Lots of Steps for Jesus in Ecuador

April 17 2018

In January 2018, a team from the U.S. and Canada traveled to Manta, Ecuador. A major earthquake had hit Manta in 2016 and left the city with some pretty major damage. The main purpose of our trip was to help repair the damage that was done to a church. Pastor Carmelia shared how she had a dream that North Americans would be coming to help at their church. She pondered how this might happen and considered several possibilities, but dismissed each one. Eventually, OMS contacted her and said that a team was coming to help with repairs on the church. This confirmed in her mind that all of this was from God and that he deserved all of the glory!

Upon arriving, we found that some of the walls needed to be repaired. Some of the men from the church were already there working to knock them down. The men in our group jumped in to help finish knocking down the walls. The men from the Manta church were experienced in bricklaying, so we did the grunt work of unloading the sand and gravel off of the truck. We shoveled sand and gravel into bags, and then carried the bags up two flights of stairs.... 34 steps. The cement blocks also had to be removed by hand from the truck and then carried up the stairs as well...34 steps.

We swept and cleaned up debris. The men also poured a small cement pad downstairs. This was all mixed and moved, and done by hand. We made sure to stop and rest and drink. And we counted those steps. Did I mention there were 34?

In the evenings, we enjoyed some great Ecuadorian food, and then shared our life stories. It was good to listen, share, and pray for each other. We also had the privilege of hearing a pastor share his story of the earthquake and how the church worked with OMS to provide a soup kitchen during that time. A time was spent praying for this young man and his family. It is always encouraging to hear how God has worked and is continuing to work in people’s lives!

It was a trip with so many good memories. We loved the international flavor - working together with people from Ecuador, the United States, and Canada. We even learned a little Dutch! Eh?

By Penney Willms, OMS short-term team member from Canada


Do you want to join a future team? Sign up here!

Tags: ecuador missions, short-term missions, manta ecuador, teamwork,

Shared Rewards

April 13 2018

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men returned to their hometown of Ziklag to discover the Amalekites had attacked and burned it. The wives and children of David and his men were gone, taken captive by the Amalekite raiding party. With their loved ones missing and their houses destroyed, David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s fighters were so angry and embittered that they talked of stoning him.

In the midst of these horrific circumstances, “David found strength in the Lord his God” (vs 6). After inquiring of the Lord about whether or not to pursue those who had burned the city and taken all of the women, children, and livestock, David and 400 of his men pursued that raiding party of Amalekites. But the text makes it clear that 200 of David’s men stayed behind.

Soon, the 400 returned with abundant plunder, announcing that not one wife, not one child had been lost. All had been miraculously recovered. It was then that troublemakers among David’s men said, “Because they (the 200) did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered” (vs 22).

In response, David put forward a statute for Israel that has stood through many generations: “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle” (vs 24). While this felt counter-intuitive, even unfair to the men who had risked everything to take back what the Amalekites had stolen, it was a reflection of God’s heart.

Today, there are missionaries who go to distant places and peoples representing Christ. When a person repents and puts their faith in Christ or a new worshiping group is established, who gets the reward? First and foremost, this is for God’s honor, not for the glory of anyone else. When it comes to God-given rewards, those who stand behind that missionary with prayer, giving, and encouragement are just as worthy to receive eternal rewards for what’s accomplished as is the missionary.

This is one of the many lessons from this amazing story in 1 Samuel 31. Being one of the ones who serves in the home office to help support the work of OMS around the world, I’m grateful for this centuries-old statute about shared rewards!

Tags: david, homeland missionary, amalekites, biblical fighting, share spoils,

Veteran OMS Missionaries Lead Relief Project

April 9 2018

We’re so thankful for veteran OMS missionaries Jim and Sue Smith, who have agreed to serve as interim coordinators for the Manta, Ecuador, work relief project. The Smiths, who served in Ecuador for nearly 20 years, will serve in this position until Aaron and Kristin Gouge (currently funding) arrive on the field to assume this ministry position full time. Jim and Sue currently live in the U.S, but they travel to Manta as needed with Men for Missions teams. As on-site coordinators, they work closely with the OMS Ecuador field leader, the in-country Manta project manager, and Manta city officials.

