October 1 2013
A Life-Changing Journey
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I recently read this quote from Lao-tzu, a Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B.C. It made me think of my life journey from a business point of view, family standpoint, and also from a spiritual perspective.
I became a Christian when I was 16 years old, became unconditionally involved in my local church, and was introduced to One Mission Society in the early 1960s. However, I had to wait until 1978 to get connected with Men for Missions. For the first time, I heard of my need to DO whatever God asks me to do; to GO wherever God asks me to go, and to GIVE whatever God asks me to give. Since I affirmed that simple promise, it has taken me on journeys that have been exhilarating and challenging.
A life-changing journey for me was to travel to South Asia, a country I had heard of but knew very little about. Our national coworker, a bishop and pastor there, is a man passionate to see people saved and lives changed by God. In 2013, he is seeking to establish 514 new churches. I spoke in the capital city to 120 participants from the book of Nehemiah on leadership, management, and ethical leadership.
I also spoke in another city where I really saw the meaning of a life-changing journey. After speaking to pastors and senior leaders in the morning, I assisted in a baptismal service where more than 100 men and women were baptized in a river. This was not only challenging but mind and heart changing for me. I have been involved in baptismal services in my home church many times, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened. First, we traveled about five miles outside the town. Men went ahead to ensure there would be no interruptions to the service and to check on security. Men and women had walked to the baptismal site and were waiting with anticipation. This was an awesome experience; no sounds―only the birds, no laughter―only serenity, no fear―only commitment and expectation. I then understood what a life-changing journey was all about.
I measure my journeys in miles. Their journey was only a few feet. As I stood in that fast-flowing river, watching the congregation walk into the water, I realized what it meant to them. They walked calmly on a journey of 40-feet that would change them forever. Some possibly walked into harm's way, others into possible disagreement with their families and cultures, and yet, they enthusiastically came forward. I cried my way through most of the service and was overwhelmed by the presence of God. At that moment I knew why I had promised to do, go, and give what God had asked of me so many years before.
Some people live for the opportunity of a lifetime. My involvement with OMS/MFM has given me a lifetime of opportunities, and as my journey continues, my hope is that there will be many more opportunities to see lives changed.
I returned to the capital a changed man, with a new understanding of commitment. Are you willing to be changed by your life-changing journey? It may only take you a short distance or thousands of miles to wherever God wants you in His service. We will need to be ready to answer the call to do, go, and give what God wants of us.
--Bill Anderson, OMS UK missionary
View all of the opportunities how God may use you to be a missionary. Is God calling you to be a worker, either on the front lines or in a support role?
September 20 2013
There's Just Something About That Name
As I left customs, a young man offered to take my two suitcases, which I was handling just fine. However, I asked him his name, and he said, “Christian!” I told him the meaning and asked if he would like to be like Jesus! "Si, you gave my father, Mario, a Bible once! God transformed him from being an alcoholic." Right there, we prayed together, and Christian began his new life in Jesus.
My ride pulled up, and I loaded the car, but then I noticed two traffic officers. I greeted them and asked the first one his name. "Javier," he responded with a smile. "Your name means "a new house.” Wouldn't you like a new house in heaven?" I asked.
"Not now," he laughed. I continued, "But wouldn't you like to reserve a new house in heaven right now?" He answered, "Certainly, how do I do that?" … Another precious soul came into the kingdom. His partner was not to be left out. "Arturo? That was my father's name too!" It means "noble hero," I said. Arturo, a seeking heart, asked Jesus to be Savior, Lord, and King of his life." What joy! There is nothing like it.
And one final story about a trip I took into Bellavista, a large prison in Medellin, Colombia, once one of the most violent prisons in the world. I went to find Jeobany. Several of the staff had tried with no luck. A month had gone by since his capture. I found Christian (different from the one mentioned above), a young fellow I had previously led to the Lord, and we went in search of Jeobany, but we had no luck. I waited in the patio as he untiringly called out his name in all the wings. The brothers from the chapel came, and I gave them the things I had for him. I told them Jeobany's story, (he was caught driving a stolen car). They assured me they would take care of him. I left without seeing him. But during my hour and a half waiting in the patio, I saw 31 men accept Jesus as their Savior, including two prison guards. Each received a New Testament.
