In December 2022, OM MTI welcomed Grace Lee-Kok as our new Executive Director (ED). To many of us, Grace is not an unfamiliar face. She served in OM MTI for 6 years before transferring to SEAM, another ministry within Operation Mobilisation (OM). Grace will continue to serve concurrently as Associate Field Leader of SEAM.
Grace was understandably hesitant about taking on the additional role of ED of OM MTI at first, but she began to see why God was calling her to do so after much prayer. “The possibilities of synergies and enhanced ministries in both OM MTI and SEAM began to excite me. I realised God was guiding us into a period of growing and strengthening OM’s ministry among a majority people group in East Asia.”
“God was guiding us into a period of growing and strengthening OM’s ministry among a majority people group in East Asia.”Grace
Collaborating with SEAM is actually not new for OM MTI.
In 2021, Grace launched a mentorship programme for a group of marginalised youth in a Southeast Asian country. These youth came from poor families whose situations had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of them had stopped going to school, choosing rather to work to supplement their family’s income. SEAM workers saw the need of mentorship and guidance for these vulnerable and exploited youth, and so a World of Friends (WoF) programme was set up in partnership with OM MTI.
Two of the youth in the programme are sisters, Mariam* and Mira*. They are both in their early 20s, but due to their marginalised circumstances, only completed their secondary education last year.
Just before their final exams, it appeared that both Mariam and Mira were in danger of failing Mathematics. For 3 months, their WoF mentor from Singapore met them regularly over an online video conferencing platform and tutored them in Mathematics. The girls have now successfully attained their IGSCE certification and are even teaching younger classes in the Christian NGO school where they studied.
Meanwhile, SEAM workers on the ground continue to visit their family regularly and build on the good relationship that they have established with them. Though belonging to a community steep in a majority religion in the country, the parents and family of the sisters have become increasingly open to spiritual conversations with the SEAM workers.
Proclaiming and demonstrating God’s love and justice
“What is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?”William Booth
For many years, OM MTI has been active in supporting vulnerable communities in the region. We seek to proclaim and demonstrate God’s love and justice to the poor and marginalised through holistic community projects in areas like education, vocational training, and family development.
At the same time, we recognise that as a ministry of OM, OM MTI has a part to play in realising OM’s vision of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. By working with partners like SEAM, we are able to share both practical and spiritual hope with individuals and families in the region.
When asked about OM MTI’s vision and mission in this new season under her leadership, Grace shared this quote by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army:
“But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive? You might as well give a tract to a shipwrecked sailor who is battling with the surf which has drowned his comrades and threatens to drown him. He will not listen to you… you will have all the better opportunity to find a way to his heart, if he comes to know that it was you who pulled him out of the horrible pit and the miry clay in which he was sinking to perdition.”
William Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out, (London: Salvation Army 1890), p45
She added that OM MTI’s work will act as a catalyst for OM’s ministry among least reached communities in East Asia. “OM MTI’s community projects to meet the needs of the poor and marginalised will also serve to advance and enhance the discipling work of OM’s ministry workers, so that vibrant communities of Jesus followers may be established.”
*names changed for security purposes
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash