Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Hudson Taylor’s Mission Org Still Going Strong

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Organizations, Types of Missions

adorable china boyWhat you may know is that Hudson Taylor was a famous missionary to China. He once got so upset that his own church was singing about their own salvation while there were still others who had never heard that he got up and left. Once in China he wanted so much to relate to the people that he even dyed his hair.

What you might not know, is the missions organization he founded is still around and strong today.  Here is what they have to say:

OMF International

We are OMF International (formerly the China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship), founded by James Hudson Taylor in 1865.

We serve the church and bring the gospel to many of the countries in East Asia, and we have a pioneering ministry in the rest. We help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide.

Our Vision

Through God’s grace, we aim to see an indigenous, biblical church movement in each people group of East Asia, evangelizing their own people and reaching out in mission to other peoples.

Our Mission 

To Glorify God by the urgent evangelization of East Asia’s Millions.

 AND HOW TO GET INVOLVED…

Mission Opportunities 

OMF sends Christians to serve the Church in East Asia. Like Hudson Taylor, is God calling you to to take the gospel to those who wouldn’t otherwise get to hear it? 

Short-Term missions to East Asia

If you’re prepared to move out of your comfort zone, expand your horizons and make a difference, we’ll find the right short-term programme for you, for the appropriate length of time.

All programmes provide teams and individuals with the opportunity to spend time in East Asia and to find out what it’s like to take the gospel to those who wouldn’t otherwise get to hear it.

Long Term service in East Asia

OMF look for members who will learn the language and get stuck in to the culture of the peoples of Asia. To understand first; then to seek to be understood. People who will keep going when the going gets tough. Persevering because God has called them, not depending on “results” for their sense of God’s leading. Building churches that will stand on their own with their own leadership.  

So, if you have a heart for the unreached and want to get involved, contact OMF and visit their website to start the adventure of a lifetime.

Photo by davidthiel
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If you want YOUR missions organization to be featured on MissionsLaunch, just email your information and how to get involved to editor@missionslaunch.com.

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #8 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

Kenyan OrphanageWe should go because it often benefits us more than the people we are ministering to.

Perhaps you’ve decided to go on a mission trip for the sole purpose of benefiting someone else.  However, did you know that going on a mission trip often benefits us more than the people we are serving?  

That’s because when we help others, it makes us feel better about ourselves.   It makes us feel that we are significant, that we have a reason for being here, and that what we are doing truly matters in this world.  In essence, when we are helping others, we are also helping ourselves, which is the number one benefit.

Simply put, when we have our minds on other people, it helps us get our minds off of ourselves.  Instead of being selfish or feeling sorry for ourselves, we are forced to put other peoples’ needs ahead of our own.   Putting other peoples’ needs first helps get our minds off of our own troubles because we learn that there is always someone who has it worse or is in greater need than we are, which is benefit number two. 

Finally, when we witness firsthand the work that the Lord is doing in other people’s lives, it makes our faith soar to new heights.  Our faith soars knowing that we’ve played a small part in something greater than ourselves, a part of what God is doing around the world.  As we’re relying on God to accomplish our mission and seeing him at work in the world around us, we realize the full extent of God’s faithfulness and our spiritual walk grows to a much deeper level.   We develop a new sense of boldness, and God is able to use us all the more to impact our world.

So become a missionary, and reap all of the rewards of sharing the good news of Christ with others.

Photo by greg westfall.
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To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Brazil: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |

Brazil, South America

FACTS & STATS

christ the redeemer rio
Photo by andybullock77

Location: Brazil is located in the east-central coast of the South American continent. Brazil shares its northern borders with Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana, French Guiana, and Colombia, the southern with Uruguay, the western with Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru, and has the Atlantic Ocean to its east.

Capital: Brasilia.

Brazil mapClimate: The climate of Brazil is mainly tropical in such areas as the Amazon Basin, sub-tropical in the Brazilian Highlands and rather temperate as you go south along the coastal lowland.

Population: As of July 2009, the Brazilian population was 198,739,269. About 31% of the population live below the poverty line. The Brazilian economy is based on agriculture, mining, industry, and service. The period from 2003 to 2007 saw a boom in the economy due to productivity gains and surge in exports. Government intervention in the form of far-sighted economic reforms, reduced taxes, and huge investments in infrastructure has helped sustain the economic growth. Main industries include textiles, leather, chemicals, cement, automobiles, machinery, and timber. Agriculture is mainly coffee followed by cocoa, wheat, rice, soybean, corn, and sugarcane.

