In addition to operating an office which recruits, trains and supports missionaries, OM Philippines is actively involved in evangelistic campaigns and training throughout the nation.
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“The goal [of the celebration] was to recall the work of God through the past 25 years and, of course, to thank the partner churches, the sponsors and the people who have helped OM to look forward to the future and to establish more local partners,” shared event coordinator Stephanie Wong.
The event included a photo exhibit and programs for people involved with OM in the past, showcasing the achievements and milestones God has produced.
OM Philippines was registered with the Philippine government in 1990, but it was already active in the country long before that. Jaime “Jimmy” Ledesma, treasurer for OM Philippines’ board of directors, has been with OM since its early days. Ledesma joined OM’s cross-cultural missions program in 1979, flying to Singapore where there was an OM office as the Philippines did not have one yet.
Remembering OM Philippines’ beginnings, Ledesma said that the organisation was “…under-supported most of the time [and] we didn’t have a system yet; there were very few staff. We just had a one room office.”
Now, Ledesma has seen OM establish a foundation and programs in different regions of the Philippines that have made it a more stable ministry.
“The work has really grown,” he observed. “Before, our focus was mobilisation—to bring young people on short term missions in cross-cultural situations—but now we have an established work here. We used to rent only an office, but now we own our own building and training center in Manila.”
OM has four offices in the Philippines with programs ranging from tribal outreaches to children’s ministries to relief and development programs for places hit by natural disasters. OM Philippines has 30 local staff workers and six foreign staff workers, the second largest number of workers in South East Asia after Nepal.
The 25th anniversary celebration took place at The Living Christian Church (TLCC) in Cebu City, with a photo exhibit kick-starting the full day event. Those attending the exhibit included Logos Hope port volunteers, outreach volunteers, and members of OM’s partner churches. The 12 pictures showcased OM Philippines’ past and present.
A former OMers’ reunion program was held in the afternoon, allowing people who had volunteered in the past to catch up, reminisce and mingle. In the evening, a Thanksgiving-style dinner was held for partners and supporters of OM Philippines’ programs.
The field leaders from the four offices—Manila, Cebu, Palawan and General Santos—gave updates on their current programs, and a short video presented an overview of OM Philippines’ history. Guest of honor and OM East Asia Pacific’s missions mentor and consultant Rev. Rodney Hui also gave a short message about Millennials and what it meant to be at the 25th year milestone and living in the digital age.
When asked what OM plans for the future, OM Philippines’ Field Leader Sally Ababa said, “for the next two years, at least, we want to start putting in place a system and structure for sustainability, [where] our support comes from within the Philippines—among the Filipinos, for the Filipinos and by the Filipinos. But of course, we still welcome the mutual partnership with our foreign friends who can help us to achieve sustainability.”
In the long-term, Ababa envisions OM Philippines as being sustainable where “the [organisation] and all the staff are supported by [OM Philippine’s] programs.”
Ledesma also dreams of financial sustainability and hopes to see more young Filipinos engaged in missions with OM, stating that OM “accept[s] raw young people, give[s] them life-transforming experiences and bring[s] them to a cross-cultural setting, expand[ing] their world vision and grow[ing] their passion to reach out to the world and fulfill the Great Commission.”
For Ababa, what sets OM apart from other missions organisations is that “OM is willing to take in people who may consider themselves [with] nothing to offer and then, in the process of joining, one soon discovers that a person actually has so much to offer if he would only be willing to engage and explore the opportunities provided.” “It could be a lot of mess,” Ababa stated, “but it could also be a lot of adventure in discovering what truly is in us.”
Published: Monday, 11 January 2016
Credit: OM International