The Apostle Paul, a great missionary, often urged God’s people to pray for him and his ministry. He connected the success of his mission to the faithful prayer support of the saints of God. In 2 Corinthians 1: 8–10, Paul described some of his experiences as “hardships we suffered”, “under great pressure”, “beyond our ability to endure” and “despaired even of life”. Yet he speaks confidently of God’s deliverance—helped by the prayers of the saints. Paul is sure that God will sustain him as the believers help in prayer.
The news these days reflects the desperation of a world in need of God’s healing: the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, execution of Christians in North Korea, wanton killings in Africa. We have many colleagues working among these people. Therefore, let us encourage the saints around the world to pray so “that many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1: 11).
Mission is more than OMers obediently stepping out to bring God’s healing to a broken world. Mission is about God at work through us to accomplish His purposes. Without Him, nothing of eternal worth can result.
UK: Abdul* grew up in a Muslim home, knowing Islam as the only religion. One day he came across a Facebook advertisement about Urdu Christian Web TV. He started watching the Christian programmes in his own language. He then connected through Facebook with one of OM Lifehope’s staff, who helps with the project, and he told him of a dream he had of a man with a white robe sitting in a building that he entered. As he entered, a big crowd grabbed him and took him out of the building. Then Abdul woke up. He believes his dream has something to do with church and has requested that someone meet with him.
OM Lifehope’s multi-media ministry focuses on Urdu-speaking people within Pakistan and around the world. They are in the process of creating a TV studio and apps for this ministry. Pray for Abdul to find the truth he seeks, and for God to reveal himself to other Muslims through dreams and visions.
Portugal: OM now has an outreach team ministering to the strongly Catholic town of Fátima, led by João and Natalia Rodrigues. When João was just 16, an OM team visited his home church. “I remember João coming with us every day as we went out to do evangelism,” said Neil Mason, OM Portugal Director.
João has been a pastor, but he and his family felt God calling them to take the gospel to Fátima. João has also served on the OM Portugal board for several years. After spending a week at OM’s Lifehope ministry in Birmingham, UK, around Easter, João and Natalia took a step of faith and moved to Fátima to begin outreach.
A place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage, it remains resistant to the gospel. “Last week, I gave a New Testament to a man,” said João. “He then proceeded to rip it to pieces and throw the pages on the ground. I was going to collect the pieces when another man picked up a page and start to read. Then he picked up another and another. I offered him a booklet like I had given the previous man. He was so happy! We talked a while and have arranged to meet and talk about the Scriptures.”
Please pray for financial support for this new outreach in Fátima and open hearts to receive the good news. In December OM will receive a Transit Challenge team for 10 days of outreach in Fátima and Leiria. Please pray this time will be fruitful.
Zambia: In Somalia, long familiar to war, famine and refugees, making disciples isn’t easy. Fortunately, Peter* has recognised the opportunity to show love to up to 500 Somali families in his area. Peter has not found the work easy. “Because of illegal immigration, they are always insecure when around locals,” Peter explains, “so they are fearful they are spies from the immigration office.” Despite the difficulties, Peter isn’t giving up. He declares, “God wants them to be saved. Jesus died for them as for all of us. And that’s why we risk our peace, our joy, our security to go in their territories. Slowly but surely, the Lord is helping us. We pray that we will see Somalis coming to the Lord.” Pray for Peter and others witnessing to Somalians in their neighbourhoods.
Turkey: At a local church, plates of homemade food are offered before the Bible study that is open to neighbours and seekers. One afternoon Fatma, a believer from a Muslim background, told the group about the friend she had made with one of the church’s neighbours.
The church building is located in the red light district, where prostitutes and transvestites live and work. Recently, women from the church met with them; since then, a young man has visited the church a few times. At first, Fatma didn’t want to talk to him, but God showed her that no one is without sin.
Fatma started talking to the young man and, to her amazement, they became friends. In the middle of a Bible study conversation focused on John 5 (where Jesus states that He and the Father are one) the young man, dressed as a woman, joined the group. After a while, he asked “Who is Jesus? How can He be God? Why can I feel love and warmth here?” He concluded, “You must be very good people.”
The ladies told him that he was experiencing God’s love and presence. After an hour or so, he left having heard God’s Word and feeling the presence of His Spirit. Please pray for this young man and others in this area.
Logos Hope: “I believe that physical help for people is very important,” said Andy Law (Hong Kong), one of 39 crewmembers who took part in recent onboard training in how to test people’s vision. Help Projects Manager Manaen Ma (China), who has a medical background, taught crewmembers the basic anatomy of the eye and knowledge about hyperopia (far-sightedness) and myopia (near-sightedness). They also learned about basic eye diseases they may come across when testing people’s eyesight in free clinics organised by Logos Hope on shore. Using a simple tool, colour coded with plus and minus calculation, crewmembers practiced fitting each other for proper eyeglasses. Though it took time to learn the tools, Andy is eager to serve local people and is looking forward to bringing them help in such a practical way in ports like Galle and Trincomalee in Sri Lanka during December and January. “It’s a very simple calculation,” he enthused, “but you are making a huge difference in people’s lives!”
