International Outreach Final

ASELSI (Guatemala)

Sharon and John Harvey, founders of ASELSI, flank Pastor John and Jenna.

Since 2003, Oakbrook Church has supported Asociación “Equipando a los Santos” Internacional’(ASELSI) – the Association for “Equipping the Saints” International – the expanding ministry of two American missionaries, John & Sharon Harvey, based in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. ASELSI has two primary ministry areas. First, the ministry has established a network of Bible schools that trains and equips pastors and church leaders among the largely Mayan population in the rural, mountainous regions of Guatemala. Second, ASELSI has built an advanced medical clinic called the “Father’s Heart” that serves annually thousands of people in the Chichicastenango region. The clinic also offers a physical therapy program, a chronic diseases program, and a milk program for malnourished infants.

Oakbrook Church short-term missionaries minister each year alongside members of the Iglesia de Dios in Sacapulas and students from ASELSI’s leadership program.

Oakbrook sends a short-term missions team to Guatemala every summer to support ASELSI in its ongoing ministries.  Significantly, Oakbrook has established a close relationship with a local church, the Iglesia de Dios, located in the city of Sacapulas, with whom the teams minister each year. In addition, Oakbrook routinely invites advanced students in ASELSI’s leadership program to join the short-term team as it ministers in regions of Guatemala that were ravaged by the 36-year civil war that ended in the 1990’s. These joint American-Guatemalan teams have seen God touch many lives through them as they share the love of Jesus with the people of Guatemala.If you are interested in learning more about ASELSI, you can visit their website here.

 

 

Peacemaking (Israel/Palestine)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

                                                                          Matthew 5:9

Pastor John at the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in January, 2011 with interfaith clergy colleagues from the U.S.

In recent years, Oakbrook has begun the process of learning what it means to be God’s peacemakers and identifying, training, and equipping those members who have sensed His call to minister among divided and warring peoples in conflict zones around the world. Initial efforts have focused on peacebuilding and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, specifically those living in close proximity in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank.  Oakbrook peacemakers are not advocating for nor striving  to achieve any particular top-down political solution to the decades-long conflict. Rather, we are working at the grassroots level to build peace between neighboring Palestinians and Israelis who one day will need to live together in community and harmony no matter what the ultimate politico-geographic solution to the conflict might be. Accordingly, we are actively building close relationships of mutual trust and respect with both Israelis and Palestinians who are interested in justice and living peacefully with each other and identifying creative opportunities for these people to come together themselves so they can begin tearing down their own personal walls of fear, mistrust, hatred, prejudice, and stereotype that divide them. In this regard, Oakbrook peacemakers are encouraging and supporting start-up Israeli and Palestinian economic cooperatives and cultural partnerships.

Oakbrook peacebuilders condemn any and all uses of violence by both Israelis (the Israeli Defense Forces or religious settlers) and Palestinians as a means for gaining advantage in the conflict. Conversely, the use of violence by either side only serves to sow the seeds for greater conflict, violence, and bloodshed in the future. We agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Pastor John with Sami Awad, Palestinian Christian peacemaker and Director of the Holy Land Trust, at Christ at the Checkpoint in Bethlehem in March, 2012.

Oakbrook peacebuilders are also building relationships with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders in the West Bank to encourage them to champion the highest values of their respective faiths regarding the love of God and the love of neighbor. We believe that injustice, oppression, and the use of violence and terror are incompatible with the central tenets of these three monotheistic faiths. Although religion has been the cause of so much strife, pain, and despair in the region, we believe that within the three faiths also lie the seeds that will produce peace in the same region.

Peacemaking

Peacemaking involves building close personal relationships with people on all sides of a conflict.

 

Oakbrook Church’s Israel-Palestine Peacebuilding Trip in March, 2013

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Oakbrook Church’s Second Israel-Palestine Peacebuilding Trip in June, 2014

 

The Field

 

 

 

World Missions

Since the turn of the century, Oakbrook Church has sent short-term mission teams to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Israel, Jordan, Siberia, India, Wales, Poland, and Ocean City, Maryland to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Oakbrook has also sent single missionaries on trips into New York City, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, England, Wales, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Siberia, India, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Nepal, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Australia, and New Zealand. Often, our missionaries are our “on fire” youth for Jesus!!!

These teams and individuals have performed numerous tasks and missions while in the field including:

Oakbrook missionaries perform a drama called “The Itch” at an elementary school in Chacaguex, Guatemala.

  • Conducting one-on-one evangelism in streets, parks, markets, homes, jails, and hospitals
  • Performing public evangelistic dramas and outreaches
  • Teaching and training of pastors and other church leaders
  • Feeding the poor and hungry living in impoverished Third  World nations
  • Ministering to street gang members, helping many to leave the gang lifestyle behind and become active leaders in the local church
  • Ministering to alcoholics and drug addicts
  • Teaching and preaching on local radio stations

    Reconciliation between a former leader in MS-13 and a member of 18th Street in San Juan Cotzal, Guatemala.

  • Conducting evangelism, healing, and deliverance services
  • Preaching in local churches and in public squares and marketplaces
  • Visiting orphanages, hospitals, and jails to pray and extend mercy
  • Leading intercessory prayer services
  • Construction of churches, schools, homes, electrical systems, and sanitation systems
  • Providing medical services in hospitals and mobile clinics
  • Providing and fitting victims with prosthetic limbs in war-torn regions

 

KARIS

KARIS is a Greek work that means ‘gracious gift’.
KARIS is also an acronym for Kindness And Relief In Society.

KARIS is a Christian organization which focuses on practical “mercy ministries” such as assisting the poor, disenfranchised, widows, orphans, prisoners and aliens, whether or not those efforts are mixed with evangelical efforts. Our goal is to bless those God loves (all men) to his glory, and to pave the way for a fuller revelation of Jesus to the world.

To learn more about KARIS click here.