喬治韋華和OM的誕生Patrick Wood30 OCT, 2016 | INTERNATIONAL

Who would imagine that a popular, foul-mouthed teen—preoccupied mostly with chasing girls—would in a few short years lay the groundwork for an international ministry? George Verwer’s story began when a New Jersey (USA) woman, Dorothea Clapp, placed him in the crosshairs of her ‘Holy Ghost Hit List.’

In Wyckoff, New Jersey, in 1953 George was 14 years old, high-spirited, and showing promise as a natural-born leader at Ramsey High School when Mrs. Clapp’s son first gave him a copy of John’s Gospel. Two years later, her prayer for his salvation was answered at a Billy Graham crusade in Madison Square Garden where George received Jesus. The persistent Mrs. Clapp then began praying that George would become a missionary. Little did she realise how soon this seed of faith would take root.

George used his position as Student Council president to share his testimony in an assembly and had copies of John’s Gospel distributed in the hallways. About 200 students came to faith that year as a result, and a passion and gift for winning souls had emerged.

In college, he learnt that over 70 per cent of Mexico’s people owned not a single portion of Scripture. Appalled by this—considering Mexico’s proximity to the chief missionary-sending nation—and burning with the conviction that “everyone must hear the gospel at least once,” he hatched a plan for his summer holiday.

n June 1957, he and classmates Dale Rhoton and Walter Borchard drove from Chicago to Mexico City in a beat-up 1949 Dodge truck filled with Spanish gospels and tracts. Committing to repeat the trip for the next three summers launched Send the Light, a full-fledged literature distribution ministry that included a board of trustees and the establishment of La Vida Abundante (The Abundant Life), the first evangelical Christian bookstore in Mexico City.

While in college, George met Drena Knecht, a film department secretary from Moody Radio who shared his heart for missions—so much so that after their simple wedding in January 1960, they skipped their honeymoon and moved straight to Mexico to operate the bookstore together. Any doubt in Drena’s mind that life with George would be an adventure probably vanished on the trip south, when he bartered their wedding cake in exchange for fuel!

Learning by doing

Eight months later, the work in Mexico was well established, prompting the Verwers to plant STL’s ministry in Spain. Under fascist dictator Franco, religious freedom in Spain was restricted; only the Catholic Church could promote religious literature, closing doors to evangelical missionaries. However, when the Catholic Church published its own edition of a Spanish New Testament, George and his team used the Mexican experience to successful open a bookstore in Madrid.

Although not overtly a Christian store, Victoria, as it was called, happened to sell mass copies of the Catholic Church’s New Testament—as well as ‘supplemental’ materials that placed emphasis on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Blending products this way minimised attention from the authorities and shaped a key part of George’s missional DNA: finding creative paths for the gospel in unsympathetic nations.

Later that year, George and team pursued this challenge in another form: The smuggling of gospel tracts into Russia, which at first didn’t go well. After George carelessly tossed a misprinted tract out of a hotel window in Moscow, a pedestrian recognised the literature as forbidden and filed a report, resulting in the team’s KGB interrogation and swift deportation.

The effort, however, was not in vain: For George, visiting Russia strengthened his resolve that, in a day of explosive media, technology and travel, everyone in the world could and should hear the gospel at least once! Upon his return from Russia, while in prayer, a vision for how this could be done emerged.

At a rest stop in Europe, George was overlooking the landscape when, in the distance, he saw a group of young people entering a school bus, bringing to mind the words ‘Operation Mobilisation’ and, with it, a novel idea: to acquire a fleet of buses and load them with teams of youth passionate about sharing their faith.

Like his first trip to Mexico in 1957, this was meant to be a one-time project. But as George met with European church leaders, organising conference after conference to share the vision, the project evolved into a movement. OM has since earned its description as a collective of 3,400 people “who can’t sit still and who love the adventure of serving Jesus.”

