Creative Business Prevents Trafficking

April 12 2019

In April 2018, ONE man attended a HOPE61 training program in Kiteezi, Uganda, to learn how to prevent human trafficking in his area. In HOPE61 training, participants learn what is causing people to be vulnerable to becoming involved in human trafficking. They also learn that EVERYONE has assets, skills, and resources to help those in their community who are vulnerable. This man realized that young men in his community were vulnerable to becoming involved in human trafficking because they were uneducated and unable to obtain good employment to provide for their families. Many young men, in this situation, end up seeking work overseas, and this is one of the easiest traps that traffickers can use to enslave people.

This young man also knew that he had a skill for furniture making and other types of woodworking. He decided to begin training these young men in carpentry and furniture making skills as a way to reduce their vulnerability to human trafficking. He opened a storefront and called the business Blessed Furniture. At Blessed Furniture, these young men have learned to make beds and dressers, as well as more detailed woodworking like turning bowls and chalices on a lathe. They are making a good wage now and will soon have the skills to open their own businesses. The activity around the small shop is all based on the love of Jesus Christ, and the message of the Gospel is being shared with the young men working there and many other people who pass by the shop. This young man understood that as he ENGAGES ONE, HE IS ABLE TO REACH MANY.

There is a particular Muslim girl who is a friend of one of the young men. She has been hanging around the shop with her friend and hearing about the love of Jesus and his desire for all to be saved by calling upon his name. Although she has not accepted this gift yet, she is well on her way to welcoming Jesus into her life. This is what HOPE61 is all about. Encouraging people to use their own gifts and resources to help those around them, sharing the Gospel with them, and welcoming them into the community of the local church to be discipled in the Word is the vision for the HOPE61 ministry.

By Tom Overton, Director of HOPE61

Tags: hope61, preventing human trafficking, uganda, small business, creative ministry,

First Human Trafficking Prevention Training in Haiti = Success

November 22 2016

I recently traveled to Haiti to conduct the first HOPE61 training seminars in that country. The problem of human trafficking is monumental across the country, and the pastors and leaders were hungry to learn from the seminar how they could prevent it from happening in the communities they serve.

Haiti is the 14th country to receive the HOPE61 training. It was a blessed time of learning for me and the pastors and church leaders that attended the sessions in Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince.

It rained for days, and the flooding was severe across the Cap Haitien region, but the day we conducted the training was sunny and warm. One hundred pastors and leaders were invited to attend, but with the flooding in homes and on the roads, we were unsure how many would be able to attend. We praise God for the more than 75 leaders that attended the seminar!

The training was interactive and dynamic. One attendee was Dr. Rodney Baptiste, the director of the OMS-related Bethesda Medical Clinic. Dr. Rodney was so excited to receive this training on human trafficking prevention that he took what he had learned and shared it with the entire staff at Bethesda the next day.

At the end of each HOPE61 training seminar, participants are asked to develop a plan of action to implement what they have learned. Dr. Rodney’s plan was to share the information with his staff as they interact with people every day at the clinic who are vulnerable to become involved in trafficking. Raising the awareness and the knowledge of the staff at Bethesda Medical Clinic will directly reduce the vulnerability of those that come through the clinic. How wonderful to know that the training was multiplied, almost immediately, by Dr. Rodney.

Another 35 pastors and leaders were trained the next day in Port-au-Prince. We are excited to hear stories of the training the pastors received being implemented across southern Haiti, as well. God is working powerfully in Haiti in a number of ways, and it is a huge blessing for HOPE61 to begin work there, as well. Human trafficking is a huge problem around the world, but not too big for God and his church to overcome! Will you join us in praying for Haiti and for the other 13 countries that HOPE61 is working in to prevent human trafficking?

If you’d like to give a Christmas gift this season to help with future HOPE61 trainings, give here.

By Tom Overton, Director of HOPE61

Tags: human trafficking, haiti, training, prevention, hope61,

Millennial Anna: Breaking the Chains

August 30 2016

This is part 2 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part two of Anna's story. Anna served with OMS for two summers with HOPE61, our human trafficking prevention ministry.


I have such a heart for justice and development. I am deeply burdened by the issue of human trafficking, specifically because I know there are vulnerabilities that could have been eradicated through prevention. I feel for the marginalized, the impoverished, those chained by the sins of addictions. The Lord has angered my heart about the ways in which the enemy has stolen life. I desire to see the glory of God bring freedom to those in bondage of oppression. I desire to see them free.

