English Opens Doors for North Koreans

December 7 2017

Most of us have never had to flee starvation and oppression in our homeland. Currently, South Korea hosts about 30,000 defectors who have escaped North Korea in the last 20 years or so since the famine of the 1990s. Most of them had never heard of Christ while in North Korea, but during the process of passing through China and other countries, many have now heard the Gospel. Some have become Christians and even have been trained as pastors to reach out to their own people, as well as to those around the world.

Adventures in English for a United Korea (AIE4UK) started with a vision to help pastors and young people who came from North Korea to be able to communicate with the church around the world. It also helps prepare people domestically and internationally for unification, raises up workers who can fill the basic need for English education, and helps Christians from North Korea share their testimonies and the Gospel in English to bring spiritual awakening and revival to the Western, English-speaking church.

From July 17 - 19, 2017, we held our fourth year of camp at Seoul Theological University with the theme “A New Thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Susan Truitt, OMS missionary and English professor at Seoul Theological University, directed the camp, and a team of eight native English speakers sent out from OMS served as teachers.

This year, 10 North Korean defectors participated in AIE4UK, so they were matched one on one with the native English speakers from the United States. About half of them were pastors serving in ministry in South Korea, and the other half were young people preparing for their future. One activity they did together was going to the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery to learn about some of the early missionaries who came to Korea over 100 years ago and be challenged by their lives of obedience and service. In the evenings we heard the testimonies of some of those who had come from North Korea. It was a tearful time to hear of how God has been faithful through all of the terrible suffering they had gone through.

We believe that God has sent North Korean defectors to South Korea not only for the unification of the Korean people but also so that through their living testimonies of how God has guided and preserved their lives in the midst of danger, they can be used as instruments to awaken Western, English-speaking churches. We believe that if Christian North Korean defectors can share their testimonies and the power of the Gospel in English without having to depend on interpretation, God will use them in valuable ways.

For over 20 years, One Mission Society (OMS) in Korea has held Adventures in English camps every summer with volunteer native English speakers. These volunteers, devoted to God’s kingdom, raise their own money to participate. Through AIE4UK, jointly sponsored by OMS Korea, the Prayer Network for North Korea and the Nations (PN4N), and Sarangnaru, we hope that North Korean defectors may be raised up in a wonderful way to serve as missionaries in cooperation with OMS. The next AIE4UK is being planned for August 8-10, 2018.

By Susan Truitt, OMS Korea field director

Tags: north korean defectors, english ministry, unification of korea, english camp, south korea, oms,

​Camp Transforms Persistent Student

May 31 2016

Darina was an outgoing engineering student at a technical university in Kyiv, Ukraine, when we met her six years ago.

She was applying for one of our English camps, which we offer every summer. Darina just wanted to improve her English and have fun at the camp—which she did—but she didn’t get involved in any of our follow-up activities, and we thought she wasn’t really interested in God.

When Darina applied for camp again the next year, we turned her down, choosing to invite new people who might be more open to the Gospel. She was upset, and we thought we’d never see her again.

But a couple of years later, God brought Darina back. She joined one of our weekly English clubs, and God began to work on her heart. We saw spiritual progress and a greater openness to God, so we invited Darina to camp again in 2013. That’s when she really understood the Gospel and made a decision to follow Jesus.

Darina remembers sitting at the evening meeting near the end of camp week, listening to a Gospel presentation—and when it came time to pray, she found herself repeating the prayer without realizing it. When she caught herself praying, she didn’t stop; she just knew it was right.

Since that day, Darina has been growing dramatically.

She’ll sit for hours talking about the Bible and her spiritual questions, and she’s gotten involved in two of our weekly life groups (small group Bible studies), providing key organizational leadership. She has a spiritual gift for pastoring and regularly checks in with various group members to provide spiritual support.

Darina is also active in helping newer believers grow spiritually and has discipled at least three other girls who were saved through camp. She’s what we call an active encourager in this ministry, committed to growing herself spiritually, as well as helping others grow.

It’s a goal of our ministry here in Kyiv to see God raise up many more Ukrainian young people like Darina to become followers of Jesus who want to partner with him in making more disciples. We’re pleased with the progress so far, but we know there is much more God wants to do.

Like Darina, many of the people in our life groups have been saved through our two summer English camps. The camps are a great way for pre-Christian Ukrainians to experience the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit over a multi-day period, which allows God to soften their hearts to his Good News.

Team members from North America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia volunteer just to love Ukrainians and to help them practice English with native English speakers, but God also uses them to display and share the love of Jesus.

Most Ukrainians say that at the end of camp their English has dramatically improved, but most also say that they receive much more than English language skills. Some, like Darina, even make decisions to follow God.

