International missions archive to move to Leuven
On 19 October in Leuven, Belgium, Operation Mobilisation International (OM) will formally signify the transfer of the organisation’s records to EVADOC, Belgium’s archive for Protestantism and Evangelicalism. The archive will include sixty years of material which covers Bible smuggling into Soviet Russia, shipwreck, overland passage to India, mountain adventures in the Himalayas, and the growth of a movement estimated to have touched the lives of nearly one billion people worldwide. Linked with KADOC-KU Leuven, Catholic University of Leuven, Evadoc is a leading research unit in the history of evangelicalism and protestantism in the Low Countries. Evadoc’s first task will be to catalogue the materials. OM’s formal declaration of the transfer of its archives will take place at Evadoc’s 10 year anniversary Study and Meeting day, at the Evangelical Theological Faculty, Sint-Jansbergsesteenweg 95-97, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.
Aaldert Prins, spokesman for EVADOC, said today: “The OM archive is one of the greatest treasures of the modern protestant missionary movement. I am delighted that OM has chosen to entrust its records to EVADOC.”
George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation, said today “Dr. Louis Palau said the story of OM is ‘one of the most thrilling, visionary, motivating stories in the history of Christian missions’. More than 100,000 young and older people have now served with this movement – often among the least reached peoples on earth. It’s their written reports and stories that have shaped OM’s legacy. That’s why today I’m thankful to EVADOC for this significant step we have taken together to conserve our history. As OM’s archives move to Leuven and become more widely available for historical missions research, my prayer is that many will be encouraged to believe God for even greater things than OM’s early pioneers could ever have imagined!” Dr. George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation
OM was founded by three young students, still in their teens, in 1957, who took a Dodge truck full of Christian literature down to Mexico from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. In 1960 the mission organisation, then called Send The Light (STL), began to work in Europe, opening a Christian book store in Spain despite religious restrictions imposed by General Franco. The pioneer workers went on to smuggle Bibles and Christian literature into Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe. Shortly afterwards the organisation was renamed Operation Mobilisation. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, OM teams travelled overland from Zaventem, Belgium, to the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
In 1971 OM launched its first ship, Logos. This was followed in 1977 by the Doulos, then the world’s oldest still operating passenger vessel and largest floating book-shop. In 1988 the Logos sank off the coast of Argentina, resulting in the dramatic rescue of all on board. Within a year, Logos was replaced with Logos II, and in 2009 Logos II was replaced by a much larger ship, Logos Hope. OM ships have visited 483 different ports in more than 150 countries around the world. 48 million visitors have come on board.
From 1989 to 2001, OM’s Love Europe programme saw more than 30,000 young people travel to cities and rural areas ranging from Lisbon to Moscow and Oslo to Istanbul to share a message of hope and love through, music, art, dance, the printed word and intercultural contact.
OM Belgium celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and OM international its 60th anniversary in 2017. EVADOC is therefore delighted to participate in conserving the heritage of this significant international mission organisation.
Further information on OM is available at www.om.org.
For further media information and interviews, please contact Martin Turner, national director of OM, Belgium, at [email protected], or on +447753683337 (English, French and Dutch)
Notes for editors:
1 EVADOC vzw is the Protestant-Evangelical Archive and Documentation Centre for Belgium and works closely with KADOC-KU Leuven, Catholic University of Leuven.
2 Operation Mobilisation (OM) is an international Christian missions organisation, separately registered in the USA, UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and most other countries in which it operates. In Belgium, OM is based at Fabrieksstraat 63, 1930 Zaventem, and registered as Operatie Mobilisatie vzw, Opération Mobilisation asbl.
General contact with OM in Belgium is be via [email protected].