Illumination

July 8 2016

A Reflection on One Mission Society’s 2016 International Conference

To the unfocused eye, the lights above the auditorium were just flashes of bright yellow against a backdrop of black. But after a few moments, if you let your vision adjust, those lights transformed. Hundreds of single bulbs hung on individual cords, dangling above the heads of the conference members, almost as if they were stars.

Attendees sat in their seats or stood, necks craned and cameras out, as rows of people marching with flags descended down the aisles of the auditorium. More than 30 flags, carried by residents of that country, rippled onto the stage. All the while, a song boomed throughout the auditorium:

“God is on the move, on the move, hallelujah….”

The flag presentation was the opening ceremony to One Mission Society’s (OMS) biennial international conference, Illuminate. Reflected by the conference’s title, this weekend brought hundreds of missionaries, families, and guests from around the world to gather in community and dive into the concept of being a light for Christ in a dark world.

More than 500 people arrived for Illuminate, held on Indiana Wesleyan University’s campus. Each day was packed with programs that centered on that central theme of being a light and illuminating the darkness. Attendees had the opportunity to pray in community for different nations and people groups, participate in break-out sessions, worship with the Hunter Smith Band, listen to four keynote speakers, and enjoy a variety of extra activities.

One of the highlights of the conference was the Illuminate Experience Room, an interactive area where attendees could mingle and do hands-on activities that pulled together the theme of being a light for Christ. Some stood in line to take pictures at the photo booth. Others explored the Illuminate Experience maze, which took people through an almost pitch-black course, lit intermittently by small, orange lights.

Across the weekend, Illuminate also highlighted two OMS ministries that people could donate toward: Bibles for Cuba, a ministry that worked to deliver more Bibles to the Cuban believers, and Bridge to Reading, an international literacy program that tutors students and also brings the Gospel message. Each day, OMS took donations to help fund these programs, and there was even a 5K run for Bridge to Reading that raised awareness and support for the ministry.

Illuminate was also the official launch of OMS’ One Billion-One Opportunity Vision. President Bob Fetherlin presented more about this vision in the opening and closing of the conference. Parallel to OMS’ desire to be a light in a dark world and to reach more people for Christ, Bob shared the vision of giving one billion people one opportunity to hear, understand, and accept the Gospel message over a 10-year period. This calling is disproportionate to OMS, Bob added, but not disproportionate to who God is.

Therefore, part of the plan to step up to the challenge of the One Billion-One Opportunity Vision is to come before God in deep prayer, create partnerships with other organizations, and not only send out OMS missionaries but also people from OMS mission fields themselves. Ultimately, this vision is not a springboard for OMS as an organization, but a step in obedience to follow God’s will in bringing people of all nations to him.

It was only fitting to conclude the weekend, a weekend dedicated to illuminating the darkness, with a commissioning of new OMS missionaries. Under the dangling, star-like auditorium lights, people gathered in clusters around each missionary individual or family. They bowed their heads and reached out to lay hands on those who were being sent out. The new missionaries, covered in the hands of the OMS family, were the first to be commissioned under the new One Billion-One Opportunity Vision, but they are certainly not the last.

With the launch of the One Billion-One Opportunity Vision and the commissioning of the new missionaries, the Illuminate attendees dispersed back across the world on Sunday. The opening ceremony flags were rolled up and stored on a truck. As a final note, a torrent of rain and thunder barreled down once staff and volunteers threw the last of the supplies onto the loading truck. But the spirit of the weekend, the excitement of the new vision, and the mission to be lights in a dark world couldn’t be snuffed out.

To see more highlights of Illuminate, visit http://www.onemissionsociety.org

By Jess Mitchell, summer communications intern

Tags: illuminate, conference, one billion, vision, missionary, darkness, light, world, shine,

Haiti - Spring Up O Well

July 22 2013

Haiti - Spring Up O Well

Trainer Janiel traveled to Bois Neuf in 2012 to do evangelism. While there, he was led by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel with a woman named Rosemyka, but she did not want to listen. Janiel started a station at Bois Neuf, but again, Rosemyke refused to join. 

Janiel realized that the people of Bois Neuf did not have a good source of water. They had been getting water from an open stream. The Lord cleared the way to make it possible to drill a well at Bois Neuf. Janiel continued to meet with the station. One day, as Janiel was studying the Train & Multiply booklets, he saw Rosemyka and approached. He gave her the booklet on training a pastoral leader. 

Later, Janiel invited her to discuss the booklet with him. They worked through the booklet together, and Rosemyka responded to the questions. They met several times, and Janiel asked Rosemyka if she wanted to accept Christ. Rosemyka said she already had. 

They continued to study Train & Multiply booklets, moving on to “When We Baptize Believers.” Rosemyka said she wanted to be baptized, but after being baptized, she was persecuted through dreams. She spoke to Janiel, and they started studying the “Let’s Pray” booklet. Rosemyka has been sleeping much better since then. 

