Planting Churches in Colombia

February 25 2013

Planting Churches in Colombia

Each week, OMS missionary Greg Carlson, church multiplication facilitator (CMF) for Colombia and Ecuador, speaks to One Mission Society’s church planters through Skype. Through encouragement, praying and coaching, Greg is able to train these nationals to stay focused on evangelism and church planting.

The role of a CMF is vital to increasing the number of lives changed and churches planted around the world through Every Community for Christ, the church multiplication catalyst for OMS.

Seeing the need for evangelism teams in Colombia, Greg also has recruited two teams to share the Gospel in various cities in Colombia. It took two visits with Jeff, the father of Greg’s son’s friend, to encourage him that this was a short-term trip Jeff should participate in.

After saying yes, Jeff did not know what he had gotten himself into. He was very nervous, as his only travels outside of the United States was to Canada for vacation.

Now, Jeff found himself, with his teenage son, in Colombia talking to Colombians about Jesus. At the first home he went to, he began sharing his testimony with the woman who answered the door.

Before he could even complete his whole testimony, the woman started to cry. Jeff did not know why she was crying or what was happening.

While walking to the next house, the interpreter told Jeff that he had just saved this woman’s life. Three days earlier, this woman had attempted suicide, not having anything to live for. Then, Jeff told her that Jesus loved her, something she had never heard before.

This team went on to change 64 people’s lives that day, as others accepted Christ as their Savior. Jeff realized why he had been called to go on this trip.

Mobilizing individuals to go overseas on short-term evangelism trips is just one aspect of the joyous career of being a church multiplication facilitator.

Do you desire to help others plant more churches around the world? Is God calling you to be a missionary that travels to foreign countries but reside in your home country? If so, the CMF role may be for you. Contact OMS today.

Tags: missions, missions in colombiachurch planting

What is a Person of Peace?

February 25 2013

What is a Person of Peace?

The teaching on the person of peace described in Luke 10:1-20 and similar gospel instructions of Jesus in Matthew 9 & 10 and Luke 9 form the only explicit New Testament instruction on how to evangelize.  From this passage we can see that a person of peace is:

  1. A person of receptivity.  He gives food and lodging to the evangelists who went ahead of Jesus
  1. A person of referral.  Since the evangelists were instructed not to move from house to house, the most logical way for them to connect with the whole town was through the relationships that the person of peace introduced them to.
  1. A person of reputation. From the Luke 10 instructions and the fulfillment of those instructions in the following passages, it seems clear that a person of peace is a person of reputation, (they have a known reputation, either good or bad).

Review the scriptures cited below to see if Jesus’ pattern of discovering and staying with a person of peace to announce the Kingdom of God in word and deed was played out in the following passages.

    • Zacchaeus – Luke 19:1-10
    • Andrew – John 1:40-42
    • The Samaritan woman – John 4:1-42
    • The lame man at Beautiful Gate – Acts 3:1- 4:4
    • Cornelius – Acts 10
    • Lydia – Acts 16: 11-15
    • The Jailer – Acts 16: 25-34

In Every Community for Christ, we are teaching evangelistic church planters to pray for look for, stick with, and disciple persons of peace.  We then empower persons of peace to reach their family, friends, and other people in his or her network with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.  As we talk to people who have given serious attention to sharing the Gospel and planting churches, the vast majority can describe one or more persons of peace who has multiplied the impact of his or her ministry. 

Who will seek Persons of Peace? Who will multiply the local church? Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: evangelism, person of peacetraining

Go Hard Until You Go Home!

February 21 2013

Go Hard Until You Go Home!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Rock and Worship Tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was excited to worship God with 12,000 other people in that environment, one that I had never experienced before. I was excited to worship with Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp and Kutless, but I had not heard of the other groups that were scheduled. Little did I know that one of the groups, a Christian rapper named Tedashii, would leave an indelible message on my heart.

Now rap is certainly not my preference when it comes to musical style. If I were to be honest, I would confess that I would not have even understood what Tedashii was saying unless the words were on the huge screen behind him. But as these words, “Go hard until you go home” were repeated over and over by this artist, my heart was absolutely burdened by his message. As the director of a human trafficking prevention ministry with a global focus, the magnitude of the human trafficking issue can easily become overwhelming and hopeless.

As I prayed and meditated on the words of Tedashii that night, I was reminded in a powerful way that God has already called those who believe in the atoning work of Christ on the cross home. We are already members of the eternal kingdom of heaven, but we still have work to do here. Jesus Christ was the perfect model of these words. He went hard until He went home! The great news for us today is that before He went home, He promised His disciples and all those who believe, that He will go with us as we work. We do not work, therefore, through our own abilities, talents or effort. We work through the power of Jesus Christ to whom all authority on heaven and earth has been given!

