August 30 2016
This is part 2 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part two of Anna's story. Anna served with OMS for two summers with HOPE61, our human trafficking prevention ministry.
have such a heart for justice and development. I am deeply burdened by the
issue of human trafficking, specifically because I know there are
vulnerabilities that could have been eradicated through prevention. I feel for
the marginalized, the impoverished, those chained by the sins of addictions.
The Lord has angered my heart about the ways in which the enemy has stolen
life. I desire to see the glory of God bring freedom to those in bondage of
oppression. I desire to see them free.
Because I know it is possible, and this is the will of the Lord. I don’t just
want to see those who have fallen victim to abuse to be set free, but the
abuser as well to come to be a new creation through the resurrection power of
their Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s amazing, the Lord gives you a passion, then
the refinement comes … and the passion you thought you had at the beginning
takes on a whole new, deeper look, one that you know you could not have
understood or thought of on your own prior to the Lord’s renewing of your
my time in the DR, God taught me how to work in community. He gave me a deeper
understanding of the Gospel. He gave me tools physically and spiritually to
fight the good fight. Through this OMS
internship, I learned more about what I believe, what it means to have faith,
about the issue of trafficking, what it looks like to work in ministry, and
what it looks like to do mundane and super-intense tasks. God is working in my
life by drawing me closer to him and equipping me for now and for what is to
come. And I get to work alongside his family, knowing and experiencing the
different members of the body. I get to know him deeper as he loves me.
favorite part of this whole experience was getting to explore more of the
culture and the country and to bond with the people as I learned their stories.
I have met people from different Latino countries and also many Dominicans. But
the best part has been getting to dive deeper into the Lord and his will for my
life, experiencing his refining, challenges, and love in a deeply life-transforming
way. But at the same time, that can also be the most challenging part. There is
a language barrier. There’s spiritual warfare and moments when you are just
reaching around in the dark. But the renewal of our minds needs to happen
daily. The armor of God is our battle weapons, and reminding yourself of who
sits on the throne is key.
been hard to see the poverty, to feel internal and external warfare. It’s been challenging
to have the Lord dig up roots that choke his fruit. It’s been challenging to
live by faith when you see the drugs, the prostitution, and sexual immorality on
all levels. It’s been challenging to make friends with those who do not speak
the language. But we have a hope that will never let us down. Jesus brings
light to the darkness. We may be hard pressed on all sides, struck down, but we
are not abandoned. And it’s weird that among all these challenges, the Lord’s
joy has been overwhelming; his peace, strength and provision have been
abundant. And when we see drug addicts dedicate their lives to Christ, women
who have engaged in prostitution learn that God loves them without strings
attached, when you see children fed and dance in full worship to the Lord, when
you see families being restored, when you see individuals realize they have the
capacity to implement their ideas through entrepreneurship and ministry, it is
more than worth going through this temporary pain and trouble. It may seem to
be happening slowly, but God is reaping the harvest.
children are being delivered from drug and alcohol addictions, from
prostitution, from sexual sin, from homelessness, from marginalization, from
starvation, from broken relationships, from fits of rage, lies, stealing, and
the list goes on. He is bringing hope and a home in him. He is bringing healthy
community and Christ-centered relationships into the lives of others in the
Dominican. It is definitely a process, and it can even get very discouraging at
times. But when you see amazing breakthroughs, you are deeply encouraged, even
if they are small. I’ve seen God work by bringing people to their Savior and
choosing to live a life for him.
is so good, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. And writing
this, I am convicted, because as his spirit overflows my soul with hope,
challenges are real. The battle is real. But we have the ability to set our
mind on the everlasting, eternal God.
July 2 2015
Thursday, June 18, four OMS field leaders spoke in chapel, sharing stories
about the way their ministries have affected lives all over the world.
