A friend of mine was trying to decide what to do next in life and was struggling. She told me that she wanted to do God’s will but His will is so complicated and hard to know. But I think she is wrong. I think we are the ones that make it complicated. We try finding God’s will as a pinpoint accurate thing, but we should be seeing it as a whole wide circle.
One of the biggest questions when someone is considering doing missions is if it’s God’s will for their lives, "Does God want me to go, is He calling me?" This is a great question, but how do we know if it’s God’s will? Let's take a look at 7 tools that can help us discover God's will.
1. Walk with God – Proverbs 3:5-6
First things first, have a personal relationship with God. Read the Bible and do devotions daily. Pray and talk to God honestly. And get involved in Bible studies, and at a church so that you may learn more about God and His love for you.
2. Surrender Your Will — Romans 12:1-2
It isn’t our will with God’s approval, but it’s God’s will alone. To hear God’s will clearly, we must leave behind our own plans and get rid of any expectations that we may have. We must remain open-minded to what God is wanting for us.
3. Follow What You Already Know – The Bible
We aren’t starting from scratch when it comes to learning of God’s will. All Scripture is filled with guidance and God’s plan, not just for us individually, but for all humanity.
4. Seek Help – Proverbs 11:14
Seek guidance and input from Godly people in your life. Sometimes other people can see things in our lives that we miss. By sharing our lives with others, they can help us see more clearly what God is doing and what He may be calling us to.
5. Discover Your Gifts – 1 Peter 4:10
What are the gifts and talents you have that you can use to honor God? God has created us for specific roles and He has blessed each of us with the gifts needed to complete these roles. If we are able to discover our gifts it may help us have a better understanding of what God’s will is.
6. Listen – John 10:27
A good relationship is about talking AND listening. When we pray, we are fulfilling the talking part of our relationship with God. But have you ever sat in silence and listened while praying? Next time you pray, try sitting quietly for a few minutes. Clear your mind and open it to listen for God’s voice. Meditate on specific questions you have for God and even write down what you hear.
7. Listen to Your Heart – Psalm 37:3-5
God wants His children to be happy. As you grow in your relationship with God, His desires will become your desires. God’s will is not restricting or oppressing. When we follow God’s will for us we will feel peace, joy and freedom in God. Your heart will be one with God’s.
We can’t just ask the yes and no questions in life, and what we want can’t take priority. When asking whether you should do missions don’t wait for the yes or no answer. That may be the easy way to do it, but God has been showing you the answer your entire life. He has been preparing you every step of the way to do His will. When we develop an intimate, lasting relationship with God and learn to trust Him, our life’s pathway becomes clearer. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. If you need help knowing what questions to ask leave a comment with your email and we will send you a list!
There seems to be considerable confusion today with regard to missionaries. Some say all Christians are missionaries. They say that we are all called to give our lives to Christ and to witness to our neighbors. But is that the only thing that makes you a missionary? What qualifies someone to be a missionary? Boundaries need to drawn around the term 'missionary'. If the word missionary means the same thing as the word Christian, one of the two words has lost its usefulness.
Sometimes two words have overlapping meanings, but one is broader than the other. All Christians are people but not all people are Christians. A Christian is a particular sort of person. A fireman is a person, but not all people are firemen. The term person is broader than fireman. Likewise, the term Christian is broader than missionary. A missionary is a particular sort of Christian.
So if a missionary is a particular sort of Christian, what makes them a missionary? In its basic meaning, a missionary is a person sent on a mission. In its Christian meaning, in addition to the intention to help people come to know Jesus, at least four things qualify one to be a missionary:
1. It is a vocation, not just an activity, hobby, or event.
2. It includes crossing barriers. Almost always cultural barriers but often also language, distance,
religion and worldview barriers.
3. It requires some special study and/or training, not only willingness.
4. It requires sending. A missionary must be sent or commissioned to go.
Being a missionary is more than wanting to travel and do good. It is about answering the call that God has placed in your heart.
So what about those who go on short term mission trips? Consider this; a doctor is a person who works at the hospital for their vocation. You can volunteer at the hospital 7 days a week but that doesn’t make you a doctor.
