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bottomline • first quarter 2009 • 1

missions for the rest of us

first quarter 2009


do th n a c e .W



Tea, tim

witne = y e k r u talk in T

transforming lives and communities

pioneering initiatives • ships • india • europe • world faiths • relief & development • emerging mission movements • next generation • resourcing

2 • • transforming lives and communities •

© 2009 by OM Canada Publication Mail Agreement No. 40009991 Publisher: OM Canada 84 West Street, Port Colborne, ON L3K 4C8 Tel. (905) 835-2546 Fax (905) 835-2533

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Canadian Director: Harvey Thiessen Board Chair: David Healey Editor & Designer: Greg Kernaghan Our Purpose OM’s role in the body of Christ is to motivate, develop and equip people for world evangelization, and to strengthen and help plant churches, especially among the unreached. Our Vision • Focusing on the unreached • Partnering with churches • Caring for our members • Training & equipping world Christians • Mobilizing the next generation • Globalizing our ministry • Strengthening our organization Our Core Values • Knowing & glorifying God • Living in submission to God’s Word • Being people of grace & integrity • Serving sacrificially • Loving & valuing people • Evangelizing the world • Reflecting the diversity of the body of Christ • Global intercession • Esteeming the church Stewardship Policy The spending of funds is confined to agencyapproved programs and purchases. Each gift designated toward an approved program will be used for that program with the understanding that, when any given need has been met, designated gifts will be used where needed most. Gifts are acknowledged and, where appropriate, an official receipt for tax purposes is issued.

first quarter 2009 But there are so many needs here…

missions for the rest of us

True that—but our real needs in Canada, as followers of Jesus, are uncomfortably personal, immediate and ‘sticky’. Fortunately, they’re also fixable…if we want.

First steps: a Global Challenge sampler

Seven basic mind shifts and five practical ‘start here’ steps make a healthy dozen things with which you can begin today to move from talk to walk in missions. Included are a good sampling of the hundreds of short-term possibilities available this year (many more online).



Special insert: 2008 OM International Annual Report

With 5500 workers from 99 nationalities at work in over 100 countries, it’s tough to tell the whole story. But we’ve tried to tell some of that story about transforming lives and communities, and we’re grateful for your help in making this possible. Rejoice with us!

Seven promises of a truth seeker

Rob Weatherby offers proven guidelines for and compelling reasons why we ought to befriend our neighbours from other religions.

Watching God work in Turkey

Christoph Koebel joined a small international team that helped workers in Turkey to share the Gospel. He’s ready to go back with a new team. Interested?


Despite the naysayers…


Toronto Challenge

OM Canada Director Harvey Thiessen observes that when reality faces arguments, reality wins in the end. In a sea of theories and objections to missions, OM and others quietly continue to stay the course because God uses such people who ‘just do it’.

How many ways can we put this? Needy people are there, God is there, we’re there—and maybe you should be there too! Let’s talk about it.

Somehow, soon, we collectively and individually need to ditch the white noise in our faith and get real about our responsibility to world mission. Pray for courage to burn some bridges and go against the flow! Starting today, of course. Pray for hundreds of people in your circles to take strides of faith this year and get chest-high in crosscultural missions Pray that OM Canada will be able to find the right fit for indivudlas and churches. Give thanks for the many amazing stories of transformation worldwide. God gets the glory, but His people who serve at great cost and effort get our respect and admiration. Pray for continued impact in communities, especially in the world’s many trouble spots where the cost of obedience remains high.

Pray for Rob’s group in Sudbury as they patiently love and interact with the local mosque community. Pray for love and respect to be shown from churches to visible minorities, while being aware of crucial differences in belief. Begin to pray for your own community in this regard. Pray for each Turkish person touched in some way during the team’s brief outreach, but also for the patient follow-up work by long-term workers. Pray that OM Canada will see sufficient interest and commitment among supporters to field numerous exposure teams this year. Pray for the naysayers you know; crisitcism is good only when it builds and strengthens our collective ability. Pray for Logos Hope as it finally begins its sea-going ministry! Pray about whether you or someone you know should participate in the next Get Ready conference! Pray for intentional and careful follow-up of contacts made during last summer’s outreach. Pray for easy integration of new believers and seekers, and for on-going, year-round interaction in the community. Pray for churches in other Canadian cities to accept the challenge.

