October 30 2019
Edier Osvaldo Ruiz began
his life of crime 40 years ago. While only a child, 11 or 12 years old, he became
a part of the Medellín criminal cartel, made famous by its leader, Pablo
Escobar. From a young age, Edier served as a contract killer, murdering people
in Medellín and beyond.
Edier lived with his
mother and six siblings, earning just enough to scrape by in those early years.
By age 13, he quit school to dedicate his life to crime. He soon began to climb
the ranks in the crime world. At 14, he met Pablo Escobar and his family and
was given a home as a reward. From 1990-92, Edier was one of Colombia’s most
wanted criminals. In 1993, police killed Pablo Escobar in his hometown of
Medellin. Within a couple months of killing him, they captured Edier in a huge
Edier was indicted on 14
offenses, including homicide, possession of illegal arms, drug trafficking, and
kidnapping to name a few. He was sentenced to 60-70 years but eventually
received a 48-year sentence.
In February 1994, Edier
arrived at Bellavista Prison, where he had to constantly watch his back because
he had so many enemies within the walls. When he arrived on the 8th
cell block of Bellavista, he soon heard about the price on his head of $150
million pesos or $175,000 US. Edier’s life was in danger daily.
After serving a few years,
some Christians within the prison introduced Jesus to Edier, offering him the chance
to change his life. Several of the new converts included men who had once
worked for him. He thought they were crazy because he never liked Christians.
After several attempts on
his life (a couple times he was severely wounded) and transferring prisons multiple
times to protect him, he began to receive encouraging notes from those old
friends who had converted. They shared that they had changed, that the Bible
had transformed their lives. But Edier just laughed and made fun of their
The new believers continued
to send him letters, telling him that Jesus loved him despite his past, but
Edier thought, “How could God forgive a man as evil as I? How could a person
who murdered so many, who had left mothers without their sons, wives without
their husbands, children without their parents be loved and forgiven?
Near the end of 1996, Edier
got transferred again to the high security wing of Bellavista after another
attempt on his life, where he reunited in person with those friends who had
found Christ. They faithfully shared Jesus with him. Then, in the middle of the
night, he heard a voice that said His power was greater than all the power
Edier had ever had in the world. The voice said he should call to Him, and He
would teach Edier mighty hidden things that he did not know. Edier thought he
was going crazy. For two nights, the voice was constant, calling him, telling
him that He was Edier’s Savior, that he created him with a purpose to be a
man who was more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ.
Here is the rest of the
story in Edier’s own words, “On the morning of November 27, 1996, I heard singing,
and God told me to leave my cell and go to the singing. I arrived, and there
were the “hallelujah people.” There were about 50 inmates praising, exalting,
and glorifying the name of God. I stood at the entrance and started to shake. I
just wanted to get out of there, but when I ran out, they had closed the gate
so I couldn’t leave. The Christians came to me and prayed over me. While they
prayed, I was stretched out on the floor. Then, they opened the gate, and I fled
to my cell and began to cry … One brother brought me a Bible and said, ‘Look,
boss, from now on this is your weapon. It has 66 shots. Take it! You will be
alright, don’t worry. We are your brothers. We will help you. We will care for
you in Jesus’s name. Press on!’ As I wept, I began to read the Bible. I spent the
next 3 to 4 days reading it and praying about my shameful state before God,
asking forgiveness, repenting of my sins, and all I had done.
“Then I heard God say, ‘If
today you wish to believe in my beloved son Jesus Christ, you shall be a new
creature. All the old things shall pass away from your life, and all shall be
“On that day, I surrendered
In 2005, Edier was
released from prison … after serving just 11 years. He reunited and reconciled with
his family, got married, was baptized, and began to regularly share his faith.
After a year of faithfully volunteering, Prison Fellowship offered him a role
on the evangelism team to work in the prison. OMS Colombia missionaries
discipled him, and he served with ECC for four years.
Today, Edier and his wife lead
a church. He returned to school and studied at the Colombia Biblical Seminary.
God also gave him the courage to face his victims’ families to ask for
forgiveness. Total reconciliation is so powerful, and so is our God.