Christians who visit or volunteer on the mission field are not necessarily missionaries. They may be called to go and cross boarders to do the work of a missionary, but it isn’t a vocation. Short term missions also don't need special studies/training. Sometimes those who go are simply visitors or volunteers on the field.
Have you ever considered doing missionary work? Have you ever felt drawn to go on a short term missions trip, or felt a nudge to go serve overseas for a month or more? Is it something you are still considering? We would love to hear about your attraction to missions. Tell us about it in the comments section below!
The other day I was reading a devotional on the kingdom of God and it ended with this, “We need to be kingdom minded in everything we say and do”. Now this really made me stop and think about what it actually means to be kingdom minded. What does that look like?
Being kingdom minded is when we are aware that this is only our temporary home and each of us has a unique purpose here to help further the kingdom of God. We know that what we do is not for us, but for God.
We need to be kingdom minded in everything we say and do"
But what does it look like to be kingdom minded? What would someone see in us? And how do we become kingdom minded and continue to grow in that mindset?
4 Things People Should See
1. They would see God at the center of our lives.
To be kingdom minded is to keep God at the center of all that we do. We are aware of our actions and whether they would glorify God.
2. They would see us reaching out to others, and serving.
Being kingdom minded is to have a servant heart. It is reaching out to the poor and needy, even if we don’t benefit from it ourselves. Serving in the community is as important as serving
in the church.
3. They would see us sharing our testimonies.
Sharing our testimony is so important. You may think your testimony isn’t worth sharing, but trust me it always is. Even if you didn’t have a huge life changing event happen, or an exciting transformation story, your story still shares of God’s grace and love. And that is always
4. They would see that our priority is not our own agenda but God’s.
Being kingdom minded is to put God’s agenda before our own. Our number one priority should be furthering God’s kingdom by sharing of God’s love, peace, joy and grace.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
4 Tools and Practices to Help Us Be Kingdom Minded
1. Devotions and Prayer
Spending quiet time with God in devotions and prayer is a great way to stay kingdom minded. This time will help you build your relationship with God and learn more of what he has in store for you!
2. Attend Church
Attending church is a great place to learn more about God and what it looks like to further his kingdom. You can also build strong relationships with other church goers. These people can
encourage you and walk alongside you in your journey to be more kingdom minded.
3. Become more Missions Orientated
Get involved in missions. Support a missionary, pray for a missionary, or go on a missions trip. These are great ways to get involved in furthering of the kingdom.
Supporting a missionary financially and in prayer is as important as going. Help in the way you think God is calling you to.
4. Bring God into all Daily Activities
Bringing God into all your daily activities allows God to be fully involved in your life. When God is fully involved you will be able to show God’s love and grace in every area of your life.
We are here on earth for a purpose. God calls us to glorify him in all that we do and say. Wherever we may be on the scale of kingdom mindedness, there is always room for growth. Our purpose is so much bigger then we can imagine and it will take time and effort to achieve. What have you been doing that shows you are kingdom minded? And what will you change to become more kingdom minded? Let these 4 views and 4 tools/principals help and encourage.
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
I met a young lady at a missions event a few years ago where I got to hear about her story. Her name was Bethany and she was an undergrad wanting to become a medical doctor. Her marks were good but the limited amount of spaces in the program required more than good grades to get accepted. Unfortunately, Bethany wasn’t accepted right away.
I shared with her about the work that OMS Canada does with the Bethesda Medical Clinic in Haiti. I explained to her that there were many opportunities to serve there. Bethany applied with OMS and was accepted into our Embark program to serve in Haiti and spent many months working at the clinic having a transformative experience. When Bethany got home, this experience proved to be enough to get her into the medical program the following year.
Why am I telling you this? Well, Bethany is only one example of many whom we have met at mission events who have come to serve the Lord with OMS. Mission events are a significant part of OMS’ recruitment strategy. We set up an OMS booth and staff and volunteers interact with visitors at the event. If the visitor expresses an interest in opportunities available at OMS, we gather contact information and follow up at a later date. Through mission events we are able to meet, encourage and help those looking to serve have the opportunity to go.
We all have a part in missions whether we are the ones going or not".
We all have a part in missions whether we are the ones going or not. Besides the goer, missions also involves senders, encouragers, supporters and prayer warriors. OMS attends mission events so that we may become senders for those feeling called to go. From there we need encouragers, supporters and prayer warriors to join us.
