Director's Update - Nov 2014

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Dear brothers and sisters,

We live in exciting times. God’s people are facing a new era in world missions. Centuries of labour, vision and prayer by (mainly western) Christians have come to fruition. Today, the churches in the South and East have risen to become a source of global Christian influence. This phenomenal shift is the fulfillment of God’s will seen throughout Scripture.

God has always thought globally. Psalm 67 begins with a prayer for blessing, “May God be gracious to us and bless us, and make his face shine on us…so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” God isn’t wary of globalisation, nor should we be intimidated by the force of it in our world. His intent has always been a global church, irrespective of world developments.

In October, the International Executive Committee (IEC) held one of its tri-annual meetings in Singapore. I am so thankful for the commitment of these godly colleagues who co-lead the work alongside me.

This month marks another milestone in our history: it is a year since we moved the International Office to Singapore. The move is in line with our intentional strategy to be present in this region to engage, to partner, to mobilise and to release Kingdom resources for world mission. Thank you for standing with us this month.

By His Grace,

Lawrence Tong

 

The Ebola crisis: a critical stage

Oct. 17 – The WHO raises the death toll to 4,546 people out of 9,191 cases. Experts believe the true number far exceeds 20,000, with a 70% mortality rate.
Oct. 20 – Nigeria declared free of Ebola.
Oct. 21 – Medicins Sans Frontieres says it will start trials of experimental drugs at its treatment centres in West Africa next month.

PRAY. Most analysts believe it will get much worse before getting better. Pray for those infected with Ebola and their families—there are many Ebola orphans.

PRAY for healthcare workers in West Africa: Over 233 have died from Ebola, according to the WHO.

PRAY for more international help in hardest-hit areas (trained medical staff, finance for more hospitals with isolation units, protective suits etc.).

PRAY for drugs to be developed quickly to cure Ebola and prevent its global spread. Countries like India, with packed population centres, would be devastated by an outbreak. Large cities such as London and New York would find it difficult to isolate cases.

PRAY that, through this tragedy, God will draw people to Himself and that OM can be bold, wise, and effective in ministry, especially in Africa.

 

evangelism

Nepal: Andrew writes, On a 30-hour bus ride to the far west, I met the one Nepali guy on every bus that can speak some English. Unfortunately, he was drunk, and asked the same questions over and over again.

I handed him a tract about Jesus. He looked intently at the little book, opened it up and asked me to wait. I saw a change come over his face and in a new, sincere voice he asked, “Can we talk about this?” I handed him over to my companions and went to the market for supplies. When I returned, a bewildered crowd surrounded my two friends and the man: he was on his knees, weeping and praying to receive the Lord. I was speechless. Events like this are a God-ordained miracle. As we departed, we left him with literature and placed him in God’s hands. He knew of Christians near his village and would get in touch with them. Our job is to scatter seed and water it, but God makes it grow.

Papua New Guinea: Desiring to learn more about missions and evangelism, and get involved in sharing the Gospel, 12 Papua New Guineans gathered in Popondetta for OM’s annual short-term mission programme, Launch Out, from 11–27 September. “Oro is one of the provinces where we have had very little or no influence in mobilising people for world evangelisation,” said Field Leader Kepo Kure. She had opportunity to speak to staff and students of the college hosting the training. “I spoke on the work of OM worldwide and in Papua New Guinea, and the need for the Gospel around the world,” said Kepo. “The college principal was open for further training and workshops to equip their people in making a difference in their communities.”

“How on earth did I not hear or know about this?” asked a student, who is training to be a priest in the Anglican Church. “Now I am married with children; is there still a chance for me to reach out to the lost abroad?”

During the 10-day outreach, 57 people made professions of faith and 51 recommitted themselves to follow Christ. Three participants are considering long-term missions and requested that OM run another mission outreach again. “I have always wondered how I could reach others, but now I have learnt many skills to share the Gospel and can share the love of Christ with the young people in my community, and help them find Christ,” said a young participant.

 

relief & development

Logos Hope: Vinnie Liy, Pastor of Grace Home Church has worked with the homeless in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for 11 years with the aim of feeding their physical and spiritual hunger. When Logos Hope’s advanced preparation team suggested putting on a meal for them and donating clothing, he agreed: “Coming to the ship today is a huge thing for these people,” he said, “It shows them they are not alone, that someone cares for them.” Crewmembers connected with their guests during the meal. Camila Larraguibel (Chile) said, “I spoke to a guy who had been through tough situations that left him homeless.” As she told him about Jesus, he said that some of his friends had been baptised and this event had encouraged him to make his own commitment. As they left with stomachs filled and bags with new clothes, they expressed appreciation for what was to them a once in a lifetime opportunity. “We do this not because we are good, but because it’s our responsibility as Christians”, said Camila.

The ship is now in dry dock in Singapore for the Power Up generator replacement project. Meanwhile, Outbound teams have spread around the world to continue bringing knowledge, help and hope to individuals and communities. Pray that God will bless their ministry and that many lives will be impacted.

Madagascar: Graduating from high school, Eddie Ramamonjiarivelo studied to teach English so that he could fund further education. An English club sent him as a teacher to Ambovombe, where one of his students was a pastor. He was invited to church, where he understood the Word of God. Four months later, he was baptised. Now Eddie incorporates the Bible into his classes, teaching both English and the good news. Every class begins and ends with prayer. “I can see that every student is changed through learning English. I tell them that whatever you do, you need to give your life to Christ,” Eddie explained.