If you would like to partner with us in reaching out to Ukrainian young people, pray about joining one of our summer 2017 teams. You also can join our daily or weekly prayer team, or you can help sponsor a Ukrainian to attend the camp. For more information on how to give, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/Ukraine-English-Ministries.

By Randy Marshall, OMS Missionary and Ukraine Field Leader

Tags: camp, english camp, summer, ukraine, volunteer, short-term missions,

Teach English and Make a Friend in Ukraine

May 17 2016

It’s always an adventure recruiting native English speakers and Ukrainian participants for our two summer English camps in Ukraine.

We never know exactly how God is going to work, but he always comes through with the needed people.

For example, in the spring of 2009, we were getting a lot of interest from Ukrainian girls for camp, but we had only four American women signed up to come in August—limiting the spots for Ukrainians to eight.

Our camps are set up for a one to two ratio of native speakers to Ukrainians—allowing each Ukrainian to live in a room with a native speaker and increasing the potential for relationship building, language practice, and spiritual impact.

We had two Ukrainian girls we really wanted to invite—feeling confident they were spiritually ready, but we didn’t have the space.

So, we sent out a last-minute appeal via email for more North American or British women … and then, we prayed. One woman from Colorado opened her messages, and the appeal for more women volunteers leaped out at her. She sensed in her spirit an immediate call from God to go to camp.

It was late for her to join the team and to raise the funds, but God provided, and she came. God used her powerfully too, as one of her Ukrainian partners prayed to accept the Lord.

We always start recruiting our summer teams at the end of the camps the previous year because so many of the team members have been moved by the Spirit and have seen him work through them. They’re ripe and ready to come back.

We have many who come back year after year, they love it so much. “It’s the greatest two weeks of my year,” said a Kansas farmer after his fifth time at camp last year.

Jennifer Schreckengast, a caregiver for the elderly in Colorado, loved her first time at camp last year. And she’s signed up to join us again in August. “This has brought me closer to God,” she said. “To see his love be shown to others—it’s amazing!

“This camp changes everything I thought I knew about missions,” she added. “The disappointment I feel that I must leave. It’s like cutting a cord that is in my heart to Ukraine. It won’t stop me from coming back.”

These camps are a great way to show and share with pre-Christian Ukrainians what it means to live in relationship with Jesus Christ. Most of these Ukrainians come to the camp because they want to practice their English, but by the end, most of them have become quite interested in God and the Bible, and some even make commitments to follow Jesus.

Thankfully, God has provided full teams for our two camps this summer, but we are always looking for more people—especially for next year! If you have an interest in learning more, contact our Mobilization team at go@onemissionsociety.org for more information.

Even if you can’t come personally, please pray. We need more prayer warriors for Ukraine. And if you want to support the camps financially, here’s a link to help partially sponsor a Ukrainian to come: https://onemissionsociety.org/give/Ukraine-English-Ministries.

By Randy Marshall, OMS missionary and field leader in Ukraine

Tags: ukraine, summer english camp, volunteers, short-term mission,

​10 Days of Summer English Camp Not Enough

May 10 2016

Although Ukraine has a long history of Christianity, 70 years of Soviet atheism and the recent influence of post-Christian Europe have made it a country with an interesting mix of spiritual interests.

Many grandmothers here still hold to the traditional Christian faith—often visiting the Orthodox church services with its candles, painted icons of the saints and sing-song liturgy in an old form of Russian.

Many middle-aged people, meanwhile, remember their scientific Soviet education and don’t put much stock in the teaching about a Creator.

But many young people have spiritual interest—some lightly holding to the traditional Christian faith, while others are trying out Eastern religious practices in search of deeper spiritual meaning or seeking an identity in an ancient pagan religion from Ukraine’s past.

This is where OMS has been led to invest its efforts in evangelism and church planting among the more spiritually open young people.

The OMS team in Kyiv (Kiev) has been working among university students and young adults, seeking to make disciples who want to gather in small groups called Life Groups and to reach out to friends and family with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

It’s an exciting adventure, and it’s been a joy to see God raise up young leaders called Encouragers, who have taken responsibility to lead Life Groups, to share with their friends about Jesus, and to help organize special outreach events at Christmas and Easter.

But the biggest evangelistic event of the year is our English camp ministry. We recruit teams of native English speakers from North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to help lead the camps. And then we invite pre-Christian, but English-speaking, Ukrainian university students to participate.

Camps are a great way to see God work through ordinary Christian people who come together to just show the love of God.

We’ve had farmers, cell phone store managers, school teachers, small business owners, pastors, university students, architects, veterinarians and many others participate as teachers in our camps each summer, and God has used them powerfully.

They didn’t have to speak Russian or Ukrainian. They didn’t have to be theologically trained experts. They didn’t even have to know the ins and outs of English grammar. They just needed to be in love with Jesus and willing to let him love Ukrainians through them.

And he does. One of the most common student responses we get at the end of our camps is how much the Ukrainian students loved the atmosphere of the camp.

