Students and Professors Lead the Way

August 29 2017

While we were at Tokyo Biblical Seminary (TBS), we sat across the table from a young man who beamed with the fullness of the Spirit. We, of course, were eager to learn his story. His name is Yoshikazu Kasahara, but we call him Yoshi san. Here is his story:

Yoshi san lived in an area of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. As he sat on the ruins of his house, a few Christians from one of the Japanese Holiness Churches (JHC) served him water, food, and encouragement. He was so surprised and impressed by their love and kindness that he inquired more about why they were doing these acts of service. This led to Yoshi san hearing the story of Jesus and God’s love for him for the first time. Out of the wreckage of his material world and emotional upheaval, he opened his heart and mind to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and he experienced true peace and joy in the midst of his losses. Soon, he was overwhelmed by the desire to learn more about God and how to live for him, so he enrolled in Tokyo Biblical Seminary (OMS’ oldest partner school). During his years there, God called him into ministry.

One of Yoshi san’s professors and advisors at TBS, Homare Miyazaki sensei, reports that Yoshi san is now married and serves as a pastor of one of a JHC church in Saitama-prefecture.

Bikash is from a Hindu Brahmin family in South Asia. When Bikash became a believer in Jesus, his parents forced him to leave their home and disowned him. Despite this, Bikash continues steadfastly in his faith and prays regularly for his unbelieving family. God has blessed him with a wife and children. As a district superintendent for an OMS partner church, he sharpens his knowledge and skills as he attends South Asia Bible College.

Our schools would not function without dedicated faculty. Let me introduce you to a few of them. Please pray for the faculty at our OMS partner schools.

Frans and Sony serve at N* Bible Seminary in the South Pacific, a highly Muslim populated nation. Frans and Sony have been instrumental in fulfilling the mandate to train pastors and church planters to be God’s servants and Christian leaders. For more than 40 years, this seminary’s graduates have established 420 churches in partnership with N* Evangelical Churches and many more churches through partnership with other denominations and Christian organizations. With full accreditation as a Bible college from the government, NBS still holds firmly to its original vision and purpose.

These faithful faculty members serve at Faith Bible College in the Philippines: Rev. Anna Penny Datu, academic dean; Rev. Oliver Bhem, director of student life and chaplain; and Rev. Ermalee Hidalgo, president. All the administrators also teach. Despit being a small school, it provides important instruction for both day and evening students who will serve as pastors, church planters, Christian education directors, and youth leaders.

Please keep the faulty of all our partner schools in prayer as they frequently serve with modest remuneration and in simple settings, yet are preparing men and women to serve God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.

By Bill Vermillion, Theological Education team, Asia

* Abbreviated for security reasons.

Tags: theological education, training, seminary, bible school, students, student leaders, asia,

​Building for a Better Future in Mozambique

August 25 2017

Mozambique is not an easy country to do ministry.

Economically, it is depressed, being one of the poorest countries in Africa. Agriculturally, the soil is sandy and plants have a hard time growing. It greatly lacks the lushness often associated with Africa. Politically, it is becoming more stable, but with an active civil war throughout most of the 1990s and numerous political uprisings until the last few years, there is still a state of uncertainty and lack of trust in the government. Educationally, there are limited opportunities. And spiritually, it feels oppressed. Christianity is often associated with the oppressive Portuguese of the past and does not have a good reputation. Yet, in the midst of this, there is hope. Hope for change, hope for a better tomorrow.

OMS has been a part of building that hope. In the past two decades, we have developed a seminary (Maputo Theological Seminary) and a thriving international K-12 school Christian Academy of Mozambique). We are developing ministries that reach out to the physically challenged (Helping Hands), and women and children. And our seminary is growing stronger. The seminary has a commitment to building strong spiritual leaders for a country that needs leadership.

One of those leaders is Pastor Daniel.

Pastor Daniel is one of the early graduates of our seminary. He is a man who loves God and loves Africa. He has worked hard to contextualize the Gospel. Over the years, he has worked hard and become one of our seminary professors and the leader of the OMS church in Mozambique. During the month of August, my wife Jan and I worked alongside our brothers and sisters in the church in Mozambique.

