OMF Canada Amidst COVID
By Richard Schlitt, National Director
The world is so different! The things we used to do, which we considered essential, are no longer possible. For OMF Canada, face-to-face meetings and international travel were seemingly an indispensable part of our ministry life. So what have we been able to do?
The first thing we did was to recognize that the passion and vision God had had put in our hearts had not changed. We are still committed to seeing church and missions movements among East Asia’s peoples. With that recognition, we had to decide how to pursue those goals under these circumstances.
Some things have gone online.
- As a way to engage with new and current inquirers, the Mobilization Department launched Asia Online. Active Asian-based workers could meet virtually with those who are considering missions, for sharing, discussion, and prayer. Each month a different country is the focus.
- Scheduled Serve Asia workers were not able to travel. Our Serve Asia Team is planning monthly gatherings online to discuss topics and questions surrounding missions.
- A provincial Heart For Asia gathering was held virtually and more provinces plan to follow these patterns. A benefit has been the ability to bring Asian-based workers into the gatherings.
- Those who were scheduled for our Orientation Course in Singapore are attending a virtual Orientation Course. This will be followed by the future ministry, language and culture learning study started on line.
- The Mentorship program for inquirers and Serve Asia alumni was already virtual, and that has continued.
New people are still joining
- Our inquirer numbers are down but we are still having people join. Key roles within Canada are being filled.
- During this seemingly impossible time, there are new inquirers who are looking towards long-term ministry.
People are still getting to Asia
This continues to be a huge challenge. Each situation is unique, and often expensive, but by the end of August we should have at least three individuals, couples or families return to Asia following planned or unexpected Home Assignment. In September, another family and individual should be able to return. Please pray that the other 11 Home Assignees and four Appointees will soon be able to proceed to Asia.
People are coming to Christ
- Discipleship has carried on, though often through virtual means. Some Bible studies that had been face to face with keen family members are now virtual, and the previously less interested are joining in.
- Most Asian-based workers have been able to stay in East Asia. We cannot share details but in a place with a lot of restrictions, there has been an almost 10% increase in followers of Christ in the last two years. There is a recent increase in opposition as well so we do need to pray for God’s work and God’s people.
Life in the midst of COVID continues to be challenging but by God’s grace, his work is going forward.
Richard Schlitt – National Director