Submission from OMF International – Canada.
The year is 1901. Imagine a 21-year-old man, William Fuller, living in the bustling city of London, England. Life is good, but William experiences an emptiness inside.
That emptiness is filled when he comes to understand an eternal living relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. God works in William’s life in such a way that he becomes a pastor and is asked to pastor a church in Canada. As God’s servant, he accepts.
Fast-forward several years. William and his wife, Daisy, are in Saskatchewan, where he rides horseback to preach in several Methodist churches each Sunday.
He sees the spiritual needs of lumbermen living in British Columbia, in isolated temporary villages known as shantytowns. In order to be effective, William learns to sail a refurbished fishing boat to meet these men along the coast.
A Vision for the Future
Several years later, William is touched by the need of railwaymen, who are unable to attend church because of work responsibilities. Why not challenge Christian railwaymen to minister to their fellow workers? William and Daisy and their young family, in Toronto, start the Railway Mission (later known as Christian Transportation Incorporated).
William and Daisy learn what it is to live dependent on God to supply their practical needs. Although the Railway Mission is appreciated by the company – the Canadian National Railway Vice President is a board member – the Railway Mission has no financial backing. It is a case of living hand-to-mouth; God’s hand, through people’s support, gives to their mouths!
After reading Mark 5:19, William believes that God is calling him to return to England to tell of the things God has been doing. They have five dollars. Half goes to Daisy and the children, and half goes to William. He sails from Halifax to London not knowing how he will pay his fare but trusting for a miracle. He is summoned to the Purser’s office, where he is told, ‘We appreciate the way you conducted Christian services for passengers and crew on this crossing. The captain told me to grant you free passage.’
In the meantime, three of William and Daisy’s six children develop serious cases of diphtheria (a dreaded communicable disease at that time in history). The landlord issues an eviction notice. The attending physician tells Daisy that they are beyond prayer; the children will be ‘vegetables’. God mercifully intervenes in the lives of these children.
One of those sick children is David. As a healthy young adult, he follows his parents in his love for and commitment to God. David desires to teach the truths of God’s Word regarding salvation.
He graduates from Toronto Bible College and applies to China Inland Mission (now known as OMF International). During a time of ministry training, he serves with the Railway Mission and learns what it is to be courageous.
God leads David to serve the indigenous people of the Philippines. David enters the Mangyan and Manobo people’s communities. Through language learning and living in the communities, David and his wife, Beverley, raise their family while sharing and teaching the Bible. God brings their neighbours to understand faith, forgiveness, and freedom from sin in Him. Churches form.
David is in his grass hut home when fire breaks out. Although he and his family escape, David is badly burned. He must walk down the mountain to get medical aid. He asks the Mangyan leaders to pray for him, for he fears he will collapse under the searing tropical sun. Local cloud cover shields them on the way.
The leaders see that God hears and answers their prayers. The entire incident brings attention to what God is doing. This results in generous financial gifts for the building of a Bible school. Formal education at the school continues to this day; God’s peace with Himself and with mankind are taught. Teaching has expanded to include agricultural practices, conservation of land, and improvement in irrigation systems. These topics have been exemplified and are now practised by the communities.
David and Beverley’s son Jonathan is 28 years old. He, too, follows his parents in love for and commitment to God. He too desires to teach the truths of God’s Word regarding salvation. He too is living in the Philippines, but in a very different context.
Jon is diagnosed with cancer. With his wife, Marilyn, and their three daughters, he leaves the Philippines and returns to Canada for medical treatment. Following this time, Jon becomes Director of Public Ministries/ Director of Personnel in OMF – Canada.
The OMF International leadership in Singapore are drawn to Jon’s gifting as a God-centred visionary and forward thinker. In 2005, Jon becomes the International Director for Mobilization. In the OMF Fields of service, he spends days speaking, encouraging, praying, and strategizing with Field leaders and other people to see the forward movement of ministries and the development of others. By the time he leaves this position, three others are needed to take over the work.
Jon and Marilyn’s daughter, Katie, too, follows her parents in love for and commitment to God. She serves with TEAM as a missions coach.
God’s work has stretched from 1901 to 2017 and is still ongoing. It has started with the love of one man for God.
OMF International – Canada has been certified by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Charities that display our Seal of Accountability demonstrate ongoing compliance with high standards of financial and organizational integrity. To find out more about this charity or other Certified charities, visit giveconfidently.ca.