South Asia Floods and Migration Bring Heartbreak

October 16 2017

Although we don’t hear much about this in the news, especially in light of all the many other disasters around the world, South Asia has experienced unprecedented flooding in the past few months.

Heavy rains raised the water levels of 18 rivers, submerging most of the 20 districts in the north. More than 3.3 million people are homeless in a nation already suffering. The floods claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people, and many more are still missing. Millions of lives are still in danger, as well as their homes, agricultural production, and livestock. These recent floods break all of the previous records, which says a lot.

Most victims lost all their belongings and now are struggling with a lack of food and drinking water, shelter, and medications. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless and hungry.

The water situation is also grave. Out of desperation, many people are being poisoned by drinking contaminated well water, which has infiltrated the wells.

Additionally, many roads and railways under water, making transportation and delivering supplies difficult to impossible.

Another tragic situation in this already overcrowded nation involves the migration of the Rohingya people fleeing from Myanmar due to religious persecution.

Our partners in South Asia, along with our Mercy, Inc, ministry, visited several Rohingya refugee camps last week. Cindy described the situation as “one of the most heartbreaking places I have ever witnessed!” Reports estimate that more than 68 percent of the women and young girls have been raped, and thousands upon thousands have been brutally murdered!!

They’re living in tarp cities with mud floors. The Rohingya people are suffering with much sickness. Our partners are providing clean water and rice, along with some medical help, but so much more help is needed! Please pray what you can do for these people!

Our partners in South Asia have the capacity to do more for the victims with your help. Would you consider donating to our relief fund to help provide life-saving supplies?

Give here today to help flood victims, #408239.

To donate to the Rohingya people online, click here and type: #408246, Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund.

To give by check to either project, send to:

One Mission Society

PO Box 1648

Monument, CO 80132

Tags: south asia floods, flooding, relief, rohinga refugees, disaster relief,

Not a Glamorous Job

September 25 2017

Many people don’t understand why some missionaries chose to stay in their home country to work for the kingdom of God. The common thought is often: “Mission work is done OUTSIDE of the United States.” I understand that thought process. I used to believe it myself.

I thought that if I wanted to do anything significant for the kingdom, I had to get my Bible degree and a pilot’s license, move to Africa, and fly food, water, and Bibles to the rural tribes in need. That was my plan. Until God challenged me to “be faithful with those around me.” To be honest, I thought this challenge was more of a stepping stone. I thought the challenge was Jesus saying: “Show me you can be faithful here before I send you overseas.” Little did I know, he was actually preparing me for a role that I had never thought of – working with immigrants and refugees in the U.S.

God is showing me that some of us don’t have to leave home in order to be missionaries to someone of a different culture and/or religion. He is bringing millions of people from all over the world to live in the U.S. as doctors, farmers, cashiers, ministers, and as our neighbors. Foreign missions is still extremely important, but God is increasing the opportunity for us to literally do missions in our own backyard.

In my experience, I have built friendships and shared Jesus with people from India who are of the Sikh religion. My team and I have helped 200+ Chin people, from Myanmar, learn English while using the Bible as a part of their English class. I’ve helped four churches and several ministry leaders find ways they can minister to immigrants in their areas. We have also been asked to help send immigrant missionaries back to their home country so that they can share the Gospel. All of this took place within five miles of our home.

My wife has accomplished even more than I as she serves at the OMS World Headquarters as a homeland missionary. She works with all of the OMS missionaries to make sure their donor information is up-to-date, and ensures that all of our constituent’s addresses are well maintained. It may not sound like much, but every day she empowers missionaries in more than 70 countries to do the work they are called to do. She assists missionaries (both here and abroad) to raise millions of dollars so that they can continue their work. She does it all with a servant's heart.

What we do is not glamorous to the world. No one is going to write a book about us. We don’t have amazing stories of winning an unreached people group to Christ. But it’s the quiet, behind-the-scenes work we are called to do. We will happily and obediently assist others in their work as we faithfully serve the Lord in the homeland.

Jason Ferkel, Coordinator of Immigrant Outreach

Tags: homeland missionaries, oms world headquarters, mailing list, immigrant ministry, ministry to refugees,

Sharing Hope Through Hospitality

September 30 2015

Over the last couple of weeks, I have thought about a class that my wife, Kristen, and I took together at seminary called The Ministry of Hospitality. One of my former graduate professors, Dr. Christine Pohl, shares in one of her writings:

“In ancient times, hospitality was viewed as a pillar on which the moral structure of the world rested. It was a highly valued moral practice, seen as an important expression of kindness, mutual aid, neighborliness, and a response to the life of faith. Hospitality addressed the physical needs of strangers for food, shelter, and protection, but also included recognition of their worth and common humanity. It almost always involved shared meals; table fellowship was historically an important way of acknowledging the equal value and dignity of people.”