Their responsibilities include arranging team accommodations, team work assignments, airport runs, orientation, meal schedules, transportation, currency exchange, healthcare, and cultural/sightseeing trips. They also oversee team dynamics such as daily devotions and debriefing, observing how God is moving in lives of team members and encouraging them in that journey, promoting a willingness to understand the culture and honoring the national coworkers, and challenging team members with ways they can be further involved in MFM/OMS.

The Christian presence in the Manta area is minimal. A long-range plan is to expand beyond the current earthquake-related reconstruction project to include the following types of teams: work, medical, evangelism, and VBS/youth.

Urgent need: Work teams to Manta for the following 2018 dates:

July 14-21

July 21-28

October 20-27

October 27-November 3

We are also beginning to schedule these types of teams for 2019 and beyond. Please consider Manta, Ecuador, as a place to go on your next life-changing journey. We will be happy to help you throughout the process.

Contact:

Jim Smith

Men for Missions

941 Fry Road, P.O. Box A

Greenwood, IN 46142-6599

Office phone: 317.881.6752

Email: jsmith@onemissionsociety.org

Website: menformissions.org

Tags: veteran missionaries, ecuador, manta, work team, relief work,

Men for Missions Continues Help Post-Earthquake Ecuador

April 3 2018

On April 16, 2016, the southern coastal province of Manabi, Ecuador, was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. The death toll was 676, with over 16,000 injured and 2,000 who lost their homes. There was widespread damage in the province, but one of the worst-hit areas was Manta.

One Mission Society responded immediately by taking in bags of supplies, water, and clothes to those in Manta. Along with our local church there, Jesus Christ is the Answer, we ran a two-month soup kitchen, delivering hot lunches to an average of 450 people three days a week.

We also had the opportunity to share the Gospel with hundreds of people each day as we fed them. Many people came to Christ during that time and requested Bible studies. As a result, we have nine new study groups that meet weekly in the areas affected most by the earthquake.

We planned a three-phase ministry of relief work. We have completed phase one of the project, which was helping six churches with rebuilding and repairing the damage from the earthquake.

We are currently in phase two, which is the rebuilding of homes that were completely destroyed. We have the approval to begin building six properties. When we began this project, we had no idea of all of the red tape that would be required by the government. We praise God for sending us Bolivar Conde, an Ecuadorian architect who has taken over as the project manager. He began construction on the first three houses in March. We are praying that God will provide the funds so that we will be able to build 9 more houses, which will complete our initial goal of 15 homes.

Our final phase will be reparations made to homes that were not destroyed but that had severe damage. These homes are habitable but still need major repairs. We are hoping to be able to carry on phase two and three simultaneously.

There are two main needs that we have to help complete this project:

  • We are currently seeking groups who would like to come to Manta to help us with phases two and three. Connect here!
  • We need funds to help complete the project. Give here!

We are so thankful to all who have offered their time and funds thus far. It is amazing to see what God has done in Manta, not only with the rebuilding of homes but also the restoration of lives. Outreach to those who lost so much in the earthquake continues, and the church is growing.

If you would like to help in any way, please contact Jim Smith, serving with Men for Missions: jsmith@onemissionsociety.org.

Tags: manta, ecuador, relief work, ministry, mfm, earthquake,

Training Leaders in NZ to Prevent Human Trafficking

March 27 2018

Late last year, I was told that a group of people from New Zealand were interested in taking the HOPE61 MULTIPLY training in March 2018. I admit, my first thought was, how big of a problem can human trafficking be in “100% Pure New Zealand?”

I’d never been to New Zealand, but standing on the other side of the world, it was easy to imagine it as an idyllic little place with pristine landscapes, beautiful beaches, and happy New Zealanders (Kiwis) enjoying the famous dairy and beef the country produces. There was not much room in that image for something as ugly as human trafficking. But within a few seconds, reality took over the image in my mind. Human trafficking happens everywhere. Even in a place as beautiful as New Zealand. New Zealand is more than rolling green hills, black sandy beaches, and make-believe hobbits. It has big cities, small cities, tourist towns, rural areas, farmlands, many cultures (Maoris, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians are among many), and human trafficking.

