OUTSTANDING OM

By Asian Beacon

Operation Mobilisation, or OM for short is a global movement working to bring the Good News of Jesus to the least reached – communities with little or no gospel engagement. OM has more than 3800 workers in 118 countries and on the ship, the Logos Hope. At OM, the heart of the movement is to ‘live out the love of Christ in and through our lives’, and that God can use anyone who loves Jesus – we are made for God’s purposes, and our talents, gifts and passions are His tools in us.

The work that OM does around the world is varied, and it includes church planting, relief and development work, evangelism and discipleship.

Operation Mobilisation has it’s humble beginning from an American housewife, Dorothea Clapp. In 1950 she began to pray faithfully for the students at her local high school. Her prayer request was that God would touch the world through the lives of these young people. Praise God, her prayers were answered.

It’s was through Mrs. Clapp’s own son that this happened. He gave the Gospel of John to one of the students, who later gave his life to the Lord at a Billy Graham meeting. This young man was George Verwer, who became the founder and International Director of Operation Mobilisation.  For those who knew George none would have believed that a popular, foul-mouthed teen—preoccupied mostly with chasing girls would in a few short years lay the groundwork for an international ministry. Using his position as Student Council president to share his testimony in an assembly and had copies of John’s Gospel distributed in the hallways. About 200 students came to faith that year as a result, and a passion and gift for winning souls had emerged.

Outstanding OM
Summer Campaign team in Germany during the summer of 1971

George and two friends would regularly meet to pray in college. From this prayer they became burdened with the spiritual needs of Mexico. In college, he learnt that over 70 per cent of Mexico’s people owned not a single portion of Scripture. Appalled by this, and burning with the conviction that “everyone must hear the gospel at least once,” he hatched a plan for his summer holiday.

In June 1957, he and classmates Dale Rhoton and Walter Borchard drove from Chicago to Mexico City in a beat-up 1949 Dodge truck filled with Spanish gospels and tracts. Committing to repeat the trip for the next three summers launched Send the Light, a full-fledged literature distribution ministry that included a board of trustees and the establishment of La Vida Abundante (The Abundant Life), the first evangelical Christian bookstore in Mexico City.So, in 1957 these three friends sold some of their possessions in order to raise money and gave up their summer holiday to distribute Gospels and other Christian literature in Mexico. They returned to Mexico the following summer and the next.

After they graduated in 1960, George and his friends travelled to Europe. Here they began work in Spain, sharing the Gospel and distributing literature. But at that time the task of reaching out to the whole of Europe seemed overwhelming.

Outstanding OM
OM Founder George Verwer talks about a new book by Ian Randall that chronicles the history of the organisation

But the forming of Operation Mobilisation did not come yet until George and team tried something more challenging, which was the smuggling of gospel tracts into Russia. It did not go as plan at first. After he carelessly tossed a misprinted tract out of a hotel window in Moscow, one of the pedestrian recognised the literature as forbidden and filed a report. This resulted in the team’s KGB interrogation and swift deportation.

But their hardship was not in vain. It only strengthen his resolved. He prayed even harder upon his return from Russian and asked for a vision on how it would happen.

Outstanding OM
The book van was a creative way of distributing Christian literature in Spain in the early sixties

In was at a rest stop in Europe that George spotted a group of young people entering a school bus. All of a sudden the words ‘Operation Mobilisation’ entered his mind. George and his small team realised that God’s plan was actually to mobilise His Church to reach the nations. So, they began to share their vision.

With that idea, he acquired a fleet of buses and load them with teams of youth passionate about sharing their faith.

Here hundreds of Christians responded, and so Operation Mobilisation was born.

In just 3 years, 2,000 Christians had joined summer outreach teams in Europe. There was also teams who moved into . Their commitment was to reach those who had never heard the Gospel.

Such simple beginnings have shaped OM since. Today over 3,300 workers in OM’s family of ministries, representing over 100 nationalities, are bringing God’s unchanging truth to literally millions every year. The goal is to share knowledge, help and hope. This is done by supplying vital literature resources, encouraging cross-cultural understanding, training young people for more effective life and service, providing needed relief, and sharing a message of hope in God wherever there is opportunity.

Outstanding OM
Prayer was a vital part of preparing for the summer campaigns

Malaysia too is not left out from being blessed by the ministry of OM. In fact OM Malaysia has now celebrated more than 30 years of ministry here.

OM Malaysia too started with humble beginnings, when the Logos ship visited Port Klang, Malaysia during April 1975. A small group of like-minded Malaysian students visited the ship for the first time, and left inspired to start a literature ministry locally.

This moved them so much that the group, gladly accepted the invitation to attend an OM conference on literature ministry hosted Singapore in the same year.

Outstanding OM
Orientation for those going to France.

They return to Malaysia with a carload of books donated by OM Ships Ministry. With these books they started the Logos Media Outreach (LMO) which was founded as a platform for distributing Christian books and connecting with like-minded people.

They set up book tables were set up at different churches on weekends. And during the holidays they even held meetings that were further from home.

Outstanding OM
The Hope for the 80s campaign drew hundreds of young Christians to help distribute the gospel all over France

Finally, in 1984, OM Malaysia was officially registered. Till today many of the founders of LMO are still actively involved in OM Malaysia today.

Although OM in Malaysia began with distribution of literature, it’s current main focus is mobilising the church in Malaysia to respond to the need to bring the gospel to the least reached (least reached being communities who have no established church, Christian presence or access to the gospel in any form).

Outstanding OM
OM Founder George Verwer (middle), former International Director Peter Maiden (left) and current International Director Lawrence Tong (right) in February 2017 with over 400 other OM pioneers and leaders to celebrate OM's 60th anniversary and commemorate God's faithfulness in missions.

Pari Bala, national director of OM Malaysia explains that it is thanks to the founders and those who had gone before whether it be board members, leaders, donors, staff, OM Malaysia is built on a good foundation.

Because of that she prays that “God would continue to give us wisdom as we seek to be relevant to the church in Malaysia and together respond to the Great Commission.”

This is so that OM Malaysia will continue to be a shining light in the ministries and outreach that they develop around Malaysia.

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