January 18, 2019

Celebrating Milestones

In 2018, a number of overseas workers and office staff reached significant milestones in their tenure with RMM. We would like to celebrate those individuals and the unique contributions they have made through their years of service.

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January 15, 2019

He Will Provide

By Karly, RMM worker in Thailand

When Angie, Jake, and Karly moved to Pattaya, Thailand, last year, they were struck by the vast number of abandoned and abused children as a result of pervasive sex tourism in the city. While there are numerous organizations working to bring people out of this darkness, this team sent by Grace Mennonite Church feels called to work specifically with children who have been abused, abandoned, or trafficked. They are working to organize a group of homes that provide family-style settings for these children.

The journey to establish a foundation to care for orphans here in Pattaya, Thailand, is well underway. It’s been incredible to seek God through this process and see him provide and guide. We yearn for unity in this city in all sectors, non-governmental organizations, and local families. This is a time to unite together and work towards bringing the gospel and strengthening families. We feel God has clearly spoken to us to start a children’s home first and then hopefully a community center soon after. We are building relationships with different groups and individuals. We provide a weekly community outreach near our home that includes teaching English, instilling biblical values, playing games, sharing a snack and then praying together.

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December 24, 2018

New Traditions, Same Reason: Christmas in the Middle East

By Judah and Rayna, RMM workers in the Middle East

It’s that time of year once again where we celebrate and remember what Jesus did for us by taking on flesh and living among us. Being overseas adds a different twist to the season which is normally filled with making memories, spending extra time with family, and celebrating with others.

We, of course, will miss those things here in our new city, but we are working to make it special anyway. This year, I made time in my schedule to make a batch of our favorite Christmas cookies and peanut butter chocolate candies.

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December 19, 2018

It’s the Little Things: A REACH Update

By Morgan, Team Thailand Leader

As I’ve been walking the nearby streets for the first time in a while, it has felt like a whole different experience than last year. I see the faces of familiar vendors for the first time in a long time and come to realize that only a short year ago I knew them only as strangers. It’s been fun to see a surprise flash across their faces when we make eye contact, and an encouragement to know that perhaps, by the grace of the Father, we may have made some sort of eternal impact. So without further ado, allow me to share with you some of these people and, along with that, ask for you to remember us as we continue to try to build relationships with them.

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December 14, 2018

When Our Best Doesn’t Feel Like Enough: A REACH Update

By Ginny, Team Mediterranean

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the culture and the things that the Albanians’ value. This place has an interesting history and a bright future! The people are ambitious and hard-working, and I have a lot of respect for them.

But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. In this time of change for us, there have been days that it has been hard to adjust. One of my best friends sent me a message one day (when I was really struggling with jet-lag), telling me to give myself lots of grace and not be too hard on myself. That was what I really needed to hear. It’s easy to let negativity get inside of my head. Some mornings I wake up and I don’t feel like I have anything to offer and every day reveals new areas where I am inadequate (like hardly being able to order from a restaurant). I’m learning to laugh at my mistakes and let go of my need to ‘have it all together.’ Because really, no one does.

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December 13, 2018

Piercing the Darkness

By Phil, RMM worker in Spain

Recently, The Pew Research Center conducted surveys among 24,599 adults (ages 18 and older) across 15 countries in Western Europe to assess the spiritual state of the region. Their report, “Being Christian in Western Europe” makes sobering reading. It seems like we live on a continent where God is unnecessary. For example, they found that across the 15 countries only a median of 11 percent of the population prays once a day (compared to 55 percent in the U.S.) and a median of 40 percent say they never pray (rising to 62 percent in Sweden and Denmark)! Only a median of 11 percent said religion was very important in their lives, only a median of 15 percent believe in God with absolute certainty, and only a median of 22 percent attend church at least once a month. Belief in God is met with skepticism and incredulity by a majority of the population.

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December 05, 2018

God’s Handiwork: A REACH Update

By Julie, Team Zambia Leader

Hello from Zambia! We were welcomed at the airport by our outreach coordinator and journeyed into town. I was excited to soak it all in but my overstimulated and tired brain limited me. As we drove the dirt roads to the place we now know as our temporary home, the base, I continued to be in awe that I was in Africa.

After a 45-minute drive, we stepped out of the van and were welcomed and greeted by the base staff. We spent the rest of the day taking tours of the base and the village, meeting new people, and settling in. A sense of peace washed over me as God reminded me that he has always been here and that he isn’t leaving. It’s quite obvious that God handcrafted this country, the people, the culture, the SUNSETS, the STARS, the river, it’s all so beautiful, and it all points to a beautiful creator.

