Record-Breaking Year in Ministry and New Horizons Established
2018 was a year full of amazing accomplishments, breakthrough encounters and heartbreaking events.
As One to the Other Ministries entered its 32ndyear of touching lives and impacting communities around the world, we had no idea this year would be so different from our previous history.
This year OTTOM took more trips than ever before, breaking last year record of 8 trips, with 9 trips and some to new destinations. Among the new destinations, OTTOM venture into the nations of Greece, Hungary and Romania. In Greece, we connected with a very unique and amazing ministry in the capital city of Athens. This church has the largest congregation for an evangelical church in the city/nation and within its walls, they also manage to serve the Hispanic community in Greece, as well as a Russian community in the city of Athens. Amazing! I was so honored to be able to speak to the main congregation and also to the Spanish congregation during my short 4 day stay in Greece.
From the vibrant city of Athens, my traveling buddy, Pastor Lee Fruh and I took off toward the capital city of Budapest in the beautiful nation of Hungary. There we met with a tremendous group of people that are part of a terrific youth movement called Awakening. We had some long and wonderful meeting, as we set-up our upcoming mission tour for May of 2019. Budapest is an exciting city where you can hear just about every language spoken in the streets. I love that sense of “the world is before you”. As you walk around this gorgeous city, languages hit you and I wondered, is this a taste of what it will be like in heaven? Some languages I was able to identify and some that I had no clue. This is very fun for me, as I love the connection of access to the world. OTTOM is thrilled to be going to Budapest on May 25, 2019.
Our Euro tour continued as Lee and I boarded a train to Oradea, Romania, just shy of a 5 hour ride from Budapest. There in Oradea, we met with a father and his two sons, who run the largest evangelical church in that city. This church has a congregation of over 1,000 people that gather twice a week to worship in freedom, something they could not do, just a few years ago.
Romania is our second destination for our upcoming European mission trip and as we sat down and prayed and strategize what the Holy Spirit wants us to do there, we are so happy to report that our plans for our visit to Romania are fantastic. We will get to do some of my favorite things in ministry.
Our trip will include the presentation of our main drama “Spellbound”, we will also get to do a VBS and a team favorite, visit and work in the largest orphanage in the city. This will truly be amazing!
Now, please do not think all we did was in Europe. No, we just spoke of 3 of the 9 destinations we had the honor of visiting and impacting in the Name of THE ONE who sends us…JESUS!
As you all heard in the news, Puerto Rico got devastated by Hurricane Maria. This category 5 hurricane hit the 100×30 mile island with relentless force during the month of September of last year. Communication was at a stand-still. Flights limited. No place for lodging for a team or access to good and reliable transportation. So we waited and we prayed. We took a team late in 2017 to get a good picture of what we needed to do to make a good impact in the areas with most needs. A small team of 5 took to surveying the island and bringing important intel for our future teams. The first team left late in January of this year and then our second “wave” hit the island in April. Both team had a ministerial assignment of bringing help via medical clinics, preaching of the Word of God and counseling folks traumatized by the aftermath of Maria. It was an intense time and a wonderful time!
As a follow up to these trips and also a continuation of our wonderful mission tour to Puerto Rico in 2015, OTTOM will return with a large team (40) to Puerto Rico this upcoming July. Our tour is set with destinations all over the island but with a concentration in the northern and western side of the island. Needless to say, we are thrilled to return to the island that saw me be born!
In the middle of the mission outreaches we also conducted in our own nation and state, we directed a team from Texas to the beautiful nation of Costa Rica. There, a wonderful group of students conducted drama presentation in schools and plazas.
Our Fall schedule took us to our neighbors in Mexico and to Rancho 3M, an orphanage about an hour from El Paso, Texas. This marked our 3rdvisit to this place and believe me…every team that comes here, falls in love with the place and specially the people. This year team, 33 of us, did construction work, a VBS, a lot of worship and a lot more of one-on-one with many of the children and the staff. A beautiful thing that happened this year, and for the first time, our team put together an amazing special program for the “forgotten heroes”, the staff of this orphanage. We did a special meal, gifts and a time to get to know them, hearing their stories. Wow…what a beautiful and anointed time. We all came out of this experience as…we have to do this again and again.