And to think it all began with that obscure New Jersey woman, Dorothea Clapp. Through her prayer, the small seed of faith planted in George 60 years ago has flourished into a tree much like the one Jesus described to illustrate God’s kingdom—large and growing, with fruit-bearing branches that make their way throughout the Earth…despite a small beginning.

Born and raised on the mission field throughout Latin America, Patrick Wood serves as a writer and content curator for OM USA. He is based in the Atlanta area, and his passions include long-distance running, books, TV, caffeine and eating.

上帝呼召平凡的基督徒去短宣Anne Marit Viljoen06 NOV, 2016 | SPAIN

Sixty years ago, the world looked different. Presidents and priests had more authority and influence over the general public. Flying was a luxury few could afford. Mission societies were looking for people with a solid education and willingness to spend the rest of their lives on the field. Short-term missionary campaigns were unheard of.

In 1960, OM founder George Verwer and his wife, Drena, moved to Madrid, Spain, soon joined by Betty Holt and Jean Davey. A year later, they were joined by 25 Americans, that together formed three teams working in Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany and Austria with the purpose of recruiting workers for the first-ever summer campaign, organised by Jonathan McRostie, who later became the leader for OM in Europe.

They took meetings in local churches on evenings and Sundays, and used the daytime Monday to Friday for door-to-door evangelism with tracts and books. Some young people from local churches joined them on Saturdays for tracting 'blitzes'.

The teams prayed for 200 young people to help reach Europe’s cities during the summer of 1962; God exceeded their expectations by bringing 400 people. Ordinary Christians were invited to take part without any prior training…and the numbers continued to grow.

Forsaking comfort and time

‘Revolution of Love’ and ‘Forsaking all for Christ’ became watchwords: The message of the gospel had to be proclaimed as widely as possible, even if it meant forsaking comfort, time, money and luxuries. It could mean sleeping on a church floor (or even in a van), working long hours, often with very little money and sometimes scarce food; sharing the gospel was more important than personal needs.

Tracts with a gospel message offering a Bible correspondence course were mass distributed. Christian literature and Bibles were sold or given away, the money providing fuel for the van and food for the team. The message was proclaimed through open-air meetings, film evenings, door-to-door visitations and sharing of testimonies one to one. Prayer was of utmost importance; each morning, the team gathered for devotions and Bible study. A set of phrases in the local language was provided, helping foreign team members hold simple conversations.

In the following year (1963), summer teams majored on reaching villages throughout Southern Europe, instead of cities as the year before. Almost 2,000 people came from 30 countries (700 from UK alone!) and, over a three-month period, teams worked with 400 local churches and 25 mission organisations. In addition to recruiting participants and the logistics of training conferences and transport, they also faced opposition; in some countries, they frequently experienced arrests or questioning by the police.

Priests tearing up leaflets

Betty Holt was the women’s leader in a team that travelled throughout five of the six provinces of Andalucia in southern Spain, which was still very much under the power of the Roman Catholic Church and General Franco. Everybody in Spain was afraid of Protestants yet hungry for the Word of God. “In most villages, we freely distributed gospel leaflets to everybody we met, only to see the priest tear them up later,” remembers Betty.

In one village, while the Spanish girls on the team were speaking animatedly with the policeman, Betty held a quiet conversation with the priest. “He asked who we were, what we believed, and why we were doing [this],” shared Betty. “Finally, he acknowledged that he grasped what I said about being saved by believing in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and that our good works could never get us to heaven,” she continued. “He told the police to release us, and took us (six young ladies) to his house where he showed us a publication he had written and was giving to people, based on the Bible. We had an encouraging time of sharing the things of Christ with him.”

Fear of being arrested gradually disappeared as they discovered that those arrests led to the best opportunities for sharing the gospel—with the police! “This summer in Spain prepared me for work in the Communist World by teaching me to deal with police authorities, and by testing my willingness to go to jail or to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ,” wrote Betty years later in her book From Chicago to the Ends of the Earth.

