For those of you who have a heart for building relationships with Muslims, we would like to direct your attention to a couple opportunities.
The first opportunity is with International Students Inc. Here is the message…
“We have several international wives, some of them from Muslim countries, who have recently moved to the Kansas City area and we are hoping to restart our international wives ministry. We would most likely meet on a Tuesday or Thursday during the day at a location close to UMKC. If you would be intersted in being part of this ministry, or praying for this ministry, please email or call Melody Craven at 816-363-1647. Please pray for this new ministry as we seek God’s direction and leadership.”
The second opportunity is a local conference, Beyond the Veil, on May 18, 2013. The conference is from the same company that produces the Bridges class, which OBC hosted last summer. Beyond the Veil will cover the history of Islam, Islamic beliefs and rituals that specifically pertain to Muslim women, addressing misconceptions, issues of culture and identity for Muslim women in the U.S., and more. If you would like more information about the conference, please contact Mary Baker.
I got a phone call last week. It was one of those calls that sticks with you for a long time. It was from a 48-year-old man whom I had the privilege of leading to Christ when he was 10. His father worked for a multi-national company that had transferred his family to Costa Rica. Our mission team was there doing some evangelistic concerts and he responded to the invitation to become a Christian. I will never forget him because he came forward to accept Christ wearing large, bulky leg braces due to a disease that had crippled him. I can still see him crawling up the steps onto the platform where we sang. I had the privilege of guiding him into the beginning of a relationship with Christ. He was 10.
Fast forward 38 years and an amazing life story unfolds. His life has been a hard life with seasons of drug abuse and alcoholism and homelessness and repentance. The abusive home he grew up in did not give him a solid compass to guide him through the storms of life. In the midst of all of that traumatic living, Oscar pushed himself and somehow earned a doctorate in Russian history. His doctoral thesis became the basis for an academic book on the history of Russia.
Dr. Oscar Bandelin has come back to Christ and is serving his Savior. One of the ways he is serving is by teaching discipleship principles at his church. Those who are benefiting from his insightful teaching are encouraging him to write a book on discipling. He plans to pursue it.
So, I asked him, “Oscar, if I had known how and we had been able to sustain a discipling relationship when you were young, would it have made a difference in your life?” Without hesitating he said, “It would have made all the difference in the world. It could have spared me all those wasted years.”
When Jesus instructed His followers to make disciples of all the people groups in the world, He was giving us the opportunity to “make all the difference in the world” for one person at a time. I am glad that Oscar and I have reconnected after all these years. It will serve as a living reminder to both of us of the importance of discipling those whom the Lord brings into our lives.
~ Pastor Rex
Each month, we feature a way that you, your family or Life Group can serve. These are our upcoming opportunities!
Help prepare the care backpacks for Eleos on Saturday, April 27 between 11am and 2pm.
They use these backpacks to care for the people who live near Eleos’ coffee house – often handing them out on their bi-weekly prayer walks. Reserve your spot by RSVPing to Jennifer Mellick.
To learn more about Eleos, visit our website.
On Saturday, May 18 you have the opportunity to help OBC with some landscaping around the circle.
We also are in need of someone with gardening experience to help coordinate the day and planning the flower planting.
Please RSVP to Jennifer Mellick.
Saturday, May 4, 2013 at Heritage Park
This is a great way to combine your loves! I know we have some fanatic runners and some passionate supporters of the fatherless. So come run in the Heart 4 Orphans 5K! Also, there will be a 1 mile route for those who would prefer that.
This event is a result of the uniting of a network of local orphan ministries, including OBC. The goal is to raise support & awareness…and to have fun while we do it!
Join Team OBC and your donations go directly to OBC’s Orphan REACH Ministry.
Our March REACH serving opporunity was in partnership with Mission Southside’s Feed the Hungry program.
Mission Southside is responsible for providing volunteers on the third Wednesday of the month for Feed the Hungry at Center of Grace. Center of Grace provides free hot meals to over 300 people on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
On Wednesday, March 20, approximately 30 OBCers showed up ready to serve the 40 people at Center of Grace!
Craig Howard, Co-Executive Director of Mission Southside, said, “It was a great encouragement and blessing…From children to youth to retired people – OBC came thru big time and I just wanted to say thanks for getting behind our “help and hope” efforts in this way!!!”
From Pastor Mike Bickley…
We are back in the USA and had an amazing and fun journey home! It took over 36 hours from the time we left for the airport in Addis Ababa to the time we got home from the airport in KC…but it was a joyful journey. We reminisced on God’s work. We shared Christ with a woman from Sweden, a student from Notre Dame, and a barista in Detroit. We did pushups in the aisles as we waited for planes (don’t ask!). And we got all our luggage returned to us in one piece at MCI!
The last few days in Ethiopia were great ones as we finished the trip. However, when you travel overseas, you must always be flexible. On Saturday, we travelled a few hours to Ambo where we thought we would be speaking at a College Ministry Conference. It was a gorgeous drive through African countryside. However, when we arrived, there was much confusion… and to make a long story short, we turned around and came home after being there for only 30 minutes. We were not sure what God was doing in this situation and we were disappointed. But we also felt a clear and tangible peace from Him about our decision to leave and return to Addis.
We spent Saturday afternoon as a team along with one of the leaders from FOCUS – a college ministry we are engaged with. It was my privilege to get to spend a couple of quiet hours with Bely and hear his story about how God saved him and used him to reach a whole village for Christ. Bely had missed the conference we had given earlier in the week and was interested in what we taught about discipleship. So we grabbed some coffee and spent some significant time talking about the transferable concepts of making disciples in any nation. The Ethiopian church and ministries are very prayerful and evangelistic, but by their own admission, they do not do a good job of discipleship – teaching people to live like Jesus lived, love like Jesus loved, and multiply like Jesus multiplied.
While in Ethiopia our teaching consisted of a simple presentation of Jesus’ process of discipleship and practical steps anyone can take to implement His process. We also reminded them that they were responsible not just for Ethiopia, but for “all the nations” (Matthew 28:16-20). We heard over and over from pastors, leaders, and students that the fundamentals of discipleship that we shared were both simple and profound. They called them “life altering.” They also were gripped for God’s heart for the world. Ethiopia can be very tribal and prejudicial (their words). And so the call of Jesus to cross boundaries and cultures and languages to invite people to come to Christ and follow Him was very challenging. Ethiopia is home to several unreached peoples and is surrounded by unreached peoples and the deeply persecuted church. We are praying for them to raise up and send out laborers for the harvest (Matthew 9:35-38).
No trip like ours can be successful without incredible support in prayer, finances, and encouragement. We were so privileged to be Christ’s ambassadors and your envoys of hope! We sensed the hand of God in response to your prayers! We witnessed the work of God in response to your faith! And we experienced the joy of sacrifice and service to God in Christ’s name! None of the team will ever be the same. Our hearts are changed forever by the grace of God and the mission of His church – make disciples!
We love you all and are eternally grateful for your support and encouragement and prayers. May God be famous throughout every nation of the earth! Psalm 145.
Hey y’all! Bob Klug here! I wanted to update y’all on the recent progress of our trip!
Today we started a new conference for City Life Church in Addis. The only difference between this conference and the last one we did before is that this conference was in the Amharic language, rather than the Oromo language. For this conference, Mike again went over the discipleship triangle. He gave the first main talk on how Christ invites us in having a personal relationship with Christ. The passage of Scripture that he used was Matthew 11:28-30. Rather than inviting us to a program or religion Jesus invites us to be yoked with him in a personal relationship. This relationship that we can have with Christ brings purpose and peace to our hearts. This relationship not only frees us from the penalty of sin but also from the entire power of sin. After Mike gave his talk, Callie shared her testimony of how Christ invited her personally into a relationship with Christ. She dominated, of course! She did a great job of showing what it looked like to accept the invitation to come to Christ. After the main session we broke up into three different workshops that broke down the concept of invitation even more. These workshops were led by Callie, Bob Weller, and Paulos.
This afternoon, Lauren and I gave the second main talk on imitation. We focused on the passage Matthew 16:24-28. We shared that after you accept the invitation to follow Christ you are required to follow Christ. We focused on verse 24 where Jesus states that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. From this talk, the Ethiopian college students would know what it practically looks like to follow Christ. After Lauren and I gave our talk, Jodi shared an incredible testimony of what imitating Christ has looked like in her talk! Once her testimony was done, we broke up once again into different workshops that dissected the concept of imitation even more. These workshops were led by Jason, Lauren, and Paulos. Even though this trip has been demanding of us physically, mentally, and spiritually, it is incredible to see how much the Ethiopians are soaking in and wanting to apply to their lives.
The biggest thing that I have learned on this trip is that spiritual multiplication is the only way the whole world will be reached for Christ. The second day we were in Addis we went to a restaurant where you could overlook the entire city. When I gazed over the landscape, I was overwhelmed! Why you might ask? Because I saw thousands of people below me that knew nothing about Christ. These people are suffering from poverty and illness, and they have absolutely no hope of getting out of the vicious cycle of sin. I just thought to myself, “How in the WORLD am I going to change this city? What do I have to offer to this city?” Pondering that question all the way to Mekele, the answer finally hit me after our first meeting with the college students in Mekele. I realized that the answer was these college students who were so hungry to grow and want discipleship to be a part of their lives. They were going to change not only Mekele but the rest of Africa. If they go out and reproduce their lives into just two people, all of Africa would be reached with the gospel! It hit me like a ton of bricks! I started crying because I realized that God can use me to change Ethiopia by mobilizing college students and pastors to become laborers that will reach the harvest fields!
This trip has been nothing but a privilege! I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to be in Ethiopia to not only make an impact in other people’s lives, but to personally grow in my own relationship with God. Thanks for all the prayers and support! They are all greatly appreciated!