Christmas observance and traditions vary around the world. This Wikipedia page has a detailed summary of some of the main practices for around 70 countries. It's a great reference if you're new in a country or just want to understand what the inhabitants or mission workers in that country might be doing during the festive season.
Allchurches Trust has launched an emergency grant programme to support churches and Christian charities helping to tackle the Afghanistan evacuee crisis. The programme will help churches and Christian charities to support evacuees resettling in the UK from Afghanistan, giving them a better chance of a fresh start.
We have been working on our Pastoral & Spiritual Resources section, knowing that there are more people than ever at the moment wanting to access counselling, coaching and mentoring services. There are some newly researched organisations and services added to help you through the current tough times.
Every December we encourage all those who use the OSCAR website to consider supporting our free-to-access service. It actually costs us around 20p for every visit made to our website. With around 1000 visits per day, this soon builds up. Your contribution enables us to continue to freely serve all users with the tools and resources they need to carry out God's mission. Please help if you can.
Have you ever made a video update for your mission or ministry? For this month's article, W. Ashley Maddox, of Missionaryfilms.org, gives an easy visual way to share your ministry, bring clarity on what you do, and give actionable steps to the viewer.
One of our regular contributors, Alex Hawke, has put together a three part video devotional on perseverance from Hebrews 12:1-3 called Keep on Keeping On. It's particularly aimed at those in leadership and mission workers but relevant to anyone seeking to faithfully follow Jesus through the challenges of life.
We recently came across a great site of driving guides for over 100 countries. Along with basic country info, it includes advice about driving licences, renting, documents required, insurance, safety, traffic regulations etc. A real gold mine if you're looking to drive in another country for the first time.
We have long had a Partnership Requests message board in our online community, OSCARactive. It has mostly been used by individuals looking for others to partner with in their mission. Last month we had an organisation contact us looking for projects and initiatives to partner with. They are now listed here. In this new era, do you need to partner with someone? Put your request here.
With the UN climate change conference happening in Glasgow at the end of this month and the extreme environmental events happening around the world, it's time for a focus on creation care. In this month's guest article, Caroline Pomeroy from Climate Stewards helps us determine what our travel strategy should be post-pandemic.
This new book by Debbie, David and Jamie Hawker, subtitled 'Applying the Bible in a climate emergency', is a series of Bible passages unpacked to show the Bible's relevance to environmentalism, and how we can all play our part in limiting the negative effects of climate change. Debbie Hawker explains about the book's relevance to mission.
Over the last year, many families all over the world have had to do some measure of home schooling. Some have developed a deep appreciation of school teachers (!) and others have decided that they might like to continue to home educate their children. Here are some tips given some time ago by a seasoned home educator from the mission world.
Stewardship have refreshed their website as the first part of a bigger, gradual roll-out of a new vision and strategy, improving to partner and support you in your giving, fundraising, ministry and mission. This includes the new Stewardship CauseFinder making it easy to manage your giving, helping you to choose and support the causes you care about most.
OSCAR’s newest sponsor is a US based service offering charitable workers worldwide full coverage health insurance as well as access to their specialist flight search engine and booking system, which includes humanitarian/charity air fares. Access is for registered members only but membership is FREE!
If you are planning to return to the UK in the next year or have returned from overseas in the last year, this online day course, run by OSCAR, will teach you the basics about making a healthy transition from one culture to another. It's also useful for those who want to understand and give care to those who have returned.
CMS are holding an online day on 21st April exploring Pioneer Practice – sharing wisdom, struggles, stories and how it works on the ground. There will be multiple venues, an interactive labyrinth and prayer spaces, themed conversations, research findings, workshops, networking spaces – a place to meet friends old and new, to be inspired and encouraged.
With the UK's latest influx of migrants potentially coming from Hong Kong, we have a renewed challenge to be hospitable and welcome the stranger into our communities and churches (when the restrictions allow). Connie Yu from Chinese Overseas Christian Mission gives us some great biblical and personal reasons why we should open our hearts and our homes.
The secondhand books market has benefitted hugely from online selling. The trouble is there are a huge number of secondhand booksellers. If only there was one search engine that covered the majority of them. Sylvia puts the case for secondhand books and tells us about such a search engine and how you might find books on some of those specialist subjects like mission.
OSCAR is 21 years old this month! This time last year, just before coronavirus hit, we celebrated our 20th birthday with a Mission Resources Exhibition and reception alongside the Midlands CRE in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. It seems like a different age! You can see a short video and read about the event at https://oscar.org.uk/mre and you can read about OSCAR's history and impact over the years via the link below.
Lockdown has highlighted that we need to be connected with others and how much we miss the active support of relationships. This works for organisations as well as individuals. This month's guest author, Steve Beegoo, encourages us to re-invest in our connections and support of others to rediscover the mutual benefit that we all crave.
So what does it mean for a family who believe they should heed a call to go to all nations with good news? What will it mean for a child in that family? For the first time, adult children of missionaries tell their stories in a new book dealing with joys, grief, faith, cultural adaptation and relationships.
If you have returned from overseas in the last year and are struggling with the partial transition back to UK culture because of lockdown restrictions, this day course, run by OSCAR, will teach you the basics about making a healthy transition from one culture to another. It's also useful for those who want to understand and give care to those who have returned.