​An Unlikely Call to Africa

September 21 2016

Kris Kappler was hesitant to spend 20 days in a country in West Africa, especially because he needed a translator to communicate in French.

“God provided a translator,” he said. “And he provided a 20-day experience which was unparalleled.”

Kris and his wife Sarah had served in Central Asia with their family for 11 years as One Mission Society missionaries before they were introduced to a ministry opportunity in Africa during an OMS conference. During the five months that Kris prayed about this option, he felt a growing sense that God was calling him and his family to leave their home in Central Asia and go to Africa. So, he responded to this need and answered the call.

Now, as the international regional director for Africa, Kris and his family live in South Africa. Kris’ ministry is to serve and supervise OMS church-planting ministries and OMS missionaries across the continent, which includes traveling to many different countries. During April and early May, Kris visited several villages and leaders in this West African nation to introduce himself, to observe what work was being done, to see what relationships were being built, and to spread the Gospel message through different programs. Throughout that trip, he saw God working in the hearts of the villagers and leaders.

Most people in West Africa speak French, so in order to help Kris with the language barrier, God provided a translator for him as he traveled. In total, he and his team visited 40 villages. These villages, Kris said, are the focus of their ministry in Africa because they tend to be neglected areas. Throughout these villages, Kris saw the poor and, as he said, “people outside of places you don’t normally go.”

In many villages they visited, there was a chief they first had to meet in order to have access to the people. Many chiefs are Christian, but not all of them. Because so much falls on the chief’s approval, Kris said, it is a critical position in any village and respecting the position is very important. Once a chief gave approval for Kris and his team to be there, they had freedom to preach and speak in a village. In one village, one where a church is present, the chief said during a meeting that he was thankful that the church was in the village and hoped that Kris and his team would continue to do what they were doing. Looking back on that experience, Kris remarked that God is touching that village.

In West Africa, the population of Muslims is high, but God is at work in the people’s hearts in the villages. Kris recounts visits to some villages where Bible studies were held for the children. In many instances, Kris said, the parents were Muslim, yet they still let their children listen to the Christian messages. In one particular village, at least 80 children attended a study.

Overall, Kris and his team held two training seminars, baptized 45 people, and ordained 15 well-qualified pastors during their visits to the 40 villages in Senegal. Kris is thankful for the opportunities he had to learn and meet the people in these villages, as well as see the churches that are being created within these Muslim populations.

Looking forward to the future, Kris wants to continuously develop relationships with the supervisors across Africa, learn French to communicate better with people, and to grow relationships with people where he attends church in South Africa.

“When it comes right down to it, communication is critical,” Kris added.

Kris also prays that God will send more missionaries to Africa. The need goes beyond critical. He wants to see not only foreign missionaries respond to this need but also African missionaries as well. And when more missionaries serve in Africa, he continued, there are also more people supporting these missions both in prayer and finances.

Please pray for Kris and for his team in Africa as they reach out to the people of this great continent, especially the population in the neglected villages. Pray that more churches can be planted, that people of peace can become bridges to some of the village chiefs, and that these relationships in the villages can grow stronger over time.

By Jess Mitchell, Communications Intern

Tags: africa, missions in africa, senegal, church planting, villages, missions call,

Young People Stepping Into Missions: Clarissa's Clear Call

September 20 2016

This is part 5 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS.

In God’s Word, the message that Jesus values children is evident. He says people must have a childlike heart. King Solomon highlights the joys of youth. Paul encourages young Timothy to set an example for believers everywhere in his ministry. The importance of young people is evident throughout the Bible. And it doesn’t just mention their importance, but it speaks of their responsibility. Just like other believers of other ages, Christian youth have a role to play in glorifying God and bringing his Good News to the world.

Fresh out of college, Clarissa Hunter has felt God calling her to the mission field in Budapest, Hungary. On the field, Clarissa will serve in communications and ministry coordination. As she begins the funding process, she is working at the OMS World Headquarters in Greenwood, Indiana, as the administrative assistant for Development and Marketing.

Clarissa’s journey started in 2014 when she interned for HOPE61, OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry. She enjoyed that summer and considered applying for another OMS internship, seeking something she could do for a three-month period right after graduation. She found two internship options that interested her.

As she researched the two options, one of those in Hungary, Clarissa connected with Jonathan Long, the OMS field director for Hungary. She learned more about the vision for Hungary, the passion for transformation in that country, and the desire to come alongside the church in a supportive role to impact people’s lives. Clarissa was drawn to that vision, and after praying and thinking more about her decision, she chose the internship in Hungary.

