Whenever I hear that. I feel like sitting back and getting comfortable as if it were storytime with grandpa. Although Viv Thomas, the speaker at NextGen London 2019, was not my grandfather(!), he had an amazing way of weaving stories into his thought-provoking teaching on prayer.
In the talks I was really struck by what Viv called the ‘Cycle of Grace’.
It explains that:
Often, however, we get it all the wrong way around.
We end up in the ‘Cycle of Works’:
This simple yet profound illustration has since been a source of life and encouragement in my relationship with God. How wonderful to remember that I am already accepted by God; I don’t have to achieve great things to be acceptable to him!
It was great to be able to reflect on this with a group of like-minded people with a passion for mission and eager to grow. We heard inspiring interviews with people about their prayer lives in world mission. There were animated chats as we discussed what we were learning. We heard about each other’s exciting mission experiences over a delicious, hot lunch of Finnish soup and rolls. Which was much appreciated on a cold, wet November day! It was also fantastic to be able to join together with brothers and sisters from all kinds of different church backgrounds and be united in singing praises to God, to pray for the nations and each other too.
A personal highlight for me, as my role is supporting OMF Serve Asia (short-term) workers after their placements, was the chance to meet some of them in person. It was great to hear how much they had enjoyed their Serve Asia placements over the summer. I was especially thrilled to hear how God is leading them on their next steps in their involvement with the Great Commission both here and now, but also in the future and perhaps in East Asia too. What a privilege to be part of God’s plan to reach the nations!
If you’re thinking about doing a short-term mission trip, or wondering how to engage with international people on your street, on your campus or in your workplace, why not come along to a NextGen event and learn more about how we can partner with God in his mission to the world, whether here or overseas!
Nathanael grew up in Japan (his parents were OMF missionaries there). He later went back there as an adult for 8 years with OMF alongside his wife Anna, where they mainly worked with students. They now live in Swansea with their four children.
We sat down to talk to Wilson & Irene McMahon about how they ended up serving God in a remote village in the Philippines.
They share how they were challenged by their church in Northern Ireland to take risks and try new things, to trust God as they stepped out of their comfort zone. This willingness to take risks for the fospel led them from sharing with the gospel with teenagers in Northern Ireland to moving, with two young children, to a small village in the Philippines.
On Monday morning, 15 July, a team of British and international students fanned out across the city centre in Sheffield to distribute flyers to international students, inviting them to join our Welcome Week activities. We were hopeful, but no one anticipated the enthusiastic response we were to see that evening!
By 7pm, 60 students had already arrived for the first event, World Food Night, in Egerton Hall. They filled every available seat, and we were feeling encouraged to see such a wonderful response. But then another 100 came in the door! Thinking fast, we directed them to cross the street to Christ Church Central, where they could wait in the main meeting hall for dinner to be served.
A joyful but frantic scramble followed, as we carried tray after tray of food across the street, while still trying to serve the original 60 in Egerton Hall. By the end of the evening, our team had somehow managed to feed 180 students with a meal prepared for 50! (I don’t think miracles were involved, but I do still wonder—how did we do it?)
We continued to experience record-breaking attendance at our evening events throughout the week. Eighteen students came to the evangelistic Bible study that I led on Thursday—and nearly all were opening the Bible for the first time!
Now when a free meal is on offer, it is really not that hard to attract a crowd. And, as long as the free meals continue, the crowds keep coming back for more, as Jesus and the disciples discovered in John 6:24-34. But after the crowds have consumed all of the food that perishes, how many will remain for the food that endures to eternal life?
As we can see at the end of John 6, not many! But the few students who do remain with us after Welcome Week are our greatest joy and the focus of our ministry throughout the rest of the year.
On a typical Monday, our DIG Bible study (Discipling Internationals for Growth) meets at Egerton Hall at 5.30pm. We serve a home-cooked meal and lead our group of students in studying and discussing a passage of Scripture. Then, at 7.30pm, International Café begins, a social evening attended by about 40 to 60 students, many of whom have some interest in spiritual things. But they might still need some time to see what Christians are like before considering whether to take the next step of faith.
We discovered recently that several DIG members from China are already practicing Christians. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these Christian students were to serve alongside us over the next few months as we share the “word of life” (Philippians 2:16) with other internationals? All around us, in Sheffield’s city centre, live thousands of international students who have not yet heard the good news.
Working with East Asian students in Sheffield
1. Please pray that more Christians in Sheffield (and elsewhere!) will see that God has brought the world to us and get involved in reaching international students.
2. Pray for OMF’s Diaspora Returnee Ministries (DRM) around the world– the north of England, central Europe, North America, Kenya, Japan. We want to see churches in East Asia grow because of the thousands of East Asians who are coming to faith while studying or working abroad!
3. Pray also for our DRM workers. In most cases we have only one worker in a city, surrounded by thousands of East Asians. Pray that God will provide partnerships with local churches in each city so that they will not be isolated or unfruitful.
Steve and his family are from the UK, but now live and work in a poverty-stricken city in East Asia. They are developing grass-root initiatives to help raise people out of these hard conditions, demonstrating the good news of the coming kingdom, and seeking opportunities to share how Jesus brings right relationship with God.
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An Open Letter
A former OMF member’s alleged misconduct in the 1990s and the early 2000s
To whom it may concern:
OMF International has recently received letters of complaints that, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, three women were inappropriately and forcefully touched by an OMF missionary who had worked extensively in Indonesia.
