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.
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
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
August 29 2017
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
* Abbreviated for security reasons.
August 22 2017
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
withheld for security.
August 3 2017
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.
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.
God provided over and over.
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.
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.
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
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.
practicality, and simplicity of joining together as disciples in the name of
I need to be a disciple
before I can hope to make any.
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
Colleen Fitch, OMS Regional Consultant for Europe, Theological Education
To give to the Leadership Discipleship and Development ministry fund, click here.
November 22 2016
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
you’d like to give a Christmas gift this season to help with future HOPE61
trainings, give here.
Tom Overton, Director of HOPE61
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
September 22 2016
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.
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.
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.
changed for security.
September 15 2016
Prema Alexander was
born on January 12, 1956, in Tamil Nadu, South India. She was raised in a strong
Christian home, along with five brothers and four sisters of which Prema was
the eldest. They were taught God’s Word and to have faith in him from an early
In 1976, she married Rev.
Alexander. They began the Lord’s ministry in South India with the ECI
(Evangelical Church of India). They first planted two churches in local villages.
God blessed their
ministry and their family life. He gave them six children, three of whom are
married and have started their own families. In 1984, ECI asked them to move to
Mumbai city in Maharashtra (West India). They began ministries in several
places. God enabled them to establish churches in these places despite many
In July 1989, they
moved to Aurangabad to develop the church ministry there. Ministry began in the
village outskirts of various towns. In that time of ministry, many people were
delivered from demonic possession in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Others who
did not know the name of Jesus Christ believed in the Gospel when they heard
it. They were added into the churches, and thus, ministry of the Gospel grew
amid the challenges.
In 1997, Prema and her
husband established a church in Mukundwadi. ECI purchased the land and built a
church building where the Alexanders preached there among the Mang, Chamar,
Mahar, Buddhist, Maratha, and other people groups. Many believed in Jesus
Christ and were baptized and added to the church.
In 2000, Prema’s beloved
husband died of a heart attack. But despite his death, she felt a burden to
continue the ministry they had shared of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, making disciples, and planting churches. Prema is grateful for the help
and encouragement of the Bishop President Ezra Sargunam and ECI in this time
that allowed her to thrive in ministry and complete her two-year theological training
That’s when Prema
became a full-time evangelist, walking from village to village to tell people
about Jesus. Meanwhile, her children
grew up. Her eldest son James completed
his studies at Allahabad Bible Seminary and became an ECI pastor. However, he
felt a calling to minister to the Hindi-speaking people of North India. In 2009,
he joined the Every Community for Christ ministry as the training coordinator
for North India and began working with OMS missionaries to train hundreds of
church planters. As James flourished in this church-planting ministry, the Lord
granted Prema favor, at age 60, to plant 11 churches. ECI appointed her area
chair to oversee the churches in the area.
Recently, her son James
was appointed as the associate ECC national coordinator for India. Prema shared, “The OMS missionaries trained
him and several others to assume full responsibility for training the ECC teams
in India, using a method called Train & Multiply. This has been so
successful that there were more than 11,000 house churches planted by the end
of 2015. When James told me that ECI was planning to train 7,000 people in
Train & Multiply in 2016, I realized that God had a bigger plan for my
life. Instead of planting one church at a time, God could use me to plant
churches that would multiply by the hundreds or even thousands!”
Prema not only attended
the ECC training event in June, she also recruited 24 other men and women to
join her in Chennai. “My son James and the other trainers prepared us to be
God’s choice instruments to build his kingdom in India. We returned to our
homes and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, will now do all that he has
prepared us to do. To God be the glory!” What an exciting time of church growth
To donate to help accelerate the church growth in India, click here.