As I shared last week, the Our Generation Training Center (OGTC), a hub of missionary training located in Alpharetta, GA, is currently praying that the Lord would give $180,000 for new housing for future missionaries (missionaries in training). You can learn more and discover how you can be a part at this link. The following article, which details the OGTC’s impact in my own life, is adapted from an article that I originally wrote for www.ogtc.info in June of last year. To read the original article, click here.
Studying at the Our Generation Training Center (OGTC) is important because pre-field training is vital before arriving overseas. Take it from me, someone who tried missions without any practical training for overseas ministry.
The Lord saved me when I was twelve years old and called me to missions when I was sixteen. After high school, I attended a Baptist university where I learned much about the Bible and theology. During that time I took a couple of short-term trips to China and felt the Lord directing me to devote my life to serving Him in that country.
Every missionary to China that I met in China or here in the States informed me that China was a closed country which meant that missionaries had to teach English or take up some other occupation while in the country and do evangelism on the side. This was a problem for me because I knew the Lord wanted me to preach. Not knowing what else to do, one year after I graduated from college I accepted a job offer at an English school in southeast China and went hoping that while teaching English I could learn the language and “figure out preaching” after that.
I arrived in China in December of 2010 and was immediately immersed in the language and culture. On the one hand, I was enjoying the new friends and experiences, but on the other hand, I had no clue how to be a missionary. During my five year stay, I learned the language, involved myself in a national church, participated in outreach, and was given two opportunities to preach in Chinese. While those were some of the most exciting times in my life, they were also some of the most discouraging.
You see, my job as an English teacher severely limited my availability to involve myself in the ministries of the church. I often was scheduled to teach on weekends, cutting into opportunities to involve myself in Bible studies and discipleship. What’s more, the national pastors advised that I not preach before the whole church and asked me to only preach in small Bible study settings. I wanted to start my own Bible study under the supervision of the church leadership, but I had no clue how to go about getting the word out, finding a meeting place, or discipling new converts. On top of all this, I didn’t have the financial means to do the ministry I wanted, nor did I have the guidance to know how to realize it.
I remember there were nights when I would stand on the roof of my eighth-floor apartment, looking out over the city and begging God to give me a way to preach full-time in China. I remember asking the Lord why He would bring me to the other side of the world and give me so much success in the language and culture, only to let me flounder due to lack of guidance.
Then one day my dad sent me a link online to the blog of a team of missionaries on the other end of China that were doing exactly what I wanted to do – preaching the gospel, planting churches, baptizing converts, and seeing the gospel advanced in a mighty way. “How do they do it? Where did they get their training? How do they fund their ministry?” were the thoughts I couldn’t get away from. After following their blogs for about a year, I couldn’t take it any longer. I just had to know. I reached out to them online, and one of them called me. He told me I didn’t have to teach English to survive in China. He told me I didn’t have to waste energy balancing my time between a secular job and ministry. He told me that I could evangelize, plant churches, disciple new converts, and preach — all full-time!
He told me about the OGTC, a training center that could provide me with the training and experience I need to do all that I wanted to do for the Lord in China and then some.
So in December of 2015, my wife and I moved back to the States to study at the training center, which is where we have been the last year and a half. I have received invaluable training here that I so desperately desired but had no access to while on the field. We are currently on track to start raising support in January of 2018 to return to China. I feel so much more confident now that we are properly prepared. The training center has given us the focus we need to succeed on the mission field.
So why study at the OGTC? Come study at the OGTC because there are so many factors that go into being a missionary, and the experienced staff at the training center have the know-how to make you a confident, effective missionary on the foreign field. Don’t be like me. I didn’t know. Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to get the training necessary to turn this world upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just as studying at the OGTC is a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive missionary training, giving in support of housing for OGTC students is also a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in world evangelism. Would you join us in praying that the Lord would raise these funds for the training center? Would you pray about how you can be a part?