How do OM teams determine their mission strategy? You would think that it would be down to prayer and listening to God’s word then looking at the country they are in and discovering the needs that should be addressed – this would make sense. Once they do that then they of course devise a strategy to reach those who are lost.
Well sometimes the Lord works in ways that we do not even think of to direct us to what He has in store for us. The OM Italy vision for some years has been directed at reaching Italy and enabling and esteeming the Italian churches – and it still is. However God has put together a series of events, conversations, remarks and road blocks to teach us something about how He does not think the same thoughts as us and He will determine how and what we do for His kingdom.
Over the past 9months to a year a metamorphosis has been taking place in OM Italy. It began by the Lord bringing a large group of people to the Valley working with OM for various lengths of time and a variety of roles. At the beginning we thought – ‘marvellous. God is building a large multi-talented team to reach out across Italy.’
However over a 3-4month period this large team was very rapidly depleted to a much smaller unit. This caused great difficulties within the team as we tried to maintain what unity we had as a young relatively new team. In this crisis period the Lord spoke – Zechariah 4:10 “Who dares despise the day of small things,…”
God spoke to us through sermons, the opening of a door in a local retirement home, a local community center for people with learning and physical difficulties, and a remark made by a local non-christian who remarked that while we had been travelling all over Italy doing evangelism and encouraging Christians to get engaged in mission we in fact did not seem to have time for a cup of coffee here in the place we were based! That was a bit of a wake up call – and from a non-believer at that!!
Being as obstinate and stupid as the children of Israel it took some us longer than others to hear the Lord speak. Now we are concentrating a much larger part of our time in being incarnational relation witnesses’ here in Torre Pellice where we live and work.
The result – well we have not seen anew awakening yet – however we have seen some local believers begin to get excited as they have been able to see mission taking place first hand and realise that it is something which they can do and in fact their part is crucial for the Lord’s work in this country. What a blessing to see the Lord’s people gradually waking up – but first the mission workers had to wake up!! So we cannot hold the high moral ground in this – we are at the front in our deafness and blindness to the Lord’s cries to us.
We thank God for His patience and faithfulness to us and we believe that from these ‘small things’ the Lord is doing something new which will change this country and we believe other countries as Italians leave and become ‘incarnational relational witness’.
The answer to my initial question is – “Look listen and learn from those whom God has placed you around you”