Ethnic Make-up: White 53.7%, Biracial 38.5%, Black 6.2%, Others (Japanese, Arab, Native Indian) 0.9%.

Religions: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/Voodoo 0.3%, Others 2%, No Religion 7.4%. The Brazilian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all citizens. Evangelization has been an ongoing project in Brazil since its advent in 1549 under the Jesuits. There is no law against evangelization, and activities such as missionary works, setting up of churches, and training workers are carried on uninhibited.

rio carnivalLanguage: Portuguese is the official language and also the most widely spoken. Next in popularity comes Spanish, followed by French, German, Italian, Japanese, English, and some Native American languages.

Government: Federal Republic

Travel Issues: Travel to Brazil from any part of the world, except Britain and Germany, requires procuring a visa before travel. Citizens of some countries such as the neighbouring nations, as well as a few such as Ireland, Italy and others do not need a visa if the reason for travel is tourism. You need to contact the Brazilian consulate in your country to ascertain your specific status regarding the need for a visa mentioning your reason for travel. Other documents needed are a passport with a six month validity and airline tickets.

Health & Safety: A Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory if travelling from an infected country. It is advised if travelling to certain Brazilian states in the Amazon area. Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and Diphtheria shots are recommended though not mandatory. Those planning to visit rural and jungle areas may need to consider Hepatitis B, Typhoid, and Malaria shots as well. Some areas in Brazil are prone to the Dengue fever and so, appropriate precautions against mosquitoes need to be taken if travelling to these places. Though tap water is considered potable, bottled water is a safer option for drinking purposes.

rio beach
Photo by over_kind_man

SOCIETY & CULTURE

boy in brazilThe People
Brazilians are mainly from mixed European and African descent, and other indigenous heritage. This amalgamation has resulted in a broad-minded, gregarious outlook on life that makes visitors feel welcome. The original Brazilians are the indigenous Indians who make up the smallest ethnic group of about 320,000 people.

brazil buildingThe Religion
The main religion of Brazil is Roman Catholicism which is practiced actively by over 70% of the population. There is an element of gaiety and festivity associated with the practice of religion marked by elaborate public celebrations and parades. There are also small groups of other religions such as Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Rastafarian.

Role of Family
A Brazilian family in the modern context would comprise a couple and their children living under one roof. However, very strong bonds bind them to extended families including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Modern permutations such as single parents and dual working parents have altered the urban social set up to some extent.

Ancestors
Brazilians as a community honor their ancestors in multiple ways. The Roman Catholics remember the dead on the 1st of November every year. Religious rituals are held in the cemeteries and the graves are decorated with flowers and candles. The Japanese community have preserved their traditional customs to this day in the form of the Bon Odori Festival which is held as a token of grateful remembrance of ancestors who have passed on. The African people of Yoruba heritage also have a considerable presence in Brazil and they keep in spiritual touch with their ancestors through the practice of Egungun. These are the ancestral spirits who are supposed to have the power to bless or curse their descendants.

girl in brazilRecreational Activities
Recreation in Brazil can include anything from lolling on a beach to soccer. There are a variety of sports facilities such as golf, tennis, squash, and beach volleyball. Then there are water sports in the form of canoeing, fishing, diving, kayaking, surfing, and swimming. Outdoor activities include jungle trekking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, and skydiving. Other leisure activities include the night clubs, carnivals, dancing, and pubs.

Anything else important for this culture
Portuguese is the national language of Brazil, but it has some striking dissimilarities with the language spoken in Portugal. For instance, while “rapariga” means girl in Portugal, it means prostitute in Brazilian Portuguese. So, even fluent speakers of the European Portuguese have to be careful of nuances.

Brazilians use expansive gestures and expressions while communicating and most of these mean the same as anywhere else, such as the thumbs up sign. But the OK gesture made by touching the tips of the thumb and forefinger is best avoided as it has an obscene connotation. Also, requesting silence with a hush gesture is considered as rude as yelling “Shut up”. A clenched fist with the thumb between the forefinger and middle finger does not mean you violence but is meant to wish you good luck. It is called the figa.

