OMS was birthed in a storefront building in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. In 1901 American missionaries Charles and Lettie (the author of the best-selling devotional, ‘Streams in the Desert’) Cowman partnered with a Japanese minister, Juji Nakada, holding Christian evangelistic meetings for 2,000 consecutive nights. Before long, Japanese churches were organized, and the new association, the Japan Holiness Church (JHC), grew rapidly.
Originally known as the Oriental Missionary Society, OMS today, is engaged in ministry in over 75 countries on six continents. Partnership remains key to the effectiveness of OMS‘ endeavours to – “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)
Working with and alongside like-minded Christian groups, organizations and indigenous churches, OMS seeks to communicate the love of God, establish Christian churches, and train and equip a nation’s people to lead and multiply their own churches.
But OMS Canada had to start somewhere, and we would like to share a bit of our history with you. We want to share the first 20 years of OMS Canada in the eyes of Dr. Stan Dyer as he has written in his book, From the Northland to the Nations.
At a very early age, Blanche Crider had felt a clear call to missionary service in China. However, health factors restricted her from ministry overseas. While employed in a newspaper office in Toronto, Blanche was given a copy of the OMS magazine, The Missionary Standard. The call to service that was referred to in the magazine, either on the foreign field or in the homeland, developed deep longings in her heart. She immediately began talking about missions, praying for missions and enlisting others to help in this intercession. Blanche opened her home for missionary prayer groups and contacted churches for OMS speakers who would drive up from the USA.
In 1938, Blanche married Bill Frith who took her to Chicago, the location of his employment. But a part of her heart remained back in Toronto with the missionary prayer ministry she had begun. A chance meeting with Mrs. Cowman began an important change in plans and assignment. Mrs. Cowman asked the Friths if they would consider opening a Canadian OMS office in Toronto. The couple sensed this was, indeed, God’s leading, and travelled back to Canada to start laying the foundation of the Canadian mission. Blanche became the official Canadian secretary in 1939 and soon after the mission was incorporated in Canada in 1944, Bill took on the full assignment as OMS Canada director and continued in this role until 1964.
As a team, the Friths and other believers whom they had rallied around them, prayed for OMS across Canada. Although the Friths never claimed to be great preachers or eloquent speakers, their godly influence and missionary fervour impacted every early OMS missionary from Canada.
Bill and Blanche laid solid plans with prayer and consecrated vision. Every new candidate was prayed through the orientation and funding process and into the field of God’s choosing. This couple left a special legacy of dedicated, humble service and compassionate labour. Gordon Coles once said of the Friths, “I shall never forget their love and concern for people, and the burden they shared with us for a lost world.”
It is upon this foundation that we continue to experience God’s faithfulness.
And so we continue with the four purposes of intentional evangelism, church planting, leadership training through theological education and strategic partnerships.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of OMS Canada. We have been blessed immensely by God in these 75 years and we pray that God will continue to bless OMS Canada and what we do. To celebrate, OMS Canada is hosting the missions conference called unFinished. We will be digging deeper into the task God has not just given to OMS but to all disciples. The reason OMS still exists today is because this task is unfinished.
If you would like to know more about this conference or would like to take part please click here.