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But there are so many needs here… Greg Kernaghan ome of us have been in world missions for a long time. We don’t do it for the money or prestige, the light workload or instant gratification, or for being universally applauded or understood. We do it because God tells His people to do it and we took him seriously. Here we are, and we can’t imagine otherwise. We also do it because of those cracks in heaven where grace happens and people are transformed in spite of our ineptitude and lack of faith—that mysterious increase in coincidences that drives our detractors around the bend. But we’d do it anyway, as humans helping a world full of need. All this to explain why the one excuse for involvement in ‘missions for the rest of us’ that we hear (and hate) the most is: “But there are so many needs here.”

That was your best shot? I suppose that such a platitude is a response as our society morally circles the drain. No one goes to church anymore (Really? Maybe some kinds). “People around us need to hear the Gospel…” and the litany of justification goes on and on. But first, let me turn down the Christian radio station, shut off that evangelistic TV program, avoid the Christian books at Costco, avert my gaze from church billboards every few blocks, and block the four million Christian websites (in English) that Google coughs up every day (‘gospel’: 81 million). Okay—where were we? Apparently, we believe that we can’t be a successful witness elsewhere until we have been so ‘here’. (What’s been stopping you until now?) OM’s experience is often quite the opposite: something happens when you take a

stride of faith, leave your comfort zone and enter another world where your only reason for being there is to be a witness. It brings clarity and confidence enough for a lifetime, anywhere—even back home. Don’t buy into ‘getting your act together first’; the priority is obedience and a hunger to live large with God wherever that takes you; your life will come together as a consequence, not a pre-requisite. We act as though Canadians deserve to hear the Gospel over and over before others hear it at all. That’s not a very ‘PC’ thought, but where’s the evidence to the contrary? If people are of equal worth in God’s sight, everyone deserves equal concern, equal access to the Gospel, equal opportunity for redemption in this life. If you do go where you’re needed and appreciated, there are ten thousand others who don’t, or won’t. Let them handle the ‘needs’ at home.

Delineating need, greed and creed In line with my personal mission statement—to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable—let’s re-boot and consider a few of our real needs: ✓ We have a need to take stock of our lives and face reality. None of us are getting younger. Life is not getting simpler. Mankind is not redeeming itself. We’re not ready to close the books on what we have to show for our lives. We may never have another opportunity to change what needs changing. ✓ We have a need to shake off the lies of consumerism, personal and financial security, and the misguided pressure of family and friends when they conflict with God’s commands— the ‘world’ we are commanded to resist1. That 52” plasma is not a need, and will

give you the satisfaction that a sugar buzz gives nutrition. That job you hate, but with the pension you crave—read the papers lately? The people you love but who, in the crunch, don’t support your aspirations? Claim the promise of the Master2, follow Him, and see their respect and support grow over time. ✓ We need perspective on ‘hard times’: if you live in Canada, you’ve already won the lottery. We whine about cell phone plans, while half the world has never made a phone call. We obsess about trans fats while, every four seconds, someone dies from hunger. We max out credit cards, while one in four people on Earth live on less than $1/day. We snipe about church problems, while believers elsewhere are martyred daily. We have a need: to repent (do a 180˚). ✓ We have a need for our churches to put it on the line, and move from being recreational to incarnational, because it’s not about us—it’s about Him. We need to walk away from denominational squabbles and a hundred other diversions and find that edge, that mystery, that wonder, that hunger, that fear, that passion that we (and others) hoped was there all along. ✓ Lastly, we have a need for a sanctified imagination that can dream big enough to grasp God’s purposes in the world. Did you know there are places where you can still be first ever to witness to Christ? Think about that. There’s a depth of purpose and adventure ‘out there’ that will ruin you for trivial pursuits. There’s real need out there… that you really need too. 1. 1 John 2:15–17 2. Mark 10: 28–31