Clarissa’s three months in Hungary was an affirming experience. She spent time writing and editing materials, helped mediate situations, and worked in teams to serve the Hungarian people. Who she was and what she liked to do seemed to line up perfectly with her jobs, and people recognized her God-given skills.

During Clarissa’s time there, Jonathan pitched the idea of her joining the Hungary team. At first, Clarissa was unsure if she should pursue that idea. Yet, before she even returned to the United States, she had applied to serve in Hungary and for a position at the OMS HQ. She soon had interviews lined up. Both of these interviews ended in success, as she was accepted to go to Hungary and also to work at headquarters during her funding and preparation process for the field.

Doors were flying open for Clarissa, but she still didn’t know what to do. Finally, she came to terms with the fact that she had subconsciously made her choice already to go to Hungary. It was almost as if, when she had left Budapest, she knew she would return. So, she jumped in and took the opportunity.

Currently, as she works at headquarters, Clarissa wants to invest her time where she is right now and to be present in this moment, focusing on her work here instead of always looking to Hungary. But when she does go to the mission field, she wants to continue to have that mentality, to be present in her work and choose to make the most of her time wherever God calls her.

Clarissa has a passion for understanding people and also helping people understand each other. She wants to reach out to those who are marginalized and connect with people who are overlooked by others. Her prayer is that God can work in and through her in Budapest, and also where she is now, to do this. She is thankful for the people that have helped her through this journey, and above all else she's thankful for God’s goodness in opening so many doors of opportunity for her.

As a young person stepping into missions, Clarissa encourages other young people to not let the vast opportunities keep them from choosing somewhere to serve. So many youth struggle with shutting down in response to an overload of information and tragedy, Clarissa said. Instead of letting that overwhelming feeling stop them from being involved somewhere, young people need to see what their God-given talents and skills are best suited for. Then, they need to choose a cause they care about and take steps to help others. The more involved you are, Clarissa added, the less focused you are on just yourself, which creates greater empathy and understanding about what is happening in the world.

Please pray for Clarissa as she works at OMS headquarters and prepares to serve in Hungary. Pray that she seeks to be present and relational, that her focus is on others, and that she chooses to always make the most of her time to serve people and God.

To learn more and to give to Clarissa, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/ClarissaHunter.

By Jess Mitchell, Communications Intern

Tags: mission call, hungary, serve, hope61, internship, intern, communications,

Young People Stepping Into Missions: Harold’s Call to Missions

September 6 2016

This is part 3 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part one of two of Harold's story. Harold served at the OMS World HQ in Greenwood, Indiana, for six months learning the details of a mission organization, especially in the Mobilization Department.

Young People Stepping Into Missions: Harold’s Call to Missions

Part One:

One night, 10-year-old Harold Hurtado prayed to God that when he woke up in the morning he would be in a different place in the world, a place where he felt like he belonged. But when he got up the next morning and peeked through his window, he was in the same place ... Colombia, South America.

Though he might not have teleported to a different location overnight, Harold did get to travel to many new places as he followed God’s calling into missions.

Harold’s story began when he was a young boy. He grew up in Apartadó, Colombia, in an area where there was a variety of different cultures. His family was Christian, but he didn’t personally accept Christ as his Savior until he was eight. When he did, he knew that he wanted to have a personal relationship with God, something more than a faith that was his parents’ or his pastor’s. He wanted to claim faith as his own.

Growing up, Harold spent a lot of time in his church. He started to think about missions and asked a lot of questions about God. Harold’s thoughts about missions eventually led him to his first missional experience. At 10 years old, God fostered an interest in him for indigenous people in his area. One day, Harold noticed there were poor people in his area who needed shoes to get to school. When Harold saw this need, he gathered some friends and told them about his sadness when he saw these people. With some teachers from his school, Harold and his friends visited these people. They took pictures and listened to their stories. Then, they went and bought boxes of shoes.

Harold and his friends wrote a note inside all of the shoes that said “these shoes are to cover your socks, so that you will follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.” The shoes were a surprise for the people who received them. Fifteen years later after that first trip to deliver shoes, Harold said that two churches are planted in that place because the pastors decided to plant new churches. This was Harold’s first missionary experience, but it was definitely not his last.

As a teenager, he started to coordinate missionary teams in his region through activities like theatre and sports. He encouraged young people to use the gifts and abilities they had to show Jesus Christ to others. Harold and his teams went around the region with their gifts to reach kids who suffered from a lack of God in their lives. Over time, pastors from churches in Harold’s region, around 100 of them, took notice of what these teenagers were doing and started to use them as a model to motivate their young people.