The single most important and effective tool to leverage the work done at mission fests is prayer. Having made the needs known and explaining the opportunities, we must now pray to the Lord to send these contacts into the Harvest. That is God’s job. And so we pray to Him to do exactly what He wants to do.
You may not be called to ‘go’ but you are still called to serve and to play a part in God’s mission. Will you join us in the works of missions by committing to pray for each of the new contacts made this coming year? Become an encourager and supporter today!
(If you are interested in learning more of how you can be involved in missions and other ways to pray, visit our website at www.omscanada.org or contact the office).
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Do you ever wonder if you are following God’s plan for you? Are you afraid that what you're doing or wanting to do isn't actually from God? It would be so much easier if God would write out his plan for us in clear English. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works for most of us.
Are you afraid that what you're doing or wanting to do isn't actually from God?
Making decisions in life can be very stressful when we are trying to do God’s work. It is even harder when we aren’t sure if what we're doing is from God. So the question is, how do we know if something is from God?
This is the most important tool and the first tool we should use when asking the question if our path is God’s path. Ask God to show you his plan for you for the situation you find yourself in. Psalms 25:4-5 is a great prayer to do this.
Jeremiah 42:3; Matthew 7:7
2. Go to Scripture
God has given the Bible for our direction, so why not go to it for help with making life decisions. Your decisions should agree with Scripture. If your reading of Scripture raises doubts about your plan, you may want to rethink it.
Psalms 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16
3. Is it Glorifying?
Will your actions in the situation bring glory to God? We're called to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), if it isn’t for God, it isn’t from God. Ask yourself, ‘would Jesus do it?’, for Jesus’s actions always glorified God. If Jesus wouldn’t do it, we shouldn’t either.
Romans 6:13; 1 Peter 4:10-11
4. Seek Counsel
Pastors, teachers, friends and leaders can all be very helpful in making decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask those around you for advice and for their input on the situation. Be careful who you choose, and pray about their words afterwards.
Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 11:14
5. Is it Challenging?
If you think that you can handle whatever comes next in your situation on your own, take a step back. We need God in all that we do. If it's something God doesn’t need to help you with, if it doesn’t challenge your faith, it might not be from God. If faith isn’t involved, how will people see the God you have faith in.
John 5:30; Hebrews 11:6
6. Patience and Trust
Have patience and trust in God. Sometimes we don’t receive the answers we want right away, but trust that God will guide you and keep His promises. If the desire you have grows over time, or you hear it repeatedly over time, take note of it.
Psalms 27:14; Psalms 32:8; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 19:2; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 58: 11; Jeremiah 29:11-13; James 1:5-6
God created you and loves you, His path will never harm you. He only wants His best for us. Don’t rush to make decisions because time can be a gift. So go forth, be a blessing and glorify God in all that you do!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. –Romans 8:28 (NIV)
A professor used to talk about the "fog factor" in communications. He multiplied the average number of words in a sentence by the average number of letters in the words to get the "Fog Index." The idea behind the Fog Index is that if you want people to read and understand what you wrote, it needs to be clear and simple. Someone once said, "When there's a mist in the pulpit, there's a fog in the pew." If people are to understand and support missions as a critical function of the church, we need to be clear about some things that have become foggy.
1. We need to be clear about the goal of missions.
For many of us the primary goal or aim of missions has gradually become dim. In a Christianity Today article on short term missions, the author mentioned that Christian young people have great compassion for the physical, social, and justice issues of people. Unfortunately many are theologically confused about the need for a gospel transformation of the heart by Jesus. What is it that missions is supposed to accomplish?
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10 shows us a picture of people from every tongue, tribe, language and people worshipping the lamb. As we plan our missions ministry, this is our guiding principle, that it is primarily about God and not man. The end goal of missions is gathering the worshippers that John saw in Revelation, because the Lamb deserves the worship of everyone.
2. We need to be clear about the scope of missions.
Missions used to be reaching the pagans overseas, and church ministry was building up the church at home. The distinctions may never be this clear again because the world is too complex. But we must somehow draw boundaries between missions and church ministry. Missions is what we send people and resources to do because the congregation can't do it while church ministry is what we as individuals and the church can and should do as part of our life and ministry among people we can reach.
