November 22 2019
I found out that
my friend had died when an email bounced back. Knowing her age, I had the
immediate sense of "knowing" the reason why. It takes time for
those email inboxes to either fill up or come to an end. So, I googled
obituaries for my friend's name and state, and there it was, her obituary with
her photo. She had passed away over a year ago, but the news didn't reach
me overseas until nearly one year later. The news was old, but the grief
is fresh for me.
This is not the
first time I have had belated tears. Finding out after the fact, finding out in
unexpected ways, not having an opportunity to share in the celebration of life
and the telling of stories, that is part of missionary life. Belated
tears shed in the presence of Jesus, a bittersweet celebration of the gift of a
friend, coworker, supporter, and sister or brother in Christ.
go back home, we have to catch up not only on the happy events but the sad
ones too. For us, it might be the first time to see that empty chair at the
table. So, if you see a tear well up in a missionary's eye, and there
seems to be no reason for tears, perhaps it's a belated tear.
By OMS Ukraine missionary, Colleen Weaver
August 17 2016
If you’ve ever
wondered what a typical week of ministry looks like for our missionaries, here’s
a quick glimpse from OMS Ecuador missionary, Jennifer Riggs.
many times a week do you visit people?
A: Each week, I spend two to four days visiting people.
Q: How do you know
who to talk to?
A: During the short-term medical team trip we had in May, we asked
patients if they would like a visit from us. We are also following-up with
friends the Loja Challengers made the year.
Q: What’s a sample conversation sound like?
A: Me: Hi, anyone home?
Person: Yes, come on in. Have a seat (pointing to planks of wood propped up to
form a bench.)
I ask about their health.
Me: I am sorry to hear that your knees are still bothering you. It comes from
all of the hard work you have done.
Person: Yes, right now we are harvesting peanuts.
We talk about the harvest for a bit.
Me: The other reason why I wanted to visit you is to see if you are interested
in learning more about what the Bible says about God.
Person: Yeah, that's fine.
Me: Wonderful. I would like to share a Bible story with you.
I share a story from the Bible like the prodigal son. We talk about the meaning
Me: Prayer is talking to God about things. Is there something I can pray for
Person: Yes, my family, finances, and health. It isn't going to take very
long is it?
Me: No. It doesn't have to take long.
I pray for them.
Me: Can I visit you again sometime, and I can share another story from the
Person: If I am home.
Person hands me a bag of oranges recently picked from their tree.
Q: What happens next?
A: We go back and visit those who invited us back. We share
with them different lessons focused on salvation. Each time planting seeds
of the Gospel. We ask them if they would like to accept Christ. If they do, we
Q: Are you partnering with a church?
A: Yes. We have been taking members from the church in Catamayo
with us so that they can be a part of reaching out to their people. We also are
partnering with an association of evangelical churches who have started a
program called "Saturate Ecuador."
Q: What is Saturate Ecuador?
A: It is a church multiplication plan to saturate all of Ecuador with
the Gospel. The idea is present the Gospel to as many as will hear. After each
Bible story we challenge the people to find someone else with whom to
share. Then as their friends and neighbors get curious, they show up to meet
with us and then they go out and share with others. And a brand new house
church is formed.
Q: Where do you go?
A: We travel anywhere between one and two hours away. To get
to the town of Amarillos, we drive on a very curvy paved road for a little over
an hour. Then, we go up a dirt single lane road for another 20 minutes.
Then, some places we hike either up or down the mountain, sometimes
up to 10 minutes. I really enjoy seeing God's creation as we travel to these
Q: Do you go by yourself?
A: No, we have a team of people we work with, including Tom and
Susan Stiles and the Williamson family. We take turns. We usually go
two-by-two. We also sometimes take some of the members from the church here in
Q: What progress have you seen?
A: We have been able to see God transform two women who were
recently baptized. I have seen people who know God start growing more in their
walk with him. We have seen several people accept Christ. And many who are
excited to learn, who we pray for and are expecting to see them come into God's
Q: What do you do on the other days that you aren't out
A: Besides taking a day off, we have team planning and prayer
meetings usually once a week. We also meet once a week with all of the OMS
missionaries in the Loja area for a prayer meeting. On Saturdays, we go out and
lead kids club, called Bread and Fish.
Q:What do you do on your day off?
A: I might paint, draw, work on puzzles, bake, or care for my
potted plants. I have also gone into Loja to catch up and enjoy being with my
friends that I miss. Since Catamayo is hot year-round, we sometimes go to the swimming
pool and go down the water slides.
Q: What is your favorite part of ministry?
A: I enjoy seeing the church realize that they have something to
share with the people. I love sharing Bible stories with people who have never
heard them before. I also enjoy spending time with our team.
February 26 2015
visas arriving the day before departing for a ministry trip
the same route often enough to have airline and hotel workers recognize you and
willingly help you out
luggage and funds through customs with no problems
a familiar, smiling face in a sea of faces when needing to be picked up from
somehow, to get loads of luggage and 4 people in a small car
meals and laughter with good friends
luxury of purified water
joy of meeting new people in ministry, eager to do their part in carrying out
the Great Commission
language mistakes that the nationals find so humorous they are bent over in
experiences with fellow missionaries where you find yourself saying, “What
happens on this field, stays on this field.”
served a meal in a national’s home with such love and generosity and knowing
that they have sacrificed much in order to serve you
challenged and humbled by the faith and trust of those living a life for Christ
where there are constant daily challenges
guests in your room … the 4-legged kind, like lizards and a frog greeting you from
your toilet – ask David Long about that one!
that “right after class” can mean right after class, or it can mean 2, 3, 4, or
more hours later
trips that are multi-purpose trips, adding hours to the expected travel time –
but the trip becomes a journey – with coffee stops along the way
bathroom, any bathroom, clean or not, seat or no seat
pleasure of being in a Caribbean country in January and February! Enjoying the
pleasant breezes and temperatures, grinning at the nationals who believe they
are going to freeze
understanding why something is happening the way it is – when it seems like it
would make so much more sense for it to be done a different way
goodbyes, heartbreaking goodbyes. Not
knowing when you might see each other again
is always an issue … and realizing how much we take for granted being able to
jump in a car and go somewhere
from the neighborhood – singing, some good, some not so good; the sound of
tools, whether they are real tools or invented tools; pots and pans clanging;
talking, laughter, children calling for their grandmas, dogs barking, roosters
crowing, old vehicles backfiring
the trash dumpster you throw your trash in is gone through by people looking
for food or any kind of treasure
to comprehend the difficulty of living in a country where one has to make
decisions about staying in the country or leaving the country and people they
love if they have the opportunity to do so
awe in being able to see evidences of where Satan meant something for evil, God
used it for the good of His people and furthering his kingdom
last but not least, the privilege of being a part of the OMS family and the
body of Christ and serving him alongside one another
wonder if Paul was thinking about these kinds of things when he said, “I have learned to be contentwhatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have
plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength” ―Philippians 4:11b-13.
cannot say that I have learned to be content – I can, however, say I am
learning to be content whatever the circumstances.
like to close with Paul’s final exhortations to the Philippians. I think it is good advice for daily living
the life of a missionary.
in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your
gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be
anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the
peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. … And
the God of peace will be with you”―Philippians 4:4-9.
By OMS missionary Anita Yoder, serving as anOMS itinerant
missionary in the Caribbean, along with her husband Rich