Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Famous Missionary: Everett Swanson

by Melissa Chang |

Famous Missionaries, Missions Organizations, Orphanages, Poverty

Everett Swanson

To be honest, Everett Swanson isn’t that famous. However, he should be. His actions have led to MILLIONS of children being fed, clothed, and educated around the world.

It was 1952. Everett was a pastor who volunteered to go to Korea during the war to preach to the troops. He had never before been to another country. He was only there for a few days. But those days changed not only his life, but millions of lives around the world.

Everett Swanson in KoreaAs he was taking a walk a young boy ran up, stole his coat, and ran off. Everett ran after the boy to get his coat back. As he rounded a corner, he ran smack into the middle of a huge neighborhood of shanties. He saw his coat laying in an open doorway of one of those wooded shacks. He went to pick it up, thinking the young thief had dropped it and run off. 

To his surprise, as he lifted the coat, there was the young boy, frightened, shivering, and horribly thin. As his eyes grew accustomed to his surroundings, he noticed half a dozen more small children shivering under rags. He later learned that these were orphans whose parents had been killed in the war. Quickly he went to a local storefront to get them some hot soup and blankets.

Everett Swanson with young childOnce back in his room at the base, he couldn’t get the kids off his mind. The next day he went back. In front of his shanty, there was a large garbage type truck throwing rags into the back. As he got closer, he realized with horror that the rags were children who had not made it through the night. Even more horrible, he realized this truck was going through the entire neighborhood, not just this one building. There were starving and dying children everwhere.

Finally, it was time to return. On the plane he kept hearing in his mind, What are you going to do? What are you going to do?  Instead of ignoring this voice, he actually did something. He collected money to begin a fund to help those children. Eventually, Compassion International was founded. Over 1 million children have been supported by individuals hoping to make a difference in the lives of hungry children all over the world.

Here is a video about Everett Swanson’s life, featuring the President of Compassion International, Wes Stafford.

Volunteer in Your Pajamas

by Melissa Chang |

Missions at Home, Picking a Trip, Types of Missions

pjs

Not ready to go overseas? Haven’t raised the money yet? Still thinking about it? Never even considered it? Well we have a great idea for you. Virtual Volunteering. With the technical advances in the world today, you can help ministries and reach around the world from your own home computer. You just donate your time from your own home doing such things as:

-Programming

-Tech Support

-Graphic Design

-Public Relations

-Translation

-Prayer

-Evangelism

If you are at all interested in missions or even just realize you have some extra time, you could make an impact that reaches around the world. You can not only help individuals, but entire missions organizations as well. Just visit ChristianVolunteering.org to do a search of their current posted openings.

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.

Does Handing Out Tracts Do Any Good?

by Melissa Chang |

Asia, Cultural Sensitivity, Evangelism, Stories from the Field, Thailand

This is an article originally posted by Thailand missionaries, Karl and Sun.  They write a blog titled Gleanings from the Field. 

thai temple
Photo by René Ehrhardt

“Before I came to Thailand in 1999, I had never handed out a tract in my life. The practice of handing out tracts is not very common in the U.S. anymore and even among evangelical Christians it seems to be regarded as some kind of weird unnatural activity that only really over-the-top religious nuts engage in. Perhaps the current emphasis on friendship evangelism and building relationships in order to share the Gospel (which is good and proper as the primary method of personal evangelism) has contributed to the disdain which has fell upon handing out tracts. Tracting can seem very impersonal and artificial, but it IS one means among many that God uses to reach people with the Gospel. It really shouldn’t be a stand-alone method of evangelism, but just one link in a chain of Gospel sowing that can contribute to people understanding and accepting the Gospel. Granted, lots of tracts end up in the dustbin or along the roadside, but God does use tracts as the following story illustrates. A fellow missionary gave me permission to share this encouraging story:熊出没攀岩滑梯

Buddhist Monk“This past Sunday two visitors came to church at In Grace Church: Colonel Surasak Banjukaew and his wife, Wanpen. I know them a bit (he attended SEANET this past year), but as I sat eating lunch with them I was able to learn much more about them. Surasak is the founder of a ministry among members of the military and the police force. Being a Christian in the military or police cannot be easy in this country. I find myself very encouraged that someone of his rank serves Christ so openly.