Cindy, who leads the field in the South Pacific with her husband Mark, teaches English at a missionary school and shared about a
student named Carrie.* Carrie and her classmates have been struggling with
grief and confusion caused by the sudden death of several students. Even so, Carrie participated with her school on a spring break mission trip. Cindy shared that
in Carrie’s reflection paper about the experience she wrote, “God met me there.
He let me know I am not alone.” Cindy then spoke about a Christian girl whose
father is Muslim. When the daughter would ask her father questions about his
religion, he’d get angry or frustrated. Cindy had the opportunity to speak truth
into the lives of this girl and her mother, who is also a Christian. The small
family is moving, but the mother told Cindy that she is determined to find a good
church to help her minister to her husband. This missionary school and its
teachers are having lasting impacts on their students in the South Pacific.
Marshall, field leader in the Ukraine, shared about a young girl who has been
attending the English club he and his wife, Shelley, lead at a local
university. This student, Anna,* has participated in the club for two years. The English club, which regularly has spiritual discussions, also has an
annual summer camp where the Marshalls are able to show and share what it’s
like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At this camp, Anna made
a decision for Christ. She then participated in discipleship with Shelly and another younger girl, but she started to doubt and ask questions.
Shelley switched to an apologetic focus to help her find answers. Shortly after
this, Anna saw a Christian drama on the street and was given the opportunity to accept Christ. Anna prayed and truly accepted Christ. This time, she
has stayed firm through searching answers and even persecution from friends and
family. The Marshalls testified to the change they have seen in her and reported with
joy that she now helps run one of their ministry’s small groups.
field director in Brazil, opened his talk saying that he often pops into a
local technology store and speaks to the men there who want to practice their
English. Through starting mini-English classes, Micah got to know one
man, Robert,* very well and also had the opportunity to invite the men to a 20-week Bible study. Robert once asked Micah if he’d ever had an affair.
Micah replied that he had not, and Robert answered, “I’ve had several. It’s not
good.” At Bible study, Micah noticed that Robert had a lot of biblical knowledge, which he came to find out was because he had grown up in a religious family. He
lived a “Christian” life and as a virgin married a virgin. He has a daughter
the same age as Micah’s daughter. However, a few years ago Robert’s daughter
was diagnosed with leukemia, and he became angry and turned away from God. In
Bible study, they would talk about the importance of confessing sins to one
another. Robert was always the one to speak up and disagree. One night, a while
later, the study group learned through the Psalms about the unconfessed sin in
King David’s life. The next Sunday, Robert went to his home church and confessed
to them about his affairs. Micah ended his talk praising God for not only
changed lives, but also changing lives.
leader in the Dominican Republic, Gail Leroy, shared about the effect of OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry, HOPE61. Gail spoke about a safe house where 10 young
girls are being discipled and finding healing. Five of the girls have gone
through baptism classes and have been baptized in the local river. Upon seeing this, the other five girls requested to be baptized as well! The five who had already been baptized have each been paired up with one girl who hasn’t. They
are helping each other through the baptism classes, and last Saturday, they all
had their first communion altogether.
how she has seen them change from bitter and distrusting to sweet and sincere.
She said, “We’ve seen them grow in faith. We’ve seen them get along
together. We’ve seen them start healing from what they’ve been through.” Gail
ended by requesting prayer for a new property because, praise God,
they now need more space to help even more young girls.
overwhelming to hear the things that God is doing all over the world. As an
avid traveler, I am invigorated by these stories of redemption from people of
such diverse backgrounds. As I listen to these stories of hardship and victory, I feel my sense of curiosity about the world and its people intensify. I love
hearing the missionaries speak; from the lilt of the Scottish accent to the achingly familiar African cadence. I want to know them all, learn about our
similarities and differences. Just last week, I met an MK from the Ukraine who
likes to sing in Russian and listens to the same bands as me. I know that this
burden I feel to know and love others stems from our Creator’s desire to know
and love us, his people.
changed for security.
-Laura Jouhnson, Summer 2015 Communications Intern