I recently heard an older Syrian woman say, “We are treated like animals!” I witnessed with my own eyes a few Hungarian people throwing firecrackers at innocent (“resting”) refugees – mainly women and children – at the railway station. I had the privilege to help other Christian brothers and sisters to be able to serve those who were in need. My wife and I also helped at the Serbian border to clean up the makeshift camp and remove trash, with the help of the Hungarian authorities. I was able to travel to Croatia with a group of missionaries to take some aid for the needy, working through a church in Croatia. These are some of the highlights of the help that we were able to show to those who are without hope.

As Christians, we have a great message to those who are without hope. We have Jesus Christ in our lives and hundreds of years of Christian heritage of the ministry of hospitality. Christians in Europe and the Christian world altogether have some serious decisions to make. We can decide to respond out of obligation and show our neighbors what it means to be bad hosts. Or we can choose to respond with hospitality because of our love for others, celebrating them as they are coming under the protection, care, and love of Christians in Europe. This will create an environment of equality where we can share love in a vulnerable way – sharing life together – so that others can see spiritual vitality and heritage in every action that is done in the name of Jesus Christ.

You may wonder, “How does cleaning up trash show hospitality?” Well, as Kristen and I worked with the rest of our team to remove trash, we created a place for people to have a clean environment. It helped reduce the potential for further sickness to break out in the camp because of the various germs it might produce. Perhaps you've wondered, “How does taking aid to Croatia help us, as missionaries in Hungary, show hospitality?” People have physical needs. Especially these days, when Europe is having colder weather and a rainier season. When we lend a hand in the name of Jesus, his name is exalted.

These are just some of the small ways that can show that each person matters and that they are loved as they pass through these European border countries for 24-48 hours. Every good action gives hope to the people who have traveled countless days and survived various perils. As we respond with love and vulnerability toward the refugees, they realize they are God’s creation and feel hope for the future. So many of the refugees are leaving countries that did not allow for freedom of religion. With our various acts hospitality, we became the extended hands and feet of Jesus. When we rub shoulders with the refugees, they rub shoulders with Jesus. When we love and care for them, they see the love and care of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They then have the freedom to respond to the message of hope the first time in centuries without serious ramifications.

But be ye warned, they are precious in the sight of the Father. He has sent his only Son for those who believe in him (John 3:16-21). We need to be diligent in our preparation to reach them with the message of hope in action and in words. This is not only a moral obligation, but it is a Christian obligation of the church. The kingdom of God is open and ready to receive those who want to come. We are mere vessels in the work of the Holy Spirit to lead them to a living relationship with the one, true God. Let us all seek our part in it! Let us be diligent in our supplication for their situation! Let us keep our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer who receive them and show them the light and hope of God while they are transitioning to a new world! Let us keep the refugees in our prayers as they have serious obstacles and difficulties that they can only overcome with the help of God! Let us beg for mercy that we do not miss the proper response in every interaction so that these people, who are loved by God, will see Jesus and the hope he can provide to them in this new world.

By Viktor Rozsa, OMS Hungary Missionary

Tags: refugees, europe, hope for hopeless, hospitality, migration crisis,

Refugees Seek Their Own "Promised Land"

September 25 2015

I’ve heard it said that the job of a missionary is one of the most unpredictable jobs. The truth is I am blessed with the flexibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus whenever and wherever. Over the past three weeks, I’ve lived in a breaking news story. That’s an honor as well as a responsibility, especially when an international crisis is on your doorstep.

I am a photographer, but in the moment of a destitute refugee camp, a picture cannot fully express the reality of what is happening.

I took this photo September 8 on our initial visit to Röszke, Hungary. This boy looks incredibly desperate and hopeless. It appears that his eyes are prepared to gush tears. What you cannot see is the joy that he experienced moments before. We were dancing while his sister was watching and eating a banana, and his laughter was so contagious that I couldn’t help from laughing. You see, the photographers want to tell a story; they want to tell a story that sells, rather than a story that is real. It’s totally different when you actually enter into the story. I have made it my personal intent to share the stories that are real in the midst of this crisis.

Later that day, I walked up the train tracks and spoke with a man who shared a bit of his story, which began in Iraq and by the time we talked, he and his family had walked for 50 days. While this same story has been told many times along this route, my heart broke as he lifted his shirt to show me a catheter with which he had been walking this whole time. He had cancer, and they were hoping to arrive in Switzerland for a better life.

Saturday, things had changed for us, just as they had for the refugees. The borders closed in Hungary, and the camp we had worked in was now an empty field. The routes to freedom needed to change. We traveled to the border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia with the OMS van full of volunteers and resources. While the stories were different, the hearts were the same: we want freedom, safety, and HOPE.

Not only did we serve soup, fruit, and water, but we kicked a soccer ball, smiled when people asked for selfies, and listened to their stories and their expressions of gratitude to us for being there. I’ll be honest, sometimes I’m prone to judgment, but every time I asked questions or heard a real story from a refugee, my walls were broken down, and I saw that they are just normal people.

Families on a journey, communities in flux, and volunteers in motion. The transient nature of refugee life is not all that different from our spiritual walk. I can’t help but think of the journey of the Israelites, not having a “home,” only the hope for the Promised Land.

