Stories of Global Impact: Meet Sarah

July 18 2019

One of the things we usually do when we visit Village Church Planting (VCP) training centers is to hear brief testimonies from all the students. This helps us understand local issues, victories experienced, and challenges as well.

During my recent visit to one of the VCP training centers in Kenya with Peter, our VCP supervisor, and Selestine, the Kenyan coordinator, we heard from Sarah.

Sarah shared with us that she was born as the result of her mother being raped, and that because of that, she had regularly experienced feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem most of her life.

Yet, since coming to Christ, and also through the teachings of OMS' VCP training, she now realizes that she was created for a purpose. Both she and her mother attend the VCP training, and they are nearing completion.

Out of her love for Christ, and inspired by what she is learning in VCP, she shared how each day from 4:00 to 5:00 AM she intentionally rides public transportation to preach the Gospel to other passengers.

We are so grateful to God for the work happening all over Africa. We are also thankful to our national workers, investing in lives like Sarah's to be a change-maker in Kenya.

If you would like to donate to our Global Impact Fund to see others like Sarah have transformed lives, click the icon below.

By Chuck Rapp, OMS Church Multiplication Facilitator for Africa

Tags: testimony, kenya, africa, village church planting, training,

​Scared But Happy: A letter from a new seminary student at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia

February 5 2019

Beloved pastor and friend,

I wanted to write to tell you about the beginning of the adventure at Colombia Biblical Seminary.

It is hard to believe that God can use me. I have felt that I am not capable or worthy, but the devotionals we heard during orientation reminded me of some things:

  • God called me and he is not going to change his mind now.
  • I am a disciple who will not stop learning from the Master; my main call is to have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
  • The fact of being called does not guarantee that it ends well, so I must be more careful of what I do.
  • The key word of both devotionals was called, and that has encouraged and motivated me to continue believing that God brought us here to fulfill his purpose in our lives and in that of the church.

They have a student welfare program that is very focused on giving us holistic formation. There are sports, health, recreation, and cultural activities. It’s good to know that we will have a life apart from academics. I was surprised to learn that the seminary not only trains in theological aspects, but it also forms in us the social, physical, mental, and relational aspect.

They want us to be good at what we do AND who we are! We must learn to read in English (another surprise), volunteer a certain number of hours of service per semester, participate in research projects with professors, make the library "our second home," devote about five hours per day to study outside the classroom, do ministerial practice in a church, and take extreme care not to commit plagiarism or cheat on exams or assignments, which is great, but I fear messing up accidentally. Bottom line, the level of excellence that they expect is greater than I anticipated.

I must confess that I like it but am afraid. I am not afraid of the challenges, after all, we wanted to be trained as well as possible, to get out of our “comfort zone” and into the “growth zone,” but a few things have me worried. For example, I do not read well in English, I don’t know how to type, and I am not great with time management. So much goes through the mind; I really hope to live up to what God wants and what the church expects from us. I feel like a first-time father, scared but happy!

I am grateful to God, to the church, and to you. To God, it is a joy to know that I am called by him and to know he will sustain and keep us. To the church, it is a privilege and a great responsibility to be the first missionaries sent and supported by her. To you, my pastor, thank you for believing in us, supporting us amid our own doubts, and expressing love and care as no other pastor has done for me before. You are a friend and example to follow. Without your support and vision, we could not be here today. Thank you so much. I cannot adequately express my deep gratitude and love for you, your family, and the church.

Tags: colombia biblical seminary, seminary training, theological education, colombia, anniversary,

Training Leaders in NZ to Prevent Human Trafficking

March 27 2018

Late last year, I was told that a group of people from New Zealand were interested in taking the HOPE61 MULTIPLY training in March 2018. I admit, my first thought was, how big of a problem can human trafficking be in “100% Pure New Zealand?”

