When I sat down to write this blog, a post-game press conference was playing in the background. The coach of a National Football Team was taking questions from the media, and while some questions were focused around positive parts of the game (they did win after all), many were wondering why this or that hadn’t been fixed yet. After a string of negativity, the coach put his hands up and said, “Listen, we’ll watch the tape of the game. We can’t get too involved in analyzing things until we watch the tape.”
This reminds me of a conversation I had last summer. I was complaining to a friend of mine over coffee. As a verbal processor, I do that sometimes. When you have plans and dreams you feel God has laid on your heart, you want to see them come to fruition. And when you’re impatient like me, you want to see them progressing quickly. It’s easy to get frustrated, and even complain, when you had hoped to be further along. But one thing I have learned in missions is that nothing happens as fast as I would like it to. This is what I was communicating to my friend.
He put up his hands, summoning me to be quiet, just like the NFL coach in his post-game conference. It was a gesture that said, “Whoa boy, hold your horses a minute.”
“Look,” he started, “God is working man. I know you can’t see it, and maybe you would like it to be further along, but take some time and look behind you. You guys have come a long way in this vision he’s given you. Things are progressing way faster than I thought they would, and you’re frustrated. God is doing big things. Stop and appreciate that.”
The truth is, he’s right. God has blessed the OMS Hungary team so much. Every now and then, I need to stop, review the tape, and appreciate how God is at work. So, let’s look back at the game of this last year and appreciate what God has been doing. Here are some major plays from this year that have caught my eye.
The growth of the team
This year we added five new team members. This is quite outstanding growth in one year. While it is a challenge to help everyone land well, begin language school, and get integrated into the team and ministry, it’s also a pleasure. So far, things seem to be going well.
We also have five new missionaries in the pipeline, funding to come to Hungary and fill critical roles in ministry. The growth continues in an upward trajectory.
The growth of ministry
With the blessing of new team members, we have been able to increase our ministries. It’s truly an amazing feeling to be in leadership and know that the team is engaging in ministry that doesn’t require me to be the main driver. Our team is able to expand our events and impact, and I often sit amazed at the skills and talents that God has brought.
We have English camps, clubs, and discipleship groups going. We built a chapel in the village of Szentmargitfalva. We have about a half-dozen ministry concepts in development, and it appears that this is only picking up speed.
The growth of our partnerships
This last year has been a time of new partnerships and possibilities. When we set out to work with churches, rather than planting our own, we did so with a belief that churches would work with us to reach their communities. This year, we grew the number of churches with which we worked rapidly, and have many that are interested in collaboration. This is far beyond what we expected, and we are now working on how to engage that growth.
The growth of the kingdom
At the end of the day, this is what it’s about: people knowing God. This year we have had students from English camp take steps toward faith. Conversations in our club program have gotten deeper and are starting to show fruit. On November 3rd, in Szentmargitfalva, a lady prayed to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior.
We’ve had crying conversations with kids who have never been prayed for. We’ve seen marginal Christians choose to throw away the things that hinder and be more bold in their faith. This is the heart of what we do. Transforming lives in dynamic communities.
Some things you can only really appreciate looking back. This time of year is a good time to stop and appreciate all that the Lord has done in 2018. You are included in that. We appreciate your interest in our ministries, your prayer support, and your financial support. For some, we have appreciated your service as you came this last year and helped with camp, club, or building a chapel. We hope you have had a great 2018, and that we can connect with you all through print, video, or in person in 2019. Happy New Year!