Kids love cartoon characters. Because of this, One Mission Kids had used them to teach kids for many years. Charles M. Schultz, creator of Peanuts, once said, “Cartooning is preaching. And I think we have a right to do some preaching.”
Since the days of the quarterly Missions to the Max newsletter, One Mission Kids (OMK) created and utilized cartoon characters to teach kids mission concepts. From simple conversations between Mira Mefirst and Otto, to KimmiKindheart sharing ideas for kids to try missions, OMK understands that cartoons speak to kids (and kids at heart).In fact, we even created an entire VBS-type missions program around the character of Max the Dog, entitled Making Trax with Max!
OMK also designed boy and girl characters wearing traditional clothing for many of the countries where OMS ministers. The international characters introduce kids to worldwide destinations on the One Mission Kids website.
The original characters were hand drawn by Susie Howard based upon sketches created by her sister. When Amy Nelson joined OMK she brought the characters into the computer age. Then, OMS friend and Sonny Solar artist David Oldham completed the remaining international characters.
OMK is now working with illustrator Brian Rees to update our existing stick figure characters to help prepare them for future animation. The original characters had black hair, black eyes, and many were missing noses. By simply adding a nose and giving each character their own eye and hair color,OMK can better reach an international audience and specifically the iGeneration (those born after 1996.)
The OMK animation project will take considerable time and nearly $3,000 to purchase the necessary animation software, cartoon backgrounds, and artist fees. More than 65 characters need to be redesigned in multiple formats so they will be ready for future animation. More than 42 international characters will be redrawn to include many new countries of OMS ministry from Thailand to Venezuela and even Israel.The original 7 main characters will welcome some fresh faces, including Grammy Rose (married to Globe Trotting Gramps), a boy in a wheelchair, an adopted girl from Asia, and even a cat.
These dynamic changes, along with updating the OMK website to be mobile friendly, are ways for One Mission Kids to effectively continue to help grow missionary hearts.
More than four generations of youth have been impacted by the children’s ministry of One Mission Kids (OMK). During these 10+ decades, every OMS missionary involved in children’s ministry has found himself or herself asking the same basic questions. How do we reach the present generation with the Gospel, and how do we inspire them to do the work of a missionary?
As unique as each individual child is, so is the generation they are born into. For example, the present generation of youth that OMK is reaching, Generation Z (those who were born after 1996), represent more than 23 million young people under the age of 20 in the United States alone. They carry the appropriate nickname iGen, due to the high-tech world they live and thrive in. This simple fact, along with the list of other unique characteristics of iGen, such as innovative thinking, increased access to information, and heightened desire for visual stimulation, is shaping and molding the way OMK helps to grow missionary hearts. Now more than ever, technology and visual approaches are key to developing programs and resources.
Recently, OMK developed a mission-focused evangelistic program entitled One Night in the Wax Museum. Jason and Lora Campbell drew upon what they learned about iGen to create this visually appealing and interactive program. It is designed with high tech visuals, sound effects, costumes, and props that are used to present the Gospel and challenge young people to take the Gospel to their family and friends. They have been able to share this dynamic presentation at events in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
How exciting to see God reach the hearts of young people as they respond to this interactive program. For example, one young man who trusted the Lord as his Savior, enthusiastically took the Gospel tool that was created for the program and immediately ran up to his parents and began telling them how they too can trust the Lord as their Savior. This is what One Mission Kids is all about, helping this generation to both hear and understand the Gospel and equipping them to reach future generations or, as we like to say, helping them to grow missionary hearts.
Statistics Source: Genhq.com, The Center for Generational Kinetics.
One Mission Society’s children’s ministry began more than 100 years ago when Aunt Julia Kilbourne introduced the monthly prayer coin calendars. The money collected supported mission projects around the OMS world. News articles were even written for kids in the OMS Standard publication (today’s OMS Outreach magazine).
OMS family conferences introduced the PALS program, allowing kids to rub shoulders with OMS missionaries. They also raised funds for OMS projects, which helped them learn firsthand that OMS is a family. Kids knew by name Pat Winfrey, Gwen Pinkerton, and Aunt Ruth Hunter (see clown photo).
Their use of puppets, songs, games, clowning, and exciting missionary stories brought missions to life every year.