One Sunday morning, we joined his church for service and felt God’s moving in so many ways. The music was lively and active. And throughout the service they celebrated community blessings. Two families had apparently been feuding, but had settled their differences. So, both families went forward, almost 20 people, to celebrate this reconciliation and publicly hugged one another.

A young couple got engaged in front of the congregation. The young man professed his love, went down on one knee, and placed a ring on the young woman’s finger. Then Pastor Daniel sat them down on the front row and began a one-hour sermon on how to have a strong Christian marriage. He was explicit and talked about sexual temptations and fidelity. Overall, we experienced God moving among a people who do their best to reflect God’s character in their society.

This is the type of man I am excited about partnering with—a man who is willing to build and prepare for the future of God’s kingdom in Mozambique.

Your donation today to theological education leadership development allows OMS to partner with men like Pastor Daniel to help him build the church in Mozambique. Would you consider donating to account #408126 so OMS can move forward more strongly in the areas of theological education? Click here to give.

By Rod Dormer, One Mission Society Theological Education Team, Africa

Tags: theological education, training leaders, future church leaders, mozambique, africa,

Former Hindu Emerges as Leader

August 22 2017

Arjun* was born into a Hindu family in the Indian state of Karnataka. During his childhood, Arjun's sister and parents came to faith in Jesus. The family began to attend the local church of the Evangelical Church of India, but Arjun could not understand his need for salvation in Christ. Then one night, while attending a revival service at the ECI church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from Jeremiah 1:5, and Arjun realized that God had been calling him from his mother's womb into a personal relationship as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He confessed his sins and asked Jesus to take control of his life.

In 2010, Arjun enrolled as a student at the Karnataka Bible Seminary, one of the ten regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India that focus on raising up grassroots level church planters to launch and develop new churches that multiply. During his studies at KBS, the course in personal evangelism equipped him to share the Gospel effectively among his Hindu neighbors and family members. Upon graduation from the graduate of theology program of KBS, Arjun was appointed as a pastor to a small village church. He is now continuing his studies, pursuing the bachelor of theology degree at KBS.

I met Arjun in November of 2016 when I visited the school in Karnataka to facilitate training in Train & Multiply. T&M equips believers to find persons of peace, share the Good News, teach believers to follow the commands of Jesus, and multiply healthy, growing churches to the second and third generations and beyond. In a joint effort with OMS’ Every Community for Christ team and the Theological Education team, we are working with the Allahabad Bible Seminary and the regional Bible schools of ECI to incorporate T&M into their courses of study.

Arjun eagerly participated during the November training, and he reports that he was especially influenced by the 12 Principles of Church Multiplication. Today, he continues to learn the principles and practices of T&M at KBS, even as he applies that learning in his ministry as a pastor in a local village.

Arjun is only one example of the strategic role of the seminaries and Bible schools of ECI. Their impact goes far beyond the classroom into the cities, towns, and villages of India, often in partnership with the India Missionary Movement ministry of the Evangelical Church of India. These dedicated faculty and students are training thousands of pastors and laypersons while also engaging in creative and effective community outreach and evangelism. They do so with meager resources and most often in the face of fierce opposition and increasing persecution. Across India today, young leaders like Arjun are bringing transformation to individuals, families, and communities.

To learn more about the seminaries and Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India and how you can support them, contact OMS Theological Education or International Support Ministries or give here.

By Dick Freed, Director of OMS Learning & Development

*Name withheld for security.

Tags: india, former hindu, evangelical church of india, theological education, seminary, training, t&m,

Training Leaders in Haiti

August 8 2017

Since its beginning, One Mission Society has been in the business of developing Christ-like leaders for the global church. One of the ways this has been accomplished is through the planting of theological training institutions for the development of local church leaders all over the globe. Through the years, many of the Bible colleges and seminaries started by OMS have become leaders in their respective global regions among Protestant Evangelical theological schools. The Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is great example of one of those schools.

In 1967, OMS started the Emmaus Vocational Bible School (EVBS) in a small suburb of Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Through Radio 4VEH, an evangelism and discipleship ministry of OMS, churches were growing and the need for theologically trained pastors was growing with them!