3. We need to be clear about the priorities of missions.
Many things may be included in missions but not everything is of equal value, importance, or urgency. Our planning must indicate what fields, tasks, projects, and activities we consider of greatest strategic importance. Usually this is most effectively done with budgets and budget goals and with public prayers, reports, and celebrations.
When these things are clear in the minds of our church leaders and our people, we may expect the kind of support and involvement that missions deserves.
Do you wonder where your church stands with regards to the three critical concerns? We have an assessment tool that can help! Click HERE to download our Missionary Assessment Tool for your church.
Has fear ever brought anything good to your life? Has it brought you peace, happiness, love? If it has, please let me know, because I want to fear what you fear. I have never gotten those things from fear. Fear has brought me regret, anxiety, loss, stress and pain, but none of these are good. None of these things are from God and, well, that’s because fear is not from God. In fact, God calls us not to fear!
But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine" - Isaiah 43:1
As children of God we have nothing to fear, so why do we still have fear in our lives?
Fear is Satan’s tactic to prevent us from doing the things we're called to do. It paralyzes us. When we give in to our fears and allow them to prevent us from doing something, we are letting Satan win.
Our fears are lies that we tell ourselves,
They won’t like ME.
I’m going to lose.
I’m going to get hurt.
I won’t have enough money.
They’ll make fun of ME.
All these fears are about us, and they are earthly fears. If we aren’t accepted, if we lose or go broke, it doesn’t change God’s love for us. They are things that only matter in this earthly life, but we know that this is only our temporary home.
Fear is nothing but distrust. For example, maybe we fear falling through a platform, that’s us not trusting that the platform will hold. When we fear things, we've lost our trust in God. God promises that He will provide for us, protect us and love us, and God never breaks his promises. So we have nothing to fear.
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you”. – Isaiah 41:13
I leave you with this. Next time you have fear, don’t let it hold you back, turn the fear into trust in God. Use your fear as a reminder of the promises God has made you and that he hasn’t failed you yet. Turn your distrust to trust and your fear will disappear.
In the 1960s, the team at Radio 4VEH, One Mission Society’s radio ministry in Haiti, realized that most people across Haiti did not have a radio receiver to listen to Radio 4VEH. So, they began the ministry’s first distribution campaign of radios fix-tuned to Radio 4VEH. About 2,000 radios were assembled by a team of engineers and given out to communities, sharing the message of Jesus and reinforcing community development.
Communities would listen to the radio together; in many villages, coming around the radio to listen to a church service was the first time they had church in those villages, and many churches were planted as a result. But these bulky units needed frequent battery replacement. Today, as part of the Resounding Hope initiative, we give out solar-powered radios (now also with audio Bible in Haitian Creole) as part of evangelism and outreach alongside local churches, connecting families in need with daily hope and help from Radio 4VEH.
Did you know:
“I’m 65 years old. I can’t even write my name. But I know what the Bible says because I listen to it on Radio 4VEH”
You can help deliver #HaitianHope by keeping the generators running. Donate today to help purchase the diesel fuel needed to keep 4VEH on the air.
In a country where attending school can be difficult and expensive, Starfish Kids is helping Haitian families by providing tuition assistance and books for sponsored students. Even with the sponsorships, we sometimes see students leaving schools for various reasons, often involving the family moving due to illness or for job opportunities. We don’t always know why a student leaves, sometimes mid-year, which can be a challenge. But this makes graduation stories even more inspiring. We see incredible stories of perseverance through some of our sponsored students.
In June 2017, Luvenson Lorvince graduated from secondary school after 11 years of sponsorship through the Starfish Kids program.
Luvenson grew up in a single-parent home. Luvenson’s mother was responsible for raising Luvenson, along with five of his siblings and two of his sister’s children. She worked hard, selling bread and roasted peanuts to provide food for her household, but it wasn’t enough to send her children to school.
Through his local church, Luvenson was accepted into the Starfish Kids program and was matched with a sponsor. Luvenson says that, after God, his Starfish Kids sponsorship has been the most important thing in his life. It provided him with an education he would not otherwise have.
He graduated with the highest grades in his community. His dream is to attend university to become a civil engineer and help improve his country. He wants to give back and help provide opportunities in the same way they were provided for him. Luvenson believes that without education, there can be no progress for his country.