In a multi-level building, the first floor is referred to as the ground floor or lobby level, and the second floor is called the first floor and so on.

Brazil soccer
Photo by markhillary

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Meetings & Greetings
Normal western courtesies are appropriate when meeting people. A handshake is an accepted form of greeting between men. Women are greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and the same applies when taking leave.

soccer boysCourtesy
Brazilian men will, generally, hold doors open for women and rise when women enter the room and this is not meant to be patronizing. If you intend to smoke, it is common courtesy to offer everyone a smoke before lighting up. Never light up during a meal.

Gift Giving
Gift giving is a normal practice in Brazilian social life. Gifts are given and received for birthdays, celebrations, anniversaries, and as tokens of gratitude for a favour or some service. If visiting Brazil, a souvenir from your own country would be a much-appreciated gift. If not, a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, or even flowers are customary. Never gift purple flowers as they are a sign of mourning. If gifting wine, avoid tequila and mescal. Gifts are opened as soon as they are given.

Dress Code
Since the weather is mainly tropical and therefore warm, casual clothing is the norm in Brazil for most occasions. If the occasion calls for formal wear it would be intimated earlier. If visiting a church or some related holy venues, certain decorum in dressing is called for. Formal occasions find men in suits and women in formal wear comprising skirts or pants. Women tend to accessorize a lot and wear fashionable shoes even with jeans.

band in rioDining Etiquette
If invited to dinner by an acquaintance, it is customary to arrive a little late. Never arrive early as the host may not be ready for you yet. In fact, it is considered alright to turn up even an hour late. Dinner time can be quite elastic and even stretch to midnight. If dining in restaurants, dinner time is usually around 9 p.m.

When seated, the most honoured guest will occupy the head of the table with the host and hostess on either side. It is not considered rude if you leave food uneaten on your plate. Your drink will be refilled as soon as it reaches the lower half level. While at table, resting your wrists on the table is the right thing to do rather than leaving them on your lap. Sandwiches are eaten with a fork and knife while salad may be an accompaniment to a main meal rather than precede it. Do not cut up your lettuce, but rather bundle them onto your fork.

Visiting a home
It is customary to carry a gift when accepting an invitation to someone’s house. If it’s a formal visit, gifts may be sent beforehand with a handwritten message. Arrive fashionably late and be well-dressed to show respect for your host. Be prepared for boisterous conversation and lots of beverages before actually sitting down to dinner. It would be a good idea to not arrive hungry as dinner may well begin way past midnight.

Communication Style
Brazilians have an expansive style of conversation and may frequently touch you on the shoulders and arms while talking. They may stand very close while talking and this is considered the norm as far as they are concerned. If it makes you uncomfortable, step away as unobtrusively as possible as otherwise, you may appear rude and standoffish. Brazilians in the big cities like Rio and Sao Paolo may speak some English, but generally there is a lack of English in the other areas. It would be a good idea to learn some basic Portuguese to make life easier.

rio night
Photo by Phillie Casablanca

Dos and Don’ts
In bathrooms, Q means hot water and F means cold water. Brazilians are not keen on being punctual and visitors who turn up on time will usually be left hanging. However, for a business meeting, it’s best to not be more than ten to fifteen minutes late, and again, if it’s a job interview, arrive on time. When choosing a gift for a Brazilian, avoid Argentinean products and local leather and wine. Do not leave your cutlery on either side of your plate at the end of a meal, as this may be taken to mean that you were not happy with the food.

Do not carry expensive personal items such as cameras and iPods when you go exploring. Petty crime is rampant and you could attract unwanted attention if you dress flashy. Keep to Bermudas and T shirts to blend in. Vehicles are driven on the right side of the road, but be prepared for a certain amount of callous overtaking and a disregard for traffic rules. Other things to watch out for would be car jacking, kidnapping, and bag snatching.

waterfall in Brazil
Photo by VinceHuang

Carnival lady by sfmission.com
Two boys and soccer boys by
JAIRO BD
Girl by babasteve
Building by Jay Woodworth
Band by over_kind_man

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #7 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

saluteWe should go because it was Jesus’ last command.

“Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”

Those were the famous last words of Todd Beamer just before Flight 93 went down near Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001.

To this day, Todd Beamer’s courageous words still echo in our minds just before he chose to risk his life storming the cockpit to overcome the terrorists who had hijacked the plane that fateful day. However, how many of us recall what Jesus’ last words were after he chose to give his life for all and then reappeared to his disciples?

“Go and makes disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19 NIV)

What most of us fail to realize is that these weren’t just Jesus’ last words. They are a command. Actually they were Jesus’ final command to us, an advance directive which I believe we all need to take special note of. We need to take special note because they were important enough to be Jesus’ final words to us. I believe that there’s a special reason why Jesus saved his Great Commission for last.

It was as if he was saying, “You have seen what I have done. Now go and do the same. Go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, just like I’ve done with you. And teach them to do all that I’ve commanded of you.”

In addition to this final command, Jesus also cared enough to leave us with these final parting words before he ascended to heaven:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28: 20 NIV)

Therefore, we need not fear when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission because Jesus has already assured us that he’ll always be with us, even to the very end.

Are you ready to roll?  Let’s go!

Photo by Thunderchild tm
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To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Robert Moffat: The King’s Gardener in Africa

by Stephanie Colman |

Africa, Famous Missionaries, South Africa

 lion in the grasslands
Photo by lensbug.chandru

While being a missionary is not an easy task,it is full of rewards, especially the reward of seeing seeds sown for Christ come to fruit as salvation. Robert Moffat’s dream was to plant a “Garden for God in Africa.” Robert Moffat was born in 1795 in Scottland and died in 1883. His life was full of excitement and heartbreak yet he never let anything stop him from spreading the Word of God. Robert Moffat was involved in opening many mission stations in the interior of Africa. He served as a missionary in Africa for over 50 years.

After many ears of toiling spreading the Good News and planting seeds Robert Moffat had seen no fruit of salvation yet. A turning point in Robert Moffat’s missionary career happened after a conversation with his wife in which Robert said ”Mary, this is hard work, and no fruit yet appears;” and Mary his wife replied, “The gospel has not yet been preached to them in their own tongue in which they were born.”

African boysRobert Moffat then began a focus on learning the native language and began visiting more remote tribes. Soon after the first fruits of his labor began to be reaped as the salvation of the Bechuanas and other natives became evident. He completed the translation of the Bible into Sechwana which is the language of the Bechuanas after 30 years of laboring on the project.

Robert also wrote two missionary books, Missionary Labors and Scenes in South Africa and Rivers of Water in a Dry Place. He is also most famous for inspiring his son-in-law David Livingstone to enter missionary work in Arica with his famous quote:

“I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary has ever been.”

Robert Moffat and his wife Mary never gave up hope that they were doing the work of God as missionaries in Africa. They continued on no matter the circumstances that they faced. They are both a wonderful testament of the faith and perseverance which we as Christians should strive to obtain.

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #6 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

fishingWe should go because the need is so great.

I never thought of going on a mission trip before until this past year – when I first began to see things from God’s perspective. For years I never gave a second thought to the scripture where Jesus told his disciples, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Mt. 9:37 NIV) I preferred just to skip right over that passage thinking others would be there to fill in the gap for me.

However, did you know that there are still areas in the world where the gospel has never been preached? In fact, there are currently 6641 unreached people groups in the world today. Most of them fall within the 10/40 window, a term first coined by Luis Bush in 1990 referring to those regions of the eastern hemisphere located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator including the Sahara, Northern Africa, and much of Asia. These regions include nations that are primarily Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Animist, Jewish, and Atheist countries. Currently 95% of our missionaries are sent to areas that have already been reached for the gospel of Christ, which means that only a small percentage (5% or less) are actually going to areas which remain unreached today.

Isn’t it our duty to make sure that everyone gets a chance to hear the gospel? If so, then we must ask the “Lord of the harvest to send more workers to the harvest field” (Mt. 9:38 NIV) until the good news of Jesus Christ is preached to all people, including those groups that haven’t been reached yet.