“I loved the busy schedule and the great atmosphere of cheer and faith,” wrote 17-year-old Sasha at the end of the 2014 camp. “I loved everything, but maybe 10 days isn’t enough!”

Lola, also 17, agreed. “Our sincere talks with some people were better than anything. I felt a lot of pain inside, but such amazing people here helped me to overcome all the bad feelings inside of me.”

On the last night of one recent camp, one girl stood up at the final banquet and said that she came to camp empty in her soul, but she said her time at camp had changed her. She said Jesus had filled her heart, and she was going away full.

But Ukrainians aren’t the only ones who are changed—so are the native speakers who come to help lead the camp.

“This was an amazing experience, and it helped me grow closer to God as well as to make many new friends,” wrote a bank teller from southwestern Nebraska.

“It’s an awesome way to minister to others!” wrote a university student from Pennsylvania.

“I learned a lot from the entire experience, and my faith has definitely grown as a result of the camp,” wrote a businesswoman from New Zealand. “This is one of the best (if not the best) camp I have been to.”

We have a few spots for women left at our two camps this summer if you would be interested in joining. Or you could start planning for next summer. It’s a great opportunity to stretch yourself and to grow in your relationship with God. Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun!

And if you can’t come to the camp, don’t worry. You can pray. We need more prayer warriors for Ukraine and financial gifts for the camper scholarship are always welcome.

By Randy Marshall, OMS missionary in Ukraine

Tags: summer camp, english camp, ukraine, ukraine history, religion, camp fun,

English Camp Makes a Splash in Ukraine

May 3 2016

Olya, a 24-year-old graduate of the Linguistics University in Kiev, Ukraine, was so shy, she would barely mouth a word during our weekly Life Group meetings.

She was content to just sit and listen and think.

Sometimes, when we called on her, she would say some significant things, but she preferred not to talk much. Her quiet personality led her to feel rejected by some classmates during her school years, and that might have contributed to her reserved behavior.

Although she had made a decision to follow Jesus at one of our 2013 summer English camps and started attending a Life Group faithfully, she didn’t really grow significantly until one of the 2014 camps. We invited her to help reach out to new students, but God reached out to her.

“I understood what it means to live with Jesus and to follow him,” she wrote after camp. “I want to change my life totally. Not to be afraid to leave my old life and habits and to be brave enough.”

Now Olya is growing significantly. She has even led the Bible discussion at one of our weekly Life Groups a number of times. She is a thinker and not afraid to ponder questions deeply. She still doesn’t talk a lot in Life Group, but when she does, she usually shares a powerful idea or asks a significant question.

Olya still is learning boldness, but God is changing her. She recently shared how she felt the Spirit prompting her to challenge her pre-Christian brother about some disrespectful comments toward their parents.

He responded not with anger, but remorse—expressing that he feels helpless to stop his behavior. And he asked Olya for help—opening the door for deeper spiritual conversations.

Olya is just one of many Ukrainian young people who have been touched by the Spirit through the English camp ministry in Ukraine. We’ve been privileged to organize 20 camps in Ukraine since 1994.

A goal of our camps is not to teach English—but to help students who already speak English get lots of practice with native speakers. That’s why we invite teams of 10 to 15 native English speakers from North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

But our main goal is to place pre-Christian university students in a camp atmosphere with a group of vibrant, Jesus-loving Christians. And the students usually experience a love and acceptance that they’ve never felt before. It forces them to deeply consider the claims of Jesus and the Bible—most for the first time ever.

It’s always amazing to see students who come to camp with an ambivalence toward Christianity and the Bible join so enthusiastically in the worship by the end of camp. The Spirit of God and the love of Jesus have a powerful transforming influence.

To give to the Ukraine Summer English Camp fund, click here.

By Randy Marshall, OMS missionary in Ukraine

Tags: ukraine, summer english camp, students, fun, teaching english, life groups,

Working Hand in Foot

January 21 2016

Overwhelmed. Overjoyed. Overexcited. All of the emotions that we experienced as our family of 5 stepped off of that airplane in Budapest, Hungary, to share in the indescribable ongoing work that God called us to be a part of last summer. Quickly, we realized that in an unfamiliar culture and place, with perfect strangers, we had one common bond. One like mind. One Mission as we call it.

Perceptions fall away as you realize that God has prepared you for a time just as this. Each of us is given a set of unique talents, gifts, and resources. Just as 1 Corinthians 1:12 talks about a body with many parts, each doing its function, we saw the body of Christ come together in Hungary.

Each person, clearly ordained for specific purpose, fulfilled their role as the weeks rolled on and opportunities arose. Career missionaries, short-term missionaries, volunteers, various denominations, and churches all working together. Everyone combining their resources to minister through the English Camp, Roma Camp, and outreach projects to the Syrian refugees. A true example of the church.