In the 1990s, God burdened Susie Howard to bring missions to kids beyond missionary conferences through the quarterly Missions to the Max newsletter. Cartoon characters Otto the Missionary Sender and Max the dog joined the One Mission Kids (OMK) team to introduce each article. Each issue focused on a specific country or region, allowing kids to get a snapshot of what God was doing. A prayer and birthday calendar for OMS MKs was also included.
In 2004, OMK partnered with Men for Missions to produce the first Kids Can Do (and Big People, Too!) book (KCD) of 10 lessons to help raise funds for the Operation Saturation solar-radio project in Haiti. Soon, more mission projects were given the Kids Can Do treatment so kids could “experience” a mission trip at home, through the interactive Missions to Go lessons.
In 2006, Jason Campbell brought his audio skills to the team and produced the Music-to-go CD for kids. Workshops became a yearly focus with trips to EQUIP in Peoria to educate parents, teachers, and church workers to train their kids in missions.
In 2007, Jason created the MAXers summer program (previously PALS), resulting in the creation of the Good News Reporters, later released as a VBS in 2013. Jason continued his summer ministry of speaking at youth camps as a way to test the VBS-type programs. To date, One Mission Kids has developed 8 VBS-like mission programs.
In 2009, Missions to the MAX! morphed into an interactive website, allowing kids to explore the world of OMS. In 2010, when OMS changed its name to One Mission Society, OMS’ children’s ministry rebranded to become known as One Mission Kids. During this time, the Champions of the Great Commission book series began with the story of Charles Cowman.
In 2015, Lora Jones Campbell joined One Mission Kids, bringing her skills as an educator and curriculum developer.
This year, with the help of a cartoonist, OMK is updating the Missions to the MAX! cartoon characters for web animation to breathe new life into the OMK website. Mr. Jason and Aunt Lora continue the long-honored tradition set by Aunt Julia to find new ways for kids to grow their missionary hearts through the ministries of OMS.
Jose Nunez, from San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, grew up helping his family on their farm. He learned to prepare the field, chose the right seeds, water, prune, and harvest the crops. As he learned the family trade of how to farm, he also learned how to gamble and drink alcohol at a very young age.
“I helped my family in the field in the morning and once we were done, I would gamble either by playing cards or cockfighting. This all changed when I went to South Korea in January of 2006 to work in a manufacturing company,” Jose related.
During Jose’s first month in Korea, he met a pastor from Pakistan who told him about Friends of All Nations and that he could meet other Filipino there. So, he went and met the pastor and some other Filipino workers. From that day on, Jose continued to go to FAN. As he learned more about God’s Word, a hunger to know more grew in him. Jose shares, “I kept reading the Bible and attending the Bible studies in people’s houses. Not long after that, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized on June 7, 2007.”
The changes in his life were not sudden, but as time passed, he noticed there were drastic changes compared to his life before. His perspective on life changed, and all his vices disappeared. “My desire now is for my entire family, my friends, and relatives to come to know the Lord,” Jose said.
Jose met his wife at FAN in 2009 and got married in September 2010. They both grew in their spiritual walks through the ministries of FAN. In 2011, they returned to the Philippines and with the help of a pastor from FAN, Jose and his wife started a Bible study in their community and some of Jose’s relatives accepted Christ. They are now part of the local church in their community. My whole family is actively involved in our church.
In 2012, we returned to South Korea for work. Now his job is not located near a FAN branch. The company is located in a remote area and there are no churches nearby so Jose and two of his coworkers started a Bible study. Jose shared, “Now, we are about a dozen people who attend the study. Some are just listeners for now, but some are on fire as they study God’s Word.
“God allowed me to learn how to be a rice planter in the Philippines who cares for his crops and knows how to make them grow. Now, I use those things that I learned in planting rice to plant churches!”
My name is Verrose Nunez, and I’m from the Philippines. I moved to South Korea in 2001 to work as an entertainer. I worked as a singer in a bar in Seoul, along with six other women. We worked from 7 pm to 3 am daily. Eventually, I quit my job and worked as a factory worker in Incheon to have a better salary and work environment.
In June 2009, friends invited me to attend a Friends of All Nations (FAN) meeting. My friends wanted to show me how God was faithful in their lives. The first time I visited, I felt the power of God and the love of the Christians that I met. After a few months, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I was baptized on October 19, 2009.
My life was transformed from darkness to light. Since then, I have felt something different in my life. I learned the things that God doesn’t want me to do and also the things that he wants me to do, especially during rough times in my life.