I am resolute in believing that through His power, we can prevent human trafficking from happening in our world. Not reduce it or lessen it, but END it forever! In the words of William Wilberforce, “Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” 

God sent His Son to die for us as undeserving sinners. He gave us life when we deserved death. Will you be radical in your reflection of that gift? I encourage you to Go Hard Until You Go Home!

Tom Overton, director of HOPE61, OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry

Tags: anti-human traffickingHOPE61

Following in Her Sister’s Footsteps

February 18 2013

Following in Her Sister’s Footsteps

Eight years before Anne Baenziger became a missionary, her sister became a missionary. The experience opened up the door to a whole new world for Anne.

While attending Hope College, God stretched Anne’s faith. She started taking steps on her own missionary journey, learning what God had in store for her.

Becoming involved with a campus ministry on Hope College’s campus, Hope for the Nations, was an integral part of Anne’s journey to becoming a missionary. While at this ministry each week, Anne prayed for the world and listened to missionaries talk about cross-cultural work.

These weekly meetings led to mission trips to New York City and Detroit. Following these trip, Anne studied for four months in London.

Her time in London gave her an opportunity to experience overseas living, realizing that God gave her a desire to travel the world. She also spent time working with a ministry outreach to Muslim people for two weeks in northern London.

All these experiences added up to Anne being called to be a missionary. She traveled to the One Mission Society World Headquarters in Indiana, which is located only 45 minutes from her house, to investigate further.

With her heart broken for the people in Europe, Anne worked with OMS to determine a place for her to serve. Through discussions and prayer, Anne determined she was called to the eXtreme Walk program in Ireland.

Through this program, Anne will work directly with an Irish church planting team, doing anything that needs to be done to help start and grow a church. The program will give Anne great experience to continue working as a missionary in Ireland or wherever God calls her next.

Would you consider helping Anne fulfill her call to become a missionary? A gift of $50 would help Anne be able to move to Ireland more quickly to work with the nationals in Ireland to plant churches.

Tags: missions, church plantingmissions in ireland

Greater Love

February 18 2013

Greater Love

Three of us sailed to a village called N- to give baptism to 11 people from four families. It took us four hours by boat to travel. We conducted the first worship service at that village. When I asked Yu (55 yrs) why they decided to become Christians, his answer was quite simple. He said, “I was a witchdoctor and village priest. But when I look around my surroundings, I began knowing that it is not good to be animists anymore for my community. Then we all turned to the major religion of the country. But we found difficulties in some of its teachings, like if you can give more (merits), you will get salvation. Since we are poor, we can’t donate enough money to get to heaven. We even struggled to propitiate evil spirits by offering our animals while we were animists. 

When we got sick and needed to be hospitalized, we saw a great difference between believers of other religions and Christians. There is no visiting, no care, no prayer among other believers and animists. But there is in Christians. Even though they don’t know us, they care and love one another as brothers and sisters. They visit and help with whatever they can. I found great love in this religion, which I think is the mark of true religion. Your missionaries told us that there is forgiveness if we repent and believe in Jesus and get salvation which is free, attainable even for the poor like us. That’s why we decided to believe Jesus and become Christians.”

We entered Yu’s house, and we did what they called house cleaning. That is removing all the items relating to animism or other religions. At one corner, we found some bones of animals and leaves that were used for spirit worship. We also found a picture of monks, tracts and flowery leaves that are offered to an idol. After prayer, we did consecration of the house.

After that we held the first service sharing the full account of the Gospel, inviting them to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and gave baptism.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Who will help to fulfill the Great Commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: church planting, evangelism, person of peacevictory over darkness

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 2)

February 14 2013

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 2)

(part 1 is posted February 11, 2013)

Tamara and Endla asked God to open doors for them to begin reaching out to the lost. OMS Missionary, Brent, met Endla at an evangelism seminar which he led. She learned how to pray for the lost, care for the lost and share with the lost. Impacted by the message Endla approached Tamara at the women’s bible study with a plan to do something. They wrote a list of names of people who didn’t yet know Christ and started praying for them. 

The name Tamara in Hebrew means ‘palm tree’ and is symbolic due to the beauty and fruitfulness of the tree. Tamara’s fruitfulness blossomed when she and Endla decided to go and care for old people. In the town there is a home which cares for pensioners, the disabled, people under state care, intellectually handicapped, and people with other special needs.

Endla, who has recently turned 80 and Tamara in her 60’s, knew that visiting others was something they could both do. They could make an impact in that place. They could bake cakes for the residents and celebrate their birthdays. With permission from the institution’s administration, they armed themselves with a cassette player and some Christian music tapes, just to play Christian music. The first time they met, four to five people came just to listen. Some were blind, others couldn’t read. It wasn’t the traditional way to start a Bible study but God was present and just as powerful.

Choir singing is a big thing in this country. Every five years a choir festival attracts approximately 150 thousand people. A specially constructed amphitheatre sets the stage for the choir of 26 thousand people, including children!  

Knowing the importance of music in this segment of Europe, Tamara and Endla played songs and discussed them as a way to interest them in spiritual things. Next they offered to pray for them. Five people now attend regularly. That’s not a huge group, but God doesn’t need huge to accomplish his work. Tamara and Endla don’t know yet if any are believers but they are committed to introducing God to these people who have no family, no visitors and to whom society treats as non-existent.  

Through attention and devotion these ladies are planting the seeds of the love of God, true Christianity. It’s the seed of a little house church. The administration is seeing first hand that it is not just Endla and Tamara who care, but that God their Creator also loves and cares deeply about them and seeks a personal relationship with them.  

You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 The Message)

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: evangelism, outreach, dynamic service, missions in Estoniahouse church

Breaking the Cycle of Human Trafficking

February 13 2013

Breaking the Cycle of Human Trafficking

From August 2011 - June 2012, I had the privilege of working at a coffee shop ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, reaching out to ladyboys (transvestites) in the sex industry. Along with doing outreach in the bars to encourage ladyboys to leave the sex industry, I also did some prevention work. Part of this was through my relationship with Dom, a boy living in the slums. Dom demonstrated feminine traits, and because of this, he was often ridiculed and labeled a ladyboy by the kids in his village. It was clear that he was insecure and confused about his identity. Our purpose in spending time with Dom was to mentor him and encourage him to look to God for his identity, rather than to his peers.

Almost every week, another volunteer and I would meet Dom in a park nearby his home. We would practice English with him, play badminton and read the Bible. Dom was ecstatic when we bought him his own children’s Bible, full of fun pictures. One of my favorite memories with Dom is celebrating his 12th birthday at an amusement park near the mall. He said he had never celebrated his birthday before. It was so rewarding to see the big smile on his face as he ate a slice of chocolate cake and opened a few gifts. 

I wanted to have deeper conversations with Dom, to figure out what was really going on inside him and offer some advice and encouragement. But Dom didn’t always understand my choppy Thai, and he spoke little English. A Thai guy from the ministry was able to do what I couldn’t and have some significant conversations with Dom. Dom didn’t have a lot of guidance from the men in his family, so this was really pivotal for him.

When it came time for me to leave Thailand, I wondered what would happen to Dom. I was worried that without much spiritual guidance, he would lose sight of his identity. However, since being back in the U.S., I’ve heard that Dom has been very involved with a ministry for youth not far from his home. He’s been going weekly to learn more about the Bible and to spend time with the Christian guys there. I was so pleased to hear this! I believe that God has an amazing plan for Dom’s life, and will continue to place mentors around him to help him through his adolescence.

There are many “Doms” in Thailand. In a city like Bangkok, soaked in immorality, there are more young boys struggling with their sexuality and identity than ever before. With the prevalence of prostitution comes great temptation for young men and women, whether by working in the industry themselves or being a customer. Even if every red-light district was shut down overnight, prostitution would still creep its way back into existence simply because of the fact that hearts have yet to be changed. If we want to change the fruit we see, we have to change the roots. We have to look at what is causing the problem, and take action to prevent it before it happens. Our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, it’s against spiritual forces. Instilling godly values and purity in young men like Dom is one of the first steps we can take in setting the next generation of Thais on fire for God.

-Bethany Ury

Note: Bethany is currently raising funds to return to Thailand as on OMS missionary to serve with HOPE61, our ministry to train and empower the Church to prevent human trafficking.

Tags: missions, anti-human trafficking, missions in thailandHOPE61

Using His Skills for the Kingdom

February 11 2013

Using His Skills for the Kingdom

When James Hill was only 15 years old, he felt a calling from God to be involved in ministry. Not sure how this would play out, James continued on living as a Christian in his daily life. 

Trying to follow this call, James attended one semester at Indiana Wesleyan University. After this one semester, he ran out of money and went to work to live the American dream. 

James did not realize that his job at HBP was all part of God’s path for James to become a missionary. While at this secular company, he was trained as a software engineer. 