Eddie followed the advice of the OM team and invested in a pig. Within a few weeks, he had bought three sows and one boar; he now has 16 piglets. With the sale of one pig, Eddie set up a shop which employs several people from church who need work. “I wanted to be a businessman to help people,” Eddie explained. Besides teaching and business, he is also in his second year of university. “But if there is a way for me to attend seminary school, it is better for me to study the Bible,” he said. He uses every opportunity to tell people about Jesus, and joins the OM team to visit the local hospital to pray and distribute care packages. “I want to be a missionary; that is the great desire of my heart.”

 

church planting

Austria: OM EAST, in partnership with the Roma Bible Union, is producing the first Bible study series ever written for the Bayash Roma. The fifth of ten booklets addresses fortune-telling and witchcraft—critical as many people live in bondage to the occult. Other topics include prayer, the church, forgiveness, family, drunkenness and work. “It is incredible to see the team work to produce this material,” Bob Hitching, an OM EAST partner from the Roma Bible Union, shares. Ten years ago, there were no churches or Scripture; Bayash was not even a written language. Now there is a family Bible storybook, Mark’s Gospel, comics and educational resources in their language. Small groups are becoming growing churches. “In the last three or four years, we have seen a dramatic spiritual change,” says Bob. People are responding to the Gospel with true repentance and a hunger for God’s Word.

The first four booklets meet the need to disciple Bayash Christians in Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. OM EAST will publish the Bible studies in the Arli, Bayash, Hungarian and Serbian languages. Please pray for final funds to print all ten booklets in four languages. Pray for vision for going forward in reaching Roma groups.

Pakistan: Teams from OM regularly visit people in the Christian quarters of cities and towns as part of their ministry to build up the church and reach families isolated and in need of encouragement and prayer. Very often, families have a general belief in God but not a personal relationship. The patriarch of one household had read the entire Bible once, and had established the habit of praying for healing for others.

Over time, it was believed that the man himself had power to heal; when he died, the family made their patriarch’s room like a tomb, inviting others to worship him and give their problems to his grave. The team explained that healing comes through belief in the power of Jesus, as shown in the Bible. They prayed for each member of the family, that those who were sick or in difficulty would commit their troubles to Christ, rather than to one of His servants now dead.

A young woman in another family was aware that her relatives were trusting idols. She prayed that God would help the family understand the truth; within a day, the team arrived. As the family listened to the Word of God one member, with tears in his eyes, said “This is the first time for many years that we sit together, listening to the Word of God. We need to repent of our worshipping on graves, confess our sin and believe in what the Bible says. Otherwise we will lead others to do wrong things!”

 

justice

Costa Rica: Imagine a woman deprived of basic human needs, like food, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. She suffers the physical pain of domestic violence and the emotional pain of her sexual innocence stolen at a young age. Broken, hurt, and hopeless, she feels dirty inside. She is part of a high-risk group that traffickers prey upon.

OM’s Pearl Process ministry and business is a platform to bring transformation to the lives of such women by speaking into their lives spiritually, emotionally and mentally—while impacting their lives economically. Now, Pearl Process is adding annual women’s conferences. The first was held on 24-25 October, titled ‘Valiosa’ (valuable). It addressed the value of women from a biblical perspective, while also examining gender-based (domestic) violence.

Professional psychologists, lawyers, counsellors and conference speakers gave workshops and plenary sessions on the topic, while other Christian ministries, governmental organisations and local bank representatives hosted informative stands providing information on available job opportunities, courses and micro loans. Parallel to the conference, OM’s B-Kids ministry reached out to the participants’ children. Pray for lasting healing for many women in the conference, and for a new beginning as they develop business skills to support them and their children.

 

mentoring & discipleship

South Africa: OM SportsLink ministers to boys in Mamelodi, the largest township of Pretoria, through their Boys’ Discipleship Programme every Friday at the OM AIDS Hope base. Up to 25 boys attend the weekly programme to participate in small groups, hear a message and play football. The team is passionate about these boys, as they need role models, leadership skills and life lessons. Many do not have a father or other male figure in their lives. A local pastor and the AIDS Hope team have partnered with the SportsLink team to coach and mentor the boys.

“Being able to work in an area like Mamelodi is rewarding,” said one SportsLink member. “Seeing a smile on one of the kids’ faces can make your day.” The team believes that God is the glue that helps the team to work well. The team seeks God’s help in meeting the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of these boys so they will mature and make a difference in their community.

Myanmar: Having attended OM’s Community Development and Leadership Training Centre for over a month, Samuel realised that he had never made a decision to follow Christ—and that his life had reflected that. He had always thought he was a Christian because of his family’s belief. Now his life was completely different. Samuel and two other men from the centre woke up at 5 AM to pray and read the Bible, and again after dinner each evening. If they missed this time with God, it was like they had not had enough food.

Samuel wanted to be baptised but, when he asked his father for permission, his father refused because Samuel’s lifestyle beforehand had not reflected a Christian life. So Samuel went to meet his father, to show him that he was different. As he talked, his father realised that his son had changed. He gladly gave his permission, and soon Samuel is to be baptised! Praise God for the work He is doing through OM’s Community Development and Leadership Training Centre. Pray as the students prepare for a mission trip within Myanmar.

 

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.

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