OMF International deplores both, the behaviour alleged and that a missionary may have misused his ministry platform and the established trust with these women. This missionary’s alleged behaviour contravenes the standards and values expected of all our members.
When the complaints were recently received by OMF International, the missionary had already stopped working with OMF for a number of years. OMF International UK has reported the allegations to the UK police, the UK Charity Commission, as well as the relevant Safeguarding Officer in the Church of England. It is not possible for OMF International UK to report to the local police, where the alleged incidents happened, as any report must be made by the victim directly in that jurisdiction. OMF is currently reaching out to the three women who came forward, to render any assistance needed.
OMF is deeply sorry for any pain suffered by those affected by these allegations.
OMF would like to convey our gratitude to those who have stepped forward and courageously raised their experiences with us. Our hope is that OMF’s acknowledgement of these allegations and the taking of appropriate action in relation to them will engender trust, and thereby encourage others who may have also been affected by this missionary’s behaviour to come forward. Persons affected are asked to write in to: Sam.Wunderli@omfmail.com.
Such conduct is absolutely unacceptable to OMF. OMF International is committed to holding those who cause harm or behave inappropriately to account for their actions, while supporting those affected.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
For OMF International,
Assistant General Director
There are hundreds of Christian internships to choose from, so why do one with OMF?
We asked past and current interns and their colleagues in the National Office.
Here’s what they came up with:
OMF interns get to do a whole lot more than making coffee! They make a real contribution to our UK office team, using their skills to work on a whole range of exciting projects, whether it’s developing the handbook for our short-term workers, helping process their applications or producing content for social media.
(Though, if you want to learn how to make coffee to a barista standard, we can help with that too!)
Hear from our intern who never made coffee.
One of the most exciting things about doing an OMF internship is that you get to use your skills in a wide range of projects and tasks that tangibly contribute to God’s mission.
We welcome applications from anyone 18 and over. And an OMF internship can be a great experience before or after uni.
We offer two internships. Our mission intern works with our Serve Asia short-term mission department while our media intern works in the communications team.
There are also a number of options depending on the time you have available. Our mission internship is for 11 months while our media internship can be taken part-time, for 3 to 6 months or for up to 11 months.
This experience, either before or after a university or college course, can give you an edge over other students or applicants for future jobs. And aspects from the internships can tie up with courses as diverse as film studies, history, English language and human resources.
Interns also get real-life experience of areas of media interest or human resources, so you can try them out and see if they’re for you. In fact, through their time with us some of our past interns have developed their skills and found their path to their ideal career.
Based at the OMF UK National Office in Kent, you’ll get to meet OMF workers back in the UK and hear their stories of faith, service and how God is at work. Interns also get to meet new missionaries preparing to go out to East Asia and hear how God has been at work in their lives. And the UK National Office team are a pretty cool bunch too.
An OMF Internship isn’t just about developing your professional skills, it’s also about your discipleship. We’re passionate about learning from and living out God’s word in our daily lives and in mission. So a key part of our internships is training that helps you to grow in your knowledge of God and of his heart for mission. This may include weekly training sessions through a local church as well as in-house training modules. In addition, we have daily prayer times and weekly Bible devotions in our office.
You don’t stay in the office for the whole internship: we want you to experience our workers’ ministry first-hand and to see God in East Asia. Your time in East Asia (usually a month ) takes place as part of our Serve Asia short-term mission programme, which makes sure you are appropriately prepared for, supported during and debriefed after your placement. We seek to ensure that your time in East Asia gives you the chance to be involved in the ministry or country that excites you most, best fits the gifts God has given you, and matches opportunities for meaning partnership with those in East Asia.
There are loads of great spiritual and professional reasons to do an OMF internship, but it’s also a lot of fun. From team building days involving escape rooms, duck herding (yes, really) to more serious spiritual retreats. And office activities like skipping at lunchtime (which is optional, of course)!
OMF is an inter-denominational organisation. This means that working with us you may get to hear new perspectives and meet people with different church backgrounds to your own, but also focus on how we unite together in God’s mission.
OMF has been involved in equipping and training people to get involved in God’s mission for over 150 years. We’ve been running these internships for several years and have loved seeing God develop the next generation of Christians using their professional skills for God’s glory. Could you be next?
Levi Booth returns to the podcast (listen to Episode 2 for his previous interview) to talk about his new book ‘Ultimate Grace’.
In the episode, we talk about the importance of local church, the joy and sacrifice of mission, whether you have to wait for a ‘calling’, how your passions can be used as a bridge to share about your passion for Jesus, and more.
Win a copy of the book
We are giving away 3 signed copies of Levi’s book ‘Ultimate Grace’. To enter with your chance to win, simply share the podcast, and send us a screenshot as proof – whether you’ve shared it in an email, a text message, on your social media, or however else.
Email your screenshot to: email@example.com or send a direct message to us on Instagram @serveasiapodcast
We can send the book to a UK address only.
Terms and Conditions can be found here.
Hear more from Levi
Follow @gritgracejapan on Instagram
Dr. G lived in an Muslim community in East Asia for 10 years. In this episode, Dr. G teaches us about the Islamic festival of Ramadan. We hear about what it looked like in his East Asian context, as well as what it’s like in the UK, and what opportunities there are for Christians to build relationships with their Muslim neighbours during Ramadan.
Ramadan 2019 in United Kingdom will begin in the evening of Sunday, 5 May and ends in the evening of Tuesday, 4 June (dates may vary)
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