For James, the American dream was being realized. He was already married, had two children and had purchased their first house. Everything was progressing quite nicely for James and his wife, Loni, to live a nice, comfortable life. 

A couple of years after James and Loni were married, they felt a progressively unsettled feeling. James started to ask the question, “If I really believe in Jesus the way I say I believe in Him, why am I not living like I believe in Him.” 

This is when they knew they were being called into missions. They wanted to live their lives to be spent helping to fulfill the Great Commission. 

Knowing that he had programmer skills, James sought an organization that could benefit from his abilities. One Mission Society fit this bill. 

From programming to finance, One Mission Society has several positions open with specific skills needed. Did you know your unique abilities are needed to help run an organization?

 

Is God putting the same unsettling feeling in your heart that James and Loni had? Do you have programming abilities to help James utilize technology to help OMS plant churches around the world? Would you like to use your financial skills to help make disciples through OMS? Could you become part of the Communications team with your talents in video editing?

Is God calling you to become a missionary?

Tags: missions

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

February 11 2013

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

(part 2 posted February 14, 2013 ~ related post December 10, 2012)

Two ladies, Endla and Tamara, are members of a small historical church in a town in the most secular country in Europe. Though this little church of about 50 members functioned during the soviet years, people in this area often have a distrust of the ‘church’ and religion in general. There is however freedom to register and operate as a church and you can receive a license for public preaching events without difficulty. 

Tamara, who had been a long time member of the church, quit attending services several years ago when things got boring. “The church was stale,” she openly acknowledged, “and wasn’t going anywhere.” 

Sunday worship and loyalty to the Christian community took on a whole new life when both Endla and Tamara visited a women’s small group. This weekly fellowship had something that drew them back week after week. They weren’t bored, didn’t become distracted, but instead found that their interest and desire to study God more and deeper affected the whole rest of their week. 

Piret, a full-time insurance broker and ECC worker led their weekly study. They began to see that God wanted them to serve him rather than just soak up all the blessings for themselves. As Piret quietly and steadily fed into their lives, they saw that God had work for them to do and the Christian life could be one of dynamic service. They were amazed to observe that they had progressed from people who fulfilled what they believed to be their religious duty by going to church each week, to realizing that God had a call on them as believers to look beyond themselves and their own spiritual journey to looking for the needs of others.

You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 The Message)

 

Tags: faith multiplied, small group, transformedservant

Caribbean Stories

February 6 2013

Caribbean Stories

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

On my recent ministry trip to the Caribbean I was accompanied by five Canadian couples. What a blessing it was to have them be a part of the team to encourage and bless our brothers and sisters in Christ! One of the couples gave me a sum of money to give where “I saw a need or where someone could be blessed.”

During our trip we were having dinner with a pastor and his wife. They were in town due to the pastor’s health. He is diabetic and is losing his vision. During our conversation we were discussing Christmas and the meaning of Christmas. The pastor’s wife mentioned that years ago their family had a Christmas tree, but in recent years no trees or nativity scenes were permitted. Now, they wanted a tree for their children but could not afford one. I "saw a need” and felt led to give them some of the money to purchase a tree.  I cannot express the emotion they showed that evening.

The following day we were speaking to a pastor from another town who was giving us an update on his wife’s health. We have been praying for her. She has a broken jaw caused by lack of calcium and is being fed by a feeding tube. The doctor told them, "Until you get a floor in your home, your wife should not be living there because of her health and the danger of falling.” They only had a dirt floor, with some cement. They estimated what it would cost to replace the cement and dirt floor with some tile.  It came to almost the exact amount I had left to be given “where someone could be blessed.”  God is good! They will soon live in their home with a tile floor.     -Willie

Before I knew Christ, I was a very violent person, given to drugs and excessive drinking. I thank God that I met Jesus and accepted Him into my life. My desire is now to live for Him. The training sessions have been a great blessing and teaching for my life and have revolutionized my life. The day after I accepted Christ, I opened my house up for worship services and since then many more have opened their homes.     -Pablo

A young woman in the eastern part of the country was very involved in her work. One day, at five in the afternoon, someone came to her door and shared Jesus. She gave her heart to the Lord that day. She has been attending the local church but had not become involved in the training to plant churches. She attended a workshop last week, and it was reported that she had already brought 11 people to the church. Since the training classes, she has six new believers that have given their hearts to Christ. She is beginning a new house church next week.     -Allison

These are some examples about how God provides through His people as they obey the call to GO, GIVE and PRAY. Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

 

Tags: God's provision, house church, life change, trainingtransformed