Why? Because I know it is possible, and this is the will of the Lord. I don’t just want to see those who have fallen victim to abuse to be set free, but the abuser as well to come to be a new creation through the resurrection power of their Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s amazing, the Lord gives you a passion, then the refinement comes … and the passion you thought you had at the beginning takes on a whole new, deeper look, one that you know you could not have understood or thought of on your own prior to the Lord’s renewing of your heart.

During my time in the DR, God taught me how to work in community. He gave me a deeper understanding of the Gospel. He gave me tools physically and spiritually to fight the good fight. Through this OMS internship, I learned more about what I believe, what it means to have faith, about the issue of trafficking, what it looks like to work in ministry, and what it looks like to do mundane and super-intense tasks. God is working in my life by drawing me closer to him and equipping me for now and for what is to come. And I get to work alongside his family, knowing and experiencing the different members of the body. I get to know him deeper as he loves me.

My favorite part of this whole experience was getting to explore more of the culture and the country and to bond with the people as I learned their stories. I have met people from different Latino countries and also many Dominicans. But the best part has been getting to dive deeper into the Lord and his will for my life, experiencing his refining, challenges, and love in a deeply life-transforming way. But at the same time, that can also be the most challenging part. There is a language barrier. There’s spiritual warfare and moments when you are just reaching around in the dark. But the renewal of our minds needs to happen daily. The armor of God is our battle weapons, and reminding yourself of who sits on the throne is key.

It’s been hard to see the poverty, to feel internal and external warfare. It’s been challenging to have the Lord dig up roots that choke his fruit. It’s been challenging to live by faith when you see the drugs, the prostitution, and sexual immorality on all levels. It’s been challenging to make friends with those who do not speak the language. But we have a hope that will never let us down. Jesus brings light to the darkness. We may be hard pressed on all sides, struck down, but we are not abandoned. And it’s weird that among all these challenges, the Lord’s joy has been overwhelming; his peace, strength and provision have been abundant. And when we see drug addicts dedicate their lives to Christ, women who have engaged in prostitution learn that God loves them without strings attached, when you see children fed and dance in full worship to the Lord, when you see families being restored, when you see individuals realize they have the capacity to implement their ideas through entrepreneurship and ministry, it is more than worth going through this temporary pain and trouble. It may seem to be happening slowly, but God is reaping the harvest.

God’s children are being delivered from drug and alcohol addictions, from prostitution, from sexual sin, from homelessness, from marginalization, from starvation, from broken relationships, from fits of rage, lies, stealing, and the list goes on. He is bringing hope and a home in him. He is bringing healthy community and Christ-centered relationships into the lives of others in the Dominican. It is definitely a process, and it can even get very discouraging at times. But when you see amazing breakthroughs, you are deeply encouraged, even if they are small. I’ve seen God work by bringing people to their Savior and choosing to live a life for him.

God is so good, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. And writing this, I am convicted, because as his spirit overflows my soul with hope, challenges are real. The battle is real. But we have the ability to set our mind on the everlasting, eternal God.

Tags: human trafficking, compassion ministry, youth in missions, dominican republic, justice, millennials,

​Young People Stepping Into Missions: Anna’s Story

August 23 2016

This is part 1 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part one of Anna's story:

“One Mission Society When I applied to OMS last summer, my application went through, and I was accepted. But there was a catch … the internship was international. This decision was officially made after my application was sent into HOPE61. The Lord had a lot more in store than I had planned.”

One Mission Society’s (OMS) HOPE61 ministry welcomed Anna Ferri to the team in the summer of 2015 when she applied to work as an intern. Anna returned this summer 2016 to continue to work with HOPE61. She shares her story of how God called her to serve both at headquarters and abroad in the Dominican Republic….

I truly believe I got this position by the Lord’s grace. He opened the door to this awesome opportunity to serve alongside some of the most amazing, obedient servants of our King.

Last summer, OMS said that my internship was contingent upon whether or not I got accepted to work with Teen Challenge in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Teen Challenge Dominican Republic just partnered with HOPE61, and OMS was desiring to give an intern the opportunity to work in another country doing missions. When I found out that my internship was contingent upon this, I had peace. I knew the Lord was opening this door; and sure enough, in June of 2015 I was heading over to Santiago, Dominican Republic, as HOPE61’s first “international intern.”