Summer campaigns continued and teams were sent to an increasing number of countries, including behind the so-called Iron Curtain, smuggling Bibles to secret believers in the Communist Soviet Union. Later, short-term campaigns were also held over Easter and Christmas and today happen all through the year and on all continents. Methods and locations may have changed from the pioneering era, but short-term campaigns are now a major gateway into missions for OM and numerous other organisations.

God is still calling ordinary Christians to share the good news and work towards seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers in all parts of the world.

Anne Marit Viljoen, from Norway, joined OM in the early ’80s for three summer campaigns in France and long-term work in administration, hospitality, leadership and communications in Europe and East Asia Pacific. She and her husband reside in Norway, and she currently serves as a member of the OM Europe communications team.

長宣的開始Tatu Kekkonen01 JAN, 2017 | INTERNATIONAL

After many successful summers, short-term evangelism campaigns established their place as the core ministry of Operation Mobilisation. Rather quickly, OM’s work in countries like Turkey and India grew to continue year round. In the winter of 1963, when George Verwer asked if there would be anyone willing to work with OM for at least a year, a greater commitment to participate arose. Preparation for the first year teams was organised in Atherton, England, and, after four weeks of intensive training, about 200 OMers headed to Europe, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Israel and India. OM’s focus began to shift toward long-term ministry.

Since its beginning, OM has provided training based on need. For young OMers, the road to long-term commitment started with reading books and listening to hours of cassettes full of vibrant teaching. Books like Calvary Road by Roy Hession and True Discipleship by William MacDonald quickly became classics alongside early books by George Verwer, such as the Literature Evangelism Manual published in 1963.

Studying these materials was obligatory for everyone joining OM summer campaigns that started with a one-week conference followed by three weeks of evangelism. Training and preparation brought together spiritual and practical needs. “Memorising Scripture was central, but we also memorised phrases in different languages,” long-term OMer Asko Alajoki, from Finland, remembers. “I still know some Italian from those days.”

Asko joined OM for the summer campaign in 1968 and kept coming back every summer until 1972, when he decided to join a year team. “Some people came for summer campaigns and went straight to a training conference for year teams,” he says.

Trained and equipped

Those wanting to join a year team were expected to have taken part in at least one summer campaign before hitting the road towards the unknown. Two to four weeks of training were provided in various locations in England and Belgium, until an old paper factory was transformed into OM’s European headquarters in Zaventem, Belgium.

Days were full: There was teaching about discipleship, leadership, teamwork, Bible study and prayer. “Teachers were OMers and visiting pastors who were either specially invited or just passing by,” Asko tells. “We worked as small groups and gathered to discuss daily topics. Of course, we also did dishes and cleaned together with our leaders, who were responsible for our small teams. We took care of everything. There were no staff members.”

Besides spiritual preparation, teaching and training included skills for everyday life and hands-on work. “We even had internal OM driver’s licences. We had to test if people really could drive and take care of cars and trucks,” Asko says.

Trust in the Almighty

One feature of the conference was an exhibition of all the countries where people might go, coupled with personal interviews. “When people came to the training conference, they did not know where they would be going next. I was hoping to go to the Near East but, without proper language skills, I was sent to England where our team worked with immigrants,” Asko tells of his first year-team experience. It was all about coming to serve with a disciple’s attitude and trusting in God’s plan. After the interviews, leaders sent people to different year teams depending on their skill sets and needs.

Another trust test was finances. “After summer campaigns and buying literature, everyone was basically broke. We were asked to pray until we had the money to travel. Teams could not leave before the money had come in,” Asko explains. Because of this, the conference sometimes lasted a bit longer, but it certainly got people praying and relationships deepened.

The year teams became a pathway for those who stayed longer in OM. After his first year in England, followed by years in India, Asko has been part of OM for over 40 years. “This has been a good place for me spiritually, and I’ve always had good challenges,” Asko explains his long journey in ministry. “After finishing my studies in Finland, there were no further ties attached and God had put this ministry on my heart.”

