Millions Sept-Dec 2015

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As our year of reflection and celebration of the past 150 years of the CIM and OMF International draws to a close, we focus on where we are today. We look at the place of prayer in our work; both historically and now. Steve and Anna Griffiths outline who and what makes up the organisation today and Peter Rowan explores the question; what about the next 150 years?

Transcript

  • Sept Dec 2015

    PLACESPEOPLE PARTICIPATE

    NewsThe Shape of OMF

    East is East, West is WestDiversity is Important

    The Next 150 Years?

    Back to the Future

  • Moving forward there are so many questions to consider. Where do we go from here? What does God have in store? What are we to continue? What new things are we to begin? What has run its course?

    Just as Hudson Taylors obedience

    involved innovation so must ours if we are to continue serving God in an ever-changing world. We shall see in this issue how pioneering spirit and gospel proclamation are still required but may take us to the busy beaches as well as remote villages. Western theology has helped the west better understand God, but does it connect with cultures we seek to reach? The growing and maturing Asian Church faces new challenges and has different needs today than 100 years ago.

    Chris WattsEditor chris.watts@omfmail.com

    As we have looked back through our 150 year history, we have been reminded of the faithfulness of God and the dedication of those men and women who answered his call, to share the good news of Jesus in all its fullness with those who had not heard.

    We serve the Church and seek to bring the gospel to all the peoples of East Asia. We help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide.

    Through Gods grace we aim to see an indigenous, biblical church-planting movement in each people group of East Asia, evangelising their own people and reaching out in mission to other peoples.

    Heart for Asia. Hope for billions.

    From The Editor

    AUSTRALIA18-20 Oxford StreetEppingNew South Wales 2121Tel +61 2 9868 4777Fax +61 2 9868 5743au@omfmail.com

    MALAYSIA3a Jalan NipahOff Jalan Ampang55000 Kuala LumpurTel +60 3 4257 4263Fax +60 3 4251 4313 my.cd@omfmail.com

    SINGAPORE2 Cluny RoadSingapore259570Tel +65 6510 3130Fax +65 6474 0727sno@omfmail.com

    INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS2 Cluny RoadSingapore 259570Tel +65 6319 4550Fax +65 6472 2398ihq@omfmail.comwww.omf.org

    Design: sparks-studio.comPrint: www.printd.com.au

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  • News 4

    Diversity is Important 8Diversity in OMF's Ministry

    The Shape of OMF Today 12The people that make up OMF

    East is East, West is West 10 The theology of the East & West

    DIRECTIONSThe Next 150 Years? 14What does the future hold?

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  • News and Stories

    PEOPLE

    Exciting Growth in IsaanIsaan is a rural, mostly unevangelised region of northern Thailand. For OMF, it is the youngest area of their work in Thailand, but is now receiving the largest growth. In 2014 the known number of believers throughout the region stood at 67. Now, three new house churches later, that number stands at 113. Coupled with this growth in believers is an expected missionary increase from 30 to at least 50.

    All this growth positions the Isaan team to church plant into unreached areas. There are currently 85 districts in Isaan without a church, of which the team are anticipating being able to start work in 23. Please join with the Isaan team, which is made up of not only OMF missionaries but also workers from five other organisations, in praying for the work in Isaan. Pray that the Lord would continue to bless and grow the team and that they would be successful as they venture into the unreached areas of Isaan.

    The Aroma of LifeI first met Zhi Han, a young man in our community, several years ago. Since that time, I have often had small, casual conversations with him. Recently, while talking about books, I asked him if he liked to read books about religion. He responded that he really does not like religion and considers himself an atheist.

    Wanting to know more, I asked him why? He simply replied, Because I really hate the smell of burning incense and paper money! He told me that ever since he was a child, he could not stand the smells associated with Taiwanese folk religious practices. Therefore, as a matter of extreme practicality, he decided that he wanted nothing to do with religion.

    After listening to Zhi Han rant about the horrible smells of Taiwanese religious practices, I was able to tell him about Christianity, a religion that does not involve any offensive smells. I shared that there is a God who loves him and wants to have an eternal relationship with him a God who sacrificed his own Son in order to let Zhi Han be with him.