Last, but absolutely not least was our last mission trip of 2018, Cuba! This one marked our 5thtime in this island and the third time to the center of the island, the province of Ciego de Avila and the city of Moron. Our main contacts have become much more than just another contact we do ministry with, but they have truly become family!
As you know, Cuba is still very much a communist nation. Every time we go, we have to acquire Cuban Visas and we never know if they will be accepted (again) or maybe, just maybe, this time will be the time that they (the Cuban government) says…”no mas” no more!
This trip, we took 14 people and only 4 of us had been there before. Among the “rookies”, my wife Laurie. For me, this was a dream come true since every time I would come back from a trip to Cuba, I would be sharing my experiences with her, many time with tears in my eyes, and she would listen but I could tell it was not as impacting to her…because she did not live it. So, this time is was Laurie’s time!
I know that my wife and I are very different in the way we process things, the way we interact with others and the way we analyze things. Nevertheless, we both had the honor of being with our Cuban family and living like Cubans live and know, at least for a moment, their struggles, their challenges and their joy. JOY, you may ask. Joy in the middle of communism? YES, our dear friends have discover what many of us here in America take for granted. And what is that? What really matters! What is what moves us, what wakes us up, what propels us to do more. Our Cuban friends may only receive $20/month per person from the government. They may not have the true freedom we enjoy here to say and express ourselves. But I have come to realize that JOY is not found in “our toys”, our money, our status, our stuff…but true joy is understood as a total dependency on JESUS CHRIST! Total!
What an amazing picture to see a Methodist church at full capacity, not an empty seat, folks looking in from the outside from the windows. Additional seats in the courtyard so people could at least hear the word and listen to the worship. Amazing!
Add to this, the headquarters of the communist party for the city of Moron are (wait for this…) next door to the Methodist Church! What boldness! What courage! What a mighty God they serve!
YES, we serve a mighty God but we also serve the comforts our society so easily gives us. I want to be more like our Cuban brothers and sisters! They have set up camp in front of the gates of hell. What I am trying to say here is that they know the risks, they know what could happen, but they CHOOSE to proclaim the name of JESUS. The only name that can truly bring true freedom! YES….and YES again!
So, as we look at the closing of a landmark year, we look back and we say WOW…Thank You God! What joy to do what we are passionate about. We look back and we say once again, thank you JESUS. Also we say, thank you Dr. Wayne Smith, who had the vision and courage, that at the age of 60 to start One to the Other Ministries. Dr. Smith graduated this summer to his resting place in the heavens. He was received by his LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST and also by his wife and granddaughter that graduated earlier. I do not have enough words to say…THANK YOU WAYNE, for all you gave, for all your teaching, for seeing in me the leader that I could not yet see and for your trust in Laurie and I to lead this amazing group of people we call our ministerial family…ONE TO THE OTHER MINISTRIES.
What an honor to serve The King of Kings! What a privilege to be able to GO…to MEET…to SHARE with folks that love JESUS no matter what! We are so grateful for all our encounters this year. For all the JESUS MOMENTS and for seeing HIS HAND at work in our teams, our lives and in our family!
2019 promises to be a very exciting year. Trips to the Caribbean, Europe and here in our great nation, will make 2019 a victorious year!
Allow me to ask you to pray! Pray for strength for our teams and our leaders. Pray for favor with our medical teams. Favor with our ministerial teams and contacts. Pray for safety and health for everyone involved with OTTOM this coming year. Pray for us to ALWAYS listen and wait, before we act!
Pray for the finances of this ministry. We so believe that JESUS meets each and every one of our needs. We are so thankful to see HIS provision in every area.
If you would like to help us go…maybe help in a specific area like our medical clinics, or our drama evangelistic teams to some difficult areas, our maybe you would like to sponsor a missionary going to a specific area in the world, feel free to contact us via our webpage or directly via email.
Again, thank you for reading and thank you for praying for OTTOM.
We believe this simple message…
We are the one…That goes for the one… Sent by the ONE…Sent by the ONE…
May the Lord Jesus bless you and keep you healthy and safe!
Committed to make a difference,
Pastor Victor A. Cruz
One to the Other Ministries
Touching Lives…Impacting Communities… In 67 Nations…Since 1986!