Director's Update - Oct 2014

Download as PDF (406kb)

Dear brothers and sisters,

Globalisation: it’s here. The technologies of our lifetime have made this phenomenon possible. Globalisation continues to spread and morph in ways and patterns unforeseen, connecting a multitude of ideas, people, goods, technology, organisations, media, and more. It permeates societies, economies, cultures, politics and missions to a degree that the smallest event in one place can have a ripple effect worldwide. It is not a unified, straightforward, linear process but is constantly evolving.

In light of this, missions are realising that cooperation is not a mere ideal but a necessity in sharing strategy and resources to keep pace with change. It moves us from ‘me’ to ‘we’, from ‘ours’ to ‘everyone’s’, from ‘here’ to ‘there’ to ‘from everywhere to everywhere’—a major shift in established ways of thinking and acting for churches and missions.

Last month, the international directors and senior leaders of six major mission agencies (WEC, OMF, SIM, PMI, Interserve and OM) came together for three days to deepen our relationships, increase our understanding and to explore collaboration between our agencies. Equally important is the desire to create a testimony of tangible unity that the globalised world can understand and reflect on (John 17).

By His Grace,

Lawrence Tong
 

Milestones

The Islamic Hajj to Mecca takes place October 2–4, when Muslims seek forgiveness of sins—a very strategic time to pray for them. We need to pray that Muslims would come to know the peace of Jesus Christ. You can watch a short video about the Hajj on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyfXQ-IVr0A. Also, you can download a prayer guide to pray for these three days at www.pray-ap.info/hajj. Please forward this information to anyone that would pray for Muslims during this annual Hajj.

On 16 September, the Logos Hope welcomed its four millionth visitor in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, just four weeks before beginning a six-month period of technical upgrades to make the ship able to welcome millions more in the future. The Power Up Logos Hope project involves replacement of two generators, the main electrical switchboard, and a heat recovery system to utilise previously wasted energy, increasing reliability and reducing fuel consumption. The project will be completed by the end of March 2015. Over 250 crew and staff in about 70 different teams will work alongside other OM ministries and partner organisations. After the project, Logos Hope will tentatively sail in South East Asia for some months before going to Africa.

 

evangelism

Israel: “I am Muslim, but do you want to come to my home and eat with us?” It was a sweltering afternoon, so the invitation was welcome. Mary* and Julia* accepted and followed the young woman to her family home. Though she did not accept the literature they offered, they hoped to share from the Bible with the family. Mary and Julia couldn’t stay for the meal that evening, but they did talk with the mother. Julia stated, “We come from a different country to tell you about Jesus,” presenting the family with a Jesus film DVD and a Bible.

Mary and Elizabeth*, as part of a six-week college internship in partnership with OM, had many opportunities to serve the church and community through door-to-door outreach. They were glad to follow up with this Muslim family. A few days later, the same family invited Mary and Elizabeth back for another evening of food and conversation. They opened the Arabic Bible they had given the family and encouraged the father to read John 17 aloud. “He really enjoyed talking about Muslims and Christians loving each other,” says Mary, “and how [to him] we really are just the same; [he believes] in heaven there will be Muslims and Christians and Jesus and no politics.” While no one made a profession of faith in Jesus, they now have a copy of the Scriptures in their language and have spent several evenings in conversation with believers. Pray that God will guide them to His truth.

Turkey: For over 50 years, the Bible Correspondence Course (BCC) has been the foundation for outreach and church planting nationwide. Many are hearing the Gospel for the first time; thousands of ‘Gospel’ seeds are being planted in hearts. In Afyon, Nedim wrote, “I read the book many times and also wrote you several e-mails. I gained so much information and knowledge that I am thinking of becoming a Christian, but there is no one in my area who can help me. Please pray that I would be successful in school. I have given my Bible to my friends that they may also read about these things.”

In Aydın, Tanju came to a church after a Sunday service a few weeks ago. Having received an Incil (New Testament) and other literature from the BCC, he believed what he read and was thrilled to find a place to ask questions. Yesterday he gave his life to Christ as a disciple. Pray for many hundreds of Turks now reading Scripture to find peace with God.

 

relief & development

Iraq: The situation in North Iraq is desperate for many. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled their homes in the face of extremist violence and brutal conflict. OM has a long history of work in Iraq, with staff serving on the ground for a number of years and relationships with churches and believers from different backgrounds.

In response to the current crisis, OM has launched a relief project in four locations, helping thousands of people from Christian, Yazidi and minority Muslim backgrounds with basic food aid, hygiene kits, mattresses and blankets to help immediate needs. The situation is very fluid, and our response is adapting on an almost daily basis.

Over the last three years in Syria, we have helped tens of thousands of families physically, emotionally and spiritually. Having received real help at their time of need, significant numbers of Syrians have met Christ. These principles are the basis for our response to the humanitarian disaster in North Iraq: making our response relationally-based, working with local believers, and helping people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds without conditions while being missional as we do so. We long to see Iraqis helped…and for them to meet and experience Jesus.

Bangladesh: Getting a good education is beyond the reach of many families and an impossible dream for most in rural areas. OM runs 27 starter-primary schools that give pupils a helping hand to enter government schools later. Eleven-year-old Shamim* longed to go and her mother worked hard to get her name on the list. Shamim says, “Even though I am older than many others in my class, I am so happy to learn to read, write and do simple math. I didn’t know the importance of good hygiene, but now I do. OM supplies all I need for school—things my mother could never have managed to provide. My life has turned around. I hope that I can continue to study and make a real change in my family’s life.”