I became a worship leader at FAN, and I was so happy that I was using my gift of singing to worship him and not to sing for men at the bar. God also led me to FAN to meet my husband José, who was a leader in the Filipino community. We got married at FAN in September 2010.
Just as the Bible says in Joshua 24:15, I promised God that my family and I would serve the Lord.
Through FAN, I felt the love and support of our pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ. I was far away from my family, but I didn’t feel alone because they all considered me as part of their family.
In 2011, I returned to the Philippines. My family noticed a big difference in my life. They noted that I was calm, content, and full of joy … totally different from the person that I was when I left the country. I am so thankful to God that he took me out of the darkness and brought me to light, and he also gave me the strength to love others. We soon started a Bible study through which my younger sister and her family accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Even though my husband still works overseas, we are in constant communication with each other, and we always make sure that we are encouraging each other to grow more in the Lord. My husband, daughters, and I talk as a family through Skype. José and I want to make sure that our daughters understand the Bible and know God. As a family, we pray, read the Bible, and memorize and recite verses. It is hard being far away from my husband, but God strengthens me daily. I lead the youth and serve as a worship leader at our church, where my two daughters love to sing and learn Bible stories.
Dr. Dennis F. Kinlaw, beloved senior statesman of OMS as longtime trustee and Board chair, passed away on the morning of April 10, 2017, at the age of 94. Dr. Kinlaw was one of the longest serving chairmen of the international OMS Board of Trustees in the mission's history. He also served as the former Francis Asbury Society founder and president, Asbury University president, and Asbury Theological Seminary OT professor.
Dr. Kinlaw was the most warm hearted, intellectually sharp, and passionate follower of Christ whom we ever had the privilege of knowing. The number of people that he influenced for Christ around the world would be unfathomable. He was a Christian educator, insightful philosopher, published author, popular retreat and conference speaker, camp meeting evangelist, Bible teacher, academic scholar, institutional administrator, missionary statesman, reliable friend, faithful father, and devoted husband.
Personally, Dr. Kinlaw was instrumental in counseling Celia and me during our time of discerning God's call on our lives, and then paving the way that we would be accepted on probation at Asbury College. During those college years, he and Mrs. Kinlaw demonstrated lavish love toward us to such a degree that our duplex neighbors thought we were somebody when in actuality we were nobody. And lastly, Dr. Kinlaw helped me while serving as an executive officer in administration at OMS, to understand that when dealing with disciplinary matters, non-compliance with doctrinal distinctives, was tantamount to breaking covenant with OMS as a religious order. All in all, Dr. Kinlaw was one of the most influential leaders in our Christian life, helping to inform our spiritual faith, frame our ministerial competency, and foster Christ-like leadership in every aspect of our cross-cultural careers. And what he did for us can be multiplied over and over in the lives of so many other OMS missionaries and Christian leaders around the world.
Case in point, years ago, when former Seoul Theological University President, Dr. John Chongnahm Cho, was studying in Wilmore, he became acquainted with Dr. Kinlaw. After returning to Korea, then OMS missionary, Mr. Richard Capin, noted that a significant monthly contribution was included in the regular wire transfers earmarked for the then Rev. Cho, Chongnahm. With this financial assistance, Rev. Cho was able to continue his educational preparation, eventually earning his doctorate and becoming the foremost Wesleyan scholar in Korea and throughout Asia, serving as one of the longest tenured presidents, and leading Seoul Theological University to becoming one of the premier theological educational training centers in Korea and the entire Far East.
With much honor and great thankfulness to God, organizationally, we celebrate the life of Dr. Kinlaw and the many ways he served God through OMS.
- He began his relationship with OMS at Asbury in the '40s when he sat in chapel alongside the founding Kilbourne’s grandsons, Edward, Erny and Elmer.
- He served with 5 out of the 10 presidents of OMS, including Eugene Erny, Wesley Duewel, Everett Hunt, Ed Erny, and J. B. Crouse.
- He served on the Board 35 years, 30 years as chairman.
- He has been a pillar of strength.
- He has helped keep OMS true to its Wesleyan heritage.
- He has helped steer the mission through troubled waters.
- He has given of his love, prayers, finances, time, children, and grandchildren.
- His counsel, vision, and passion for reaching the world have had a great impact on making OMS what it is today.