In 2016, a man was convicted of trafficking 15 Fijian workers to pick fruit in New Zealand. This was not an isolated incident. Also, there is story after story of young teen girls being lured by “boyfriend figures,” who ultimately traffic them for sex. These types of stories aren’t exclusive to New Zealand. These are the same types of stories we hear around the world. Different names and places, but the same awful horrors.

This year, from March 8-10, I trained 10 New Zealanders how to equip churches to prevent human trafficking in their communities. Our curriculum equips participants to train local churches to be able to answer three fundamental questions. 1. What is human trafficking? 2. Why should the church have a response directed at eliminating human trafficking? 3. How can the church prevent human trafficking? I believe each participant walked away with answers to those questions. I am very excited to know that several of these people will go on to be HOPE61 trainers and will lead ENGAGE trainings with pastors and lay-leaders throughout New Zealand. I pray that through my time in New Zealand, many churches will be equipped to prevent human trafficking in the near future.

By Tonya Overton, Assistant to the Director of HOPE61 and Trainer

Tags: human trafficking prevention, hope61, new zealand training,

Human Trafficking Prevention Training in Japan

March 19 2018

As the HOPE61 trainer for Japan, I had the privilege of leading the first HOPE61 Engage training in Japan with the OMS Christian Mission Church on February 3. Nine people attended the training, with a mix of missionaries and Japanese church members being trained. This training marked the first time that the Japanese and missionary church members sat down together to talk about their ministry and outreach strategy as a church.

It was a joy to see the church getting so excited about reaching out to vulnerable people in their neighborhood and to see them thinking so strategically about how to use the gifts God gave them to help others. The participants came out of the training with a new understanding about human trafficking, but also with a new enthusiasm to make a difference in their community and share the Gospel with their neighbors.

Though I am currently in the U.S. raising support, I hope to move to Japan by late April to continue laying the foundation for the HOPE61 ministry to begin there. God is moving in Japan. So many doors have been opened for HOPE61 in Japan by the grace of God. I have several church groups interested in having me come share with them about the ministry and the training we offer once I move there.

Currently, less than 1 percent of people in Japan are Christian. But I believe that HOPE61 can be a catalyst for the church in Japan, to get them out of the church building and into the community, loving and serving their neighbors in tangible ways. With that, more and more Japanese people will come to know the Lord because they will see that God really loves and values them enough to take action.

~Pam Duhrkoop, OMS Missionary and HOPE61 trainer

Tags: human trafficking prevention, japan, hope61, church

Dynamic Women in Missions Trips 2018

May 19 2017

Tags: dynamic women, mission trips 2018, ministry to women, colombia, medical missions,

Human Trafficking Prevention Training in Brazil

March 14 2018

My husband, Allann, and I traveled to Brazil to lead HOPE61 workshops in February. Allann is Brazilian, so from the beginning, he had a desire to bring this human trafficking prevention material to his country and his people.

We were invited to lead training workshops in two churches. One was in Allann’s church in the south and the other was in Brasilia, the capital.

The people that attended the first training came because of the relationship we have with them and didn’t initially understand the concept of human trafficking or how that applied to them. Those that came to the second training understood the complexity of human trafficking and wanted to gain better knowledge as to what it was and how to prevent it.

For the first training, basically the whole church showed up, around 35 people, and they were invested in the information and how to make it more impactful in their community.

We had one woman come up to us and tell us she was offered a job in Germany a few years ago, and she was supposed to go work in a factory with her uncles, but they only asked her for a body picture. It didn’t faze her then, but for certain reasons, she wasn’t able to go. She told us that now she realizes that she was most likely going to be trafficked and that now that she knows, she can warn others!

We had another girl come up and tell us that when she went to high school, there was a man who would always follow her and her brother to and from school. They told their parents, but they didn’t take it too seriously. Now, after the training, she realized that human trafficking does happen, that it happens where she lives, and it could’ve happened to her. So she told us she would be more aware and tell others too.

In the second training, we had around 40-45 people come from three churches.