Rosemyka’s mother was not a Christian, but accepted Christ because of what she observed in her daughter. Rosemyka is now training her entire family and sharing with students at school. She tells all who have recently accepted Christ to read the Bible, pray and study with a small group. She testifies, “God has all power and can deliver. Pray that I will remain faithful to the Lord and to the Word.”

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: missions in Haiti, train and multiply, victory over darkness, water, familystudents

A Grand-daughter Church in the Lowliest of Places

June 4 2013

A Grand-daughter Church in the Lowliest of Places

In August 2010, an intercessory team began walking the streets of Medellin in faith, praying for the beginning of a house church that would saturate a neighborhood in Antioquia, Colombia. The physically and spiritually impoverished area supported the local economy through the sale of marijuana and cocaine. 

Colombians began sharing the Gospel door-to-door by explaining the Evangecube, a pictorial presentation of the Gospel. God answered their prayers as people began giving their lives to Christ. Rocío did. She welcomed us into her home to begin discipling in her new faith in God. Within the week she introduced us to two members of her family and her neighbor Martha who wanted to know more about the Jesus Rocío now spoke about. 

Martha confessed, “I am a slow learner and never understand anything,” but after studying what it is to be saved through faith in Christ, Martha and her friend surrendered to Jesus! The following weeks we studied the Bible with them and what it means to obediently follow Jesus. After several months the ladies were baptized, learned about the Lord’s Supper and celebrated communion in their home. The group began to grow as more family members and neighbors attended weekly meetings with Rocío and Martha. 

God was evidently Lord of Martha and Rocío’s lives. They continued walking throughout the El Tapón district asking God to touch lives. As they walked, they saw many drug addicts living along the stream. Compassion broke the ladies’ hearts, and they began to take meals to the addicts. One day they noticed a 12 year-old girl who was devastated by drugs and living under the bridge. Martha and her friends offered to help her and took her to Rocío’s house. They bathed her, gave her clothes and something to eat. She told them her name was Valeria and that her mother prostituted her to get money for drugs. She pled with us to help her get out of her destructive lifestyle. 

We took Valeria to a residential treatment facility and continued to visit her during her rehabilitation. Valeria also prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior! She introduced us to her Aunt Leydi who lives with her four small children in a shelter made from cardboard and plastic. She is under house arrest for drug trafficking. We shared the Lord Jesus with Leydi and her children, and they accepted Jesus and began working slowly through the discipleship studies. Today Leydi is preparing for baptism! 

When Martha and Leydi studied what it is to be a cheerful giver, Martha immediately put into practice what she was teaching. On several occasions Rocío’s house church had sent food and medicines to Martha. The local government had donated groceries to Martha in her impoverished situation, and from these groceries, Martha then shared her meager supplies. 

Several months later we celebrated an agape meal with Martha and Rocío’s combined house churches! Through a mom, an uneducated woman and a drug addict, God has sprouted a mother church, a daughter church and a grand-daughter church for the saturation of Antioquia, Colombia. And they noticed they were uneducated but that they had been with Jesus.

Greg & Shirley Carlson

ECC Church Multiplication Facilitator

Tags: joy, life change, outreach, victory over darknesstransformed

Transformed From the Deathly Grip of the Grave

January 21 2013

Transformed From the Deathly Grip of the Grave

In a dark cemetery in Asia lies the grave of an unnamed man. He was there because the man who murdered him was riddled with demons. Maybe the demons were evil associates of the Gedarene demoniac who made his home in the deathly tombs of another graveyard a long time ago. No matter the time difference, once again the devil had stolen the control of a man’s life. Satan had sabotaged his mind, rendering him confused as to what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in treatment of another human being.  

The “prince of this world” had martyred any opportunity for this dead man to respond to God’s love before his life was taken. The “destroyer” had murdered any chance of this convicted criminal father caring for, providing for and protecting Khiru, his young son.

This story doesn’t end with just a buried murder victim, a deranged man in prison and a fatherless son. Jesus once again stepped out of His boat and, confronting the enemy head on, spoke truth, which sent evil scurrying. With His authority, Jesus banished the devil and his works and once more healed a destroyed shell of a man. 

Through ECC workers, Jesus once again entered the remote and disturbed village in Asia. The imprisoned murderer was brought to his knees and, with a broken heart, overcome with confession for his diabolical crime, sought forgiveness and restoration. Not only did the murderer acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord but so did his son, Khiru, along with all his family! 

God always goes beyond what we can comprehend. He brought two fractured and estranged families together. Just as the Gedarene demoniac was delivered and restored to his family, so Jesus exchanged sadness for joy. The family of the murderer was forgiven by the family of the murdered, and now, together, both families of 10 adults and 5 children worship the same God in the same house church near the graveyard. Khiru, rejoicing in the forgiveness he has given his father, leads the house church. No one can testify more to God’s forgiveness than the demon-riddled father who became a murderer. Now the power to steal, kill and destroy has been exchanged for a life-giving, converted heart, full of the love of God.

by Shirley Carlson

Who will help to fulfill the Great Commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: transformed, victory over darkness, life changeforgiveness