- His preaching, teaching, and writing on holiness were the extension of his sanctified life.
- He exemplified the essence of a holy life over the years not only through his administration and leadership, but also through the spiritual messages he has etched on the OMS family and constituency.
The OMS leadership team and our worldwide missionary family as well as our international brothers and sisters in Christ are grateful that Dr. Kinlaw was a part of OMS and that his life has been woven into its very core. Our deepest appreciation, gratitude, and respect is due this man who influenced OMS missionaries and international coworkers around the world for decades.
Excerpts from OMS President Bob Fetherlin tribute, synthesized by David E. Dick, VP at Large
My wife and I, along with our children, served as missionaries who traveled the world on a ship and shared the Gospel at various port cities. When I returned to Korea 15 years later, I saw that the world was coming to me, with thousands of foreign workers migrating to Korea to find jobs.
As a result, I became motivated to start the Friends of All Nations ministry. I met a pastor who spoke English and had studied in the United States. We thought it would be a good idea to start a ministry to foreigners. So, we started praying, researching, and visiting places where there were already foreign worker ministries. After a few months, this pastor decided he didn’t feel called to this ministry, but he thought I should continue. I spent much time in prayer and felt God working in my heart to begin this ministry. Many mentors encouraged me, so with their encouragement I began my ministry in Namdong, an industrial district in Incheon, where there were 9,000 foreign factory workers. On July 1, 2001, Friends of All Nations (FAN) began.
FAN provides free or reduced-cost medical care, Korean language learning, meals, counseling, employment help, haircuts, and friendship to foreign workers. A primary goal of FAN is to disciple and train (using Train & Multiply materials) new leaders to start worshiping groups in Korean factories and also in the foreign workers’ hometowns.
God has sent us workers from Bangladesh, Africa, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, India, and Pakistan. FAN now has 35 FAN branches throughout Korea.
By David Jun, OMS partner and director of Friends of All Nations
In incredible 13 percent of the population living in the United State are immigrants born in another nation. That’s 41,347,945 (read MILLION) people in total! Within this group includes great ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity. Immigration can enrich a nation’s culture, and simultaneously, challenge it to the core. For the church of Jesus, it provides us with obstacles that when placed in the hands of Christ become God-given opportunities for the Great Commission to be accelerated in a supernatural way across the globe.
When people arrive in a new country to live for the first time, they are often disorientated. Initially, everything that is new is often seen as different but interesting. But soon after arrival, it often changes to being uncomfortable and difficult to manage. Often, new immigrants search for people of their culture or language and live in close proximity to familiar food stores, cultural centers, and place of worship, which remind them of home and make the transition to living in the new country easier. For many places in America, the cultural landscape has transformed within the last few decades. Pastors that were trained to reach a white American culture now find themselves in neighborhoods with a significant percentage of people who see the world differently. There is not only a need to share the Gospel, but also to contextualize it so that it can be understood and accepted. The wonderful news is that a significant portion of immigrants are more open to new ideas, including religious beliefs, than their counterparts who stay in their nation of origin. Moving from one country to another often requires that a person is open to change. Immigrants are often open to the Gospel, so if we can communicate its glorious truth in a way that their cultural filters can understand, many can be reached.
Here in the U.S., there are immigrant populations from some of the hardest places on earth to reach with the Gospel. People in these nations are traditionally closed to Christianity, and the governments in these nations actually prevent evangelism. As these people see the church living their faith in Jesus through loving them, and as they understand their need for Christ, they often give their lives to him. As they are discipled and grow, they become great missionaries to their own people group. Those that live around them can hear in their own language, with informed cultural sensitivity.
Additionally, as these new believers grow, God will call some back to their land of origin. They will not need a visa or language study.
Immigration, forced or voluntary, is nothing new. Jesus in many senses was an immigrant, and the church of Acts grew extensively through forced migration. Today, we hear of the 10/40 window and the barriers to the Gospel. The people living in this window (area where the least reached live) and from other places around the world have come to us. As they are loved and engaged with the Gospel, Jesus saves, restores, and commissions. Individuals, families, and communities will be changed, transforming family trees for generations. Some will then return to that area, and these new believers will be used to break the window.
By Jonathan Morton, One Mission Society missionary, director of Nueva Vida ministry
Editor note: This is the first in a series of blogs on OMS' immigrant or diaspora ministries. In the month of April 2017, we will post new stories weekly.