Our History

historyOMS was birthed in a storefront building in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. In 1901 American missionaries Charles and Lettie (the author of the best-selling devotional, ‘Streams in the Desert’) Cowman partnered with a Japanese minister, Juji Nakada, holding Christian evangelistic meetings for 2,000 consecutive nights. Before long, Japanese churches were organised, and the new association, the Japan Holiness Church (JHC), grew rapidly.

Originally known as the Oriental Missionary Society, OMS is today engaged in ministry in over 50 countries on six continents. Partnership remains key to the effectiveness of OMS‘ endeavours to –

“make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)

Working with and alongside like-minded Christian groups, organisations and indigenous churches, OMS seeks to communicate the love of God, establish Christian churches, and train and equip a nation’s people to lead and multiply their churches.

The first UK missionary to serve with OMS was Manchester born Lizzie Pearce, who served in Japan between 1907 and 1918. Earnest Kilbourne, a co-founder of OMS with the Cowmans, visited England in 1908. Under his ministry, God called John and Emily Thomas from Carmarthen, South Wales, to serve with OMS in Korea. In 1911 Rev. John Thomas became the first principal of a new Bible Institute established in Moo-Gyo-Dong, Seoul, (now the Seoul Theological Seminary).

OMS‘ UK Headquarters were established in Manchester and moved to its present location at 1 Sandileigh Avenue, Didsbury in 1964. From here the UK-HQ Team, ably supported by regional personnel in South Wales and South West England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, endeavour to recruit, train, send, and support people who are called by God to serve the mission fields of the world.