4 • • transforming lives and communities •

Those first steps

It’s hard to picture yourself in the thick of world missions when you’re stuck on your sofa! Every step you take, though, brings you closer and the view gets better and better. Why not start with these? 1. You, in missions? Stop thinking ‘Why?’ and start thinking ‘Why not?’ We’re dealing with God here, so focus on the ‘Wow!’ and let Him deal with the ‘How’. 2. Rejoice that, whatever develops, God may be trying to get your attention. Don’t miss the moment. Remember, regret over things done will pass, but regret over things not done is something else. 3. However you do it, start breaking out of your comfort zone (aka the womb, your rut, the same old same old…). Discover how awesome ‘ethnic’ food is. Make the effort to interact with people around you from other cultures (you’ll love it). Tithe your websurfing time and start investigating other countries and cultures. 4. If you don’t have a passport yet, get one. Carry it with you on occasion, as a reminder that you’re a citizen of the world too. 5. A good way to make vague intentions ‘stick’ is accountability. Surround yourself with the kind of people who will support your vision and gently but relentlessly keep you on course. Get to know someone personally who has actually experienced missions abroad and learn from them (we only learn from people who have gone ahead of us in skills or experience). You need friends that propel you forward, not hold you back. Begin today with the rest of your life in mind. 6. Have a material and mental garage sale. Keep it lean: declutter your stuff and re-discover the pleasure of less. In this multitasking age, refuse trying to stay abreast of everything without being truly knowledgeable or good at anything. Looking for an interest that will last and pay off? It’s called world missions. 7. Leave the talk and start the walk: get in touch with us so that together we can explore the possibilities and find your fit. Let us pray with you in the process, even if nothing looks determined or immediate. This is a journey best taken in company!

Here’s how: 4 Email, by post or call Regine. First check out the many options online: Let’s get to know each other! 4 Send us your application. We’ll need two references and you’ll fill out some forms. 4 Depending on the term of service and other factors, you may need to participate in a Get Ready conference at our office (totally worth it, though). 4 Once you’re accepted, we’ll book your flight and walk you through the details. 4 Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to do what God has for you!

Central European Sports Challenge • 5 July–18 August (Hungary) Experience a summer internship with OM Sportslink and the Hungarian Baseball Association, training and playing with Hungarian baseball players. The internship starts with the CESC 2009 training conference in the Ukraine (6–9 July) after which you’ll be involved in sports outreach in Hungary. An August departure is flexible. Under the supervision of Sportslink staff, you’ll experience different aspects of baseball sports ministry in Hungary. Open to single people or couples who love baseball and want to learn new approaches to sports ministry. Traveling Baseball Team • 7–16 August (Hungary) Be part of a team of youth/adults promoting baseball while providing church planters and churches the opportunity to build new relationships, especially with youth. The team will openly share the Gospel during training and during games. Church planters/ leaders commit to follow-up by continuing the sport and visiting those that show interest in the Gospel. Local teams and churches will promote the event. The team will travel to seven locations, hosting an intensive baseball clinic each day for youth 10–17 and a friendly evening game against the local men’s fast pitch baseball team. Proficient baseball players with a heart for teaching youth baseball and showing the love of Christ through testimony and good sportsmanship. Great for a father & son mission trip!

Love Moldova Sports Camp • 22 July–4 August (Moldova) Reach out to children and teenagers through sports. Work with local churches, doing sports and kids games with children and youth. Help lead day camps, organize sports and games, and with Bible lessons. If you like sports and have a heart to share the gospel, join us!

bottomline • first quarter 2009 • 5 Hope Brussels ‘09 • 2–17 July (Belgium) Reaching out to the people of Brussels, we’ll work with children from various backgrounds through holiday programmes, puppets and games. A coffee bar in the evenings with music and different cultural events will attract neighbourhood people on the streets. Begin with training and an introduction to Belgium. Get ‘out there’ daily on a team to interact with an international city, as one foreigner to another. Helpful languages include Dutch, French, Arabic (classical and Moroccan), Turkish, French, Flemish, German…and English! Children’s Camp • 23 June–21 July (Ukraine) We’ll help small village churches to establish regular children’s ministry by launching a summer camp. Every day village children get together for activities such as sport, drama, crafts, and to listen to evangelistic programmes. Some villages will have an all-day programme, while others will be half-day, allowing a team to work in two places. Each camp is one week long. Because of preparation, we recommend three-four weeks to build on your experience. Unforgettable!