If you'd like to help advance the Gospel to see others like Edier receive Christ, you can give here.
October 1 2019
resides in northeastern India in a state that borders Tibet. She is from a
staunch Hindu background, but recently accepted Jesus and was baptized after
hearing the Gospel faithfully shared for 10 years. Mangali is 87 years old!
many years, our ECC India worker Pastor Abedan steadfastly shared the Good News
with Mangali and her family. Her husband, Pona, was the first to accept Christ in
2009 before passing away from throat cancer in 2011.
Abedan continued to visit Mangali and pray for the family, lovingly sharing the
love of Christ through the years on each visit. We praise the Lord that last
year Mangali accepted the gift of Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and was
then shared the love of Jesus with her eldest son, Sonchaman, and he, too, made
the decision to follow Jesus. He was later baptized and today is an ECC trainer,
taking the Gospel to the surrounding villages.
If you'd like to help advance the Gospel to see others like Mangali receive Christ, you can give here.
September 25 2019
“Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together. Let’s make him famous! Let’s make his name glorious to all!” Psalm 34:3 (TPT).
In the Philippines, on the Island of Mindoro, the Mangyan people lived out their days as squatters on the land. They had no toilets, no electricity, their water came from a well on top of the hill, and many of the children helped their parents work instead of getting an education.
In 2009, Ps Rely and Lalaine Samonte (Pastors of JCM in Malolos, Philippines) had a divine encounter with the Chief of the Mangyan tribe. They had a great desire to plant a church in this village and give the community hope. That same year, OMS New Zealand partnered with Rely and Lalaine and embarked on a life-changing journey.
Ten years later, the Mangyan community are living with hope. Their church continues to grow each year, bringing the good problem of needing to extend the church building. They now have running water in their homes, electricity through the village, toilet blocks, and a daycare building in their community. Children are now being sponsored and are able to attend school. Last year, we celebrated Donna, the first of the Mangyan community to graduate high school and begin a University degree!
This community is a real testament to the goodness of God! They now have faith in God, and many have been reborn and baptized! Ps Rely and his team travel often to the village to support and train the Mangyan people. Many in the community have risen into leadership positions and are now beginning to take the Gospel into neighbouring villages.
OMS NZ has taken teams to the Philippines on short term missions for the past 10 years and will continue to do so, as God is far from finished with the Mangyan people. We encourage you to join us on our next team. We’d love to have you utilize your unique giftings in partnership with our Filipino friends! Click over to our contact page to get in touch!
August 23 2019
All week, it had been difficult to get the group to talk.
They weren’t connecting well with each other or with the topics at camp. One
girl, Saci,* had especially closed herself off from the group, sitting guarded
with her arms crossed and seemingly disinterested in sharing, even though she
spoke great English. I wondered if she even wanted to be there.
As the week progressed, she remained uninterested, though
she showed a little more warmth by Thursday evening. On Friday night, we had a
local pastor come in and share his testimony. In the conversation group
following, we give the kids an opportunity to respond. We decided to split our
group into boys and girls, in hopes that this would make them more comfortable
in opening up.
We sat with our chairs in a circle. Saci sat a bit away
with her arms crossed. I shared my testimony and why I had come to camp and then
asked the girls what they thought of God. After a few minutes of sharing opinions
on faith and life struggles, Saci began to cry—a reaction that spread to the
other girls. She asked us, “Am I the only one that doesn’t want camp to end?”
I was so surprised. She shared with us that last year was
her first camp and that both then and now she had noticed how everyone was so
happy, joyful, and nice and that maybe she needed some of this Jesus in her
life. She wasn’t ready to make a decision, but she began to understand why she
By the end of the group session, Saci had pulled her chair
into our circle, and I was able to pray with the group and later with her
one-on-one. The camp is done, but our communication is not. As we continue our
conversation as pen pals, I look forward to helping her along her faith journey,
and I am thankful for the journey that God took me on that week as well.
~OMS Hungary Missionary
When you give to the OMS Global Impact Fund you are helping individuals like Saci to know Jesus and the transforming message of the Gospel.
Will you consider giving to the Global Impact Fund today?