Friday, I went back in search of Jeobany. After searching and searching, I felt a hand on my shoulder. An unshaved, wooly Jeobany hugged me. It drew attention in the wing, and I soon was surrounded by inmates. I asked several what their real names were, then told them the meaning. Then, everyone wanted to know his own name's meaning. This is a great way of connecting. They all burst into laughter when I told one fellow, Santiago, what his name meant … engaño, to cheat, deceive. That is how they all got into prison! With a good group of men around me, I shared the Good News and invited them to accept Jesus! A male chorus belted out the sinner's prayer. A priceless moment. Each received a new NT. Then, I told Santiago, "The Truth, now lives in you. You no longer need to live up to your name as you have in the past." I prayed for them, knowing the hardships all of them are going through. The prison is terribly crowded. Jeobany slept in the bathroom his first night. The stairways are packed with bodies at night with no room to walk. Bellavista has almost five times more prisoners than it should…over 7,000, and it was built to house 1,500 men.
"Before the Christians redeemed this place with Jesus' blood, the prisoners chopped up dead bodies and put them into garbage bags. Today, men come out of here transformed to serve the Living God," I told them.
Then, a number of brothers in the Lord surrounded Jeobany. I asked him if he wanted to come back to Jesus. Humbly, Jeobany asked Jesus to forgive him and to do a new work in him. I prayed for him, then, we hugged. A different look shone in his eyes. Thank you, Jesus, I prayed inwardly, continue the work you began in him when he first asked you into to his life as an eight-year-old in my father's old workshop on the seminary campus. "Jeobany, this is now your family in prison. My brothers want to help you. Seek them out." I left with a full heart, rejoicing in the Spirit's work - a lost sheep was found.
--Jeannine Brabon, OMS missionary, serving in Colombia
Do you want to make a difference in the life of someone. One Mission Society has many opportunities to serve the Lord!
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
September 17 2013
Human Trafficking Prevention Starts By Entering Others’ Stories
Today in Thailand there is a teenage boy who is one step away from entering the sex industry. Right now in the Philippines, there is a woman who is one choice away from being prostituted. They may be sitting on the street, begging for change, driven to desperation but hanging on by one last thread. If we saw them, if we knew they were just one choice away, would we be able to prevent it?
Many of us choose to avert our eyes when we see someone helpless or begging on the streets. Because something happens when we look. When we make eye contact with someone, we experience a connection. Looking (really looking) at the person in need causes us to enter into their situation. It forces us to feel something for them. It compels us to act because we become part of their story.
I wrote a newsletter a year ago talking about the Zulu tribe of South Africa. They understand this concept of seeing people. In their native greetings, they say “Sawubona,“ meaning “I see you,” and the other person responds “Ngihkona,” literally, “I am here to be seen.”
The inherent meaning in the Zulu response is “by recognizing me, you brought me into existence.” When they see a person and greet them, they are looking deep into them and acknowledging their humanity, their personality, their dignity.
Everyone has a story. In Acts 3, Peter and John encountered a beggar and chose to enter his situation. Verse 4 says, “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then, Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” They saw him. Not only that, they made sure the man saw them also. They entered his story, and invited him to enter theirs. In that moment, the kingdom of heaven invaded earth. A man who couldn’t take a step could now leap and run!
He’d expected to receive silver and gold. But he received something more priceless than that. He was seen, he was healed, and because he looked at Peter and John, he entered the Story of Jesus.
We can’t prevent people from being trafficked and exploited unless we are willing to enter into their stories. We can’t bring physical and spiritual healing unless we are willing to enter into their stories. And we aren’t really setting them free unless we also invite them to enter into the greatest Story of all.
--Bethany Ury, OMS missionary, funding to serve with HOPE61 in Thailand
We are currently looking for more people to expand this ministry overseas. If you or someone you know may be interested in this ministry, contact Brent in our Mobilization Department at: email@example.com.