Mountain Challenge • 24 July–16 August (Central Asia) We’re looking for people with a sense of adventure to partner with our long-term team running a youth camp in English. Our Youth Community Camp will build on the weekly ‘English Chat’ activities already run for young people. We combine sport, handicrafts, music and dance, with lessons on community values, sexual health, nutrition, ecology etc. Our region is totally unreached. There is no Church and very few believers, so expect to be spiritually challenged and to pray hard, including an all-day prayer-hike. You’ll stay with a local family, giving you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and sensitively share Jesus. We can’t promise running water or indoor plumbing, but you’ll be humbled by the sacrificial hospitality you’ll receive. Adventure Team • 25 October–14 November (Chile) We want you to know God’s purpose for your life. The Life Direction Seminar, together with an Adventure Team is a good start. You’ll get a good dose of culture, nature and life and church life in a foreign country. Participate in friendship evangelism amongst socially rejected kids in an orphanage. Feed the homeless. Serve alongside local churches. Your Adventure Team will do youth work, visit churches and evangelize on the streets. You’ll also explore some of the greatest nature on Earth, one step at a time.

Playground Evangelism • 22 July–4 August (Moldova) Our goal is to build a new playground at a local church and connect with the local community. Upon completing the playground, there will be interest in the community and facilities to run a children’s program, with games, Bible stories, songs and more. Are you open to make your hands dirty and invest in the life of children? Come and join us!

Learn by teaching • 1–21 July (Angola) Transform lives and communities in Angola. Serve local missionaries. Teach English. Dive into building and construction work. Teach in a Bible school. Help run discipleship courses. Be involved in children’s clubs. You need to be flexible, adaptable and teachable—this is Africa! You must be able to settle into strange and less comfortable environments. And be prepared to be the student!

Bus4Life • 28 May –6 June (Hungary) The Pentecost holiday is an important part of Hungarian culture and church life. Bus4Life will assist a church in outreach during this holiday. Work with a church or group of churches in outreach through creative means, using the Bus4Life. Be involved in language learning, sports, children’s programs and music events. We need creative, flexible people who love people and enjoy drama, coffee bars and sports. Out of the Comfort Zone • 11-25 July (Asia) East Asia has a population of two billion people; over 95% make no claim to believe in Jesus Christ—the world’s largest concentration of unreached people. Out of the Comfort Zone gives you the opportunity to experience first-hand reaching lives with the good news in East Asia. Following the OCZ009 Asia conference you’ll head out on a 10–16 day road trip to one of several countries. Enjoy forming new friendships with children and youth! Play sports. Teach English. Share your testimony by sharing your life. Visit homes. Take time and explore the rich culture, religion and language of your host people.

6 • • transforming lives and communities •

The seven promises of a truth seeker ‘Truth seekers’ is the name of our small team that visits a local mosque in Sudbury (Northern Ontario). Since the fall of 2001, we’ve shown up on the last Friday of most months to sit at the back, respectfully observe their prayer service, chat with Muslim students as they leave (discreetly giving out a few New Testaments in the process), and hold a one-hour dialogue with a small group of our friends (mostly doctors, professors and engineers). They teach us about Islam and we teach them about biblical Christianity. temples (gurdwaras)/societies in Canada (43 in Ontario) as well as 198 Buddhist temples or meditation centres and 170 Jewish synagogues/societies in Canada. A partial listing of Internet resources is given below.