I’d never been to New Zealand, but standing on the other side of the world, it was easy to imagine it as an idyllic little place with pristine landscapes, beautiful beaches, and happy New Zealanders (Kiwis) enjoying the famous dairy and beef the country produces. There was not much room in that image for something as ugly as human trafficking. But within a few seconds, reality took over the image in my mind. Human trafficking happens everywhere. Even in a place as beautiful as New Zealand. New Zealand is more than rolling green hills, black sandy beaches, and make-believe hobbits. It has big cities, small cities, tourist towns, rural areas, farmlands, many cultures (Maoris, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians are among many), and human trafficking.

In 2016, a man was convicted of trafficking 15 Fijian workers to pick fruit in New Zealand. This was not an isolated incident. Also, there is story after story of young teen girls being lured by “boyfriend figures,” who ultimately traffic them for sex. These types of stories aren’t exclusive to New Zealand. These are the same types of stories we hear around the world. Different names and places, but the same awful horrors.

This year, from March 8-10, I trained 10 New Zealanders how to equip churches to prevent human trafficking in their communities. Our curriculum equips participants to train local churches to be able to answer three fundamental questions. 1. What is human trafficking? 2. Why should the church have a response directed at eliminating human trafficking? 3. How can the church prevent human trafficking? I believe each participant walked away with answers to those questions. I am very excited to know that several of these people will go on to be HOPE61 trainers and will lead ENGAGE trainings with pastors and lay-leaders throughout New Zealand. I pray that through my time in New Zealand, many churches will be equipped to prevent human trafficking in the near future.

By Tonya Overton, Assistant to the Director of HOPE61 and Trainer

Tags: human trafficking prevention, hope61, new zealand training,

Human Trafficking Prevention Training in Brazil

March 14 2018

My husband, Allann, and I traveled to Brazil to lead HOPE61 workshops in February. Allann is Brazilian, so from the beginning, he had a desire to bring this human trafficking prevention material to his country and his people.

We were invited to lead training workshops in two churches. One was in Allann’s church in the south and the other was in Brasilia, the capital.

The people that attended the first training came because of the relationship we have with them and didn’t initially understand the concept of human trafficking or how that applied to them. Those that came to the second training understood the complexity of human trafficking and wanted to gain better knowledge as to what it was and how to prevent it.

For the first training, basically the whole church showed up, around 35 people, and they were invested in the information and how to make it more impactful in their community.

We had one woman come up to us and tell us she was offered a job in Germany a few years ago, and she was supposed to go work in a factory with her uncles, but they only asked her for a body picture. It didn’t faze her then, but for certain reasons, she wasn’t able to go. She told us that now she realizes that she was most likely going to be trafficked and that now that she knows, she can warn others!

We had another girl come up and tell us that when she went to high school, there was a man who would always follow her and her brother to and from school. They told their parents, but they didn’t take it too seriously. Now, after the training, she realized that human trafficking does happen, that it happens where she lives, and it could’ve happened to her. So she told us she would be more aware and tell others too.

In the second training, we had around 40-45 people come from three churches.

Several people came up to us afterward to show us their projects and were excited to put them into practice. One woman, using her abilities and talents as an artist, created a project to go into schools and use art as a tool to teach kids about human trafficking and how to prevent it.

We handed out surveys in both training sessions. They rated their experience in the training with an 8.25 on a 1-10 scale of helpfulness. All respondents said the training increased their knowledge of human trafficking. Only two people said they weren’t challenged spiritually. And the only thing they wanted to change would be to add more time to the training workshops (keep in mind the trainings were 7 hours and 9 hours each). So, this means they liked the material and wanted the training to last longer!

By Stephany M Eddy, HOPE61 Trainer, Spain

Tags: hope61, human trafficking prevention, training, spain, brazil,

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,

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,

​Ministering to the TE Disciples

August 3 2017

What do you need? How can the One Mission Society Theological Education (TE) team best support and assist you in your ministry? These were the key questions I asked the OMS national and missionary leaders from Across Europe early in 2016. Their answers: 1) training in discipleship and 2) opportunities for fellowship with OMS European colleagues.

Armed with that information, we planned a special conference in the fall of 2016. With a starting budget of “two fish and five loaves” and the assurance that God had given the vision, plans were put in motion to invite a team from the Inspire Movement to lead a seminar on discipleship in Manchester, UK in May 2017.

And God provided over and over.