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November 21, 2018

Jesus Is

By Amos, RMM worker in North Africa

Along with teaching English, Amos works with a group of people to bring love and hope to victims of sexual exploitation in North Africa. In this piece Amos reflects on the darkness that inevitably comes with this work and paints a picture of the difference that God’s light brings.

Walking, walking, walking. Waiting for God to move. Thinking and pondering, where is the Hope? Singing and crying, where is the freedom? Walking, walking, walking.

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November 16, 2018

Introducing New SEND Assistant Director

By Lydia Gingerich

In the beginning of 2019, Paige Chupp will officially begin her full-time position with RMM as the SEND assistant director. For the past two weeks she has been training with the current SEND assistant director, Courtney Shenk, who will be leaving RMM when she has her second child in December.

“There are many reasons we offered this position to Paige,” says RMM director of human resources, Colleen Maust. “Her natural talent to connect deeply with people is evident in all her relationships. We see her dedication to God and passion to disciple others as essential as she leads by example and will be a role model to many young people. In her past experiences with RMM, Paige has proven her ability to adapt to difficult situations, remain positive, continue trusting God, invest intentionally in relationships, and work toward conflict resolution.”

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November 13, 2018

“Show Me Your Glory”: A REACH Update

By Caleb, Team Indochina

Every Sunday night we have an hour-long time of worship where we sing songs and take communion. Worship is led by a new group each week, so it is a little different every time. This particular worship time was led by a guy who had taught us in an earlier session.

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November 08, 2018

No Independence from God

By Jada, RMM worker in Thailand

I am beginning to settle into my roll at Night Light International (NL) as a case manager. I started working with NL in mid-July and I've been in the process of training and learning the ropes. It has definitely been an exciting adventure and one of my favorite parts of my job is the unpredictability. You can never be totally sure what your day is going to hold.

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November 01, 2018

REACH 2018-2019

Every year RMM’s short term department runs a year-long missions program called REACH. The program includes three months of discipleship training in Columbus, Ohio, followed by six months of outreach. REACH is a place where young people engage with their faith and receive tools and opportunities to share the love of Christ with others.

This year, the group is split up into seven teams serving in different locations: Ecuador, Indochina, Israel, the Mediterranean, Thailand, U.S.A, and Zambia. If you would like to read weekly accounts of what the teams are up to, follow their blogs below.

*Indicates team leader

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October 24, 2018

From Costa Rica to Thailand: Introducing Four New Workers

By Dave Diller, Costa Rica Representative for Latin American Missions Partnership (LAMP)
In September, Dina, Oscar, Joseph, and Charlie traveled from Talamanca, Costa Rica to Bangkok, Thailand to join the team of RMM workers already in the city. Their first few weeks in the country have included the usual challenges of adapting to a new culture, but overall the group is doing well. RMM Regional Director, Tom, reports that they have found the common "language" of soccer to be a valuable tool in connecting with their community and making friendships in their new neighborhood. Following is the story of how these four individuals ended up in Thailand through LAMP.
When a person answers God’s call to the ministry, whether in the local church or in overseas missions, you can never know what impact that ministry will have. I’m sure Dave and Pat Sharp never dreamed how many lives their ministry would touch when they moved to Shiroles, Talamanca in the jungles of southeastern Costa Rica in the mid-1970s. How could they have known that what they set in motion in Talamanca would continue to multiply, eventually reaching halfway across the world?

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October 18, 2018

Kids Helping Kids

By Lydia Gingerich

This story comes from Claire (15) and Eliza (13), daughters of Tom and Candice. Their family has served for the past 12 years as RMM workers in Bangkok.

Every Saturday Claire and Eliza’s family takes a taxi through the city of Bangkok, Thailand, to teach English at a Thai church. Their students are children of Cambodian construction workers who are in Thailand to take advantage of the employment opportunities.

The growing economy in Bangkok provides a wealth of jobs that are often unavailable in the surrounding countries. Even a low-paying and dangerous job, such as construction work, is better than no job at all. Many workers send money to families back in their home countries. Some have visas to work, while others crossed borders illegally, knowing there would be employers who would hire them anyway.

