OMF International was founded as the China Inland Mission on June 25, 1865. It was then that James Hudson Taylor knelt upon the beach at Brighton, England and “prayed for twenty-four willing, skillful laborers” to reach the inland provinces of China.
Taylor and the requested workers began work in China the next year. The China Inland Mission (CIM) quickly established itself as a new kind of mission agency. The CIM sought to take the gospel where it had scarcely been taken before – to the inland, unreached provinces of China. To do this, CIM workers contextualized themselves – wearing Chinese dress, donning Chinese hair styles and eating and living among the Chinese people. Though now not so rare, at the time such activity was revolutionary, even for missionaries.
Through the turmoil of the Boxer Rebellion (the CIM lost 58 workers and 21 children) and civil war in China, God continued to bless the mission with new workers. Eventually, the CIM became the preeminent agency in China.
However, in 1950, following the Communist victory in China, the CIM began a “reluctant exodus” out of the country. In 1953, the CIM added Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) to its name and began work throughout East Asia. In 1964 OMF began accepting Asian members into the mission.
Today OMF International is a diverse evangelical mission agency of more than 1,600 workers from 30 different countries. We continue to press on to know the Lord and make him known among the peoples of East Asia.