The team in Hungary is continuing the next step of faith by building a literal place of connection through the new Transformational Ministry Center in the 14th district of Budapest. A physical structure for the body to work and grow for the glory of God. To train, disciple, make connections, build relationships, form partnerships with fellow believers, and transform lives for Christ.

God calls each of us to be used by him for him. How would he have you to become a part in sharing in the next step in building his kingdom in Hungary?

By Shannon & Aaron DePue, Short-term Volunteers in Hungary, Summer 2015

Tags: hungary, ministry center, team, summer english camp, roma, family missions,

Ukraine Summer Camp Report

November 6 2013

Ukraine Summer Camp Report

“Before camp, I could believe in God, now I can trust in him.” It is comments like this that really make camp, or indeed any mission trip, either short- or long-term, worthwhile. There is nothing greater than seeing a soul come to know the Lord and deciding to follow him in their daily lives.  

Before a student can get to this point, those initial barriers between God and themselves must be broken down. Some of these barriers usually come in the form of unanswered questions, which the students are eager to have answered before they make a decision to follow Christ. However, before they can get the answers they desire, they need to build up a sense of trust with their teachers (English speaking short termers). One way in which this is carried out is by giving the students the opportunity to take part in a range of different activities, both indoor and outdoor, which encourages interaction between students and teachers. The activities also give them the chance to improve their language skills, which is one of the main goals of camp. As a direct result, the students will then begin to open up, which is vital if we as teachers are to fulfill our ultimate goal, which is to make the students think about the true meaning of life and to expose them to the reality of the Gospel.

To demonstrate the power of God’s saving grace at camp, I want to tell you the story of one student who came to camp this year. The quote at the beginning is taken from an interview with her post-camp. Similar to most of the students, Stasy (pictured on left in photo) came from a Ukrainian Orthodox family where God is primarily viewed as a mystical being, who is beyond human comprehension and any type of personal relationship. As Christians, we know that it is sometimes hard to comprehend who God is, but we know that it is possible to have a personal relationship with him. Throughout camp, Stasy found it really hard to open up and trust others, let alone God. However, with the unique family atmosphere and the loving atmosphere that existed at camp, which we can only ascribe to God himself, by the end of the 10 days these barriers had been broken down and Stasy had opened her heart to others, and more importantly to God. The transformation was so evident in her life, and the desire to walk with God and to read his Word was so real.

This story is only one of many that demonstrate how God is clearly moving throughout this city of Kiev and the country of Ukraine. It is because of stories like this that many of us keep returning to Ukraine and continue to serve God in our local context as we know that he has the power to change lives. It is my desire that others might experience this feeling and want to serve him.

--David Cathcart, OMS UK short-term missionary to Ukraine, summer 2013

Is God calling you to be a worker, either on the front lines or in a support role? View all of the opportunities how God may use you to be a missionary. You can even register to serve in Ukraine next summer for an English camp. Contact Brent Morrell at 317.888.3333, ext. 391 or bmorrell@onemissionsociety.org for more information.

Tags: be a missionary, become a missionary, English camp, evangelism, life changing story, missions in ukraine, oms uk, one mission society, short-term mission trip, short term missions, short-term missionsteach English

One Mission Stories "After the Show" -Randy Marshall

September 20 2013

One Mission Stories "After the Show"

We hope you enjoyed last night's (Sunday, Sept. 22) One Mission Stories, OMS' radio program, featuring Randy Marshall, OMS missionary serving in Ukraine, along with his wife Shelley and his three kids.

It's exciting to share the stories of what God is doing around the world of OMS.

Here are our "After the Show" resources to better connect you with things you heard about on the program last night.

Do you want to participate in next summer's short-term English camp as a English teach, friend and mentor? It's not too early to sign up. Perhaps you were moved to pray for Randy and the other OMS Ukraine missionaries. If so, we can get you signed up to receive weekly requests by email. We are looking for 1,000 intercessors! Email us at info@onemissionsociety.org and just put Ukraine prayer in the subject line.

Would you like to help get a Ukrainian student to camp next summer? A gift of $50 will offer a subsidized scholarship for one student. Just type account #301620 in the blank.

Finally, do you want to learn some more fun facts about Ukraine? Through our One Mission Kids ministry, we have created a virtual tour of the country, especially for kids.

Have fun exploring and please tune in to next week's One Mission Stories to hear OMS' executive director of international ministries, Randy Spacht talk about his current role and his 17 years in Colombia.

If you have any questions, you can email us at radio@onemissionsociety.org.

If you missed the program, you can listen to it at www.onemissionsociety.org/radio, or you can subscribe to our iTunes podcast here.

Tags: be a missionary, become a missionary, give to missions, life changing story, missions, missions in ukraine, one mission kids, one mission stories, short-term mission trip, short term missions, teach english, english camp