There are so many fish, and not enough fishermen. Perhaps like me you’re reading this and you hear the still, small voice of Jesus calling you, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt. 4:19 NIV)

Photo by neloqua
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To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Contextualization: Spicing up Service in Argentina

by Heather Carr |

Argentina, Contextualization in Missions, South America

red chili peppersDespite a harsh economic climate, the Reformed Church of Mar del Plata, Argentina, is taking steps to reach a community in need. Latin rhythms are breaking out in services with simple, direct lyrics set to merengue and salsa, among others. The lyrics are infused with words like we and us to heighten the sense of community among this Argentine congregation. Services come complete with the sounds, smells, and tastes of a fiesta, thanks to the direction of Pastor Gerardo Carlos Cristian Oberman. The church operates by the philosophy that liturgy is an expression of ourselves, created as a service of love to the Lord, and in response to everyday questions.

Along with the joyful Latin beat, worship incorporates dance and mime. Drama is sometimes included in the call for confession or biblical texts, with traditional biblical actions infused into the performance, such as the laying on of hands or the washing of feet. Worshipers may leave their seats to walk around while singing, or come forward to circles for prayer and intercession.

The language of the people, along with symbolism, strong gestures, warmth, and sensitivity allows worship to provide what the world does not—acceptance and value for its people. By embracing the local culture, the church is reaching out to the people of Mar del Plata at a time when the needs are many.

To find out more about the Reformed Church of Mar del Plata, Argentina, check out the Calvin Institue of Worship’s article Another World is Possible: Witness in Argentina.

Photo by Robert Thomson

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #5 to Go

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?

heavensIt’s a great way to make a difference for all eternity.

How many times have you heard someone say, “If I can make a difference in just one person’s life, then it will all be worthwhile”? Fact is most of us want to make a difference in someone else’s life. Often times all we can provide is emotional support or perhaps a little temporary assistance, but the results are usually short-lived. But what if there were a way to make a difference for all eternity?

Well, there is a way. You can make a difference for all eternity by becoming a missionary. Missionaries perform various types of services ranging from providing food to the poor or medicine for the sick. Missionaries can establish homes for orphans, or plant a church in an area where there was previously none. Missionaries can also build relationships with unreached people groups and become living testimonies of their faith in Christ. But whatever their particular area of service, missionaries all have one primary purpose, and that is to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who haven’t heard the name Jesus before. Now that, my friend, is something that can last for all eternity, because we know “that whosoever believes in him shall have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

But first we must get our minds off of the fleeting pleasures of this world, and set our minds on the things of above. In other words, we ought to be thinking more about heavenly things. You see, things don’t matter. People do. Besides, what could be more important than whether someone goes to heaven?

Want to make a difference in the lives of others which will last for all eternity? Become a missionary, and devote yourself to a lifetime of telling others the good news about Jesus Christ.

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To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

The Amazing Annie Armstrong

by Stephanie Colman |

Famous Missionaries

angel with open arms
Photo by *she’s like a drug

Ever consider doing missions work, but think that you aren’t cut out for it or afraid of traveling to some far away destination? Well think again. The amazing Annie Armstrong was just your average everyday Christian with a heart for serving God.

Annie Armstrong or “Miss Annie” as she was known lived from 1850-1938, a time in which being a woman wasn’t as easy and open for opportunities as it is now. She wrote tirelessly in support of missions – letters, leaflets, mission publications, and more. She also traveled extensively within the United States speaking about missions. She was always encouraging Christians and churches to support missions through donations, prayer, and becoming missionaries in their everyday lives and beyond. Annie Armstrong was fundamental in organizing the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) and served as the first corresponding secretary. She also was one of the founding mothers of the Woman’s Baptist Home Mission Society of Maryland where she served as the first president.

Annie Armstrong served in her local church by teaching the infant class for over 30 years. Her rallying cry was “Go Forward!” She also served as a missionary to Native Americans providing needed supplies and clothing along with sharing her faith and love for God, but this wasn’t her only missionary experience. She was a missionary each and every moment of every day. Race, culture, age, status – these did not matter to “Miss Annie” anyone she met was an opportunity for her to be a missionary.

In close I would like to leave you with an inspirational quote by the amazing Annie Armstrong, “The future lies all before us…shall it only be a slight advance upon what we usually do? Ought it not to be abound, a leap forward, to altitudes of endeavor and success undreamed of before?”
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To find out which famous missionary you are most like, take the quiz, Which Famous Missionary Are You Most Like?

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