mark on generations of developing Christians, and deserves your fervent prayers and support that its influence may continue to expand, impact, and bless new generations of God’s children in may more thousands of nations and countries all over the world.

Juliana Baioni

Your Story Hour
is a non-profit organization that relies on the funds of its supporters in order to continue serving the Lord and His people. If you are interested in learning how you could support this unique ministry, please visit their website at www.yourstoryhour.org, or call their toll free number, 1 (800) 987-7879.

Visit the Your Story Hour in the Exhibition Hall at booth C1128

* Stanley Hill, “The Saga Begins,”
Your Story Hour, www.yourstoryhour.org, published 1995, copyright 2015.