Millennial Anna: Breaking the Chains

August 30 2016

This is part 2 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part two of Anna's story. Anna served with OMS for two summers with HOPE61, our human trafficking prevention ministry.


I have such a heart for justice and development. I am deeply burdened by the issue of human trafficking, specifically because I know there are vulnerabilities that could have been eradicated through prevention. I feel for the marginalized, the impoverished, those chained by the sins of addictions. The Lord has angered my heart about the ways in which the enemy has stolen life. I desire to see the glory of God bring freedom to those in bondage of oppression. I desire to see them free.

Why? Because I know it is possible, and this is the will of the Lord. I don’t just want to see those who have fallen victim to abuse to be set free, but the abuser as well to come to be a new creation through the resurrection power of their Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s amazing, the Lord gives you a passion, then the refinement comes … and the passion you thought you had at the beginning takes on a whole new, deeper look, one that you know you could not have understood or thought of on your own prior to the Lord’s renewing of your heart.

During my time in the DR, God taught me how to work in community. He gave me a deeper understanding of the Gospel. He gave me tools physically and spiritually to fight the good fight. Through this OMS internship, I learned more about what I believe, what it means to have faith, about the issue of trafficking, what it looks like to work in ministry, and what it looks like to do mundane and super-intense tasks. God is working in my life by drawing me closer to him and equipping me for now and for what is to come. And I get to work alongside his family, knowing and experiencing the different members of the body. I get to know him deeper as he loves me.

My favorite part of this whole experience was getting to explore more of the culture and the country and to bond with the people as I learned their stories. I have met people from different Latino countries and also many Dominicans. But the best part has been getting to dive deeper into the Lord and his will for my life, experiencing his refining, challenges, and love in a deeply life-transforming way. But at the same time, that can also be the most challenging part. There is a language barrier. There’s spiritual warfare and moments when you are just reaching around in the dark. But the renewal of our minds needs to happen daily. The armor of God is our battle weapons, and reminding yourself of who sits on the throne is key.

It’s been hard to see the poverty, to feel internal and external warfare. It’s been challenging to have the Lord dig up roots that choke his fruit. It’s been challenging to live by faith when you see the drugs, the prostitution, and sexual immorality on all levels. It’s been challenging to make friends with those who do not speak the language. But we have a hope that will never let us down. Jesus brings light to the darkness. We may be hard pressed on all sides, struck down, but we are not abandoned. And it’s weird that among all these challenges, the Lord’s joy has been overwhelming; his peace, strength and provision have been abundant. And when we see drug addicts dedicate their lives to Christ, women who have engaged in prostitution learn that God loves them without strings attached, when you see children fed and dance in full worship to the Lord, when you see families being restored, when you see individuals realize they have the capacity to implement their ideas through entrepreneurship and ministry, it is more than worth going through this temporary pain and trouble. It may seem to be happening slowly, but God is reaping the harvest.

God’s children are being delivered from drug and alcohol addictions, from prostitution, from sexual sin, from homelessness, from marginalization, from starvation, from broken relationships, from fits of rage, lies, stealing, and the list goes on. He is bringing hope and a home in him. He is bringing healthy community and Christ-centered relationships into the lives of others in the Dominican. It is definitely a process, and it can even get very discouraging at times. But when you see amazing breakthroughs, you are deeply encouraged, even if they are small. I’ve seen God work by bringing people to their Savior and choosing to live a life for him.

God is so good, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. And writing this, I am convicted, because as his spirit overflows my soul with hope, challenges are real. The battle is real. But we have the ability to set our mind on the everlasting, eternal God.

Tags: human trafficking, compassion ministry, youth in missions, dominican republic, justice, millennials,

​Young People Stepping Into Missions: Anna’s Story

August 23 2016

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.

Tags: internship, hope61, human trafficking, dr, missions, teen challenge,

A Week in the Life of a Missionary

August 17 2016

If you’ve ever wondered what a typical week of ministry looks like for our missionaries, here’s a quick glimpse from OMS Ecuador missionary, Jennifer Riggs.

