The China Inland Mission (CIM) was established by James Hudson Taylor on June 25, 1865. Eager to reach the inland provinces of China with the gospel, the mission prayed hard and sent out waves of workers to China throughout the late nineteenth century.
In 1900, a group of Chinese called the “Boxers” set out to exterminate all foreigners in China in a reign of terror during which hundreds of missionaries and Chinese Christians were put to death. The CIM lost 79 people. Taylor died in 1905 after 50 years of active service for China, and D.E. Hoste, one of the Cambridge Seven, was appointed mission director.
Many missions pulled out in 1948-49, but the CIM was one which attempted to stay. Having so decided, the CIM took a further step of faith and brought in 49 new workers to Shanghai in 1948 and in 1949. It eventually became plain that the continued presence of the missionaries was causing suspicion and harassment for the Chinese believers. In 1950, the momentous decision was made that, in the best interests of the Chinese church, the CIM would withdraw. The mission began again in East Asia, establishing headquarters in Singapore.
A new name, Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), was adopted in 1964 (changed again to OMF International in 1993) and the old name (China Inland Mission) was dropped. Asian Christians also began to be accepted into membership during this period, and home councils were formed in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia. Today, nearly 20 percent of OMF International’s membership comes from Asia.
The nations of East Asia are still teeming with thousands who need to receive those “glad tidings” that Hudson Taylor sought to bring to the furthest points of China, and God is still leading. OMF International currently has nearly 3,000 staff, field workers and committed volunteers from 30 nations—1,400 of those are workers reaching out in East Asia. In 2015, a fellowship-wide celebration took place to recognize God’s faithfulness to OMF International over the past 150 years.
OMF International is still breaking new ground in the most dramatically changing region of the world—whether in outreach to more than 100 people groups, working with disadvantaged children, seeking new ways of evangelizing the unreached of Manila, teaching and influencing students in Taiwan, blessing Muslim peoples in South Thailand, translating the Bible, or living as “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-14) in countries closed to traditional missionary service. OMF International missionaries are giving their energies towards building a strong church in the countries of East Asia.