This is part 4 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part two 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.
After joining the new department of missions, Harold knew there wasn’t going to be much support. They were a young group in their 20s, starting an international program. With the task of creating a mission-focused department, Harold and the others started to initiate several new programs. They planned to bring people to Medellin and share this vision about how they needed to share Jesus outside of their churches, empowering them to return to their churches with a new perspective.
By 2013, they sent out a missionary who, for the first time ever, ministered to Muslims. The Lord provided all the financial resources, Harold said, and they started to work more with their churches and sponsor projects in other countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama.
Harold’s denomination, which OMS founded, also developed more communication with OMS. Today, OMS and the Colombian denomination has worked together to send three Colombian interns to OMS every year for a six-month duration so they can foster good relations with OMS and learn from each other.
But the work Harold and his department did was not always easy. A lot of it was slow and difficult. Not everything worked out well, especially at the beginning. Many pastors closed the doors literally in their faces, Harold said, because they didn’t understand missions. Others said the president of their denomination was crazy to send young people to do this type of work. It took several years to see progress because the denomination was well established and tied closely to traditions. But when progress did begin, the results were incredible.
The mission department has continued to grow over the years. In 2012, they sent someone to London to minister to the over 100,000 Latin people who live there. Oscar journeyed to England to begin work there while Harold stayed as the director of the department in Medellin. Now, Oscar is helping to run a church where over 250 people attend. There are also 15 house churches.
Harold has also continued work in Colombia. In the last three years, he has worked with other mission organizations and denominations, encouraging them to look toward missions and spreading the Gospel through cultural missionaries who truly serve the Lord. Sometimes the work goes very slowly, he added, especially because they want to make sure everything is done well. But God has been faithful and has continued to lay ideas on Harold’s and others’ hearts about how their churches can step out of their physical walls and reach the community around them, being present not just to evangelize but to serve and invest time in people, just like how Christ did during his ministry on Earth.
Throughout Harold’s ministry in Colombia, he had a connection with OMS. They continued to send interns there, but OMS said that it would be good if Harold also came to the United States headquarters to learn more about mobilization, how to apply new things in Colombia, and also share with OMS what he’s been doing.
At first, Harold didn’t feel like he was called to leave his ministry in Colombia. But at the end of 2015, he started to feel like God was calling him to leave the part of ministry his was involved in. The Lord told him that this ultimately wasn’t his department, Harold said, but it was God’s department, and God alone would decide who went or remained. Harold talked again with OMS, and after praying about it, he agreed to go to the United States for six months. He had a lot of fear upon arrival because of the language barrier, the new culture, and the new people. But he added that he brought a suitcase with him, filled with his hopes based on Jesus Christ.
After six months at OMS, Harold said he’s not sorry that he came. It was the best decision he could have made. Now, he returns to Colombia with more knowledge and experience on how he can serve better as he figures out the next steps in his ministry.
God blessed Harold with a calling to missions when he was young, and throughout his teenage years and now his young adult life, he has been faithful in following where God has called him, whether that be in Colombia or abroad. To the other young people who are seeking who they are and where they belong, Harold encourages them to realize their dreams, but to do so with God’s perspective. There is nothing wrong with having dreams for the future, Harold said, but the danger is when young people eliminate God from their thinking when they explore those dreams. Not everyone is called to be a missionary, he continued, and that is fine. The bigger question young people need to ask themselves is if they are allowing God to guide them. Whether someone is called to the mission field, the soccer field, the stage, or an office, ultimately the purpose is to do everything so that the name of Jesus is known.
Pray for Harold as he continues to follow God’s calling for his ministry. Please pray that Harold may keep his passions close to his heart, that he looks to Christ as his model, and that no matter where God sends, him his life reflects that of his Creator’s.