Still today, OM equips newcomers with the same attitude. Most of the approximately 3,300 long-term OMers have gone through the Global Orientation Conference to ensure they are prepared spiritually and practically. Yet only by actual experience can anyone know what it takes to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least-reached.

Tatu Kekkonen is a journalist and creative artist from Finland. Through everything he does, he wants to keep reflecting the Creator.

禱告,再行動Peter Hawkins28 JAN, 2017 | INTERNATIONAL

在過去的六十年中,迫切地禱告已成為OM的核心。早在OM開始前,當朵羅希(Dorothea Calpp) 為她家對面的學校中的學生禱告,其中包含OM創辦人喬治(George Verwer),她祈求上帝救贖他們的靈魂並且差派這群學生到萬國去傳揚福音,禱告成為我們的基因。

OM共同創辦人戴爾(Dale Rhoton) 提起OM草創時期:「那些非常好的點子,總是隨著禱告會而來。」OM的福音行動起源於1950年代,在芝加哥的一間禱告室中,喬治、戴爾與神學院的小組每周的禱告會。有次喬治在禱告時突然跳起來,分享上帝要差派他們到墨西哥去傳福音的異象,這便是世界福音動員會 (Operation Mobilisation)在 1957年組成的經過。





透過禱告,上帝也保守我們。冷戰時期, 歐洲大陸團隊 (The Greater Europe Team) 將聖經偷渡穿越鐵幕。經過數年後,我們才發現其中一位聯絡人,其實是個東德國秘密刑警,並且與蘇俄KGB有聯繫,他致力阻止我們把大量的聖經與相關文學作品,送到當地的地下教會。我們是為數不多對抗這高壓狀態的熱血青年,但是透過每週禱告至深夜,特別為著運輸車與在東歐聯絡人的安危禱告,上帝不但保守我們,也讓我們的事工更有效率。








霍金斯 (Peter Hawkins) 擔任OM的國際禱告會協調員。他於1974年加入OM參與伊朗事工。從那時起,他和他的妻子曾在歐洲、美國以及望道號上服事。

從異象到實踐Elaine Rhoton09 JAN, 2017 | SHIPS

OM的車隊由歐洲開往印度,在其中一部破舊的廂型車裡,喬治·韋華 (George Verwer) 躺在裝滿書籍和補給品的箱子上。在這兩個月的宣教之旅中,大部分時間只能在車裡坐著或躺下,這對於充滿活力、對宣教感到迫切的喬治而言,簡直是一種煎熬。





此時一則令人震驚的消息傳出,那位英國船長經過多次禱告後,認為應該為自己服事設下最後期限 – 如果神在1970年八月底以前供應這艘船,那麼他就繼續;反之,他就會選擇離開。




OM將Umanak重新命名為 Logos (真道號), 在希臘文當中,意思是「道」,而這個字在聖經中代表了耶穌,「道成肉身」。



有天在南非開普敦的早晨,從當地教會聚會回來的OM團隊,看著船外景觀又驚又喜─ 港口大排長龍,擠滿了要上真道號。原來當地居民在主日崇拜結束後,就成群結伴來參觀真道號,就在那一天,書展的銷售量超過了六百元英鎊。




OM 福音船事工就這樣開始了!

自1970年起,OM 福音船事工已經
接待了超過 4500萬位訪客
發放超過 7000萬的新舊約聖經
造訪超過150個國家以及1470港口 訓練了超過一萬名船員

1961年,Elaine Rhoton 與她的先生Dale,一起在土耳其拓展OM事工。1967年,由於簽證的問題,導致他們無法繼續待在土耳其,他們開始將聖經和屬靈書籍送往共產國家的信徒手中。1975年他們將這項事工轉交給其他人後,開始參與福音船事工計畫,並在1978年他們帶著小孩、上船服事。至今,他們仍參與OM福音船事工。

