A new deal - Angola
OM Angola´s leader, Wessel Van Der Merwe, was talking and praying with a guest at his house when he saw a group of people smoking dagga, or marijuana, just down the hill. It also looked like they were doing a deal.
He went down to the group to chat with them. He asked where they were staying and if he could help them. They were open with him, and this encounter initiated a friendship. He began to disciple the group in a field every day at 6:00 in the morning for about 45 minutes. A few of them even started working for him.
Then the local believers began to come to see what was going on with the group, and most of them are now volunteering one day a week to teach, train and get to know the men.
Through Wessel's willingness to talk and listen to this group of previously ignored men, Jesus came into their lives to give them a new deal of eternal life.
Opening the door - Argentina
In the Argentine summer, January 2013, various members of the OM Córdoba team and the local church visited a village called Anecón Grande in Patagonia. This village includes people who descend from the indigenous Mapuche tribe, a tribe only found in southern Argentina and Chile.
The team brought various school supplies, as they would serve the local school by providing books and bookshelves. Additionally, the team brought personal hygiene products, backpacks and shoes, which are important for the long treks each student must make from their home through the mountainous terrain to the two-room school.
One OM team member, Mari Freille, would work with the two cooks of the school, Dominga and Julia, who were pleased to meet someone new.
Before each meal, the team prayed. This slowly opened the door for Mari to talk with Dominga about Jesus. Mari shared the stories about how Jesus had transformed the lives of several teenagers in Córdoba, through an OM ministry called El Refugio (The Refuge).
One day while preparing the daily meal, Mari asked Dominga, Where do you think you will go when you die?
To heaven, Dominga quickly responded.
Just as quickly, Mari added another question. Why do you think Jesus is going to open a door to heaven for you, if you have not opened the door to your heart, here on earth?
To this, Dominga had no response. She remained quiet and eventually continued stirring the pot of the days meal.
After a few more minutes of silence, Mari asked one more question. Dominga, she said, do you want to open up the door of you heart and let Jesus enter it?
Yes, Mari, she said. I would like that.
After praying together, they hugged. Today, Dominga, God has opened the doors to heaven for you, Mari said.
Another team member gave Dominga a Bible as well as a devotional book. On the way home from the trip, the team met a local pastor, whose wife had previously served with OM. He made the promise to keep in touch with Dominga and the other contacts they had made.
I was able to see how the Holy Spirit so naturally brings together the networks of Christians in ways beyond our comprehension, Mari commented. God will do what He wants because He is so grande.
Francis the farmer - Malawi
Francis, a worker with OM Malawi, draws water from a well at the ministry base.
I am learning something: a new way for planting maize, announces Francis Mussa, with a slight smile on his face. Twenty centimetres apart from maize stem to maize stem, he explains as he loosely grips a healthy stalk in his right hand. Standing tall behind him are several rows of maize that line half of the perimeter of the new OM Malawi ministry base.
Francis is a missionary from Malawi working with OM, primarily with childrens ministry. He lives in the small village of Mussanamed after his grandfatherapproximately four kilometres from the base. Francis, as well as several other Malawian missionaries, learnt new techniques for planting maize, trees and vegetables from South African missionary Div Du Plessis. Div and his wife, Eleanor, joined OM Malawi to head up the construction of the base.
According to Div, Malawi is a farming community. Its a small country with a lot of people, he said, and they all farm. So if we really need to reach these people [with the Gospel], its through farming. I mean, thats their heart; thats their livelihood. They cant live without food. So for me, thats a big entry strategy. Just teach them Farming Foundations.
Farming Foundations is a course that teaches sustainable farming practices as well as biblical principles, such as hard work, stewardship and proper planning. The base currently has a small garden with beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, green beans, green pepper, onion and many other crops. Many trees and plants are also being cultivated, such as banana, avocado, guava, mango, granadilla, pawpaw and sugar cane.
Francis has also started to implement his newfound knowledge in his village. Other villagers have been quick to notice Franciss activities and they too want to learn the new ways of farming. They come to ask me, and I teach them, says Francis. To have good trees and fruits you can do it this way. And when there is mistake, they call me to see and teach a good way.
The success of crops is crucial to missionaries like Francis, who currently have no other means of financial support. The 21-year-old lives in a tiny two-room house with no water or electricity. He is co-dependent with his family members. Francis admits that he has trouble affording cosmetics, soap and clothes. However, he asserts that he doesnt use his financial problems as an excuse to stop his ministry. With or without money, or even food, Francis has a strong desire to preach the Gospel to people who havent heard it before. Its my desire to go and preach the word of God where Jesus tells me to go, he said.
Besides the plants previously mentioned, Francis is growing cotton, something he became inspired to do through a radio programme. To buy the cottonseeds he first harvested two bags of rice from one of his fields, then waited until December when the price of rice was at its peak before selling. The plants are nearly ready for harvest, and Francis is optimistic about the impact their sale will have on his family.
They (the cotton plants) can survive me for the different problems that I face, he said. I can help also my parents to have food. Enough food for this year!