Q: How many times a week do you visit people?
A: Each week, I spend two to four days visiting people.

Q: How do you know who to talk to?
A: During the short-term medical team trip we had in May, we asked patients if they would like a visit from us. We are also following-up with friends the Loja Challengers made the year.

Q: What’s a sample conversation sound like?
A: Me: Hi, anyone home?
Person: Yes, come on in. Have a seat (pointing to planks of wood propped up to form a bench.)
I ask about their health.
Me: I am sorry to hear that your knees are still bothering you. It comes from all of the hard work you have done.
Person: Yes, right now we are harvesting peanuts.
We talk about the harvest for a bit.
Me: The other reason why I wanted to visit you is to see if you are interested in learning more about what the Bible says about God.
Person: Yeah, that's fine.
Me: Wonderful. I would like to share a Bible story with you.
I share a story from the Bible like the prodigal son. We talk about the meaning and application.
Me: Prayer is talking to God about things. Is there something I can pray for you?
Person: Yes, my family, finances, and health. It isn't going to take very long is it?
Me: No. It doesn't have to take long.
I pray for them.
Me: Can I visit you again sometime, and I can share another story from the Bible?
Person: If I am home.
Person hands me a bag of oranges recently picked from their tree.

Q: What happens next?
A: We go back and visit those who invited us back. We share with them different lessons focused on salvation. Each time planting seeds of the Gospel. We ask them if they would like to accept Christ. If they do, we start discipleship.

Q: Are you partnering with a church?
A: Yes. We have been taking members from the church in Catamayo with us so that they can be a part of reaching out to their people. We also are partnering with an association of evangelical churches who have started a program called "Saturate Ecuador."

Q: What is Saturate Ecuador?
A: It is a church multiplication plan to saturate all of Ecuador with the Gospel. The idea is present the Gospel to as many as will hear. After each Bible story we challenge the people to find someone else with whom to share. Then as their friends and neighbors get curious, they show up to meet with us and then they go out and share with others. And a brand new house church is formed.

Q: Where do you go?
A: We travel anywhere between one and two hours away. To get to the town of Amarillos, we drive on a very curvy paved road for a little over an hour. Then, we go up a dirt single lane road for another 20 minutes. Then, some places we hike either up or down the mountain, sometimes up to 10 minutes. I really enjoy seeing God's creation as we travel to these remote places.

Q: Do you go by yourself?
A: No, we have a team of people we work with, including Tom and Susan Stiles and the Williamson family. We take turns. We usually go two-by-two. We also sometimes take some of the members from the church here in Catamayo.

Q: What progress have you seen?
A: We have been able to see God transform two women who were recently baptized. I have seen people who know God start growing more in their walk with him. We have seen several people accept Christ. And many who are excited to learn, who we pray for and are expecting to see them come into God's family.

Q: What do you do on the other days that you aren't out visiting?
A: Besides taking a day off, we have team planning and prayer meetings usually once a week. We also meet once a week with all of the OMS missionaries in the Loja area for a prayer meeting. On Saturdays, we go out and lead kids club, called Bread and Fish.

Q:What do you do on your day off?
A: I might paint, draw, work on puzzles, bake, or care for my potted plants. I have also gone into Loja to catch up and enjoy being with my friends that I miss. Since Catamayo is hot year-round, we sometimes go to the swimming pool and go down the water slides.

Q: What is your favorite part of ministry?
A: I enjoy seeing the church realize that they have something to share with the people. I love sharing Bible stories with people who have never heard them before. I also enjoy spending time with our team.

Tags: ecuador, missionary life, day in the life, evangelism, bible stories,

​A Gross Call to Haiti

August 16 2016

Most people in Haiti speak Creole or French as their first language, but an eighth grade student in Steve Gross’ class said her first language was English, despite never having been to the United States either. She spoke English first because her father wanted her to attend Cowman when she got older.