The vision for EVBS was to develop both vocational and theological training for local pastors, church planters, and evangelists for the many small churches in northern Haiti. In 2000, after 33 years of equipping hundreds of local churches with theologically trained leaders, the school became Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti. The vision for the rebranding of the school was to offer undergraduate and graduate-level theological training for an ever-growing Haitian church.

Today, Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is among the top 10 theological schools in the Caribbean and has one of the premier graduate programs among Caribbean theological schools. EBS has also partnered with Indiana Wesleyan University to deliver a masters in Theological Studies to Haitian students. The current enrollment at EBS is approximately 110 students with a mostly Haitian, fully credentialed faculty.

The following have been a direct result of the strategic partnership between EBS and OMS:

1. EBS has maintained its Wesleyan-holiness distinctive within its curriculum and training programs. Even today, EBS is one of only three theological schools in Haiti with a Wesleyan-holiness profile. Thanks to OMS, EBS believes that the best of the Gospel is the rest of the Gospel. This emphasis at EBS means the promotion of the transformation of moral character that is a necessary result of conversion (sanctification and discipleship development).

2. Because of EBS’s relationship with OMS, there is a continued emphasis on church planting throughout EBS training programs. In fact, approximately 40 percent of graduates go into some sort of church-planting ministry.

3. OMS has empowered the development of Christ-like leaders for the church in Haiti through providing highly credentialed faculty to teach intensive courses four times a year on the campus.

4. OMS has been a driving force in helping EBS raise funds for many development projects. In 2010, EBS relocated to a brand new, state-of-the-art campus five miles from its original location. Without OMS, this would not have been possible.

Without OMS, EBS would not exist today. Furthermore, EBS is one of dozens of schools with OMS’ fingerprints all over it. This is the business of the development of leaders for the global church. This is the business of Theological Education at OMS.

By Matt Ayars, rector and professor at EBS


To learn more about EBS and Haiti, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaFJ8w50IE&feature=youtu.be

Tags: seminary, theological education, haiti, emmaus biblical seminary, church planting,

​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,

God’s Revelation Vs. Voodoo

November 20 2015

An OMS Haiti missionary had finished evangelizing several families living on a remote hillside in Haiti, where there are few roads in the area. As the missionary and his guide walked down the footpath, suddenly the guide stopped and looked back up the trail. He pointed out a small piece of paper under a rock and explained to the missionary that the paper was a witchdoctor’s curse.

The missionary asked his guide, “Why would a witch doctor put a curse here?” The guide responded, “This kind of thing happens all the time. We call it health-trade or wealth-trade. This is probably what happened: “Some unfortunate person was sick (or poor or fearful, etc.), probably because of a curse. So, she or he probably gave a witchdoctor a chicken and asked for healing. First, the witchdoctor killed and ate the chicken. Next, he scribbled some lines on that scrap of paper and promised that the chicken-giver’s illness would be traded for the health of an unfortunate passerby. It’s a reasonable trade for us.”

The missionary asked, “Is it possible that someone gave the witch doctor a chicken to put a blessing on the path so that travelers on that path would be well, wealthy, and happy?”

Stunned, the guide looked at the missionary as if he had lost his mind. He thought for a long moment and then burst out laughing, “No! That’s impossible. Why would anyone give the witchdoctor a chicken to do something nice for a stranger, perhaps even an enemy? In the best case, it would be like trading a perfectly delicious chicken for nothing. In the worst case, it could cause your death because of strengthening your enemy. The chicken-giver would still be sick and have one less chicken.” The guide then asked, with a slight hint of condescension, “Does that seem reasonable to a missionary?”

In contrast, God revealed his glorious paths of righteousness and life, which are found through his Son Jesus. God revealed his life-giving way through his holy apostles and prophets. We diligently search the Bible for those messages. One way to discover those treasures is through a set of skills, sometimes known as Inductive Bible Study. The contrast is stark. On one side are the writers of the Bible. On the other are voodoo witch doctors who scratch random scribbles. On both sides, there are contrasting methods, purposes and outcomes. We choose life.

