Ecuador, Israel, and Peru
I traveled to Medellín, Colombia, (on a Dynamic Women in Missions short-term medical trip) as a translator and medic and worked in several different areas. In triage, I was asked by a patient, “Why does your team do all this if you get nothing for it?”
I asked the Lord to give me an answer that would glorify him.
I answered, “We want people to know that Jesus cares for you. He loves you, and he wants nothing in return.” The patient was amazed and thanked me.
While waiting to translate for Dr. Breen, I sat in the cubical with a patient and asked her about her symptoms. She told me that she hurts from her shoulders down into her arms because she is the main provider in her house, working her ranch on her own with two daughters and a very old father. She has all this pain because of the hard labor she does.
I was quiet and debating if I should pray with her. Finally, I grabbed her hand, “Let’s pray. God does not give us more than we can handle,” I said.
We prayed and cried together. She was so thankful for our prayer. I suddenly realized why I was called to so many different areas to help. God used me for more than just translating. I had great conversations, showed compassion, and fervently prayed with patients, showing that these qualities are also part of healing.
By Idalia Lazo, Translator and medic on a Dynamic Women in Missions trip
In January 2018, a team from the U.S. and Canada traveled to Manta, Ecuador. A major earthquake had hit Manta in 2016 and left the city with some pretty major damage. The main purpose of our trip was to help repair the damage that was done to a church. Pastor Carmelia shared how she had a dream that North Americans would be coming to help at their church. She pondered how this might happen and considered several possibilities, but dismissed each one. Eventually, OMS contacted her and said that a team was coming to help with repairs on the church. This confirmed in her mind that all of this was from God and that he deserved all of the glory!
Upon arriving, we found that some of the walls needed to be repaired. Some of the men from the church were already there working to knock them down. The men in our group jumped in to help finish knocking down the walls. The men from the Manta church were experienced in bricklaying, so we did the grunt work of unloading the sand and gravel off of the truck. We shoveled sand and gravel into bags, and then carried the bags up two flights of stairs.... 34 steps. The cement blocks also had to be removed by hand from the truck and then carried up the stairs as well...34 steps.
We swept and cleaned up debris. The men also poured a small cement pad downstairs. This was all mixed and moved, and done by hand. We made sure to stop and rest and drink. And we counted those steps. Did I mention there were 34?
In the evenings, we enjoyed some great Ecuadorian food, and then shared our life stories. It was good to listen, share, and pray for each other. We also had the privilege of hearing a pastor share his story of the earthquake and how the church worked with OMS to provide a soup kitchen during that time. A time was spent praying for this young man and his family. It is always encouraging to hear how God has worked and is continuing to work in people’s lives!
It was a trip with so many good memories. We loved the international flavor - working together with people from Ecuador, the United States, and Canada. We even learned a little Dutch! Eh?
By Penney Willms, OMS short-term team member from Canada
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Let’s be honest, sharing the Gospel is intimidating. Why? Just as public speaking causes great anxiety for many people across the nations so does evangelism. This fear may derive from an innate desire to be liked among our fellow humans. Sometimes, we have to receive a little push out of our comfort zone to overcome this fear.
That is what it took for me. God pushed me out of my comfort zone by sending me on a short-term mission trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti, where I participated in door-to-door evangelism in a rural village with no electricity or running water, but with a rich voodoo presence. As the team prepared to go out, fear and anxiety took the lead in our minds. I could tell from the facial expressions of my teammates that I wasn’t the only who felt ill equipped and a little shaky when thinking about confronting a witch doctor with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We met with the local pastor in this rural village, went over the evangelism technique we were to use, prayed together, and then set out on our mission. The visit to the first home was a little rough. My partner and I equally had no clue what to say. Despite the brief evangelism overview prior to going out, we had no true training or preparation to “properly” share the Gospel. I kept frantically praying in the back of my mind for the Spirit to speak through me, but was met with what felt like silence from the Lord. As we approached the fifth house, I felt the Spirit nudge me saying, “Just share what I have done in your life, like Paul did.” So, I told my partner to give the presentation of the Gospel, and I would share my testimony.
We greeted the five boys who were sitting outside of the home, and I felt the Lord with me. I knew he was going to do something miraculous. Even though there was a language and cultural barrier, as I shared my testimony, I could see one boy, who seemed to be the leader of the group, genuinely connected with my story. His name is Johnny. The Lord clearly drew my attention toward him, which set him apart from the group. When I was done sharing, I simply asked if they would like to have a story of transformation similar to mine by giving their life to Jesus. They all said yes! As we said the prayer of repentance, all the boys, except Johnny, slowly stopped repeating the words in the prayer. Later, we walked by the house on our way back to the church and Johnny was eagerly listening the Resounding Hope radio we gave him. This radio, fix-tuned to OMS’ Radio 4VEH radio station and downloaded with an audio Bible in Creole, serves as a wonderful discipling tool because most Haitians who live in rural areas are illiterate, so cannot read the Bible. I am excited for what God has in store for Johnny! I know he will do great things for God in his village.