He is thankful for his sponsor through Starfish Kids and prays that God will continue to bless all sponsors abundantly so more children in Haiti can be helped.
Our prayer at Starfish Kids is for God to reach students like Luevnson and their families through school sponsorships. The gift of sponsorship truly is changing lives in Haiti one student at a time. You can help us do so by clicking here or by calling the OMS Canada office - 800-784-7077.
God used the daily sports program on Radio4VEH to draw a well-known witch doctor to Christ.
"Charles persecuted the Gospel and us too," Pastor Joseph, an evangelism partner, told us. "He set up his Voodoo altar right across from our church. We prayed for him.
"In the end, he went away, but we kept praying. When he came back, I gave him a 4VEH Solar radio.
"Charles only listened to the sports program, because he loves soccer, " said Pastor Joseph.
"But yesterday, after listening to the soccer results as usual, he forgot to turn off his radio. What he heard next was the Gospel message.
"As soon as the program ended, Charles called me, wanting to become a Christian. So I went to his house, talked him through the way of salvation, and we burned all his Voodoo things. And this witch doctor came to Christ.
Like Saul, the persecutor of Christians who met Jesus and became the great missionary Paul, this former witch doctor is now urging others to choose Christ
"My wife and my children are now in Christ too," said Charles. "A lot of people I used to serve as a witch doctor have seen the difference in my life now and have come to Christ themselves.
In Haiti, witch doctors can be very influential - giving advice or "cures" for problems like sickness, money and relationships. So, when a witch doctor turns to Jesus, he often influences many people for the Lord as they see his live transformed. Surely the Lord will use Charles for his kingdom!
Charles will soon give his testimony on 4VEH's Let The Rocks Cry Out weekly program, to encourage others including witch doctors to come to Christ.
Tere Eestist! (Hi from Estonia!)
Saturday was a great day! For those of you who receive the OMS Canada Contending in Prayer guide, that was the day you prayed for our Bible study day in south Estonia. Livia and I were both sick, making it hard to prepare, but Friday evening after work we drove 4 hours south, to within a stone's throw of the Russian border for the first of a series of Bible study days. Saturday morning, the tiny village congregation of Viitka (average Sunday morning attendance of less than 10) was filled with 26 adults plus kids, ready for 5 hours of Bible study! Friends from a total of 5 congregations gathered, eager to spend time listening to and discussing God's Word. The theme was standards for a relationship with God, looking firstly at Elisha's encounter with King Joram in 1 Kings 3. I dealt with the Old Testament, explaining the story and the spiritual principles behind it, and then after lunch Livia took those same principles into the New Testament and into their personal lives. It is so exciting to see people hungry to learn from and apply God's Word! Livia and I were so exhausted in the days leading up to this Bible Study day, we really didn't know if we could manage. But God is good and your prayers certainly helped! God willing, this is the first of a series of Bible Study days we will be doing with these congregations. Keep praying!
-Mark and Livia Nelson
Life is never dull in Mozambique. The last month of school is always filled with programs and of course, graduation. This year, we had nine seniors, and the ceremony was uplifting and very honoring to the Lord. We are so proud of all our graduates over the years.
In July, we hosted the first ever CAM School graduate reunion at our home. Our first graduates were in 1998, and all the graduates from the first ten years are scattered around the world, and none are living in Mozambique. During graduation, we discovered that several of our graduates were back in Mozambique visiting their families. We decided to have a gathering, and there were 20 graduates from 2008, 2010, 2014-2018. It was great to hear from them as they shared their stories and experiences after CAM and gave helpful advice to our recent 2018 graduates.
Although school was out for the break in June and July, we kept busy. These are the weeks where we prepare for the new school year which started August 1. Larry was busy overseeing the needed repairs, painting, and some improvements with new sidewalks. Of course there are other “emergencies” that take lots of time, and we are thankful to the Lord as He continues to guide and direct us at CAM. One of those interruptions was Susan having gallbladder surgery on June 11. It slowed her down for a few weeks, but she is doing really well now.
Susan was busy finding new teachers and working with one of our CAM graduates who is on staff now helping to prepare for the long and tedious process of school accreditation. He is also filling in as a teacher in the sciences until our new teacher from Northern Ireland arrives this fall (spring in Mozambique).