Since I am an international development major, my school requires that we study abroad for a semester to gain hands-on experience in the field and deal with the challenges and blessings that cross-cultural experiences bring. When I met with my professor at school this past year, I had no idea what I was going to do for my overseas experience. I was not even thinking about OMS or the DR experience from the summer before. But then when I sat down to talk with him, it was as if the Lord began breaking my heart all over again for the ministry of Teen Challenge and the people of the Dominican. And I’ll be honest, I was fighting this desire. Although my time in the DR the summer before was a blessing, it was challenging, and the last thing I planned on was returning.

But I started getting excited and began to have passion for what the Lord was laying on my heart. Then I started sharing with my professor the development vision HOPE61 and Teen Challenge see for the Dominican and how Teen Challenge has been expressing their desire to deepen their ministry. Thinking I was somewhat crazy and unsure if this was from the Lord, I decided to ask and see what would happen if I proposed going there for my international experience. There were so many doors that needed to be opened for this plan, and I could not do it on my own. I not only had to get my school to approve my idea and trip, but I also had to be re-accepted by OMS. I had to share my vision with Tom. I had to fundraise. And finally, I had to ask Teen Challenge.

But then … the doors opened. I wanted to return to OMS because it was the place I knew the Lord drew to me the first time. With the way things lined up so perfectly this second time, I knew it was God continuing this work.

This summer has consisted of helping Tom and Tonya Overton around the OMS office, formatting and writing training material for HOPE61 (OMS human trafficking prevention ministry) training, and preparing for my time in the DR. I also enjoyed my ministry time in the DR with Teen Challenge. During my time there, the vision of both ministries was to combine and see how HOPE61 could come alongside Teen Challenge in furthering the development of the communities in the Dominican Republic.

Teen Challenge is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry that works with people with any life-altering issues (drugs, alcohol, prostitution, anger, sexual addictions, suicide, etc.). We hope to be able to incorporate a curriculum that teaches about the prevention of human trafficking through program design, training students and leaders, and implementation. Our goal is to help students with re-entry into their communities with the right physical, spiritual, and emotional tools after graduating the program. They are currently receiving vocational training and discipleship classes through the ministry of Teen Challenge. The vocational training consists of learning skills like the art of jewelry making, agriculture, sewing burlap bags, selling coffee, and many other types of work. We desire to see their vulnerability to the exploitation of human trafficking, drug addiction, etc., to be diminished. Both HOPE61 and Teen Challenge hope to help them build a foundation that will ready them to integrate back into their communities as new creation who will shine their light for Christ and produce sustainable development efforts in the DR, winning the nation to Christ.

Tags: internship, hope61, human trafficking, dr, missions, teen challenge,

One Mission Stories "After the Show: - Tom Overton

June 9 2014

We hope you enjoyed Sunday night's (June 8) One Mission Stories, OMS' one-hour missionary interview-style radio program, featuring OMS missionary Tom Overton, who serves as the director of our human trafficking prevention ministry called HOPE61.

The program features Tom's testimony and his calling to missions from a business career to a short-term trip to Haiti to full-time career service. Tom shares his journey of losing his job and how God miraculously worked in his life and that of his family to show them all clearly that missions and OMS should be their next step.

Everyone has a story ... enjoy Tom's!

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.

Learn about the Loja (Ecuador) Challenge 2015!

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

PRAY: Pray for Tom and his family to continue to complete trust God for their needs. Pray for all those who are vulnerable around the world. And pray for the ministry of HOPE61--for more workers and more finances.

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

BOOKS/RESOURCES: You can purchase all OMS books through our OMS store on Amazon or by contacting the OMS World HQ... call or email Barb Sandoz at 317.888.3333, ext. 313, or email bsandoz@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.

If you are interested in attending OMS' International Conference, click here for more information and registration.

INFO: Tune in to next week's One Mission Stories to hear from Paul Cox share his missionary calling and journey from being a head hunter, to missionary in Spain to the director of Mobilization at the OMS World HQ. 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, click here to listen to the broadcast on podbean.

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: hope61, anti-human trafficking, prevention, short-term missions, life-changing story,

The Safe Place

March 12 2014

The Safe Place

“They are coming! Someone saw men in the village. You must hide now, Marta, or they will find you!” Her mother’s terror piercing her heart, they quickly pull back the rug covering the boards leading to the hiding hole–her safe place. Marta, just fourteen, slides into the hole and rolls into a ball while her mother replaces the boards and rug. It is cramped and stuffy inside.

The only thing she can hear is the pounding of her heart; she prays to God it won’t be audible to them.