This trip has taught me that sharing my testimony is completely essential in the light of eternity, and although it may be a little intimidating, when given to the Lord, it is absolutely empowering and beautiful. I have returned from Haiti with a fiery passion to share what God has done and is doing in my life with those I come in contact with daily. You can make a difference where you are right now with what God has given you. I exhort you to not let fear cause you to hide God’s greatness. The power and transformation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not come from any evangelism training or knowledge but purely from the Spirit of the living God. He deserves to be shared with your neighbor, parents, kids, that woman in the grocery store, that man on the street, and with all people. So today, pray that God would help you share his greatness with all those around you, even through your weakness, fear, and anxiety.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” ~1 Corinthians 2:1-5
By Taylor Logsdon, OMS Communications and Marketing Team
About a year ago, I went with another OMS missionary to check on our short-term missionaries working in the province of Loja, Ecuador. It was a trip we made regularly to encourage our short termers. We didn’t know that this visit would be a God-divine appointment.
A short time after arriving at the short termers’ house, we heard a knock at the door. Dario and Isaac, two friends of our short-term missionaries, were welcomed inside. They sat down and began to ask questions about God. They asked us to share more with them, thus beginning their faith journey.
Fast forward 12 months and the roles have shifted. Our team of 8 now lives in Loja. Recently, I was sitting in the home of Dario’s family, listening to him share about the Scriptures. He presented the plan of salvation and led two family members and a neighbor to Christ. Dario is the director of one of the main schools in town and is using his position to spread the Gospel. He has been inviting the students' parents to come together and listen to us (OMS Loja missionaries) share about godly parenting. He is casting a vision for children and youth programming so that all ages can be reached for Christ.
Why such a difference? Shortly after we began regularly meeting with Dario and his wife, Dayana, we learned that she was having trouble getting pregnant. In a culture where family is everything, a couple with no children was considered damaged goods. They shared their hearts with us, and we prayed together. We assured them that they were valued and important to Christ.
A few weeks ago, when our missionaries arrived for the discipleship meeting, Dayana had a sweet smirk on her face. As greetings were passed around, she motioned for her husband to look at the paper on the coffee table. Right there, the team and Dario found out that Dayana was pregnant!
Dayana and Dario did not choose to ask Christ into their lives to get what they wanted. They asked Christ into their lives so that they could be transformed by his love. They went from brokenness to restoration. After giving their all to Christ, they received the desires of their heart.
God is at work in Loja Province. This is just one story of how God is moving in the hearts of his people. Sometimes, the progress is quite slow; sometimes, the progress seems to come in like a rushing river. Please continue to pray for workers to help us reach a province full of hungry people searching for the truth of God’s Word.
By OMS Ecuador missionary, BJ Williamson
Darina was an outgoing engineering student at a technical university in Kyiv, Ukraine, when we met her six years ago.
She was applying for one of our English camps, which we offer every summer. Darina just wanted to improve her English and have fun at the camp—which she did—but she didn’t get involved in any of our follow-up activities, and we thought she wasn’t really interested in God.
When Darina applied for camp again the next year, we turned her down, choosing to invite new people who might be more open to the Gospel. She was upset, and we thought we’d never see her again.
But a couple of years later, God brought Darina back. She joined one of our weekly English clubs, and God began to work on her heart. We saw spiritual progress and a greater openness to God, so we invited Darina to camp again in 2013. That’s when she really understood the Gospel and made a decision to follow Jesus.
Darina remembers sitting at the evening meeting near the end of camp week, listening to a Gospel presentation—and when it came time to pray, she found herself repeating the prayer without realizing it. When she caught herself praying, she didn’t stop; she just knew it was right.
Since that day, Darina has been growing dramatically.
She’ll sit for hours talking about the Bible and her spiritual questions, and she’s gotten involved in two of our weekly life groups (small group Bible studies), providing key organizational leadership. She has a spiritual gift for pastoring and regularly checks in with various group members to provide spiritual support.
Darina is also active in helping newer believers grow spiritually and has discipled at least three other girls who were saved through camp. She’s what we call an active encourager in this ministry, committed to growing herself spiritually, as well as helping others grow.
It’s a goal of our ministry here in Kyiv to see God raise up many more Ukrainian young people like Darina to become followers of Jesus who want to partner with him in making more disciples. We’re pleased with the progress so far, but we know there is much more God wants to do.
Like Darina, many of the people in our life groups have been saved through our two summer English camps. The camps are a great way for pre-Christian Ukrainians to experience the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit over a multi-day period, which allows God to soften their hearts to his Good News.
Team members from North America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia volunteer just to love Ukrainians and to help them practice English with native English speakers, but God also uses them to display and share the love of Jesus.
Most Ukrainians say that at the end of camp their English has dramatically improved, but most also say that they receive much more than English language skills. Some, like Darina, even make decisions to follow God.
If you would like to partner with us in reaching out to Ukrainian young people, pray about joining one of our summer 2017 teams. You also can join our daily or weekly prayer team, or you can help sponsor a Ukrainian to attend the camp. For more information on how to give, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/Ukraine-English-Ministries.
By Randy Marshall, OMS Missionary and Ukraine Field Leader