Pray for us as we seek wisdom for this next school year and beyond for CAM school.
-Larry and Susan Weil
Tere Eestist! (Hello from Estonia!)
This past year was hard for Lívia as she adjusted to teaching in a new school in a new community, but praise God it has gone well and her relationships with co-workers as well as the kids are developing nicely. Some time ago we asked prayer for a very troubled 6th grader. Your prayers are working! Lívia has been able to build a relationship of trust with him to the point where a shift in his attitude is seen, despite the fact that he still claims to hate school. As a teacher, she is limited in how she can present the Gospel, but her testimony comes through very clearly! Keep praying!
One of Lívia’s goals for the year ahead is to put Bible studies that she has lead into a written form that can be distributed. There is a very great lack of Bible study material in Estonian and Lívia’s approach is exactly the very practical approach that is needed to help people develop their relationship with God. Finding the time and energy, however, is a major challenge, so prayers are appreciated.
For me, the last months have been about handovers. Mostly planned and prepared for in a way that will take God’s work in new directions and allow me to focus on the Seminary and Bible school.
Handover #1: Estonian foreign mission work has a new leader. Kaire (who graduated from the Seminary in June and has been on several of our mission teams) officially replaced me this spring taking the seat I had on the Estonian Evangelical Alliance’s board as mission committee leader. This handover took more time than I expected, but I trust that God’s timing is best and I see that Kaire has the skills and energy to take this work forward.
Handover #2: The Bible school for indigenous people groups in Russia is relaunched with a new leader. For security reasons I won’t be giving details, but I can say that a new group of 22 students started recently. I am so happy to see the creative teaching approaches that are moving a step beyond what I did in the past, making the teaching method more relevant to their culture. That is what handovers should do! I feel like a parent watching my child beat my own record! I am so happy! I wish I could tell you all about it.
Handover #3: The Seminary has a new leader, Külli Tõniste. Külli was my student when I first came to Estonia. She went on to do a master’s and a PhD in New Testament and with her American husband Doug has been back in Estonia teaching with us for 3 years. On August 1 she will officially become our Rector (president). I was her teacher, her boss, and now she will become my boss. Honestly, I am really looking forward to it! We have had lots of conversations about the direction the Seminary needs to go, and I really believe that God can use her to take the Seminary to new heights. Most importantly: she understands the importance of prayer and keeping God central to what we are doing.
Handover #4: We have a new head of the church in Estonia: Robert Tcherenkov. Unlike the others, Robert has never been my student, but he was my partner for the last two years leading the Estonian Bible School program. Working together helped me to get to know him better and to see the heart that he has for God. I really believe he is the right man for the job and although he is facing a huge challenge, I am looking forward to seeing what God will do.
As you can see, there are a lot of changes and we really believe that all these new leaders can bring a new start to the church in Estonia. Please keep praying for God’s guidance, strength and protection. Estonia is not an easy place to serve God and your prayers are an essential part of what we are doing.
Have a great summer!
-Livia & Mark Nelson
-I recently returned to Haiti for two months after a one-year absence. My heart overflowed the first couple weeks of reunions! My former students at Cowman International School stopped for a hug and a kiss at every possible chance; how I missed those little rascals! I taught fifth grade for the last three weeks of school and organized the school’s annual Fun in the Sun Day. It was a blast! I believe the highlight was our “Teacher Target” station, where students got to hurl soaked sponges at our brave teachers. However, stress from the field’s difficult land situation and political tensions in the community quickly stole our focus as we begged God to guide us through the turmoil. Many of our last smiles for our students were painful as our hearts cried for our family, our campus, and the community of Vaudrieul. As chaotic and heart-wrenching as it was, I believe it was a time of strengthening for the OMS family on the Haiti field. In every discussion, I witnessed pure hearts cry that these difficult times would further the Gospel in the community, that this situation would exalt Jesus; and while we didn’t understand, I saw so much willingness to suffer for Christ and His kingdom. As a young woman just beginning her missionary journey, it was so encouraging to see how the years our long-termers have invested in and sincerely cared for the Haitian people produced a huge spiritual blessing in a very dark time. It manifested itself as a whole community of faithful believers interceding in prayer! It was a hug and a kiss from the cleaning ladies to encourage me to “kenbe fem” (stay strong). It was singing praises with the kitchen ladies while we washed the dishes and tried not to cry. It was watching an Almighty God provide a solution when every possible solution had been rejected and exhausted. Upon my return, I have been asked if I had a fun trip. It makes me chuckle! I don’t know if being stretched spiritually, emotionally, in my giftings, and every other area of my life to an extent that one begins to feel broken can be classified as fun, but it resulted in incredible joy that made this trip my most meaningful yet. And as I led my most frustrating and difficult student to the Lord on the last day of summer school, I realized that every single moment is and was worth it.
