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The basis of animism is that the spirit world is stronger than humans. The power of the spirit world infuses everything. Spirits are often believed to dwell in particular objects, such as a tree, or they move around or even follow people. For some animists, the spirits are intermediaries between them and a higher god. Other animists seek the help of particular spirits for specific occasions, e.g., during illness, war, marriage, childbirth, for work and study, for improvement of weather conditions or a good harvest. Animistic religions often involve a strong element of fear.

Many people in East Asia may belong to a major religion but actually follow a mixture of that religion and animism. This is even true of some forms of Christianity. Primal animistic religions share essential similarities with world religions: a belief in a powerful spiritual realm which coexists with the physical world; usually prayer, sacrifice or offering as a means to communicate with the spiritual world; shrines, temples or sacred places; priests, shamans or mediums who can help the people to hear from the spirits or gods, and sometimes a belief in a ‘sky god’ who is creator and above all other gods/spirits.

Animism or shamanism is practiced by about half the population of Mongolia. In China and Indochina, there are many minority nationalities who are animistic. Animism is so much part of their ethnic culture that it is essential for missionaries to help these indigenous communities see and accept the true God without losing their cultural identities.  At OMF International, we desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ with animistic communities and pray that they will experience the true Spirit of life.

We seek workers who:

  • Have a passion for advancing God’s kingdom among the least reached .
  • Are excited about seeing the Holy Spirit at work among people.
  • Are dependent on God through his word and prayer.
  • Are walking by faith, humble and willing to learn new things.
  • Have a good understanding of the spirit world.
  • Are patient, creative and able to take initiative.
  • Are lifelong learners willing to grow in engaging the lost with the gospel message.
  • Can be committed and active members in a multicultural team
  • Must be committed to learning the national language and study the local culture through interaction with local residents.
  • Have prior cross-cultural experience.
  • Have the flexibility to adjust to the local standards of cross-cultural living.
  • Certain countries require missionaries to spend one to two years in Christian ministry and/or a minimum of two years in bible/missions college training.
  • Have a long-term view of ministry to the animists through OMF’s 6 Ways To Reach God’s World.

For long-term workers, the first 1-2 years of your ministry will be spent in full-time language, culture and worldview study. In many contexts, animists are a minority people group and speak a language different to the national or trade language. This often means learning a second language in order to connect with the hearts and minds of the people in a meaningful way.

Upon completion of language and culture program, you will begin to transition to a ministry location and adjust to your new ministry context. You will be part of a local team and receive training in indigenous church planting through a training program and mentoring from local leaders. We encourage all members to grow in Christ-like character and service through our member development program and through mutual team accountability.

If you have a burden for animistic communities and desire to serve them, contact us.

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