September 11 2013
The Living Water Project
In March of this year, I traveled to the small community of Sitio Catalina, Philippines, for a water project ministry.
Little did I know how big God is that this would also immediately turn into a church planting project!
I met up with pastor Rely and Lalaine (national OMS coworkers), then journeyed with Rely and four other men from his sending church to the small Mangyan community that previously had no water, no toilets, no electricity ... and no money. Our task was to set up tanks and pipes to bring water from farther up the mountain to their houses. As we accomplished this, we brought the message of ‘living water’ from the story of the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4. I saw the impact this was making.
One week or so later, when I returned to New Zealand, Rely began his first church service there. About a month ago, the roof was put on the new church building! How cool is that?! We praise God “who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.”
Pray for many Mangyan in this community and farther away to join the new believers. Pray for financial provision for Rely and Lalaine, and pray for teams to go there soon to help with electricity and toilets.
--Owen Brown, Director, OMS New Zealand
View all of the opportunities how God may use you to be a missionary. Is God calling you to be a worker, either on the front lines or in a support role?
September 9 2013
Former Drug Addict Leads Ministry
One of the most powerful and life-transforming stories in our MEFI ministry to street kids in Mexico City is Alex's story. Most of you will never have the chance to come to Mexico to meet Alex in person, so here is a short excerpt from his story:
Alex, like so many others in Mexico City had a challenging start to life - his parents tried their best to provide for him, his brothers and sister. After just barely completing secondary school (high school), Alex tried his hand at many jobs, but nothing really satisfied and the money he earned was spent on drugs. He met Paty, now his wife, and they had three children. With a family to feed and a growing drug habit, Alex began to turn to crime. Alex told us of when he was a taxi driver and he would inject himself with cocaine at traffic lights with passengers in the back.
His whole life began to spiral out of control. Then, one day, he had the chance to say yes to Jesus as his Saviour. However, as many know, being a Christian does not protect us from the struggles of the world, and although Alex had accepted Jesus as his Saviour, he hadn't accepted him as his Lord, and he continued to turn to drugs whenever he had problems and lived a double life.
Then one day he was caught red-handed and was given a seven-year sentence in one of the hardest, overcrowded and most dangerous prisons in the world.
However, drugs were very easy to come by in prison and even when Paty came to see him he would sometimes be so drugged that he just sat in his cell instead of going to see her. It brings tears to his eyes now to recall how much hurt he caused her. Then, one day, he heard music, and he soon realised this was music to praise and worship God. He said he felt drawn to it and began attending a church service in the prison. He prayed in desperation to God, that if He was real He would show him and help him. He had no idea how God might choose to help him until the next day when he was drugging up again. After a while, he realised the drug was having no effect on him, so he thought he might have been sold a bad batch. He asked a fellow cell mate to try it, but his cell mate was affected as Alex normally would have been. From that moment on, God completely removed any craving or desire for the drugs. Alex dedicated himself to helping to lead the church service in the prison. In fact, his sentence was reduced down to three years for good behaviour. At the same time, God began to put a calling on Alex's life to work with street children who have very similar stories and experiences to him.
When he left prison, Alex and Paty began attending the church where my wife Helen had begun promoting the street kids ministry. Alex and Paty showed their commitment to the project by their unwavering commitment to pray each week at the prayer meetings. Alex was challenged by the pastor of the church to leave his job he had got, cut his pay in half and come and work full-time for MEFI.
Thankfully, after a lot of prayer, God showed Alex this was indeed His will for his life and Alex and Paty are now in charge of the programme in the drop in centre and also regularly visit the kids on the street. When Alex speaks to the street kids, he speaks with a different kind of authority. The fact that he's done the same, and in some cases, worse things than them, but has now left that all behind and has a new life in Christ, is worth more than a thousand words trying to convince them that they can do it too.
I hope you get the chance to meet Alex (and Paty) in person someday. But until then, please pray for Alex and the MEFI ministry. You can also donate to MEFI. A portion of your donation could go to support Alex and Paty.
If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, watch the video.