What I took special note of, though, is how Surasak and his wife became Christians. Back in the 80’s Geoff Case, an OMF Missionary in Bangkok, was going door to door, handing out tracts, and came upon Surasak’s home. At the time he was a clear Buddhist, rising in the ranks of the Thai army. Wanpen’s interest grew, and as she studied the Bible with Geoff’s wife, Surasak became interested too. They both turned to Christ and immediately started going out with the Cases doing open air evangelism and tracting.

It is this two part involvement that we aim for: Sowing with things like tracts, and saturating through Bible study with seekers. Often we don’t feel very good at either of these. Surasak’s and Wanpen’s words this weekend have encouraged us to keep our aim and press on. Thank you for backing us in prayer.”

Monk photo by Akuppa

Reaching out to Kids

by Beverly Cooper |

Children in Missions, Orphanages

 kids galore

Any seasoned missionary can tell you that the local kids are the most heartbreaking and the most delightful aspect of a mission trip. Our hearts may break when we see the squalor that may be their home, and when we see their poor physical health. But our hearts also swell with love when we see them respond warmly to our touch and attention. Though they appear on the outside to be different, kids all over the world are the same on the inside. They need love, and they need Jesus.

It is very important to interact with the children, whether it is a planned structured activity, such as Vacation Bible School, or an unstructured activity such as an impromptu soccer match. So, what kinds of activities are possible when there are language and culture barriers? I am so glad you asked!

Structured activitiescameraStructured activities are those that are pre-planned and pre-organized. Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a great example. If possible, work with a local pastor. Many times, the mission teams serve as a kind of draw to the local church. Essentially, we aid the local ministry already in place.

Send a team out ahead of time to pass out flyers (in the local language of course), to prayer walk, and to interact some with the kids and adults in the area. I cannot stress enough the necessity of flooding the neighborhood in prayer. Be approachable. You may be asked to pray for a specific need, so be prepared. The locals usually know why you are there.
Most teams create their own VBS lessons. You will need someone fluent in the local language to make sure your message is clear. Here is the way it typically goes:

• First, team members greet kids and parents as they arrive. This is a good time to take pictures. If your camera is digital, show them their pictures. They love it.
• After the greeting, there is music and singing. It is great to have team members seated amongst the kids or at least walking around interacting with them. Make it lively.
• Use skits to illustrate the lesson. Puppets are great, too. Ham it up, but make the message clear.
• Craft time. Keep the craft simple and have it kitted in baggies to pass out to each child. Be prepared for the adults to participate, too. It is a really great idea to make the little kits before you leave home. Trust me on this.
• Give the pastor time to speak.
• Snack time. This is best done as the kids are leaving. Be really organized here. Crowd control is a must.

Unstructured activities

kidUnstructured activities are those that just sort of happen. Maybe your mission is to build a church and during a lull in the work, you notice a group of kids gathered to watch. If possible, take a moment to engage them in something fun. You might be surprised at what happens when you bring out a soccer ball or a bag of beads and string.  Here are some items that you can pack fairly easily and have great fun with.

• Beach balls
• Beads for necklaces
• Balloons (can you make balloon animals?)
• Frisbees
• Bubbles (watch for leakage if flying)
• Bouncy balls
• Hacky sacks
• Coloring pages

Here is the link to great website that offers free multilingual coloring pages and ideas for Bible lessons: http://www.christiananswers.net/kids/clr-indx.html.

Also, some kids like to trade something with you as a sort of memento of your visit. Sometimes the adults will, too, so be prepared. Most of all, have fun and be loving. You have the opportunity to help Jesus change a life.