From November through May, those attending took turns calling one another to prayer through weekly emails that went out in English, Spanish, and French. Conference attendees came from Russia, Israel, Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, France, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, Wales, and the U.S.

From May 8-11, along with the team from the Inspire Movement, we learned, practiced, and experienced discipleship. We discussed how we could contextualize the concepts and practices in our unique ministry contexts, and we fellowshipped, worshiped, and prayed together.

Here are a few of the take aways:

I think that the greatest blessing to me was spending time with fellow coworkers in the region.
I was blessed by being part of a team.
Meeting up with my European colleagues for the first time was just wonderful.
I loved the prayer time on the last night where we prayed as a group for one another's prayer concerns.

During the conference, God helped me to see the answers to some questions about my further ministry to him.
The theme of the seminar was very important for me. I think that the principles of deep communication in threes are applicable in our ministry to pastors of Blagovest Association and to members of the churches.
For me personally, having the affirmation from Inspire to focus on discipleship was very affirming and encouraged me that we're heading in the right direction.
The necessity, practicality, and simplicity of joining together as disciples in the name of Jesus.
I need to be a disciple before I can hope to make any.

Sometimes, the members of the body longing to be equipped for ministry are those who are already serving in leadership. The OMS Theological Education team desires to serve and support both those who are in leadership, as well as those who are in the beginning stages of their ministry leadership journey. Resources are needed to bring or send qualified instructors and practitioners, to purchase transportation tickets, and to provide lodging so that Christian workers come away for a time of refreshment, renewal, and mutual care for one another. Reading the take aways, we give thanks to God for the opportunity to ministry to the expressed needs of these precious men and women serving Christ in Europe.

By Colleen Fitch, OMS Regional Consultant for Europe, Theological Education Department



To give to the Leadership Discipleship and Development ministry fund, click here.

Tags: discipleship, theological education team, leadership training,

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,

Jesus Brings Healing

October 21 2016

Susheel was trained by Sunil, a fellow Indian church planter. Amazingly, his life in the village early on was characterized by some sort of insanity. As a boy he roamed about the village touching people’s feet with a neem tree twig used as a tooth brush! He failed in school, eventually lost hope and any desire to live. He wanted to hang himself. Upon reading a Christian tract, given by a cousin, God’s truth began to penetrate his heart and mind. This led to a desperate prayer for help from Jesus, which over time, brought him healing from his mental and emotional distress. Later on, his sister in law was delivered from demonization, which also led to a dramatic change in his grandfather who was a witch doctor. When visiting Susheel’s church, I noticed his humble tears of gratitude to the God he now loves and serves. As a Train & Multiply church planter he has a vision to reach 100 villages with the Gospel and is already visiting 60 of them each month! He is training 20 pastoral workers who are helping to bring this goal to reality.

Pray for Susheel and other Indian church planters as they plant new churches and disciple new believers around India.

By OMS missionary Roger Kruse, India field leader

Tags: india, church planting, training, church growth, christians in india, villages,

​Dynamic Trainer of Trainers

September 22 2016

After establishing a strong foundation of church multiplication in India, James, the Every Community for Christ assistant national coordinator for North India, taught a Bible college class about Train & Multiply (T&M). The next week, one of the students traveled home and visited his friend, Mohit*. Mohit was pastoring a church, but his vision was to plant many other churches in his area of staunch Hinduism. However, he had become discouraged. After years of trying, he still had just one small congregation.

The student told him about James and the success of T&M in multiplying churches. Mohit was interested, so he contacted James, who invited him to attend a T&M training in Allahabad. Mohit was impressed with this simple, practical method, and he immediately returned to his town and trained three other men to use T&M to plant churches. Nine months later, more than 1,000 new believers from 50 new house churches gathered together to celebrate Christmas for the first time.

Mohit continues to train many others in his area. As an experienced leader, he trained new church planters at the Jubilee training in Chennai. God has transformed Mohit from a discouraged, unfruitful pastor into a dynamic trainer of trainers who has launched a church-planting movement in northern India.

*Name changed for security.

Tags: india, church planting, trainers, training, t&m, discouraged pastor,