OM Singapore started actively recruiting young people into cross-cultural missions in the 70s, at a time when cross-cultural missions was hardly on the radar of the local church. Short-term missions (as distinct from today’s mission-trip phenomenon) was viewed with suspicion, made worst when some returnees moved on from their home churches for various reasons.
In the 80s, as one of the few missions agencies to offer cross-cultural missions, about 20-30 people joined OM annually. As the missions scene in Singapore matured and grew in the 90s, churches and denominations started initiated church-based and denomination-based missions, and the number of people joining OM dropped to about 10 a year. The role of external agencies such as OM had to be newly-defined.
In 1997, OM Singapore launched Kids Plus, a local missions awareness ministry to help children get involved in supporting Christian workers. This was well received by the local church and over the years, many children were able to respond to the call through prayer, financial support and short-term mission exposure trips to neighbouring countries. Local ministry to Indian construction workers was also initiated locally, and further developed in 2001 as OMers reached out to immigrant workers in Singapore.
Kingdom-building (not empire-building) partnerships enabled through an extensive network in over 110 countries as well as specialised missions training at home and on the field have helped OM Singapore bridge the gap between churches and missions over these past 10 years. Many of the 300 – 400 people sent out with OM have become pastors and/or ministry leaders. Atleast 100 Singaporeans have participated in OM’s missions exposure programme annually since 2000. The missions scene in Singapore remains very dynamic today!
MERCY TEAMS INTERNATIONAL (MTI)
With its headquarters based in Singapore, Mercy Teams International (MTI) champions holistic ministries in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Laos. Through education, health care, development and discipleship, MTI seeks to reduce suffering and oppression amongst the poor and needy.
With the help of volunteer doctors, teachers, social workers, occupational therapists, construction workers, pastors, builders, home-makers and secretaries, MTI is able to rescue and rehabilitate children who are abused or at risk on the streets, run aquaculture fish farms, offer preschool, primary and vocational educational opportunities, and provide basic life-skill and other preventative measure training.
Many teams are still in the pioneering stage and require flexible, passionate workers who practice radical discipleship and can demonstrate love and compassion to the destitute or poor.