    After listening to this simple gospel presentation, Zhi Han told me that he had never previously heard what I shared with him. Pray that we may be able to have many more conversations like this one with the Taiwanese people who live and work in our communities.Nathan Keller

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  • New Horizons Christian mission in the 21st century has become the responsibility of a global church*. Fifteen years into the 21st century, and we see this injunction by Samuel Escobar being fulfilled. As emerging evangelical churches grow in numbers and maturity, they also gain an understanding of their role and responsibility in the great commission.

    Over the last years, OMF has been receiving an ever-growing number of inquiries from countries in Latin America, Africa, Eastern and Southern Europe and the South Pacific island nations.

    To better respond to this trend, a new unit has been set up; OMF New Horizons, with OMF workers currently deployed in Latin America and Southern and Eastern Europe, and we would like to have permanent personnel in Africa. They make known the spiritual needs of East Asian people, and seek to partner with local churches and mission organisations.

    Since New Horizons came into existence three years ago, we have experienced Gods guidance and blessing, as we have a number of personnel from Latin America and Europe already serving with us, and several more in the application process for long-term ministry.

    *Samuel Escobar, The New Global Mission: The Gospel from Everywhere to Everyone, p12

    Training and Development ConsultationSusan Chapman reports on her time at a consultation of OMF workers involved in training and development.

    Earlier this year, around 30 OMF workers involved in Training and Development met for the biennial consultation. This was the first time I had attended, and honestly, I cannot remember the last time I worked as hard as those few days. Hours of needs assessment, reviewing the current training, brainstorming, blue sky thinking, and then synthesizing all of that into action plans involving many colored post-its.

    Yes it was hard work mentally. But the amazing part was that it was also fun, rewarding and spiritually stimulating. It was designed and facilitated well, with a wide variety of activities. And it was firmly centered on our mission of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness with East Asias peoples to the glory of God.

    As someone with a focus on the training and development of fellow workers, these few days were significant. I am more equipped to encourage them, and to walk alongside them in enhancing their effectiveness.Susan Chapman

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  • StorytellingStorytelling is as old as civilization itself. It is universal.

    There are tribal chieftain storytellers chewing tobacco and explaining to

    villagers why the crops have failed, and dynamic individuals giving TED 1 talks to curious global audiences about the power of introverts or why education kills creativity. Songwriters, historians, politicians and parents all tell stories because storytelling is a powerful and natural way for people to make the connection between the lesson and the listener.

    Well-told stories are captivating and persuasive, as we know from our Christian heritage: the Bible is made up of countless short stories dovetailing into one overarching narrative. These stories are powerful tools for evangelism as Ruth2 discovered

    when she moved to a remote mountain village in Mindanao where there were no believers. Most people were too busy foraging for food to listen to her stories, except Susa who was too ill to work. Every day Ruth would pull another story from her Bible treasury. She began with how God created the angels and the beautiful Garden of Eden; she described the pride of Lucifer and the tragedy of sin entering the world. Day after day she walked through the Bible, and day after day Susa became more intrigued by the God who featured in all these amazing stories. Each night Susa would retell the stories by the light of the fire as her family cooked the evening meal. Before the year was over a small church emerged and Susa became the chief Sunday school teacher. Last time I saw Susa she was learning to read these stories for herself.

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  • 1. TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks

    2. Ruths name has been changed to conceal her identity.3. Aristotles original list comprises: Plot; Character; Iidea;

    Speech; Chorus; Dcor; Spectacle; I have maintained his themes but used different terms to accommodate my acronym and make them easier to remember.

    4. Augustine wrote extensively on storytelling and Aristotles means of persuasion in preaching.

    5. P47 Gallo, Carmine. (2014) Talk Like TED; London: McMillian6. Cosper, M (2015)The Stories we Tell: how stories and

    movies long for and echo the truth; Illinois: Causeway;7. Matthew 28:19

    Stories are just data with soul. Brene Brown

    So how can you and I become great story tellers?If we examine the worlds greatest story tellers, from the writers of the timeless Greek tragedies to Bollywood screen writers, we w