Minutes slowly tick by. Now, screams and sounds of a scuffle nearby can be heard from her safe place. She wonders if today will be the day they find it. She’s managed to allude them during their many visits to her village. Each time, they carry away young girls–her friends–never to be heard from again. Just last week, a neighbor’s young daughter was kidnapped on the way to school. When she didn’t come home, they all knew what had happened.

The echo of pounding footsteps on the pavement outside her house reaches her ears. As the sound passes her home and diminishes, she sheds tears of relief. Marta knows that her mother, out of an abundance of caution, will wait another long while to ensure the men are truly gone before she is permitted to leave her safe place.

They didn’t find her today. But Marta fears her luck is running out; all too soon even her safe place will be safe no more.

The above is a fictionalized accounting of some information in a recent news article. The drug cartels have been visiting poor villages and kidnapping young girls, forcing them into prostitution and selling them to buyers from all over the area. Families have their young daughters ripped out of their arms by these men, with no knowledge of their fate or if they will ever see them again. Some families began to dig holes in their homes in which to hide their daughters, but the cartels soon discovered this…and the hidden girls. Families are fleeing to bigger cities with their daughters, trying their best to protect them from these men. Please join us in prayer for those who have been kidnapped, their families, and those who are most at risk of being kidnapped. Also, please pray with us that God will bring conviction to not only the kidnappers, but also the buyers and the “johns” as well. Finally, please pray for those working to stop this horrific practice, that more girls need not know the fear of wondering if their turn will be today.

If you would like to know more about One Mission Society's ministry of human trafficking prevention, HOPE61, click here. If you'd like to talk with the director, Tom Overton, you can call 317.888.3333, ext. 333, or email toverton@onemissionsociety.org.

Tags: anti-human trafficking, human trafficking prevention, human trafficking, become a missionary, be a missionary, compassion ministry, HOPE61, trainingworld missions

Human Trafficking Prevention Starts By Entering Others’ Stories

September 17 2013

Human Trafficking Prevention Starts By Entering Others’ Stories

Today in Thailand there is a teenage boy who is one step away from entering the sex industry. Right now in the Philippines, there is a woman who is one choice away from being prostituted. They may be sitting on the street, begging for change, driven to desperation but hanging on by one last thread. If we saw them, if we knew they were just one choice away, would we be able to prevent it?

Many of us choose to avert our eyes when we see someone helpless or begging on the streets. Because something happens when we look. When we make eye contact with someone, we experience a connection. Looking (really looking) at the person in need causes us to enter into their situation. It forces us to feel something for them. It compels us to act because we become part of their story.

I wrote a newsletter a year ago talking about the Zulu tribe of South Africa. They understand this concept of seeing people. In their native greetings, they say “Sawubona,“ meaning “I see you,” and the other person responds “Ngihkona,” literally, “I am here to be seen.”

The inherent meaning in the Zulu response is “by recognizing me, you brought me into existence.” When they see a person and greet them, they are looking deep into them and acknowledging their humanity, their personality, their dignity.

Everyone has a story. In Acts 3, Peter and John encountered a beggar and chose to enter his situation. Verse 4 says, “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then, Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” They saw him. Not only that, they made sure the man saw them also. They entered his story, and invited him to enter theirs. In that moment, the kingdom of heaven invaded earth. A man who couldn’t take a step could now leap and run!

He’d expected to receive silver and gold. But he received something more priceless than that. He was seen, he was healed, and because he looked at Peter and John, he entered the Story of Jesus.

We can’t prevent people from being trafficked and exploited unless we are willing to enter into their stories. We can’t bring physical and spiritual healing unless we are willing to enter into their stories. And we aren’t really setting them free unless we also invite them to enter into the greatest Story of all.

 --Bethany Ury, OMS missionary, funding to serve with HOPE61 in Thailand

We are currently looking for more people to expand this ministry overseas. If you or someone you know may be interested in this ministry, contact Brent in our Mobilization Department at: bmorrell@onemissionsociety.org.

Tags: anti-human trafficking, be a missionary, become a missionary, HOPE61, life changing story, missions in thailand, one mission society, short-term mission tripworld missions

Preventing Human Trafficking in Mozambique

April 15 2013

Preventing Human Trafficking in Mozambique

We recently received an email from an OMS national coworker in Mozambique that encouraged those of us serving with HOPE61. It read, in part:

We have all had the opportunity to read and learn about the vision of HOPE61 through various publications, including the latest OMS Outreach magazine. Our missionary colleague, Aimee Howarth, also brought us details about this ministry in June 2012.