One Mission Society’s Cowman International School provides a high-quality, Christian education for students from preschool to high school. Since its founding in the 1960s, Cowman’s student body has grown to include more than 160 children from a variety of backgrounds. Some are the children of missionaries, others are the children of people who live locally, and still others are the children of business and government leaders in both Haiti and around the world. With its diverse population, Cowman truly is an international school, where parents want their children to be educated in English to help them with their futures. But more than that, Cowman presents the Gospel message to both the children and their families.

Steve and Melissa Gross joined Cowman’s ministry in 2013 after the Lord individually called both of them to serve in Haiti on two different mission trips. Melissa went on a Men for Missions (MFM) trip in 2010 and felt a calling to the mission field, but she didn’t talk about this until later. Steve also went to Haiti through MFM and felt that same calling.

The two finally talked about what God was putting on their hearts. They attended OMS’ One Weekend and prayed more about this call— and what started as a short-term mission trip ended up being the door to their long-term service in Haiti. The Gross family, Steve, Melissa, and their four children, moved to Haiti in 2013, where both taught at the Cowman School.

Both Steve and Melissa had taught at public school in the United States before going to Cowman. Speaking about teaching in Haiti, Melissa said that her favorite part was that they got to include God in their teaching, something that was different from her time in public school. Every morning, she added, they start the day off with prayer. The school also gathers for chapel every Friday, where the children can worship God and learn more about him.

God has been blessing Cowman as it continues to educate students and teach them about God. Melissa said that you can’t advertise well in Haiti, but God still provides the resources. The staff at Cowman are praying and seeking God’s guidance, and he is sending people to Cowman to help.

Currently, there is a need for more teachers from around the world, as well as quality teacher training for the current Cowman teachers. As more students enroll and more grades are added, teachers need to have the right knowledge and teaching skills to help guide these growing students. Melissa heads up the teacher training, and she has seen God moving in powerful ways, many times surprising her own plans for the program.

Steve added that the Grosses are also blessed to live in Haiti. He said the need for Christ is greater, and therefore so is the presence of Jesus. Christ is very present in Haiti, he added, and that is one of the best things about living there.

The Grosses returned to Haiti today to resume teaching at Cowman for the upcoming school year. Melissa will teach, as well as supervise the teacher training, while Steve will teach high school students. Please pray for the Grosses’ transition back to Haiti as they prepare to teach and to show God’s love to the children.

The Grosses also ask for prayer for the Cowman School. Steve, Melissa, and the other teachers at Cowman need prayers for organization as they put together the school year plans, especially in light of the new construction that has occurred over the summer. But more importantly, they ask for prayers for the students and their families to have the resources they need to help the children continue in their studies at Cowman and beyond and for each one to hear the Gospel and know God better.

Would you consider how you can help the Cowman School provide education and the Gospel to this diverse group of students?

To learn more about the Grosses, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/TheGrosses.

To give to Cowman International School, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school.

Tags: haiti, teaching, teachers needed, cowman school, international school, missions,

​A Call to Israel

August 11 2016

Since he was young, Moshe* felt God calling him to go to Israel. This calling would lead him to begin a growing ministry there that he began with One Mission Society (OMS).

Though he grew up in South America, Moshe had ties to Israel through his family’s Jewish heritage. During World War II, his grandfather, a Jew, escaped from Europe to South America. Moshe is the second generation of Messianic-Jewish believers in his family. He was raised in a Messianic-Jewish household where he believed in Yeshua, God’s Son, but still had Jewish ties. Growing up, he did not practice Judaism, but he continued to claim his “Jewishness” as he describes it, a claim to the culture as part of himself.

This tie to his Jewishness developed a desire and a call in him to journey to Israel. After Moshe got married and had four kids, his family moved to Israel in 2007, using the Law of Return, which states that every Jew has a right to return to the Holy Land.

Once Moshe and his family got settled, he took a job selling solar-powered devices that contained God’s Word inside of them, which led him to attempt to sell them to OMS in 2008.

Shortly after this first encounter with OMS, economic problems hit Israel. The company Moshe had worked for laid him off, but immediately after that, OMS proposed a new opportunity. After further conversations, Moshe began working with OMS in ministry.

