​Multiplying Ministry Through Theological Education

November 23 2015

You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.

—2 Timothy 2:2 (New Century Version)

As a young person, R.K. was trapped in the poverty and sectarian violence in his native state in India. However, Jesus has given him new life, hope, and a calling to return to his home to invest in the lives of young children. His studies and ministry experiences at the OMS-founded Allahabad Bible Seminary are preparing him to multiply himself by investing in more young men and women, who one day will, in turn, multiply themselves for others.

From our founding, One Mission Society has emphasized leadership development through theological education. Theological education serves to “furnish and equip” the minds of men and women to reflect scripturally, historically, and sociologically on personal spiritual formation, the life and ministry of the church, and the impact of the Gospel on society in local and global contexts. Such reflection provides rich soil for multiplying healthy, growing disciples, leaders, and churches.

As part of this commitment, OMS partners with the 3 seminaries and 10 regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India, like Allahabad Bible Seminary (ABS). These schools not only provide students with rigorous academic preparation to serve as evangelists, church planters, and pastors; they also give students significant practical ministry experience that shapes them and makes a tangible difference in the surrounding communities.

ABS students and faculty minister with leaders of more than 20 house churches in nearby villages, with plans to launch churches in 10 more villages this year. As these churches have grown, the seminary has helped to build 5 church buildings in the region. In addition to the house churches, ABS provides weekly targeted ministries to women and children in the villages.

In addition to the 167 current residential students like R.K., Allahabad Bible Seminary is equipping more than 2,000 individuals for ministry and leadership through its extension program. Allahabad is just one example of how the ECI schools are working toward the vision of 100,000 churches and 10 million believers by the denomination’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2056. It is our great joy and privilege to come alongside these brothers and sisters in Christ as they equip young men and women to “go about in the power of the Spirit, announcing and embodying the Good News of God’s righteous rule and reign upon the earth.”

Did you know …?

Arun* runs an OMS partner school. He also leads a house church started through the school. On four occasions his church has attempted to construct a worship facility, only to have it destroyed by opposing groups. In 2011, he and his congregation were herded into a room and the doors locked. Only the arrival of security forces prevented them from being burned alive. Today, Arun continues to serve Jesus and his church as a pastor and educator.

*Name changed for security.

By Dick Freed, One Mission Society Theological Education Team

Tags: india, theological education, eci, schools, seminaries, story,

Former Indian Witch Doctor Leads Churches Today

October 27 2015

Arjun King, a former witchdoctor from Andhra Pradesh, used to travel all over India invoking evil spirits to help him predict people’s futures. This successful fortune-teller’s clientele included movie stars and politicians. Once, he even met the former prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, and told her future. He earned a lot of money by soothsaying … but the money ruined his life. He lived immorally and gave himself to drinking and other vices. He lost everything and ended up bankrupt.

Arjun's sister, who became a Christian first, began witnessing to him. A few years later, he attended an Evangelical Church of India church in Madras and gave his life to the Lord. Bishop Ezra Sargunam baptized him, along with 13 members of his family and renamed him Paul. After becoming a Christian, Paul studied theology at the ECI Bible school in Vijayawada. While he was a student, he planted two village churches.

Today, Paul oversees 19 ECI churches.

Rev. Gavji Chauhan, one of our senior Indian Missionary Movement missionaries, works in Rajasthan. After accepting Christ, he joined ECI as an Every Community for Christ worker. He actively shares the Gospel with unreached people groups, especially within the Bhil tribe. Thousands of Bhils have been baptized through his ministries.

Today, there are around 100 families in his congregation. Many people of other faiths also attend the worship services as seekers. Every month, Rev. Chauhan travels to different villages in Rajasthan to share the Good News.

His whole family is involved in the ministry. Every week, they fast and pray each Friday and Sunday. God is doing wonders through these fasting prayers. Many sick, demon possessed, and people with various other problems come to Gavji and his family for prayer, and God is using them as to bless many people. Pray for them. They face much persecution and opposition from other religions.