Moldova: “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” the OM team asked the children. “Because he didn’t have enough food to eat,” one answered. Although the children are familiar with Christian symbols and rituals, they have no idea about the Gospel. And to them, the most plausible cause for someone’s death is a lack of food. A recent outreach addressed both issues.
Six-year-old Aliona was a skinny, unwashed girl with a shaved head, scars and bruises. At first, she wouldn’t speak to adults or go near any male leader but, with time, she opened up to the team and approached an OM woman to sit in her lap. Nicoleta, when asked about her favourite activity, responded, “When I got a banana, bread with jam and some lemonade.” The next day, her first question was “Are we going to eat again today?”
At the OM camp, the kids received food, love and attention—at least for a few days. A team delivered a food parcel to Andrei, 13, who lives alone after the death of his mother; his father abandoned the family to look for work abroad. Andrei was attentive to the Bible lesson the team shared. Pray for the local churches that continue to reach out to many in villages visited by the teams.
North Africa: “The Gospel is not bound by our abilities,” said Joshua* and his wife Debra,* who have ministered among Muslims for over 20 years. They have story after story of how God has worked in people. “We don’t do many of the things we’re ‘supposed’ to do,” Joshua said. “We just get to watch what God is doing.”
Joshua was once asked by the pastor at a Korean church to preach for a few weeks. A Korean girl had invited her Muslim friend to the service and offered to translate into Arabic. As the Muslim girl listened to Joshua’s gospel message in Korean, she understood every word. The experience frightened her, but she came back the following week. This time, she actually helped her Korean friend to translate! Three years later, the girl told Joshua and Debra that she had become a follower of Christ.
A Christian bookstore owner brought two boys to Joshua to have questions answered. Joshua met with them weekly and one became a follower of Christ. The same boy later became a policeman who regularly shares his faith. The second boy also became a believer; both are now active in leading the local church.
For local believers, meeting together is difficult. They are excluded from family and social life because of their faith in Jesus. Many are afraid of police persecution and imprisonment. Attitudes may be changing, however, especially among younger generations. Pray against fear for local believers and that God would prepare them to actively share their faith.
Pakistan: Brickmakers are among the poorest and most marginalised people in Pakistan because of their extremely low wages and bonded labour. OM’s men’s team has been regularly visiting 30 brickmaking families over a number of months to share God’s love and encourage them. Fifteen people decided they would follow Jesus recently.
On one evening, a woman came over after the service ended, tears rolling down her cheeks, to ask the team to pray for her sick baby, who had not responded to any medication. The team shared some words of encouragement from the Bible with her and prayed for the baby. The following week, the woman excitedly greeted the team, telling them: “The Lord has healed my son!” She has not missed a worship and preaching meeting since.
Ecuador: Four years ago, Boris and his wife Fernanda initiated a ministry for trafficked and abused women. This year, Dunamis became part of the OM Ecuador family. Every morning they receive girls, almost all underage, who participate in a rehabilitation project after having been taken out of miserable situations. In a six-month process, the ministry offers psychological help and teaches them to earn a living with their hands by providing workshops in making local artisan sewing and beauty products. The ultimate goal is to raise self-esteem and to heal their hearts. “Human trafficking grows like a cancer in Ecuador,” says Boris. “Many girls from poor coastal areas in the country come to Quito, misled by boyfriends, having run away or sent by their parents, thinking they’ll have a better future here. But they end up in prostitution.”
Many are under age. Every week, six girls are rescued from human traffickers in Quito, but have no safe place to go. The couple is planning to set up a protection house themselves where girls can stay under police surveillance after being rescued. Meanwhile, they can start participation in the rehabilitation project.
Pray for Boris and Fernanda Salinas and the other OM team members in this ministry in Quito. Pray for God to make the protection house a reality, and for the girls in the rehabilitation process to be healed and empowered to serve God.
Chile: Instead of offering an intensive nine-month training for foreigners and shorter training for Chileans, the team decided to bring the two together for Intensive Missions Training which concluded at the end of June. This brought unique challenges. “We instituted half-days of speaking English and the other half Spanish to further everyone’s language skills,” explained coordinator Whitney Guthrie. “The Chileans had to share devotionals in English and the foreigners needed to speak Spanish within all our ministries.”
An important aspect is living with a family from another culture for a week, speaking another language and experiencing the similarities and differences in cultures. Participants and leaders were blessed through visitors who came to teach, she said, “…but also through the ministries that challenged everyone, through time together in deep discussions and light-hearted fun, and above all through the presence of the Holy Spirit, guiding and caring for each person in his or her own personal walk with Him.”
Kazakhstan: “We’re going to play against criminals?” Maksat’s face matched his incredulous tone. Workers responsible for sports ministry never thought it possible to organise a football game against inmates from the nearby prison. Yet a week later, four believing expats, two believing nationals and five non-believing friends formed a team. After the match finished, the referee, a believer from Ukraine, shared his testimony. Several of the players were intrigued by what he said and talked with him afterwards.
This friendly match has now become a monthly event. “I am excited with the opportunities we have to openly share the reason for the hope we have within us to non-believers on both sides of the prison walls,” responded one member of the sport ministry team.
On behalf of all our workers representing over 100 nations in more than 110 countries, I thank you for your prayers and support.
By His grace,
* names changed for security reasons
Credit: OM International · © 2013 OM International
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.
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