Moshe is not only the sole worker but also the director of the OMS Israel field since 2009. Part of his work is leading a house congregation that he started three and a half years ago. The congregation has grown to more than 20 people, mainly immigrants from countries all over the world. Moshe believes the best way to reach these people is through relationships and evangelism.

Moshe said that Israel is important because of God’s covenant with them. This nation is where everything started, the source from where the world was given God’s truth. It is like using valuable recipes from your grandmother. When we bring the message of Yeshua back to Israel, it’s like returning all those recipes back to your grandmother’s family.

Bringing God’s message of love and his Son back to Israel is a difficult task. But it is about meeting people where they are, Moshe said. When he talks with people, he talks about Yeshua starting in Genesis, not Matthew or Romans. He can explain from there why he believes in Yeshua and why it makes sense to him. Moshe said that God gives him good conversations with people.

“When you act as just a messenger, you give room to the Holy Spirit,” he added.

The entire body of believers in Israel is no more than 20,000, Moshe said. But the numbers are increasing across the country. As the ministry progresses, Moshe wants to keep reaching out to the Jewish community.

God has been working in Israel in the hearts of his people through Moshe’s ministry. One of the stories Moshe shared about God working in Israel happened when he announced that he was starting a new congregation. Eventually, the original congregation he was with accepted his decision but still didn’t agree. Moshe stayed with them until the end of the year and then he left to begin his ministry. However, he questioned if he was moving too fast.

In November 2012, he received a call from someone who wanted to know more about his new congregation. This man was not a believer, but he wanted to know more about God. Moshe discipled him for one year. Throughout this time, the man looked like he was a believer but he still had not made a decision.

During the man’s one year discipleship, his wife went into labor. As the man was with his wife, a big wind blew their door open. The man closed the door. But the wind blew it open two more times. In her labor, the wife said that is was the Lord’s Spirit coming to say that Yeshua was the Son of God. After that, she gave birth to a healthy daughter. Two months later, the man’s wife told Moshe that she accepted Yeshua as her Savior. Her husband was still unsure, but he finally agreed as well. Moshe baptized the couple as new believers.

Stories like this are happening in Israel as God moves across the nation. Please pray for Moshe and his ministry, especially as he seeks mature believers to help with the home congregation. He also hopes to start congregation multiplication and prays that God will lead him and his congregation in the right direction in regard to that vision. Finally, Moshe prays that his growing home congregation can figure out if they need to find a new place to hold meetings and services.

“The Jewish people have a call to be a light to the nations,” Moshe said. His prayer is that they can rediscover that call and that God will work in their lives.

*Last name withheld

By Jess Mitchell, OMS Summer Communications Intern

Tags: israel, jews, ministry, calling, congregations, yeshua,

​The Love Story

August 9 2016

Within 24 hours of reading David Platt’s book, Radical, Chris Love knew she needed to go on a mission trip.

She and her husband Jeff had just finished paying off their house, and instead of going on a vacation, the family went on a Men for Missions (MFM) trip to Haiti. While they were there, both Chris and her son Camden told Jeff they were ready to stay. Jeff was unsure, but as they thought about this possibility, it became more obvious that God was keeping the door to Haiti open to them.

Now, the Love family is heading out next week to be One Mission Society missionaries in Haiti and work with the Cowman International School, a school for Haitian children, international students, and OMS missionary kids. Cowman provides a quality education in a variety of subjects, but more importantly, it provides children and their families the opportunity to hear the Gospel and to learn about God through their education at the school.

The Loves had the opportunity to experience what Cowman does during that first mission trip to Haiti. Chris and Camden helped clean the school, while Jeff served on the electrical repair team on the MFM trip. Chris enjoyed interacting with the faculty and students, and she discovered that Cowman was seeking a science teacher.

After some prayer and thought, Chris decided to quit her job in pharmaceuticals, a field she had been in for 18 years, and get a teaching degree to work at Cowman. There, she will teach several health, science, and math classes to middle school and high school students. Jeff will work at Cowman through IT support, taking inventory of the technology, and helping bring Cowman to the next level technologically for the students and faculty. He will also teach adult English language classes outside of the school.