Tags: india, witchdoctor, planting churches, bhil people,

From a Hindu Boy to a Christian Bishop in India

October 20 2015

Rev. Abel Neelakandan was born and brought up in a staunch orthodox Hindu family. During his youth, he tried to find peace through his ancestral religion of Hinduism, but he failed. In 1976, he heard the Gospel through one of the Every Community for Christ team members and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Bishop M. Ezra Sargunam, president of the Evangelical Church of India and OMS missionary Dr. Elmer Kilbourne baptized Abel that same year.

One day, when Abel was reading the Bible, the Lord spoke to him through Jeremiah 1:4,5 “…Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you and I ordained you as a prophet unto the nations.” He immediately obeyed God’s call and surrendered his life to God’s service.

As one of the first Telugu converts, he joined our ECC team in that area. OMS missionary, Dr. Graham Houghton, was serving as the director for the team, as well as serving as the principal of Madras Theological Seminary & College (MTSC). After two years of ministry, Abel began classes at MTSC to receive his bachelor of theology degree.

He was appointed as the ECC Telugu team leader in 1979. He and his team baptized thousands of people and planted hundreds of churches in Chennai and in Andhra Pradesh.

In September 2015, Rev. Neelakandan was elected as a bishop of ECI South Andhra diocese. Currently, the South Andhra diocese has around 600 churches. Pray that the Lord will continue to use Bishop Abel Neelakandan to strengthen the churches under his care.

—Story courtesy of The Evangelical Church of India

Tags: india, bishop appointed, ecc, hindu, eci,

Miraculous Conversion

October 6 2015

In February, I had the privilege of meeting Pastor Gopal, who came to India for training from a neighboring country. He is 58 years old and a faithful servant of God. He approached me to say thank you for what I shared during the training session. I took the opportunity to have him tell me his personal faith story. As a young Buddhist man of 21, Gopal became sick to the point of death. He was lying unconscious in the hospital with his family gathered around him. At that time, however, several Christians stopped by his room to pray for him. As they prayed, Gopal had a vision of an angel who took him to an unknown place. There, he observed what looked like a lake on fire! In addition, there appeared to be thousands of people suffering and crying out. The angel said, “This is hell.” Gopal was terrified and said, “Please don’t put me in the fire!” Next, heaven’s book of life was opened to see if Gopal’s name was included. It was not! He pleaded for mercy and was instructed that he could find forgiveness in Jesus. He was also told to “do the Lord’s work” and “preach the Gospel.”

Subsequent to that, Gopal woke up in the hospital room. To his Buddhist family’s surprise, he immediately asked for someone to bring him a Bible. Soon, as his recovery progressed, he began reading it day and night. For a month, he devoured it, Genesis to Revelation. His faith in Christ grew strong, and he was baptized in 1984. He often shared his faith and eventually began his training and ministry with another organization. Upon graduation, he started planting new churches, a ministry he has continued for many years. In fact, God has used Gopal to start up 7 house churches among the poor people living in mountainous regions. He often walks long distances, traveling to 1 or 2 churches each week to encourage and equip his people. Sharing the Gospel is illegal in his country, so he moves around as a social worker, qualified to do some medical work. He also prays for the sick and shares the Good News of Jesus! This past year, he affiliated his ministry with the Evangelical Church of India. He earns a mere $14 a month as a missionary. Gopal’s story is both inspirational and humbling as we contemplate his amazing dedication and sacrifice.

If you would like to donate so that people like Pastor Gopal can be trained and effectively plant churches in India, click here.

By Roger Kruse, One Mission Society Missionary and Church Multiplication Facilitator for India

Tags: india, missionary, miraculous conversion story,

Stories From The Field

September 10 2015

For today's post we have various stories from mission fields around the world. These stories include church planters who have begun using the Train & Multiply curriculum, as well as courageous men and women sharing the Gospel in their own cultural context. We hope that these stories will inspire and encourage you to continue the great work of the Kingdom.

Job Vilma - Haiti

by Job Vilma

Job Vilma, 38, is the ECC Trainer in Haiti. He and his wife have a five year-old son. Job did not have an opportunity to begin his schooling until he was 13. Since that time, he has completed grade school and high school and earned a seminary degree.

The leader that Job has trained uses a bicycle for transportation. To reach his congregation, a one-way journey requires two and a half hours of riding, followed by three hours of walking, and he makes this trip seven times a month. One Sunday a month he goes to his local church to participate in taking the Lord’s Supper.