Training through One Mission Society’s Theological Education helps equip pastors and other church leaders to minister in truth situations like this and many others. Rev. Leopoldo Oyola, director of the OMS-related seminary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, received his training at the OMS-related seminary in Colombia. It was there that he learned about inductive Bible study from OMS missionaries. Leopoldo was so transformed by this way of valuing and applying the Bible, that when he returned to Ecuador, he immediately implemented IBS in his church. He has now trained many in his congregation, and they, in turn, are now teaching others, including students at his seminary.

Tags: haiti, voodoo, witch doctor, inductive bible study, theological education,

​God’s Revelation Vs. Voodoo

November 20 2015

An OMS Haiti missionary had finished evangelizing several families living on a remote hillside in Haiti, where there are few roads in the area. As the missionary and his guide walked down the footpath, suddenly the guide stopped and looked back up the trail. He pointed out a small piece of paper under a rock and explained to the missionary that the paper was a witchdoctor’s curse.

The missionary asked his guide, “Why would a witch doctor put a curse here?” The guide responded, “This kind of thing happens all the time. We call it health-trade or wealth-trade. This is probably what happened: “Some unfortunate person was sick (or poor or fearful, etc.), probably because of a curse. So, she or he probably gave a witchdoctor a chicken and asked for healing. First, the witchdoctor killed and ate the chicken. Next, he scribbled some lines on that scrap of paper and promised that the chicken-giver’s illness would be traded for the health of an unfortunate passerby. It’s a reasonable trade for us.”

The missionary asked, “Is it possible that someone gave the witch doctor a chicken to put a blessing on the path so that travelers on that path would be well, wealthy, and happy?”

Stunned, the guide looked at the missionary as if he had lost his mind. He thought for a long moment and then burst out laughing, “No! That’s impossible. Why would anyone give the witchdoctor a chicken to do something nice for a stranger, perhaps even an enemy? In the best case, it would be like trading a perfectly delicious chicken for nothing. In the worst case, it could cause your death because of strengthening your enemy. The chicken-giver would still be sick and have one less chicken.” The guide then asked, with a slight hint of condescension, “Does that seem reasonable to a missionary?”

In contrast, God revealed his glorious paths of righteousness and life, which are found through his Son Jesus. God revealed his life-giving way through his holy apostles and prophets. We diligently search the Bible for those messages. One way to discover those treasures is through a set of skills, sometimes known as Inductive Bible Study. The contrast is stark. On one side are the writers of the Bible. On the other are voodoo witch doctors who scratch random scribbles. On both sides, there are contrasting methods, purposes and outcomes. We choose life.

Training through One Mission Society’s Theological Education helps equip pastors and other church leaders to minister in truth situations like this and many others. Rev. Leopoldo Oyola, director of the OMS-related seminary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, received his training at the OMS-related seminary in Colombia. It was there that he learned about inductive Bible study from OMS missionaries. Leopoldo was so transformed by this way of valuing and applying the Bible, that when he returned to Ecuador, he immediately implemented IBS in his church. He has now trained many in his congregation, and they, in turn, are now teaching others, including students at his seminary.

Tags: haiti, voodoo, witch doctor, inductive bible study, theological education,

Building in the Midst of a Storm

November 13 2015

In October, I travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on my first trip as the OMS theological consultant for Africa. I attended Every Community for Christ’s Africa Summit. While there, I met Kris Kappler, OMS’ new international regional director for Africa, along with six of the seven ECC regional supervisors.

These men represent OMS ministry in more than 20 African nations and literally hundreds of churches. Some of these churches are not churches as we think of them, but small groups who meet under trees or in homes. The stories of God’s work told by these men were inspirational and challenging to all of us who listened. And the situations these men and their coordinators and trainers face are not easy. Challenges face them on many levels, including spiritual, social, and political.

One supervisor named Thierry lives in the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR is one of THE most war-torn countries in present-day Africa. A Bible college there named FATEB has been turned into a refugee camp with 3,000 suffering people. (Pray for the president of this school as he ministers there.)

In the midst of this turmoil and war, Thierry has the courage to dream. God has laid it on his heart to build a school. When he heard from God, he began to plan and prepare. He wrote a proposal, made a site plan, and even made arrangements with FATEB so that his Bible college could give accredited classes. At this point, some Africans would seek assistance from a Westerner to help pay for this type of dream. Not Thierry. Using his own resources and connections, he found property, built a wall around it, and has begun construction on two buildings.