*Name withheld for privacy.
August 23 2019
Meet Riho, the first deaf Estonian to earn a degree in
three years we had sign language translators for our classes, working with Riho
to complete his studies. In the 1990s Riho planted a deaf church in
Tallinn that has sent missionaries to work with deaf people in China, Jordan,
across Russia, and beyond.
His courage and commitment are incredible, but Riho recognized the need for
in-depth teaching to help him take his congregation deeper in their
understanding of God. Teaching Riho was a real honor. Pray that God will
reward his hard work with much fruit among the deaf community!
By Mark Nelson, OMS Missionary in Estonia
August 5 2019
After an armed paramilitary group martyred her husband, a
man who had served as the pastor of a One Mission Society-founded church in
Colombia, Angi* began praying daily and fasting weekly. She prayed constantly
that God would provide for her family and reveal his faithfulness to her and
her children, who had lost faith after their father was killed for the sake of
the Gospel. She prayed and fasted faithfully for seven years before I met her
and heard her story. Her situation, while impossibly difficult, did not deter
her from persistently seeking the presence of her heavenly Father and trusting
him to provide for her needs and restore her family.
A little over a year ago, I met Angi and visited her in
Córdoba, Colombia. I found her to be a quiet, humble woman. She said little and
busied herself serving lunch to those of us who had come to meet her. She
cooked a full, traditional Colombian lunch of soup, chicken, rice, and
plantains over a fire behind her tiny house. We talked a little about her
husband, their church-planting ministry, and the tragic reality of his death at
the hands of violent men. Believing that God orchestrated this meeting, we
prayerfully decided to give the global church the opportunity to provide a
dignified home for this precious widow. Many of you responded and gave
generously toward the construction of a new home.
During the construction, we noticed how the community paid
close attention to what was happening and that her family was also present. Her
grown children witnessed God´s faithfulness to his beloved servant, and I have
seen a transformation in their hearts. They have returned to faith because the
Lord heard and answered their mother’s persistent prayers of faith.
We are now completing the project by helping her open a
small community store in the front bedroom of the house. Customers will
approach the front window to purchase items from the full-service, general
store. Remaining funds for the project will be used to add an awning, signage,
shelving, refrigeration, and product inventory to begin the store, which Angi
and her son will run. The beauty of this project is that God has provided a
dignified home, a restored family, a strong testimony to the community, and a
store that will produce an income source for Angi and will bless the
I am truly grateful for each person who gave toward this
project and for those who prayed that God would provide for Angi and show his
faithfulness. We have seen the answer to prayer on both accounts. Thank you for
your faithfulness and generosity!
By Chris Williams, OMS Colombia Field
July 18 2019
of the things we usually do when we visit Village Church Planting (VCP) training
centers is to hear brief testimonies from all the students. This helps us
understand local issues, victories experienced, and challenges as well.
my recent visit to one of the VCP training centers in Kenya with Peter, our VCP supervisor,
and Selestine, the Kenyan coordinator, we heard from Sarah.
Sarah shared with us that she was born as the result of her mother being raped, and that because of that, she had regularly experienced feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem most of her life.
coming to Christ, and also through the teachings of OMS' VCP training, she now realizes that she
was created for a purpose. Both she and her mother attend the VCP
training, and they are nearing completion.
of her love for Christ, and inspired by what she is learning in VCP, she shared
how each day from 4:00 to 5:00 AM she intentionally rides public transportation to preach the Gospel to other passengers.
We are so grateful to God for the work happening all over Africa. We are also thankful to our national workers, investing in lives like Sarah's to be a change-maker in Kenya.
If you would like to donate to our Global Impact Fund to see others like Sarah have transformed lives, click the icon below.
By Chuck Rapp, OMS Church Multiplication Facilitator for Africa
June 6 2019
of thousands of churches and faith communities have been established over the
past 19 years in some of the most remote villages of Africa. How? Through the faithful
obedience of African believers desiring to reach every village in Africa with
the hope of Christ. Effective training materials have been developed and finely
tuned for the cultivation of African leaders willing to plant new churches in
places void of the Gospel. But as wonderful as the materials are, the real
story is about the workers … those workers doing the ministry.