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October 15, 2018

“I’m Just a Missionary Kid”: Exploring What it Means to be a Child from Another Culture

Interview with Hannah Zimmerman by Lydia Gingerich

Hannah Zimmerman’s parents, Leon and Naomi, worked with RMM in Albania from 2006 to 2011. She now works as the Third Culture Kid (TCK) Mentor for Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM). In this role, she serves the children of EMM workers by leading classes at various trainings, retreats, and conferences, helping them to process their identity, emotions, and cultural transitions. She is also developing a curriculum for TCKs and planning a networking platform for TCKs and their parents.

What is a TCK?

A Third Culture Kid is someone who has spent a significant number of childhood years outside of their parents' passport country. The “third culture” is the hybrid culture created by your parents’ culture with any other host cultures you live in. So it’s not like you would become a fourth culture kid if your parents move to a second host culture. Being a TCK is not something that you lose when you become an adult.

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October 04, 2018

Empty Wells vs. God’s Infinite Love: A REACH Update

By Morgan, Leader of REACH Team Thailand

To be honest, I’m having quite a hard time coming up with the words to explain what happened or even express all that I have learned in the last two, very full weeks. When you boil a lot of it down, it all points to God’s love. It can sound so cliché, yet I’ve seen, once again, how foundational of a concept it is. It’s in the heart of the gospel and it has so much depth. In its perfection I find myself somewhere in the middle of it all, trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.

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A Challenging Hispanic Example of “Mature and Multiply”

By Jewel Showalter

“You may have come from generations who’ve served the Lord, but I’m the first in my family,” Alejandro Colindres, the leader of Fraternidad Cristiana, a rapidly multiplying network of churches in New England, told CMC leaders in a special one-day Encounter in Montgomery, Indiana, July 19, 2018.

Along with his co-worker/translator Dennis Perdomo, Colindres told the story of how he was led to Christ as part of the work of a Mennonite missionary who was working with young people in Honduras.

“He held meetings in homes with ‘crazy’ young people. We found a spiritual home in this group. I’d never seen a Bible or been inside a church until I was 23. We saw a movement among the youth. We felt such passion to reach our families for Christ. We were all trained to preach the gospel and start cell groups wherever we went.”

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September 27, 2018

Open Doors

By Judah and Rayna,* RMM workers in the Middle East

"Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut."

In the country we are living in, this past month held a religious holiday that involved millions of animals being sacrificed. This provided us with opportunities to share about the sacrifice that we trust in. One afternoon during the holiday we visited a local coffee shop. Since there were few customers, the man running the shop spent a lot of time sitting and chatting with us. Because of the holiday, we struck up a conversation regarding sacrifices. Our friend was interested in hearing our view regarding sacrifices, which enabled us to share both about the ultimate sacrifice that was made, as well as other aspects of how we view the world. Even though he was not necessarily open to changing his thinking, he had the opportunity to hear the truth, and only the Father knows if or when the seed will sprout.

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September 21, 2018

My Time in Nicaragua

By Jonatan, RMM worker in Thailand
What follows is an account of Jonatan’s time at home in Nicaragua. As we read it, we were struck with the contrast of his initial departure three and a half years ago, compared to this time. He has committed to another three-year term and the likelihood of him seeing his family or anyone from his country during that time is slim. His tenacity in doing what he needed to do in order to return to Thailand is a testimony of his dedication to living there. It would have been so easy for him to say it wasn’t worth the risks he took. His family would have loved to have him stay, but he persevered and in the end was blessed with what he needed to return to Thailand.
– Larry and Dot Chupp, Directors of Latin American Missions Partnership
After spending nearly three and a half years in Thailand, during which I did not see my family, I left on March 6 to go home to Nicaragua. I was very excited to see my family again and spend time with them, and also to see my friends and eat Nicaraguan food.

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September 07, 2018

Three Nights in the Jungle

By Nixson, RMM worker in Thailand

Since his baptism in 2011, Lan has been constantly looking for ways to share the gospel with people in his home village and surrounding areas in Southeast Asia. He has been working with a team of six other believers from nearby villages for almost two years (read more about this group here). They have been creative in finding ways to meet people in new areas and build relationships. Last year they started a project planting watermelons in a new village as a way of meeting people and sharing the gospel. They have also hosted Christmas and New Year’s parties in new villages. The people living in the villages of the teammates and the surrounding villages are mostly Buddhist, while those living in the more remote areas are tribal groups who worship spirits and ancestors. Lan and his team believe the tribal groups are more open to the gospel and that the gospel spreads more rapidly among them.

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