This is part 1 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part one of Anna's story:
“One Mission Society When I applied to OMS last summer, my application went through, and I was accepted. But there was a catch … the internship was international. This decision was officially made after my application was sent into HOPE61. The Lord had a lot more in store than I had planned.”
One Mission Society’s (OMS) HOPE61 ministry welcomed Anna Ferri to the team in the summer of 2015 when she applied to work as an intern. Anna returned this summer 2016 to continue to work with HOPE61. She shares her story of how God called her to serve both at headquarters and abroad in the Dominican Republic….
I truly believe I got this position by the Lord’s grace. He opened the door to this awesome opportunity to serve alongside some of the most amazing, obedient servants of our King.
Last summer, OMS said that my internship was contingent upon whether or not I got accepted to work with Teen Challenge in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Teen Challenge Dominican Republic just partnered with HOPE61, and OMS was desiring to give an intern the opportunity to work in another country doing missions. When I found out that my internship was contingent upon this, I had peace. I knew the Lord was opening this door; and sure enough, in June of 2015 I was heading over to Santiago, Dominican Republic, as HOPE61’s first “international intern.”
Since I am an international development major, my school requires that we study abroad for a semester to gain hands-on experience in the field and deal with the challenges and blessings that cross-cultural experiences bring. When I met with my professor at school this past year, I had no idea what I was going to do for my overseas experience. I was not even thinking about OMS or the DR experience from the summer before. But then when I sat down to talk with him, it was as if the Lord began breaking my heart all over again for the ministry of Teen Challenge and the people of the Dominican. And I’ll be honest, I was fighting this desire. Although my time in the DR the summer before was a blessing, it was challenging, and the last thing I planned on was returning.
But I started getting excited and began to have passion for what the Lord was laying on my heart. Then I started sharing with my professor the development vision HOPE61 and Teen Challenge see for the Dominican and how Teen Challenge has been expressing their desire to deepen their ministry. Thinking I was somewhat crazy and unsure if this was from the Lord, I decided to ask and see what would happen if I proposed going there for my international experience. There were so many doors that needed to be opened for this plan, and I could not do it on my own. I not only had to get my school to approve my idea and trip, but I also had to be re-accepted by OMS. I had to share my vision with Tom. I had to fundraise. And finally, I had to ask Teen Challenge.
But then … the doors opened. I wanted to return to OMS because it was the place I knew the Lord drew to me the first time. With the way things lined up so perfectly this second time, I knew it was God continuing this work.
This summer has consisted of helping Tom and Tonya Overton around the OMS office, formatting and writing training material for HOPE61 (OMS human trafficking prevention ministry) training, and preparing for my time in the DR. I also enjoyed my ministry time in the DR with Teen Challenge. During my time there, the vision of both ministries was to combine and see how HOPE61 could come alongside Teen Challenge in furthering the development of the communities in the Dominican Republic.
Teen Challenge is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry that works with people with any life-altering issues (drugs, alcohol, prostitution, anger, sexual addictions, suicide, etc.). We hope to be able to incorporate a curriculum that teaches about the prevention of human trafficking through program design, training students and leaders, and implementation. Our goal is to help students with re-entry into their communities with the right physical, spiritual, and emotional tools after graduating the program. They are currently receiving vocational training and discipleship classes through the ministry of Teen Challenge. The vocational training consists of learning skills like the art of jewelry making, agriculture, sewing burlap bags, selling coffee, and many other types of work. We desire to see their vulnerability to the exploitation of human trafficking, drug addiction, etc., to be diminished. Both HOPE61 and Teen Challenge hope to help them build a foundation that will ready them to integrate back into their communities as new creation who will shine their light for Christ and produce sustainable development efforts in the DR, winning the nation to Christ.