Considering the realities and issues facing Mozambique, we believe that the vision of HOPE61 is very relevant and much needed. As a field, we want to express our interest in the development of the HOPE61 vision here in Mozambique.

The African continent is faced with many of the root causes of human trafficking. Poverty, large family size, lack of educational opportunities, unemployment, low status of women and children, and a lack of awareness all help to fuel the trafficking of Africans into Europe and to other parts of the world.

HOPE61's vision:

HOPE61 seeks to PREVENT the spread of and, ultimately, eliminate the issue of trafficked and enslaved humans in our world today by bringing the message of eternal salvation to those that are involved or vulnerable to become involved in human trafficking across the world. One Mission Society sends missionaries to work with the national church denomination or other church contacts to train and equip nationals to combat this issue, through PREVENTION of it, in a culturally appropriate and relevant way with intentional evangelism of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and continuing discipleship to these groups of lost people.

The need is present and obvious, but we need people to go to Mozambique to fulfill the vision of HOPE61 there.

Is God calling YOU to GO to Mozambique to serve as an OMS missionary with HOPE61? Contact OMS for more information.

Tags: anti-human trafficking, be a missionary, become a missionary, HOPE61, missions, missions in africa, world missionsmissions in mozambique

Catching the Missions Vision

March 6 2013

Catching the Missions Vision

“I just need to catch the vision.” said J.

That morning, I’d had coffee with A. He and his wife J. are interested in serving with OMS in the South Pacific. A. is a worship pastor, and J. is considering HOPE61. Her husband’s heart has been captured after several trips to the South Pacific, but J. has only made the trip once. They had me over for supper that evening to discuss HOPE61’s mission in greater detail. After watching the HOPE61 video, we each shared our stories of God’s calling. J. is a sweet, godly woman, willing to go to the South Pacific again and be given the same burden that her husband feels. I asked her to pray that, on this trip, God will reveal how He could use HOPE61 there.

I’ve been in Australia just three weeks, but God began His work through HOPE61 long before my arrival. He spoke to A. and J., and I believe He’s speaking to more people who I have yet to meet. HOPE61 in Australia starts with Australians like A. and J. whose hearts are open to God’s call that they would, “Learn to do justice...” (Isaiah 1:17). 

God can do more than we could ever ask or imagine, and I trust Him to do that in my four months “Down Under.” He can raise up an OMS Australia prayer warrior with a special burden for HOPE61. He can raise up several new OMS missionaries called to serve with HOPE61. He can increase hope and justice here. 

Whether you’re Australian or French, American or Mexican, God asks all His people to care for those vulnerable to slavery. Is God calling you to serve with HOPE61 as we work together to prevent human trafficking? Are you called to GO?

―Emily Rinehart, OMS missionary, serving with HOPE61 in Australia for four months, then to Ireland

Tags: anti-human trafficking, HOPE61, missions, become a missionarybe a missionary

Go Hard Until You Go Home!

February 21 2013

Go Hard Until You Go Home!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Rock and Worship Tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was excited to worship God with 12,000 other people in that environment, one that I had never experienced before. I was excited to worship with Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp and Kutless, but I had not heard of the other groups that were scheduled. Little did I know that one of the groups, a Christian rapper named Tedashii, would leave an indelible message on my heart.

Now rap is certainly not my preference when it comes to musical style. If I were to be honest, I would confess that I would not have even understood what Tedashii was saying unless the words were on the huge screen behind him. But as these words, “Go hard until you go home” were repeated over and over by this artist, my heart was absolutely burdened by his message. As the director of a human trafficking prevention ministry with a global focus, the magnitude of the human trafficking issue can easily become overwhelming and hopeless.

As I prayed and meditated on the words of Tedashii that night, I was reminded in a powerful way that God has already called those who believe in the atoning work of Christ on the cross home. We are already members of the eternal kingdom of heaven, but we still have work to do here. Jesus Christ was the perfect model of these words. He went hard until He went home! The great news for us today is that before He went home, He promised His disciples and all those who believe, that He will go with us as we work. We do not work, therefore, through our own abilities, talents or effort. We work through the power of Jesus Christ to whom all authority on heaven and earth has been given!

I am resolute in believing that through His power, we can prevent human trafficking from happening in our world. Not reduce it or lessen it, but END it forever! In the words of William Wilberforce, “Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” 

God sent His Son to die for us as undeserving sinners. He gave us life when we deserved death. Will you be radical in your reflection of that gift? I encourage you to Go Hard Until You Go Home!

Tom Overton, director of HOPE61, OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry

Tags: anti-human traffickingHOPE61