促成新門徒的那顆麥子Peter Hawkins30 JAN, 2017 | South Asia

因著孟加拉國獨立戰爭(Bangladesh Liberation War) 爆發,1971年,OM 團隊開始救濟那些到印度尋求庇護的興都教徒(Hindus)、基督徒和穆斯林難民。此外,他們也召集基督徒彼此鼓勵、勸勉以及訓練他們成為門徒。許多人在此將生命獻給耶穌。



一個著名的國際事工組織CIF*, 截至1976年為止,已經在Jewelpur* 這個地區耕耘17年,但是事工卻看起來沒什麼進展。與此同時,孟加拉這個新生的國家只有五歲。人口為少數的興都教徒,於1971年的戰火中飽受煎熬。許多宣教士認為,時機成熟,應該專注於向這些興都教徒傳揚耶穌基督降生的好消息。為了能夠更有效地接觸這群興都教徒,CIF的國際同工向OM詢問是否能夠支援他們,提供為期一年的團隊同工。若一年以後,仍然沒有任何的果效,他們將會離開並往下一個區域去。








Abel是OM團隊的第一位當地同工,而就是他帶領Yacob和Tab認識耶穌的。作為一個最前線傳福音的勇士,Abel也需要受到陪伴和教導。Mike (UK) 花了許多的時間陪伴Abel, 有耐心地成為他屬靈的父親,教導他、挑戰他和指導他。






復興韓國回應呼召的熱情Peter Hawkins16 JAN, 2017 | SOUTH KOREA

Koreans serving at Love Europe in 1997.



三位基督徒獨自加入OM,這在當時韓國人需要總統允許才能出國的情況下,是個不容易的壯舉。 1975年是個韓國人參與OM事工的里程碑; 真道號在接下來十幾年裡到訪了韓國三次,成為韓國人屬靈覺醒中的催化劑。

OM參與國度性事工 - 涉及全面的福音運動、團隊合作、僕人式的重點培訓和領袖訓練,以及必須要和跨越國際與宗派的基督徒交通 – 這對韓國基督徒是非常具有挑戰性的。


因著與早期福音船的合作,韓國開始將自己帶上國際舞台。另外,亞運會和奧運會也將世人帶到韓國,並幫助韓國人以新的眼光看待這個世界。伴隨基督徒的福音運動,看見了許多韓國基督徒願意委身大使命,參與將福音帶到世界各地去。韓國的年輕人強烈渴望參與OM的事工,韓國的OM成員數量迅速增長。所有這一切發生在忠僕號和喬治·韋華(George Verwer) 探訪韓國的佈道過程中,在此期間,主耶穌基督挑戰教會回應祂的大使命。許多新的宣教士回應呼召,到世人最難觸及的未得之民中間去,特別是在中東和中亞的穆斯林之中。有些人甚至在印度(1987年)和土庫曼(1997年)殉難。


自1990年OM韓國正式開始派遣宣教士,有超過1,500名短期和中期的工人曾參與OM的服事。數千人曾到OM的夏季外展營會服事,例如當時的地區營會─傳愛到歐洲(Love Europe)和傳愛到亞洲(Love Asia)。截至2016年,共有316名韓國基督徒參與OM於全世界39個國家的服事。透過與OM的合作,韓國人已在進入各種封閉或在傳福音上有困難的國家,樹立了成為領袖和長期宣教工人的好榜樣。

雖然在2014年望道號最近一次到訪的回應,比之前OM福音船到訪的反應較弱,OM仍然保留對韓國教會的重要性。 OM將繼續把韓國人民帶到上帝的面前,扮演著非常重要的角色。我們最迫切的禱告是,朝鮮人願意遵守祂的大使命,並且到未得之民中間傳揚祂的國和榮耀。

李牧師(Rev. Dr.Benjamin Youngkyu Lee)是真道號上少數幾名的韓國船員之一。他現在在韓國擔任牧師,是OM韓國的顧問。他幫助拓展OM於韓國和美國的韓國人事工。