In 2013, a house group was started in Orange, and a month later this group birthed a worshiping group in Pillet. When this group was three months old, they started a group in Blankan. Now the following pattern has developed: The Pillet group meets together every Tuesday, and the Blankan group every Thursday. On Sunday, they come together and meet in Augarde, on the mountain. At their first combined service, 30 people were present.

Job makes a point to be with the believers at Augarde every second Sunday. Believers from the congregation he attended prior to becoming a trainer often accompany him on this trip up the mountain.

Raju – India

by Raju

My name is Raju. I am almost twelve years old and live in a village in India with my father, my mother, and my brothers and sisters. I am very blessed because I am able to go to school, but millions of children are forced to work and never learn to read or write. My father is like that. He cannot read, so I help him by reading the Bible to him so he can preach and start new churches. I also teach the other children in my village about Jesus. One day, my father took my mother and me to a big city where he was going to learn how to be a Bible storyteller. We joined him in the training room, although we sat to the side. I listened very carefully and studied the picture that the storyteller put on the wall for each story. After four days of training, the storyteller asked for people to stand by the pictures on the wall and tell all the stories in order, from Creation to the Resurrection. Several adults tried to do this, but they needed help from the others. Then I asked if I could try. The storyteller smiled and said, “Yes, Raju, you tell the stories.” Do you know what happened? I told all the stories, and the storyteller said that I was the best storyteller of all! Now I can be the storyteller for our village and help my father even more. I can tell him the stories over and over again so that he can go to other villages and tell people about Jesus. How do you tell people about Jesus?

Tags: stories from the field, job vilma, raju, haiti, india, ecc training, train and multiply, bible, storytelling, evangelism, jesus,

Stories From The Field

September 10 2015

For today's post we have various stories from mission fields around the world. These stories include church planters who have begun using the Train & Multiply curriculum, as well as courageous men and women sharing the Gospel in their own cultural context. We hope that these stories will inspire and encourage you to continue the great work of the Kingdom.

Govardhan - India

by Jim Hogrefe

Govardhan from Madya Pradesh had tried to plant churches, but had no success because he did not know where to start. He came to a Train & Multiply training event and then went back to his village and trained others. One of the people groups in his village had no believers, so Govardhan prayed and one person from that group believed. Govardhan made him a disciple and after several months invited him to become a pastoral worker. At first the man was hesitant, but they prayed and Govardhan said, “If God is telling you to share the Gospel, I will help you.” Together they went to the man’s people group and began looking for persons of peace. Now there are fourteen families (53 people) who have believed and formed a church to help each other grow in the Lord.

Angela - Colombia

by Greg Carlson

As Angela hung up the phone she gripped her brother's arm and said, "You've got to come with me!" Her family, members of a fourth generation house church in Medellin, Colombia, had been evangelizing in the streets near their home. The phone call was from her neighbor who was pleading for Angela to come pray for her sick mother. Angela was afraid. She had never done that before.

McGregor, Angela’s brother, agreed to go along for moral support. He had only chosen to follow Jesus weeks earlier after previously listening indifferently to the Bible studies in his cramped living room. As Angela sat beside the ailing woman, the only prayer that came to her mind was what we call ''the Sinner's Prayer." She asked the woman if she would like to pray to ask God to forgive her sin, and the two prayed together. The next day, Angela learned that the woman had died.

Attending church the following Sunday, Angela spoke with the pastor's wife and said, "I just hope the Lord will have mercy on her." "Why, Angela," the pastor's wife replied, "you gave her the offer of salvation, and she accepted! It's because of your visit that she is in heaven today!"

Tags: stories from the field, jim hogrefe, greg carlson, india, colombia, govardhan, angela, train and multipy, church planting, sinner's prayer, salvation,

Person of Peace - part 2

June 16 2015

One day, Samita went from her village to the market in town to buy food. She met Saroz, a young woman she knew, and talked about what she and her husband were doing. When Saroz heard about Jesus, she exclaimed, “You must have your husband call me and tell me more!” Samita called Anil right away, and Anil promised to visit Saroz later that same day.