Getting around for most of us living in the
Western world means traveling short distances in an air-conditioned car … not
so for the village church planter in Africa. For him, traveling means walking
many miles from village to village, often in difficult circumstances. Many of
our church planters walk all night to arrive at their ministry assignment by
morning. This level of faithfulness is inspirational.
David Cheeks, an OMS missionary and church
multiplication facilitator for Africa, shares, “My first experience with
worshiping in a village was in Tanzania. We worshiped under a large shady mango
tree. The worship was energetic, dynamic, and alive. Our church planter led the
worship. His love for Christ was evident. The next day, in another village more
than an hour away, we again enjoyed our time of worship, and again, the same
young church planter led! After worship and a community meal, we piled in the
van to depart. Just before leaving, I overheard this young devoted pastor tell
our regional coordinator that he hoped for a bicycle someday soon to help in
“I wondered how much a bike cost. They told
me around US$100 … just one hundred dollars! I realized I couldn’t just be
impressed by the willingness of the African pastors/church planters to go, I
must help them go! May all our African pastors be given the tools to aid them
in fulfilling their call to help complete the Great Commission.”
To see the ministry up close, watch the video.
Do you want to help purchase a bike for a pastor or church planter in Africa?
May 23 2019
was born in North Korea and lived there for her first 18 years. While there, she
never heard about God. In 1998, during the great famine, she fled North Korea
and lived in China for eight years. Then, in 2006, she moved to South Korea and
came to faith in Jesus.
is her story.
I had never heard the name of Jesus in North Korea, I was looking for him in my
heart. I first heard about him in China, and I was sure that this God was the
one I had been searching for in North Korea.
the early days, as I began to attend church, I called God my Father, but I didn’t
yet accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Then, I attended a summer revival meeting
and heard the Gospel message and realized that I was a sinner. I came to believe
that the blood of Jesus atoned for my sins. I repented in tears and thanked God
for sending his only Son Jesus to save a sinner like me, and I was assured of
graduated from the theology department at the OMS-related Seoul Theological
University and have started working as an assistant pastor. Now, I minister to
North Korean defectors in a large church, where I serve in worship, visitation,
evangelism, intercessory prayer, and transportation.
God rescued the people of Israel from their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he also
rescued me from dying without knowing Jesus. He led me from North Korea to
South Korea where I have freedom to live for Christ. He gave me the opportunity
to believe in Jesus and has called me to spread the Gospel to North Korean
defectors in this land. When the doors to North Korea open, I want to spread
the Gospel to the people there, as well.
You can help others like Sung experience the liberating truth of Jesus Christ and reach their communities and beyond for Christ by giving to the OMS Global Impact Fund today.
Will you consider giving to the Global Impact Fund today?
*Name changed for security reasons.
May 13 2019
weekend, about five years ago, the Almeida family (OMS missionaries from
Brazil, serving in Mozambique) went to a beach to relax. On the way home, they
drove back to get on the ferry … only to discover it had broken down. How were
they to get across the river and back home? Someone told them about a bridge
that had been built about two hours to the north.
unclear directions and no signs, they got lost in the bush, but what they
discovered were many villages and lots of people living in that area with no
Christian witness. Although they eventually found the bridge and got home, they
couldn’t forget the people and began to pray for them.
impressed these people on their hearts and even though it takes four hours to
get there, Paulo and Fernanda started using the bridge to explore the area. Three
years ago, Paulo asked our team to pray for a meeting he’d set up. It was with
a local pastor he had met and various pastors from a cult/cultic church that mixes
Old Testament rituals and Mozambican culture, such as doing animal sacrifices
for special events.
there is a strong Bible study going with 60 leaders in a place close to the
main road. One man walks two and a half hours to get to the Bible study and has
never been late. The bishop of a cultic church in that area has also been
attending. Recently, he asked why Jesus needed to die. When he heard the
reason, he was so sad because he found out when he was old. Fernanda told him,
“Praise God you found out before it was too late!”
By Debbie Wittig, OMS
Missionary in Mozambique