Watching God work …in Turkey

What can a small international team accomplish in a week or two in Turkey? As much as God plans! A Chinese Malaysian girl sat beside numerous women on the bus, giving them tracts and saying “Jesus loves you” in Turkish, often taking a photo, exchanging emails and giving a booklet. A nurse from the USA plans to return long-term. A Swiss man, living in Spain, an enthusiastic new believer with an IT career who is open to returning. A 75-year-old retired doctor…and myself.

What would happen if… Our seven promises 1. Seek and affirm truth with an open mind wherever it may be found (e.g. you can find basic moral teaching like the ‘golden rule’ in most religions). 2. Believe what we believe by conviction not convenience (i.e. not because we were born in a certain family, culture or religion). 3. Respect the beliefs of others, even if we don’t share them. 4. Learn as much as we can about their belief system to better understand. 5. Boldly go to our friends in other religions (realizing that they may never come to us). 6. Boldly (but sensitively) share the truth of the Gospel with our friends. 7. Patiently leave the results of our truth sowing to the Holy Spirit who alone can convince, convict and convert. Sudbury has about 100 Muslim families from over 20 countries (mostly from the Middle East). What about your community? There are 48 Muslim mosques in Ontario (32 in the GTA)? There are also 48 Hindu temples in Ontario (21 more in the rest of Canada). There are 85 Sikh

…committed teams of Christian truth seekers arose to reach out to these religious communities? Perhaps God is calling you to be part of one of those teams. If you need more training in crosscultural evangelism, contact the OM Canada office about participating in Toronto Challenge (see back page). • for Muslim mosques: • for Hindu temples: • for Sikh gurdwaras: directory/gurdwara/canada.html • for Buddhist temples: • for Jewish synagogues: JewsCanadaSynagogues.html Rob Weatherby is OM’s mission mobilizer in Northern Ontario and can be reached at or (705) 866–0847.

For one week, most of our team was in Izmit (pop. 250,000), joined by several Turkish believers and Turkish-speaking Asian workers. One team remained at the church and prayed for four teams on the street. We used a short survey and invited people to and evangelistic event. As three of us walked down a street, a car stopped. A western-dressed lady jumped out of the car and asked if we were Christian. A Korean woman on the team had a long conversation. One team of Turks, Americans, Swiss and Mexicans went to the university to find and encourage Christian students; three came to the Friday night meeting. We prayed for 20 people for the event, though told to expect about 5–8. Almost 35, mostly men, showed up. Many had lots of questions; one man accepted Christ on Sunday morning. We had a few ‘contacts’ with police.

bottomline • first quarter 2009 • 7

Despite the naysayers… ust over 50 years ago, George Verwer and friends pioneered modern short-term missions. It was not necessarily a brand new idea, but it was a new time and that idea, coupled with the boldness and faith of the participants, created a movement that endures today. That young, inexperienced Christians motivated by faith have something to contribute to world evangelism resonates soundly with today’s youth: over 700 at Winnipeg Missionfest 2009 committed to be ready to go when George issued the same challenge of 50 years ago. Critics who argue that the effect of these short-term missions is negligible at best and harmful at worst should be silenced by the compelling story of Joseph D’Souza (, plenary speaker at Vancouver Missionfest 2009 a mere seven days earlier. It’s not hard to connect the dots between truckloads of exuberant youth trekking across India 45 years ago to a massive people movement today with millions having heard the gospel and thousands of churches planted. Not everything that pretends to be mission is mission; church leaders should have the discernment to So we started prayer walks. On a side street, we gave out tracts and talked with people. We had a good chat with a Kurdish fellow and an older lady. Giving out tracts was an awesome experience. Sometimes people came back to ask for a second tract for their friend, or a car stopped to get tracts! There are many opportunities worldwide for this kind of team that can impact individuals. When can you come? Christoph Koebel is OM’s mission mobilizer in Manitoba.

determine the difference. But a few bad experiences or ideas do not invalidate the effort. There is hardly a full-time missionary today that did not have the taste for long-term service instilled in them while serving on a short-term trip.