By Lauren Pupillo, OMS Hungary Missionary

Tags: refugees, europe, hungary, croatia, missionary flexibility,

Home for the Desperate (Refugees)

September 15 2015

We drove through cornfields and Hungarian countryside for barely a kilometer before we started seeing the clusters of people walking toward bus stops and train stations. They were recognizable by their dirty, disheveled appearances, their small packs and their weary faces. We passed them and continued on toward the place from which they had eagerly departed. The poorly paved road suddenly was congested with buses and cars, news media vans, and police vehicles. And then we were there … the make-shift campsite where thousands of refugees were waiting to be processed by Hungarian officials and granted asylum.

I stepped out of my vehicle and stood a moment just taking it all in. Everywhere my eyes looked, there were tents, and trash, and people. All sorts of people: men, women-old and young, children, and infants-able-bodied and disabled. Everywhere I looked, there were people. I tried hard to get a sense of my surroundings and wondered where the best place to start was when I was startled by a man’s voice. So deep in thought, I did not see the middle-aged man that had walked up beside me. He spoke broken English, but the urgency in his voice was unmistakable.

“Shoes?” I quickly turned to face him, drawn back from my overwhelming thoughts to the reality in front of me. “I’m sorry?” I mumbled. He saw the confusion in my face and attempted again, “Do you have any shoes for me? I need shoes.” I quickly glanced down at his feet. Soiled feet in torn and flimsy sandals stood before my clean and nicely tied tennis shoes. “I’m sorry...” I managed to reply, “I don’t have any shoes today.” The man nodded and said, “Thank you,” and quickly disappeared back into the crowd of people.

The rest of the team had already begun cleaning and picking up trash as I reached for the box of M&M’s I had brought to pass out to some of the children. They were happy and full of smiles as I started to hand out the small bags of candy. In spite of their pleased faces, I couldn’t stop thinking about the man’s desperate plea for shoes. His was the first request I heard, but unfortunately it wasn’t the last. And a picture was quickly painted for me of the amount of desperation these people were feeling.

Yes, desperate for shoes, or clothes, or food, or blankets ... but also desperate to be able to stop running. Desperate for information or help or safety. Desperate for freedom and desperate for hope.

I realized as I returned home that night and gave our daughter a bath in a nice tub of warm, soapy water, and as I helped our boys finish their homework and pack their lunches for school the next day, that I don’t know the kind of desperate that these people do. I’ve never had to pack up my family because our street was blown apart by bombs or war. I’ve never left all my earthly possessions behind and lived out of a backpack for weeks with small children. I’ve never had to walk 18 hours a day, for more than 50 days straight, across foreign countries because I feared the border would be closed before my family reached freedom. But I am reassured by the One who knows this kind of desperate. Jesus helped desperate people. He healed. He fed. He gave hope. He calls us to show his love and his mercy to the least of these. He calls simply for us to offer what he himself would give. He calls us to be his hands and his feet and his mouth, showing his love to all people, bringing light to the darkness and hope for the desperate.

By Corinne Long, OMS Hungary missionary

Tags: refugees, europe, serbia, middle east, migration, migrants

The Least of These: Ministering to Refugees in Hungary

September 10 2015

I saw her through the open flap of the tent (this photo is of another young mother and her son). A young mom in her 20s, a floral shawl wrapped around her head, exposing only her face. She was dressing her infant son. Barely the size of an American football, the baby wiggled about with jello-like movements as the mother pushed his hands through small coat sleeves. She smiled at him, and I could see her lips moving as she stood alone talking to him.

It had come together so quickly. In less than 24 hours, a community of believers, both Western missionaries and Hungarians, had collaborated as one to put a compassionate outreach together to minister to the needs of the mostly Middle Eastern refugees flooding through the borders of Hungary. We set up a “baby-washing station” for the transients to bathe their infants with warm water, soup, and clean towels. We also provided a hot soup meal for about 450 arriving refugees who, no doubt, were tired and hungry.

Our team stepped out in faith and bought tents, blankets, and sleeping bags. After dropping off the supplies, OMS missionary Viktor Rozsa, a Hungarian volunteer from our church, and I drove to a small town to pick up 500 liters of hot soup. While they were unloading the soup at Budapest’s Keleti train station, I realized I hadn’t seen the ministry tent set up, and I wanted to see what it looked like. That’s when I saw the young mother through the flap.

When I saw her smile as she spoke with her child, it occurred to me what a strange set of events had brought us both here … to this place, at this time. A mother from Syria, doing what she had probably done many times before in her own country, washing her infant son, yet this time, in a plastic tub, heated by a coffee pot, in a tent, in a Budapest train station. Me, a missionary kid and current missionary from the U.S., called to serve in Hungary in leadership development, yet serving soup to hundreds of refugees.

While communication was limited, and tragic circumstances created this situation, I was reminded of Christ’s powerful words, “What we did for the least of these, we did for him.”

––Jonathan Long, OMS Hungary Field Director

If you'd like to make a donation to the Middle East Refugee Fund, #408140, click here.

Tags: hungary, tent city, refugees, middle east, soup kitchen, european crisis,