God surprised Harold by using him at such a young age. By 16 years old, Harold was coordinating several missionary teams in his region and leading evangelism efforts as well. He started studying administration at university. With a strong passion for writing, Harold also wrote an article about an issue that was pressing on his heart, the idea that Christ should change communities. Each person is different, he had written, and those differences should be used to unite communities and follow God’s plan, because the world is watching what Christians do. With all this work, Harold became more involved in writing and conferences. He loved what he was doing and was learning a lot along the way.

Harold’s home church, the Inter-American Church of Colombia (IGLEICO), was founded by One Mission Society (OMS) in 1943. This denomination had about 400 churches planted, but they had never planted a church outside of Colombia. Harold noted that they had many churches but didn’t have a clear identity in relation to God’s work in their country or around the world.

It was at this time in 2010 that the denomination’s president became concerned about this issue. He wanted their churches to support missions, as well as to get young people and pastors involved. The president reached out to OMS and started to rebuild relationships with the intent of working together with OMS to reach these mission-oriented goals.

The president reached out to Harold’s friend, Oscar, who was in Medellin, Colombia. Oscar became the denomination’s leader for their new department of missions. OMS made an agreement with the denomination so that they could start sending out missionaries from Colombia, through OMS, to minister around the world. This was difficult and slow work, especially because the pastors had never worked with missions before. But Oscar’s passion helped drive this work, and slowly, Harold and others could see God’s hand in the midst of all this development.

Oscar and Harold connected at a conference in 2011 after these changes started taking place. Oscar told Harold about his work in missions and his passion to send out missionaries. He encouraged Harold to be a part of this work, but Harold backed away from the offer.

Oscar kept insisting that Harold be a part of this new mission department, but that would mean Harold would have to leave his home and live in Medellin. However, God kept putting this idea on his heart … so strongly, in fact, that despite his hesitancy, Harold knew he had to be a part of this mission. Six months later, he was in Medellin.

Tags: missions, call, calling, compassion, colombia,

One Mission Stories "After the Show" - Graham Houghton

April 10 2014

We hope you enjoyed Sunday night's (March 29) One Mission Stories, OMS' one-hour missionary interview-style radio program, featuring OMS missionary Graham Houghton, a New Zealander who has served in India for the past 50 years.

Graham shared his story about growing up on a dairy cow farm in new Zealand, not receiving his high school degree, yet God has used him in mighty ways. Graham since has received not only a bachelor's and masters' degree, but also his doctorate as well. Graham is married to Carol, an American who grew up in northern India as a missionary kid.

Graham is involved in church planting and theological education. His latest project is raising money for a new seminary in northern India.

Here are our "After the Show" resources to better connect you with things you heard about on last night's program.

GO: Do you want to be a missionary, either short- or long-term with OMS? Check out the opportunities, including all the upcoming short-term trips with MFM.

GIVE: If you would like to donate to any OMS ministries, you can do so online.

PRAY: Pray for Graham and Carol as they raise money for the new school in northern India. Pray that the Lord brings the people and provides the business visa needed. Also, pray for the growth of the church in India. Our national partner denomination, the Evangelical Church of India (ECI) reports that we now have more than 2,000 churches in India!

If you would like to pray for other OMS needs, visit our OMS prayer wall.

BOOKS/RESOURCES: Graham shared that reading missionary biographies is what helped draw him to missions and confirmed his call.

You can purchase all OMS books, including many biographies, through our OMS store onAmazon or by contacting the OMS World HQ... call or email Lori Mcall at 317.888.3333, ext. 366, or email lmcfall@onemissionsociety.org.

OMS Outreach magazine was also mentioned on the broadcast. If you'd like to view the magazine, you can see it online here.

To connect your kids to fun mission activities, check out our One Mission Kids website.

For other OMS Communication resources, check out our media resourse website at www.oms.media.

INFO: Please tune in to next week's One Mission Stories to hear a SPECIAL EASTER DRAMA. If you would like to know more about any of our ministries around the world, please email us at radio@onemissionsociety.org.

If you missed this program or any of our previous programs, you can listen to the PODCAST at www.onemissionsociety.org/radio, or click here to listen to the broadcast on podbean.

This podcast has an EXTRA segment, featuring more heartfelt stories of changed lives from Graham, only heard on this podcast.

Each week, you can listen live on Freedom 95 at 95.9 FM or 950 AM or live streaming at www.freedom95.us. Our programs air every Sunday night from 7-8 p.m.

Tags: attitude of gratitude, be a missionary, become a missionary, call, calling, church planting, mentoring, missions in india, one mission stories, teach in a seminary, teaching overseas, training, world missions, theological education,