When Thierry shared this story with me, he told me that he did not want help to build buildings, but shared that he could not do it all alone. He needed help in getting books for the library and help with computers and setting up the software. Thierry wants to focus on online theological education. And he wants this seminary to become an OMS seminary.

This is the type of man I am excited about partnering with; a man who is willing to build and prepare for the future of God’s kingdom in the midst of a storm. Your donation to the theological education fund allows OMS to partner with men like Thierry to help him complete his vision. Would you consider donating to account #408126 so OMS can move forward more strongly in the areas of theological education? Click here to give.

This is the kind of kingdom-building opportunity we have all around the world through OMS Theological Education. Your support of this ministry makes vision like this become reality.

By Rod Dormer, One Mission Society Theological Education Team, Africa

Tags: africa, theological education, ecc, training, small groups,

An Example for the Believers

November 10 2015

Sitting around a dining room table with cups of tea, walking along the Dnieper River, or going on a retreat at a camp outside Kiev, young Ukrainian believers are learning to minister to one another as they grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Each week, they meet together in homes for Life Groups to encourage one another in Christ. They take turns sharing responsibilities, preparing ice breakers, leading Bible studies, selecting songs, and praying for one another.

Everyone has busy schedules with either university studies or full time jobs. Finding ways to equip these young believers with knowledge and skills for ministry is a creative adventure in theological education, working in partnership with the OMS missionary team in Ukraine. Just as the Ukrainian believers follow the early church model of house churches, we are following the example of Paul’s methods for leadership training and discipleship. Paul wrote letters to teach and to encourage the new believers. We are also writing. Rather than letters, we are developing a series of lessons that give biblical answers to questions such as: “What will happen at the end of time?” “Who is the Holy Spirit?” “What is worship?” “What is sin?”

Paul traveled and made personal visits to encourage new believers. In October, I had the privilege of making my third trip to Ukraine to share in a weekend retreat. I was asked to teach about developing our friendship with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines and to lead a discussion on what it means to be community in Christ. Each time I return, there is a deepening bond of trust. We discuss joys, questions, and concerns over cups of tea. This is the life-on-life model of theological education that Jesus modeled with his disciples.

These young believers represent the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform lives through their personal testimonies and outreach to others. They represent the hope of things to come as the kingdom of God extends across Ukraine. As Paul encouraged Timothy, let’s pray that they will receive and live out these same words of encouragement: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NIV).

By Colleen Fitch, One Mission Society Missionary and Theological Education Consultant for Europe

Tags: ukraine, youth, community, retreat, theological education,

Investment Not in Vain

November 4 2015

Deer in the headlights—that was probably my look many years ago the first time I was translating in front of a large audience. A seminary leader from Ecuador was giving a testimony to a full house of One Mission Society friends and supporters in Hughes Auditorium on the campus of Asbury University. He was expressing gratitude for the many people whose partnership through scholarship funding had made his own studies possible and those of the current generation of seminary students. All was going well. I was understanding him clearly and able to translate his words and ideas into smooth English—until it happened. All of a sudden, he dropped the bomb that every translator fears, an idiomatic expression that I’d never heard before. Although I understood the literal meaning of his words, I was left silently grasping for their significance in this particular context.

What he said was, No han echado la semilla en saco roto (“you have not thrown the seed into a torn sack”). What he meant was, “Your investment in me (and in the other students) was not in vain.” Those words were rolling around in my brain during the recent trip to Ecuador. Every day of those two weeks was a gift—daily glimpses of not-in-vain investments, strung together like a string of precious pearls. I saw the fruit of seeds that had been sown, seeds that had not been tossed into torn sacks, but into receptive lives. Former students are now teachers, pastors, and denominational leaders. Women who were mentored are now mentoring. People who were prayed for have become powerful prayer warriors. Words that were spoken under the direction of the Holy Spirit are continuing to be formative.

God wastes nothing, especially not our investment into the spiritual lives of his children. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul writes, “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (NRSV). That is a promise we can count on! Let’s go—let’s make those investments for eternity!

By Rachel Coleman, OMS Missionary, Theological Education Team

Tags: investment, students, theological education, ecuador,