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Workshop welcomes visitors

Friday, October 26, 2007  
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By Ryan Holly

Students, missionaries and ministers will make the journey from around the world to attend the World Mission Workshop on Oklahoma Christian University’s campus this weekend.

“Some of the most faithful servants of the church are here to inspire the emerging generation who will soon begin to carry the torch of God’s mission into the future,” Director for International Programs John Osborne said.

All keynote sessions take place in Payne Athletic Center. Oklahoma Christian University students will be guiding visitors to the gym and are invited to listen to keynote speakers who will share their missionary experiences.

Michael Mazzalongo, Yuki Obata, Ben Langford and Gordon Dabbs are this year’s keynote speakers. All of them are currently serving on the mission field. The specific themes of their talks are “Every Tribe, Every Tongue,” “Purchased with Blood,” “A Kingdom of Priests” and “Around the Throne,” respectively.

“We think it is important that all keynote speakers are currently serving as missionaries,” WMW Director Bob Carpenter said.

The WMW is designed with an international reflection. In addition to the four keynote sessions, there are 12 focus sessions and over 35 classes offered as part of the workshop. Topics include “The Rock and the Refugees” and “The Cry of the Muslim World.”

Over 26 “Smorgasbord” Sessions will be held in the conservatory on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. These sessions offer an intimate view of mission opportunities and topics including “China Now – A Chance to Change the World” and “Wishing Well.”

“Ultimately the workshop will reflect the entire world. A large number of specific countries will be represented by participants as well as visitors, and all of the regions of the world will receive attention during the weekend. It is important, though, to recognize that the U.S. remains an important mission field,” WMW Program and Class Coordinator Curt Niccum said.

The WMW will have some focus on the United States as a mission field.

“There are now more Christians in Africa than our own country, and India will also surpass us in number within the decade. So, in addition to international missions, we will have a number of classes devoted to ministry in American inner cities, campus evangelism, and domestic church plantings,” Niccum said.

Oklahoma Christian initiated the 60 Days of Prayer campaign on August 26 in an effort to discover God’s will and power in the WMW.  The campaign ends today.

“There are several focus points for the 60 Days of Prayer. We want people to be praying for the people who come and for people all over the world. There are missionaries in different countries that we’re praying for. We’re asking people to pray for the speakers and classes and for God’s power to work through them,” WMW Student Committee Member Amanda Peery said.

Genuine unity is apparent in the hearts of participants.

“I’ve witnessed unity just by the response I’ve seen from students. There are several students willing to be involved in whatever way they can,” Perry said. “It is encouraging to see students involved in all areas of the workshop. That in itself is a good example of unity and is an answered prayer.”

The WMW theme “Every Tribe, Every Tongue” is an idiom for the world-wide power of the gospel.

“Every Tribe Every Tribe is not just about American Christians going out but it’s about trying to reflect that there are many Christians around the world, who are crossing cultural barriers to take the Gospel of Jesus to the whole world,” Carpenter said.

Mission work is not confined to long-term campaigns. The WMW is an event that stimulates realizations about what mission work truly is. Students hope that others will join with them in taking advantage of this unique opportunity.

“I am hoping that this WMW will encourage people, both students and professors, that mission work is not limited to a full time, sponsored by a church, overseas job. Mission work is any Christian, anywhere, telling people around them about Christ,” Oklahoma Christian senior Miranda Brazle said.

Oklahoma Christian is estimating that a total of 700 to 800 people will be on campus to attend the WMW. Carpenter expresses words of appreciation and encouragement for all participants.

“We appreciate very much that you have made the effort to come and that you have taken advantage of the offerings at the World Mission Workshop. I hope that you will be encouraged to consider how God might be calling you to be a part of His mission in many types of ways. Not just to be career missionaries. We’ve tried to plan the workshop so that we can learn about vocational missions, short term missions, and how we can reach out to every tribe and every tongue who have moved to this country as immigrants or as refugees,” Carpenter said.


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