On a personal note Julie and I have left Haiti temporarily to adopt our nephew, Jacob. We are currently in Canada going through the adoption process and hope to be back in Haiti for the start of the next semester at Emmaus.
Emmaus Biblical Seminary continues to advance. On May 11, 19 men and women graduated, equipped to serve the Kingdom in Hai-ti. We have also started construction on a new classroom and office building in order to accommodate our growing class sizes and faculty. Also, this semester Emmaus started a new master’s in education program in the hope of training and influencing the future and current educational leaders in Haiti for Christ. But the biggest advancement, the biggest news of this semester was that the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association granted EBS accreditation. Emmaus is the first school to be granted accreditation by CETA in either Haiti or the Dominican Republic. This is a massive achievement which Emmaus has been working toward for over a decade. Accreditation means that a degree from Emmaus is the equal of any post-secondary degree in the world. We praise God and give Him the glory for the blessings that he has poured out upon us so that we can serve Him more effectively.
Bethesda Medical Centre’s physio department also continues to advance. The beautiful new building was opened at the start of January and Altidor, a local physio technician, started working with Julie the first day that they were opened. They have been work-ing hard ever since. Altidor is learning quickly and since Julie left the clinic in March she has been doing an excellent job on her own.
Dr. Rodney Baptiste had a very successful fund raising trip to Western Canada in February raising more than $80,000 for the clinic. That is almost enough to supply them with medicine for a whole year! Bethesda is very thankful to God for His provision!
-Bill and Julie Edler
The CAM (Christian Academy in Mozambique) school year is quickly coming to a close on June 8th. This year we are graduating nine students who are busy seeking the Lord as they decide their future studies and the Lord's leading. It has been a challenging year, but we give praise to the Lord in all things and we pray for a strong finish. We are a few teachers short for the new school year in August and appreciate your prayers as we interview and decide who to hire. Finding qualified teachers is a challenge in Mozam-bique.
A recent development is that Susan was having severe pain and has been diagnosed with gallstones. Her surgery was postponed on May 13 and we are now praying for wisdom about when she can have the surgery. In the meantime, pray the pain doesn't return.
Larry continues to keep busy with two business offices to oversee and all the grounds maintenance workers, repairs and construction on the campus and around CAM school.
The seminary program is running well and there are about 75 students in the day and night courses. Your prayers for these students and for the finances needed to continue the program are appreciated.
Our national church, the Living Word Evangelical Church, continues to show spiritual growth. We are thankful for this new growth and the involvement of those from the churches who help with the OMS Helping Hands ministry to the disabled and those who help with the church women's programs.
One of the schools continuing challenge is the poor condition of the road to the school/OMS compound. There are still 300 meters of sand/unpaved road that in the rainy season becomes impassable and filled with large potholes that cars and even a school bus gets stuck in. We keep praying the government will finish paving the road. We still need to deal with high water in the "road" that becomes a "river" that cuts off the entrance to the school. Several times during the rainy seasons we have to close school because the water is too deep for vehicles to cross into our compound.
-Larry and Susan Weil, Mozambique
As prayer partners of OMS Haiti missionary Colleen Taylor, we have been interested in Haiti for many years. When she wrote, asking for ESL teachers, we took up the challenge and arranged to go to Haiti for two months. Our first event, one hour after our arrival, was the weekly OMS missionary prayer time. We received an immediate and warm welcome, and we saw the genuine support that missionaries give to one another. This was followed in a day or two with the monthly prayer time in Creole for the many OMS ministries, including 4VEH Radio and TV, Cowman International School, Bethesda Medical, Maternity and Dental Clinics, Emmaus Biblical Seminary, the Starfish kids and the English Classes. Soon reality began to set in. We lived in a completely different environment, of not knowing what was safe and what was unsafe, and having no opportunity to return home for 2 months. We had a whole new appreciation for the mission staff who leave everything and simply come, having no guarantee but God.
