After 16 hours on a plane, 35 degrees of temperature greeted me as I embarked upon another visit to the OMS South Pacific region to help with the teaching of the MTh and new DTh courses at an OMS Bible College. It always seems a long way, and every time I wonder if it is worth it? However, when I meet my class of eager students desperate to learn more of the Word of God, the distance, heat and costs evaporate! 17 students are currently involved in this further education program, and there is a keen desire to learn in order to make a difference in their society. They live in a country that is not sympathetic to Christianity, yet these students still have a desire to take the Gospel into very difficult situations. My subject was ‘Luke-Acts: Theology, Themes & Thoughts’, and my approach to the subject produced much classroom debate and we all learned from one another. One week in class from 8am-3pm was a serious challenge.
On the Saturday, I joined a staff member on a visit to an evangelism project in a small village about a 2 hour drive from the college. This was an opportunity to visit a community with no Christian church and to spend some time talking to locals. Conversation turned to celebrations in one’s faith – the day before had been the village celebration of their god’s provision and they had exchanged gifts and eaten lots of food. I took this as an opportunity to talk about how we as Christians celebrate our God’s provision, especially at Christmas, focusing not so much on the food and gifts, but on how God came into the world, and how we can know peace with God through Jesus. Please pray for this project; it is hard work with slow progress, but our worker is building bridges into a very difficult village situation.
I was also privileged to preach at 2 local churches, and what a blessing that, after preaching from Phil.4:6-7, I was asked to pray with an old lady who had recently suffered a stroke and was struggling to cope with the difficulties this had caused.
Sunday saw me embark on a 13 hour car journey to another OMS college, along with 2 fellow OMS workers, for a day working with students and pastors. My subject was ‘The Pastor’s Personal Devotion’ and again much debate and learning took place for teacher and students alike.
Return to my base was a 10 hour car journey – remind me next time to fly!!
There were 2 projects that OMS UK supporters have raised money for this year, which I was able to see in operation. 1. The annual OMS/MFM Gwent sponsored walk raised £1,000 to purchase AV equipment for one college; 4 screens and projectors are now installed to enhance student learning.
2. The `eggciting hens for students’ project is also up and running, with 100 hens already producing eggs for food or sale. Thanks to all who contributed to these projects – they are making a difference.
Leaving is always a difficult time; I have built some good relationships with the staff and students at these colleges; please pray for them as they face opposition to their faith. On a personal note, please continue to uphold me in prayer as I widen my ministry opportunities around the world. Mozambique is my destination in January 2015, and possibly NE Europe in February. Pray for strength, ability, knowledge, wisdom, safety and the finance to make these trips a useful part of the on-going work of the Kingdom of God. Chris Palmer OMS Wales & West England