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

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

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

Be still and know that I am God

February 6 2013

Be still and know that I am God

In October 2011, while on my way to a mission committee at church, I never would have dreamed that my life was about to be changed forever. I lived a comfortable life as a wife and stay-at-home mother of 3. The biggest change I was even contemplating was returning to teaching after an 11-year hiatus, and that was just a maybe. Sitting in the mission committee meeting that night were Joyce and Bill Oden. They went to our church, but this was the first time I had met them personally. Joyce is the founder of One Mission Society’s HOPE61 ministry to empower the Church to prevent human trafficking. That evening, they told the missions committee about human trafficking and OMS’ HOPE61 ministry. The words they shared pierced my heart. That night often makes me think of the quote by William Wilberforce, "You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know." I knew that I could never look the other way when it came to human trafficking.

The events that followed could only be orchestrated by God. In January 2012, Tom, my husband, and I were accepted by OMS as career missionaries to serve with HOPE61. We had not ever imagined God would take us from a credit union executive and a stay- at-home mom to full-time missionaries.

In September 2012, Tom began serving as the new director of HOPE61. Now days, I juggle a couple of secular jobs to help support our family of 5. Sometimes, it is hard to watch Tom go to work every day to do something that God first spoke to me about. I know that in God’s time I, too, will be funded and can call HOPE61 my "job." In the meantime, I often hear God whisper to me, "Be still, and know that I am God." This morning, I was reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, the devotional book that Joyce got me for my birthday, and this statement was there waiting for me ... "Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold my hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step." God is pretty clear that He has a plan for me and that everything will be done in His perfect timing.

By: Tonya Overton

 

What is God's plan for you? Has He called you to give financially, go in faith or pray fervently?

Tags: HOPE61, missionsanti-human trafficking

Blankets for South Asia

February 4 2013

Blankets for South Asia

With the average temperature for the year in the high 80s, only the very wealthy in South Asia have any kind of heating system. Most people in this poor country do not even have warm clothing.

So, when the temperatures fell recently into the 30s, many did not have any protection. Something as simple as a blanket would have protected families from this record-breaking cold. 

Without anything to help, more than 100 people already have died due to cold-related issues, such as respiratory problems and pneumonia.

Those who are able to stay inside and not go to work do so. But the street vendors and others who risk losing their jobs must brave the cold and try to make a living. 

For many years, One Mission Society has been providing blankets to people in this region when there is a cold spell. These blankets not only provide some much-needed warmth, they provide an evangelism tool for our local partners.

Each blanket, at a cost of only $3.30, can help a family of five battle against this cold weather. This would also be thousands more families to potentially be receptive to the Gospel message.

Our partner would like to hand out 15,000 blankets. This would allow many people to be warm enough throughout this cold spell. It would also show people in the community and community officials that Christians are here to help thus, opening the door for future evangelism.

Would you be willing to make a donation of $33 to provide 10 blankets? Would you like to help 50 more people in this cold weather in South Asia and provide the ability for them to come to know Jesus?

Tags: missionsmissions in asia