I’m joining in with other bloggers for 12 Days of Christmas to showcase incredible organizations serving around the world and how they are partnering together. As Joy said “We’re engaging in a peaceful revolution to blow the myth of competition to smithereens.”
Too often I wonder if the reputation of a few speak for the whole. Or perhaps history leaves such an impression that we are apt to think things never changed. Growing up I had the impression that missionaries went to other countries to teach about Christ and how to live as Christians the way we do. That we knew better here in America. Perhaps this was just they way my mind perceived the information I heard about missionaries as a child. I don’t believe I’m alone in this perception, though, and unfortunately there are organizations that enter a foreign field of missions this way.
Thankfully there are many that do not. OC International is one missionary organization that believes not only in building relationships but also in partnering with and supporting organizations already on the ground that are meeting needs.
My friend Stacey recently returned from South Africa where she spent several weeks with the OC International team she will joining in about a year. I knew from previous conversations with Stacey that OC served ministries that were already on the ground so I asked her to share more with me.
OCI supports and trains indigenous pastors, most of whom received no formal training. They partner with local churches asking how they can learn and grow together. In many countries including South Africa relationship is everything. Partnering with local churches by serving them however they need instead of telling them there is a better way establishes trust.
Not only do OCI teams partner with local churches they also partner with other ministry organizations in the countries they serve. This may be something as small as sharing office space like they do with Impact Africa or supporting micro finance organizations that help South Africans learn a trade in order to bring in an income.
They also work with individuals they learn about by word of mouth who are transforming their communities. Individuals such as Mama Florinah, “…a woman with a heart bigger than her smile; a woman with enough compassion to fill an ocean; a woman making a huge difference in her community.” Not only does Mama Florinah provide a home for sixteen orphans she opens her home as a soup kitchen for needy children in her area providing an after school meal for forty to eighty children. She pours into her community making a difference.
Mama Florinah (far left) with my friend Stacey (far right.) Photo courtesy of Stacey Rocque.
OC International missionaries partner with individuals and organizations helping them develop leaders and empower them. One such ministry is Emthonjeni, a program taking place in squatter camps with no water or other government provided services. What began as one woman and her friend providing sandwiches for school children has grown to provide food assistance for school children, a preschool, an after school tutoring program and a library with a computer lab. OC serves Emthonjeni by teaching and developing leaders in the community empowering them to serve in this incredible ministry.
Photo courtesy of Stacey Rocque.
OCI missionaries do not work to promote OC International but instead serve other leaders showing that their interests and that of their churches and ministries are the main concern. Working together as one body to show the love of Christ.