Anil visited Saroz in the home where she lived with her parents, her brother and sister-in-law, and their children. Saroz listened eagerly to all that Anil told her, and she believed in Jesus. Anil discipled Saroz, and seeing her commitment and obedience to make disciples, invited her to become a church planter. She joyfully accepted and regularly shared the Good News with her family. Within a short time, all eight people in her home believed in Jesus Christ and formed a new house church. Saroz also went to her uncle’s home and led him and three others to the Lord. She then began training them in the same way that Anil was training her.

After a few months, Saroz’s sister came to visit from her village some 15 kilometers away. When Saroz told her sister about Jesus, her sister pleaded, “Please come and tell my husband and family about this!”

Saroz went to her sister’s home a few days later, accompanied by Anil. They shared the Gospel and five people confessed their faith in Jesus Christ, and another house church began in the sister’s home.

Saroz still closes the door and shutters when her house church gathers for worship in order not to disturb the neighbors. However, she is not afraid to share her faith and consistently tells her friends the Good News about Jesus.

Tags: india, person of peace, make disciples, house church, multiplication,

Person of Peace - part 1

June 11 2015

Anil is an ECC trainer in northern India. Shortly after Anil married Samita, they were returning home by train from a worship service in another town. Sitting in a crowded compartment together, Anil was advising Samita on the proper way to sing worship songs. Although Anil was singing softly, a man sitting close to them said, “What is that you are singing? It is beautiful!” Immediately, Anil saw an opportunity to share the Gospel. He told the man about Jesus, and then he and Samita sang several Hindi praise songs.

The man asked, “Where do you live?” When Anil told him, the man exclaimed, “That is only a few kilometers from my home. You must come and tell us more about Jesus!” They exchanged phone numbers and Anil promised to visit.

The next day was Monday, the usual day of rest for ECC workers, and Anil and Samita were enjoying the day at home. Anil’s cell phone rang. It was the man from the train. “Where are you?” he asked. “We are all here waiting for you.” Anil apologized and promised to visit the next day.

On Tuesday, Anil and Samita walked to the man’s village. He was waiting for them on the road to escort them to his home. As they passed an old woman sitting by the road, the man told her, “Auntie, come to my home. You must hear this.” As the group was about to enter the house, the man saw several men working in a nearby field. He walked over to them and said, “Stop what you are doing and come to my house. These people have something you need to hear!”

For the next few hours, Anil and Samita shared the Gospel through word and song. The man and his family all believed in Jesus Christ and formed the nucleus of a new house church.

Tags: india, worship, salvation,

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,

One Mission Stories "After the Show" -- Chuni and Carolyn Pema

January 31 2014

We hope you enjoyed Sunday night's (Nov. 30) One Mission Stories , OMS' radio program, encore presentation, featuring OMS New Zealand missionaries, Chuni and Carolyn Pema, serving in India.

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

Chuni and Carolyn, former executive directors of OMS New Zealand, shared that it is HARVEST TIME IN INDIA. They are so happy to be involved with evangelism, church planting and training, and shepherding pastors.

They also shared that the OMS-founded Evangelical Church of India (ECI) now has nearly 4,000 churches! God is at work in India!

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 give a gift to any OMS ministries, you can do so online. Just type the ministry name and amount you'd like to give.

PRAY: Pray that the Pemas would be used of God to minister and encourage Indian brothers and sisters. And pray for their son Levi, that he would feel a part of the OMS family. Pray that they would successfully train national leaders to continue the work.

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

BOOKS:

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.

INFO:

Please tune in to next week's One Mission Stories to hear the first of four special Christmas programs. If you would like to know more about any of our ministries around the world, please contact us at radio@onemissionsociety.org or connect at www.onemissionsociety.org/radio.

If you missed this program or any of our previous programs, you can listen to it at www.onemissionsociety.org/radio or on our podcast, where every show is archived: http://omsradio.podbean.com/ . You can also listen live on Freedom 95 at 95.9 FM or 950 AM or live streaming at www.freedom95.us. Our programs are every Sunday night from 7-8 p.m.

Tags: be a missionary, become a missionary, church planting, evangelism, house churches, missions in asia, missions in india, one mission stories, short term missions, training, world missions,