Several people came up to us afterward to show us their projects and were excited to put them into practice. One woman, using her abilities and talents as an artist, created a project to go into schools and use art as a tool to teach kids about human trafficking and how to prevent it.

We handed out surveys in both training sessions. They rated their experience in the training with an 8.25 on a 1-10 scale of helpfulness. All respondents said the training increased their knowledge of human trafficking. Only two people said they weren’t challenged spiritually. And the only thing they wanted to change would be to add more time to the training workshops (keep in mind the trainings were 7 hours and 9 hours each). So, this means they liked the material and wanted the training to last longer!

By Stephany M Eddy, HOPE61 Trainer, Spain

Tags: hope61, human trafficking prevention, training, spain, brazil,

For Greater Things: Learning From Lettie Cowman's Words of Wisdom

March 7 2018

During this time of physical pain that has brought me back to the U.S. for a time, God has been showing me in Scripture about "greater things" (John 14:12-14) that He is doing, which I believe are eternal things. Physical healing is truly great, but God is also doing eternal things, in and through us, that are even greater.

Bruce and Mabel Callender, who started the OMS (One Mission Society) work in Mozambique, sent me a book about two of the founders of OMS, Charles and Lettie Cowman, The Story Behind Streams in the Desert, which is Lettie Cowman's journal during the last year of her husband Charles' life. (He died of cancer at the age of 56.)

What God continues to show me is that His higher thoughts and ways are for greater things, whether or not they include physical healing. We praise God for healing when it comes, in life or death, but we can know that He is doing eternal things. As I read the book, I was encouraged to see that Lettie had come to the same realization.

"There came to me today the thought which I believe was given me of God that there is something greater than healing for us. God may have a far deeper thought than just healing. We shall yet see it...God is using this affliction to teach us of Himself and when it is complete we shall find that we have more than healing." (L. Cowman)

I do believe that God will heal me in this life. It's hard to wait on Him, feel pain, and trust in His will, but I know that He is doing greater eternal things.

Charles and Lettie were living in Los Angeles at the time of Charles' death, where the OMS offices were. I recently visited the cemetery where they are buried to reflect and thank God for the extraordinary things He did through their lives, their suffering, and their faithfulness.

~Aimee Howarth, OMS missionary in Mozambique

Tags: oms legacy, oms history, lettie cowman, streams in the desert, mozambique, illness

What Exactly Is Human Trafficking?

March 5 2018

Human trafficking, another phrase for modern-day slavery, is the second largest illegal business in the world … only behind the illegal arms trade. Most reputable sources agree that there are more than 40 million people living in slavery around the world today.

Human trafficking victims include those that are exploited in the sex industry; those that are forced to work in other, non-sexual, types of jobs; those that are forced into military service as children; and those that have been tricked or lured into giving up a bodily organ.

The best way to fight a problem like human trafficking is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is the mindset and vision of HOPE61, the human trafficking prevention ministry of One Mission Society. The local church, around the world, sits in a perfect position to recognize the vulnerabilities to becoming involved in human trafficking and reduce those vulnerabilities through intentional community building and abundant Gospel sowing.

HOPE61 trains and equips churches worldwide to understand the issue of human trafficking, identify the causes of vulnerability of local people to become involved in human trafficking, and discover the gifts, talents, abilities, and resources that God has given each church to reduce the vulnerability of those around them. At its core, HOPE61 is an evangelism and discipleship catalyst aimed at people who are vulnerable to become involved in human trafficking.

One Mission Society has church partnerships across the globe, which has given HOPE61 thousands of opportunities to train pastors and lay leaders on six continents. Through the ministry, in 2017 alone, more than 1,000 pastors and lay leaders were trained in seven countries. There are many more churches that are waiting to be trained, and we pray that the Lord of the harvest would provide more workers for the HOPE61 ministry. There are opportunities to serve as a residential missionary in several countries, opportunities to serve as an itinerant missionary who travels to an assigned country a few times per year, and opportunities to serve in the United States, ministering to the local churches in your community.

Tags: human trafficking prevention, training pastors and church workers, reduce exploitation,