As we learned more Creole, we learned to talk with people, and they wanted to know about us. Many knew Jesus and we shared the blessing of his presence. What we came to realize was that, although there is a history of dark involvement and although there are still strong evil forces, the power of the gospel is evident everywhere. People have hope in Christ, even when they have little else. As we spoke a word of blessing, “Bondye beni ‘w,” people would eagerly respond.
On an evangelism trip into the mountains, we had a real taste of the remoteness of village life. The road was the riverbed. The water supply was the river. There was no electricity, and the primary cash crop was cocoa beans. As we visited people, we asked, “May I tell you about Jesus?” We received a “Yes” reply over and over again. Not only did people receive Christ as Saviour, one woman renounced her previous dedication to Satan and smashed a whisky bottle which was to be used in an upcoming ceremony. People received solar radios, tuned to radio 4VEH, and with an MP3 recording of the entire Bible.
The English classes led to warm relationships and friendships. They were for 4VEH staff, and others that they invited. Most participants in the 2 month program were able to achieve a certificate of having achieved either Level 1 or Level 2 of ESL training. The readings were from scripture passages, and we sang and prayed together, and grew in Christ. The work at Cowman International School included classroom support, office supplies organization, and reshelving library books. Pat found herself eating lunch with little friends, some of whom were also our neighbours on the OMS grounds.
God is powerfully at work through the work of OMS in Haiti. The need is great, and because of that
need, people’s hearts are wide open to the Grace of our God, and the Salvation found in Jesus Christ.
Mesi Seyè! Thank you Lord!
-Lucas and Pat Van Boeschoten
My experience in Haiti was different wherein I chose to go with a missionary I had befriended, rather than a team. I did not know details whatsoever on the things I would be doing, only that it would involve something along the lines of pitching in and lending a hand at Cowman International School. This being my very first mission trip in another country I was naive to all it would entail. Little did I know, that though I was going with an attitude to be a blessing, I would be blessed upon a hundred times more.
Upon arrival, I was welcomed ever so warmly by the many missionaries on the compound, fed to the brim with authentic and delicious food, not to mention home-made fruit juice, and patiently toured around. And then, introduced to the people of Haiti. My heart was captivated, to say the least. I must admit, it was a challenge for me to grapple their living circumstances and loving hearts at the same time. I would look around and a sense of hopelessness would begin to creep in, only to have it vanish when I had a child look up to me grinning from ear to ear. As days turned into weeks I found myself to have established various relationships.
During the day, I would lend a hand in the kindergarten room at Cowman. The young ones had been tugging on my heart strings since the very get go, and so it did not take long for friendships to blossom soon thereafter. It was the moments of playing duck-duck-goose, having them braid my hair, or sharing a chocolate cake, that made for those cherished memories. While I was technically teaching them about math and english, they were instructing me all the more about the definition of unconditional love. However, the relationships did not end with the kids. While working in the classroom I had the privilege of befriending the lead teacher and assistants. Their ways with the children were absolutely phenomenal. I saw in action so much passion, that at times I caught myself simply observing in processing. It did not take long for me to realize that the environment was carefully crafted to create a place for kids to stretch academically, but then also be discipled spiritually. For the time being, those people in that beautiful atmosphere became my family.
My three weeks in the incredible country of Haiti taught me oh, so much! I was made known that the life of a missionary does not have to be terribly extraordinary. Sometimes, it is simply taking a walk with a young boy, talking and eating an unbelievable amount of fresh mangoes. Other times, it is playing a good ol’ game of basketball until you’re out of breath. And still another time, it is hugging and holding tight the dear child crying. All in all, it is choosing to live day by day with the people Papa God has designated to be your people. It is the making of relationships, that doors of opportunity open wherein you get to share about your Jesus. It is the walking in His love in the land of your mission, however near or far that may be.
My mission trip to Haiti stretched me to new borders, grew my abilities, and revealed unto me many many things. I came home with a fresh perspective, knowing that my divine purpose will take me yet again to a faraway country.