Count the cost of inaction Couldn’t the money spent on short-term missions be spent more wisely? Than what—the money we spend on TV, coffee or a dozen other personal pursuits? I’ve never understood ‘bang for your buck’ rationale when it comes to the work of the Spirit. When the Spirit works in my life, my response should be tempered neither by the grandness of the idea nor the bottomline of the enterprise. I was intrigued by a recent email exchange with an enquirer who immediately wanted to know the cost— after all, didn’t Jesus tell us to count the cost before we went into battle? He was offended and thought we were trying to scam him when we didn’t give him a dollar figure but tried to determine first if this is what God was calling him to. In the end, I caved and told him the cost: his life (I haven’t heard from him since). When the Spirit moves in the youth of your church, are you willing to stand

DOULOS Manila, Philippines March 5–31 Kaohsiung, Taiwan April 2–29 Hualien, Taiwan April 30–May 13 Keelung, Taiwan May 14–June 4 Hong Kong, China June 6–July 4 LOGOS HOPE Scheveningen, Netherlands March 11–30 Edinburgh, Scotland April 1–14 Faroe Islands April 16–27 Belfast, Northern Ireland April 29–May 12 Dublin, Ireland May 13–26 Schedules:

Harvey Thiessen with them no matter how foolish their calling looks? The Spirit is still calling Canadian youth (and others) into missions! The viral spread of Christianity in other countries hasn’t lessened our obligation; if anything, it should excite and propel us to throw in our lot with them. The future of Christianity will not be marked by separation of east and west, of haves and have nots, but by a very distinct need to build enduring links and common experiences between all followers of Jesus. Short-term missions is one bridge that connects Christians across very real divides that separate our understanding of one another. And what of those who do not worship God at all? We’ll use whatever means available to put those who know Jesus face to face with those who do not. Short-term missions are one means among many—one that works. Whether it works for you is up to you.

5 days with OM to GET READY for wherever God is leading you in mission. Learn about OM ministries, core values, building a prayer/financial support team and more. You’ll be stretched, encouraged and READY for the next step. Cost includes meals, lodging and materials ($100/person; $170/couple). Space is limited, so contact Cory Thiessen: 1–877–487–7777 or

It’s simple. It’s doable. It’s proven. It’s your turn.

8 • • transforming lives and communities •

Toronto Challenge: a natural step forward for you and your church to embrace world mission. Discover what it means for you to connect with world missions—right here in Canada! Together, we introduce our newest neighbours to the Gospel in a culturally appropriate manner. Every team works in partnership with an ethnically diverse, missions-minded church committed to outreach after the summer. No passport, no major preparation, no huge leap to experience cross-cultural training and new ministry opportunities. All you need is a passion to grow and learn and a readiness to make a difference!

4 receive training in sharing your faith and practice it with your team daily

July 4–12 • $215* July 4–18 • $340* (*plus travel to–from Toronto) Anyone 17 or over is welcome. Space is limited! Application deadline: May15, 2009

4 visit major religious sites and learn about other faiths and cultures

4 explore the rich ethnic diversity of our largest city

Toronto Challenge was my first mission trip. People always told me, “Mission trips are life-changing”. I believed that but, since I live in Toronto, I doubted that I would experience it. I was wrong! I learned and adopted many effective tools, tips, and resources to help reach the lost in my community. As soon as I went back, I had to tell my youth group what we experienced. The Lord used what I learned from Toronto Challenge to influence and encourage the

youth at my church to go on a mission trip and preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve held one-day workshops to train and sharpen us for outreach. OM taught us to understand what others believe, and this has strengthened us as effective witnesses for Christ. This ONE mission trip has impacted me for a lifetime of impacting other’s lives. Angelo Shamoon

Info & applications: Regine Hüttner 1–877–487–7777 • Publication Mail Agreement No. 40009991

missions for the rest of us

© 2009 • OM Canada 84 West Street Port Colborne, ON L3K 4C8 Tel. (905) 835-2546 • Fax (905) 835-2533 •


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