Photos by  Stig Nygaard

So You Want to Become a Missionary Nurse?

by admin |

Health, Picking a Trip

Immunization Clinic CambodiaAs with any missionary trip, if you’re considering going, you should search within yourself and pray for guidance to determine which missionary work is right for you. It also helps to read the Bible, be surrounded by Christ minded people, and to ask other nurses who have already gone on a missions trip about their experiences. It is also important for you to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Do you like the city or do you prefer a country setting? Are you able to pick up a foreign language easily or would you prefer an English speaking country? Is there a specific country you like? Could you handle the harsh reality of starving, sick, and dying children?

As a nurse, there are going to be special ways you need to prepare yourself for the trip once you decide to go. This includes getting to know the country once a particular place has been determined. Make sure that you are aware of common diseases of the country you will be going to. This will make you better prepared to help treat those problems. It is also vital that you are aware of your allowed scope of practice. Different countries have different limitations to what a nurse and nursing student can and cannot do. Also be aware of licensure requirements of medical professionals that also differ from country to country.

Be aware that your desire to become a missionary nurse, no matter the length of the trip, is a blessing, and the rewards are many, often being the kind of payments that wait in the afterlife. It is also important to understand that while you are on the trip you represent Jesus. Being there for a short time may not give you the opportunity to preach to and bring in crowds to the Faith, but your kindness and compassion will glorify God, giving those that see your actions of healing a true glimpse of who Jesus is as you reach out to them in a practical way.

Missionary work is available to both RNs and student nurses. Opportunities for student nurses include, but surely are not limited to, InterVarsity Global Projects and Global Urban Trek. Individual colleges and universities hosting the nursing programs may also have summer missionary work for student nurses. Opportunities for RNs include Global Health Outreach,Adventist Nursing Connection,Health Care Volunteer,Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children (FIMRF),Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (VIDA),Hearts in Motion (H.I.M.), and many more. Another great resource to check out is the Nurses Christian Fellowship.

 Photo by cambodia4kidsorg

Videos from a Missions Trip to Cameroon

by Melissa Chang |

Africa, Cameroon, Evangelism, Short-Term Missions

Musician Cara Austin recently returned from a 2-week missions trip to Cameroon with the Jesus Film Project. She took a number of videos, and wrote letters to document the trip, and they are pretty amazing. You can check out Cara’s entire blog here, or check out the individual videos at the following links:

Arrival – Write up and video

Description of a film show – Write up and video

Lamado (Muslim Leader) – Write up

Cara in a Cameroon hospital – video

Film Trouble – write up

Welcome to the village – video

Description of Cameroon – write up

Cameroon dancing and singing – video

Children of Cameroon – write up and video

This is my favorite of the videos

If you or someone you know is going on a missions trip, and they would like to submit a video for inclusion on Missions Launch, please let us know via the contact page.

Types of missions trips

by admin |

Evangelism, Health, Orphanages, Picking a Trip, Service Projects, Types of Missions

Missionaries go to unfamiliar patches of Earth and spend their time in service to others. There are different kinds of missions, but they all will include service.

Evangelistic trips have the main objective of sharing Christ cross-culturally. Common ways this message is shared are through sermons, tracts, or even drama. It is very important that people on evangelistic missions remember that they must be learners before teachers. Learn about the new environment and all you can about the people. God is already working in the culture and He will present opportunities to share.

Other trips are focused on service projects that help meet a specific need. Sometimes that need is building a home for a family, or constructing a church or school. Other needs are health-related, and medical missions supplies nurses, doctors and medicine to help meet the physical needs of the community. Health Care

Orphanage ministries are another common focus for missionaries. Orphanages in developing countries are often understaffed with the caregivers being far outnumbered by the children. Those who enjoy working with children will find their gifts greatly appreciated by kids who need daily love and attention.

If you have discovered the type of trip that fits your skills and interests, pray and research what country needs that mission work. On the other hand, if you feel confident about your destination, be sure to tailor the type of ministry that you will be involved in to that country’s need.  

“If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.” — Jordan Groom

At first we may not readily associate a king’s crown and throne as being trinkets of a lowly position, but the kingdom of God is different than any earthly reign. God became a man and chose not to be served, but to serve others.

Photo by soldiersmediacenter

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