Although Rehana* graduated from school years ago, there were no employment opportunities in the area; as a woman, it was inappropriate to travel far from the village. So, when OM opened a local school, she was thrilled to be offered a teaching position. Rehana was given specialised training to help her begin. She also recognises the personal difference the school has made to her own life. “Before, I had no honour or purpose, but now people respect me as a teacher. The dynamics of my family have also changed: our family is more peaceful, and my husband and I have a greater sense of unity. It is amazing to see my husband helping me prepare lessons.” Pray that more children would benefit from getting an education and that through these schools they will come to know the Saviour.

 

church planting

Logos Hope: During the visit to Keelung, Taiwan, the events team worked with Keelung Hakka Fellowship, whose aim is to unite the Hakka people. Displaced from China centuries ago, Hakkas are spread throughout the world; about 60,000 live in Keelung. The organisation seeks to show Hakkas they can find their home in Jesus and experience unity in God’s family. Director and Pastor Lin said, “We want to share the Gospel through the ship.” This he did during one onboard event where over one hundred Hakka attended. Logos Hope also ran an event for Hakka Christians, equipping and encouraging them to share their faith—a perfect example of how a ship visit to a port can encourage work God is already doing.

Pakistan: Sahib* is an active member of a jamat, or fellowship group, that OM works with. From a young age, Sahib was fond of studying books, particularly those on Islam and other religions, but he was unsure of what was true. One of Sahib’s teachers had a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and saw that the boy was interested in discovering spiritual truth. They went for walks together, during which time they discussed many intriguing questions.

Months later, Sahib spotted a newspaper advertisement for Bible courses, which brought him into contact with an OM team and the possibility of joining a jamat for Bible study. Upon completion of the course, he received a copy of the Bible as a gift. Sahib was thrilled to have his own Bible, but was also afraid that if his father saw what he was doing, he would be angry. He wrapped his Bible in red paper so that nobody could see the title, and started reading it secretly at home. The more he read, the more God opened his eyes and heart to understand the truth…and so Sahib trusted Jesus and was baptised.

These days, Sahib is far from home but is in regular contact with the local OM team. His father, missing his son’s physical presence, started going into his room as a means of feeling connected to him. One day, he noticed Sahib’s collection of books. Instead of being angry, Sahib’s father told him, “I am very happy that you are reading good books about moral ethics. I have even started reading your red book. It’s a very good book!” His father’s own walk towards Jesus has begun.

 

justice

New Zealand: Many think that slavery, exploitation and human trafficking now only exist in history books or epic films. The sad truth is that they remain a huge problem, with more than 27 million people enslaved today. As 110 men, women and children climbed five volcanoes (Domain, Mt Eden, Mt Hobson, Mt St Johns and One Tree Hill) in Auckland’s inaugural Freedom Climb in August, they were reminded of those unable to climb out of their circumstances on their own.

Terrena Griffiths (New Zealand), who believes that Freedom Climb “is a great cause and a great way to encourage the family to get moving,” was thrilled to be the first runner to complete the 16km climb. One of New Zealand’s national cricket selectors, and a well-known TV personality, also participated in the climb. Twelve residents from Ranfurly Care Society, an organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, took part in the climb as well.

Awareness and funds for projects that seek to bring hope and transform the lives of women and children who are exploited, enslaved and trafficked are raised through Freedom Climb, an initiative of OM. www.thefreedomclimb.net

 

mentoring & discipleship

Egypt: History was made as the inaugural TeenStreet in Egypt took place from 31 August–6 September. TeenStreet, with the vision to grow the next generation in their love for God and people, takes place around the world, each one contextualised to its home culture. TeenStreet Egypt, the first in the Arab world, is unique with Arabic as its main language.

This year over 70 teens and adults experienced the theme Making History, a study of the life of Joseph, who as a teenager came to this very nation and was used by God to save Egypt and thus made history. TS Director Anna says, “Our prayer is that the teens will get to know Jesus better, grow in their faith and be a part of God’s plan in making history in this land and beyond.” Pray for the teens and their youth leaders as they process this experience and call on their lives!

Ecuador: OM’s eight-week training to prepare missionaries for foreign fields took place from May–July 2014. “The school was a dynamic experience to grow closer to God and learn more about myself,” said Andrés Celi. “Learning how to approach ministry toward those affected by HIV and AIDS or how to best fit as a warm-cultured Latino with those from other cultures on the mission field was a growing experience.” Colombian Juan Pablo Cufiño praised the practical portion, “Three weeks of living in a less-privileged but loving community with fellow followers of God has humbled me.”

OM’s training has traditionally embraced mature believers who desire to better prepare themselves for foreign fields. Trainer Mark Reul testified that he “…saw God working in all of the participants. It was a blessing to serve in different communities and churches around Ecuador with such a talented group of highly motivated people.” Programme leader Riana van der Berg is still surprised “how much of a family develops over eight short, yet powerful, weeks. God wants to mobilise the Andean Region and equip its people for life, not only in missions but for a daily walk with Himself. The school is a great tool to do this.”

Three of the 13 students remain in Ecuador to further serve the Canton of Saraguro, while another two have boarded Logos Hope to serve for a year. One student has committed to assist the OM team in its weekly SportsLink ministry.

 

On behalf of all our workers representing over 110 nations in more than 115 countries, I thank you for your prayers and support.

By His Grace,

Lawrence Tong

* names changed for security reasons

Credit: OM International · © 2014 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

OM’s role in the Church is to mobilise people to share the knowledge of Jesus and His love with every generation in every nation. OM pioneers and leads initiatives to redeem lives, rebuild communities and restore hope in over 110 countries.

About Director’s Update

lawrence

OM's International Director, Lawrence Tong,  highlights important issues, developments in ministry and concerns for prayer and response worldwide. This monthly report is issued digitally.

e-mail subscription: imelda.tadena@om.org

Follow Lawrence:

Like Lawrence Tong on Facebook Follow @OMLawrenceTong


to top ^