Both Jeff and Chris discovered a love for the Haitian people and for Cowman School after going on the MFM trip and a second mission trip in April, where God continued to confirm this was where he wanted them to go. Chris said her heart goes out for the rising younger generation in Haiti. Only four percent of these young people are projected to graduate high school, she said, and voodoo has permeated Haiti’s culture. Jeff and Chris added that this country needs education and the love of Jesus. And this isn’t a belief they created. It is a statement they’ve been told by people in Haiti.

Through Cowman, this younger generation has an opportunity to hear about Jesus. Many of the students who attend the school are the children of business and government officials in Haiti. Cowman can affect the next generation of leaders in this country by providing a good education, one that includes the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The Loves ask for prayers as they move to Haiti and begin their ministry. Please pray that they are able to adjust quickly to their new life, that God protects them, and that their belongings reach Haiti safely. They especially ask for prayers as they begin to serve at Cowman, that God will use them to reach this next generation. Chris prays that she can bring science to life for the students and that God can guide her teaching, especially as she completes the training and learning process for her degree.

Jeff and Chris also emphasize the need Cowman still has for more teachers as they expand their building and as the student body increases and additional grades are added to the school. Pray that God provides long-term teachers, as well as funds so that Cowman can continue to teach students and share Jesus’ love with them.

For more information about the Love family, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/TheLoves.

To learn more and give to Cowman International School, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school.

Tags: haiti, cowman school, mk education, teaching science, call from god,

​Reaching Tomorrows Leaders in Haiti

August 4 2016

One young four-year-old girl in Haiti was terrified to leave the children’s home where she lived. After a long history of being abandoned, her heart was scared to trust and to believe there were safe places outside of the walls of her home. During this time, she started to attend Cowman International School, and little by little, she began to heal. Now, this young girl is learning to trust and experience new situations, which is a huge step for when she eventually moves into an adoptive family in the future. Her positive growth is thanks to the education she has been receiving, an education that introduced her to Jesus Christ, the only one who will never abandon her.

As many students return to school this season, we look to a school in Haiti that God has used to not only provide a solid education but also to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to more than 160 students.

Founded by One Mission Society (OMS) in the 1960s, the Cowman International School in Haiti was established as an English-language elementary school where OMS missionary kids and Haitian children could receive a Christ-centered education. Over time, the school has expanded to accommodate more students and grades.

Today,Cowman provides high-quality, Christian education for students in preschool, elementary, and high school. Student enrollment has increased by 150 percent over the past five years, with children coming from a variety of backgrounds. North American missionary children, children of Haitian families, children in the adoption process, as well as children of government leaders and other professionals in Haiti and around the world make up Cowman’s student body.

Cowman doesn’t just reach out to children, it also actively includes the entire family. Parents participate in parenting and marriage seminars, and in this process teachers at Cowman can share the Gospel message with the students’ family as well.

And Cowman continues to grow! As more grades are added, more space is needed. This past year, Cowman has constructed a new chapel/cafeteria area and a foundation for two more classrooms. But more resources are needed in order for the school and its leaders to continue to grow, seek God’s will, and give more opportunities for students to receive an education and the Gospel message.

Presently, Cowman seeks financial donations to support their expansion needs, such as new bathrooms and a kitchen, new furnishings, and classrooms. But there is also an urgent need for teachers as more students enroll.

God has placed OMS’ Cowman International School in an amazing position to impact Haiti’s next generation of leaders, to not only give them a solid education but also to introduce them to Jesus Christ and help them make a decision to follow him as they grow up. Check out next week’s blog post to read some personal stories about how God is calling OMS missionaries to serve at Cowman and join the school’s mission of Christian education.

If you would like to donate or learn more about Cowman International School, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school.

By Jess Mitchell, summer Communications intern

Tags: mk school, cowman school, haiti, education, teaching, christian school,