So what exactly do you do?

I (Colin) am the OM Africa Training facilitator. My role is to strengthen training by evaluating, designing, improving, implementing and building capacity for people development processes in the more than 10 African countries where OM has ministries. Linked to this is a key role in leadership development within the organisation.

Does Grietjie participate in OM ministry?

Absolutely. She is a full member of OM and is involved as much as she can be. Her main focus is homeschooling our two children but she has a number of things that she is involved in. She has a small personnel function in dealing with all the initial website applications. She does basic entrepreneurial training, which ties in with our focus on community transformation. She also mentors and disciples younger members of the organization.

What organization are you with?

We are part of Operation Mobilisation’s Africa area. OM International has more than 5000 workers from over 90 different working in over 100 countries around the world. OM Africa’s vision is to see 350 unreached communities in Africa transformed by 2025. To do this we estimate we need to recruit and train about 5000 workers from Africa and other parts of the world. Many of these will not remain with OM long-term but will go on to impact other communities. See www.om.org for more.

What qualifies you to do what you do?

We have been involved in missions for 25 year now. We met when we first joined OM in 1988. We served in OM for about three years as singles then. I (Colin) spent two years on the ship, the Doulos. Grietjie spent some time on the ship, the Logos II and worked in OM International’s office that was at that time in London.

We got married shortly after that and since then I (Colin) have worked in IT, and studied and then taught missions at the Baptist Theological College in Johannesburg.

We returned to OM in 2004 and I have been involved in travelling and training church leaders in Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana and Zimbabwe. For nearly six years we lived on the OM South Africa training base where we were involved in discipling and training over 500 people.

My gifting lies particularly the areas of teaching, strategic thinking, and curriculum design. In the last 15 years I have played a major role in the preparation and implementation of at least four major training initiatives.

Tell me about your kids.

Our daughter, Caroline is fifteen and is a vibrant teenager who gets excited about art, babies and youth group.

Colson is a fairly typical 13 year-old boy who likes swimming, tennis, cricket and blowing things up on his computer. Colson came back from Lake Tanganyika last year saying that he wanted to go back as a missionary when he grows up.

Why do you travel so much?

While our regional office is here in Pretoria the bulk of our focus and ministry is in other parts of Africa. It is the teams in these countries that most need the assistance that we can offer. We have considered moving to one of those countries but it would not change the need to travel to the other countries. Practically Pretoria has the infrastructure and access to the fields so makes sense at this point.

Aren’t there already enough Christians in Africa?

Certainly there are many believers in Africa, and the church has grown remarkably in the last 150 years. There are however still many unreached communities on the continent and many of those who call themselves Christians have not been discipled and developed. Our passion is to see the Church in Africa take its place in on the global stage in fulfilling the great commission. Most of our energy is directed at strengthening African Christians.

How do you finance your ministry?

OM is what is known as a faith based organization. That is we have no “earned” income but are reliant on God providing for us through His Church and believers who support the vision that we pursue. OM does get money from donors who give to projects and general expenses but this does not provide enough income to pay salaries or all ministry expenses.

Do you earn a salary?

No. We “get what we get”. Our living expenses are covered by the support that is given by churches and individual believers. Once we have paid the bills we use additional money to help pay for the ministry. Our major ministry expense is travel as much of what we do requires us to get out to where the ministry is happening. We are committed to living as frugally as we can so that we can contribute significantly to ministry expenses.

Why don’t you or Grietjie get a job to support yourselves?

We give this regular consideration and are open to the possibility if it is what is needed to enable us to do what we believe God has called us for. The practical reality is such that part-time jobs that would still allow us to do all that we currently do are few and far between. Very few in our organization have been able to be bi-vocational successfully, and it often results in divided loyalties.

What are some of your accomplishments?

The thing that stands out most for us are the people we’ve had the privilege of training and developing.

I developed a successful missions curriculum and a number of students that I taught at the Baptist College are serving God in the mission field, and students who went on to be pastors are leading missions involved churches.

LIFE Development saw church leaders developed in four different African countries. One of those mentored is now our field leader in Ghana, and the church leaders in Siabuwa, Northern Zimbabwe are translating the first Christian book into their dialect and now run an annual missions conference. I played a key role in the writing of the material that was used in the training.

Our years on the Mission Discipleship training team saw both Grietjie and I minister to over 500 participants, many of whom are now serving God in OM around the world. A smaller number were taken through leadership processes and have proven themselves in leadership. I was also instrumental in revising and updating the training curriculum.

I have had the privilege of helping further equip many of the OM missionaries serving in OM Africa. I am currently writing leadership development and other training materials for use throughout the region.

What can I do to be involved in your ministry?

There are three ways in which you could be a part of what God is doing through us:

1. Prayer.
More than anything we need people who will join us in the spiritual battle that is all too real. Your prayers could be the difference between success and failure.

2. Give.
We do need finances to achieve what we believe God has called us to do. Please feel free to ask as to our current needs. God may want you to be a part of what He is doing through us.

3. Visit.
We would love to introduce you to some of the amazing people we work with and we’d like to invite you to talk to us about visiting one of our ministries. (Warning: it is our experience that this could change your life!)

How do I know what to pray?

We try to send out a monthly prayer letter which gives an update. You can also always send us a message and ask for immediate prayer needs.

If I want to give you money how do I go about it?

The best way to give to us is to give to OM. You can give to any of our offices around the world. In some countries this means there are tax benefits. Please just make your gift for Phelps in Africa. Go to www.om.org for details. Or you can email us and we can get you the specifics for your country.

If you’d prefer to give directly to us please contact us.

IF YOU DO GIVE - PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU LET US KNOW!
Unfortunately the banks don’t always get the referencing correct and gifts given to OM can be tricky to track if we don’t know we need to follow up.

What would I need to do if I wanted to visit one of the ministries you’re involved in?

Simply contact us with an idea of when you might be able to travel, what sort of budget you have, and where you might like to visit. We would then be able discuss specifics.

What do I need to do if I want to know more?

Please contact us on the email below.