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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September 06, 2018

Love the Lord with All Your Strength

By Lydia Gingerich

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Joe Showalter, president of RMM, opened his Sunday morning address to the 2018 Multiply Conference with these verses from the end of Matthew 9. He went on to point out that the state of being “harassed and helpless” is still prevalent in our world today. Giving examples of helplessness in Central American countries and in the Middle East, adding that “even among us, we are harassed and helpless people, apart from Jesus.”

Showalter continued with an encouraging account of the ways CMC has been involved in outreach since its formation. Through the power of Christ, this group of believers has proclaimed and extended God’s love to the harassed and helpless, starting in Maryland and Kentucky, and moving to Latin America, North Africa, and Asia. This process has not only expanded the Kingdom of God, but enriched the conference.

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August 27, 2018

Job Opening: SEND Assistant Director

SEND Ministries has an opening for someone with relational skills and the ability to provide thoughtful counsel to young men and women. The SEND Assistant Director will provide pastoral care and counsel to REACH program participants, instruct young men and women with spiritual truth(s), assist with the development and facilitation of various SEND programs, and provide support and leadership as needed within SEND Ministries. This is a full-time, salaried position. All applicants must apply on or before September 30, 2018.

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August 24, 2018

Bridges and Barriers

The Bible makes it clear that the gospel is good news for all people. But when the gospel message intersects with culture, the collision is never clean and tidy. Many cultures readily accept some aspects of the gospel message, while struggling to make sense of other parts in light of their cultural history and practices. This is seen clearly in the book of Acts, where the early church encountered various bridges and barriers as they shared the gospel with those around them. Even with the Jewish people themselves, common knowledge of the Old Testament formed a bridge between the apostles and the Jews, while the new covenant’s freedom regarding diet and circumcision created a barrier. As time progresses and the gospel spreads to the ends of the earth, the challenge is for followers of Jesus to boldly cross the bridges while trusting God to surmount the barriers.

We asked our workers to share stories of bridges and barriers in their relationships to the cultures in which they are living and working.

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August 17, 2018

Ten-year Anniversary for Awakened Youth

By Esta,* RMM worker in the Middle East

UG has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. UG is an acronym for words that are usually translated in English as Youth for Christ, although the more literal translation is Awakened Youth. It started 10 years ago because one awakened youth, 19-year-old Jacob,* felt God was calling him to serve the youth of our city. He took his vision to the leaders of his church, thinking he was too young to do anything about it. They said they would support him, but he should do it. He started by sharing his vision with the leaders of the other churches and Christian organizations in the city. Five months later UG had its first youth meeting. It lasted six hours because, as Jacob explains, “We didn’t know what we were doing.”

For 10 years the Lord has blessed this vision. UG has spread to five other cities in the country and for nine months out of the year the monthly meetings continue to be packed with new generations of young people.

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August 02, 2018

Evangelism Through a Rapala

By Al Raber, RMM Associate Worker serving among the river people of the Brazilian Amazon

I rent a house on the mission base where I work, but I spend most of my time on a boat called the Semeador II (Semeador means ‘sower’ in Portuguese). The primary purpose of the Semeador is to bring the evangelical gospel to villages that have not yet heard it, and to open the door for permanent missionaries in these areas. Our trips usually last from 21 days to a month.

We typically spend one day in every village, arriving in the morning or late evening. My days start at 5:30 in the morning with a short time of devotions followed by breakfast. By 7:00 we are either traveling to the next village or starting our work where we are. We try to visit every house in and around the village. Lunch is at noon, and then back to work around 1:30. There is a kids program in the afternoon, with a worship service at 7:00 in the evening. And 9:30 is lights out.

The river people of the Amazon live a subsistence lifestyle – hunting, fishing, gathering, and growing almost all of their food. Only buying basics like sugar, salt, rice, beans, flour, and coffee. Almost everything they need, they make from natural materials found in the forest.

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July 26, 2018

Moving into the Father’s Gifts

By Raleigh,* RMM worker in North Africa

The day began with the blessing of delay. I’m en route via taxi to my appointment when the 55-year-old man at the other end of the text says, “Sorry I will be half an hour late.” I quickly – and correctly – translate this to one hour. I exit the taxi and walk up to the appointed location (the front gate of our future house) as the minute hand clicks to 10:30. So American; or just lucky. Inshallah.

What God seems to be willing, though (see last word of last paragraph), is that I make a warm acquaintance with a future neighbor. At precisely 10:30 am, Adil* is bending his old back in order to duck under a tree and come out from his yard. We meet for the first time, introducing ourselves. A few sentences later he asks me in his language, “Do you want to drink tea?”

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June 25, 2018

Restoration for Pattaya

By Lydia Gingerich

Angie, Jake, and Karly live in Pattaya, Thailand, and are engaging in the effort to care for orphans and victims of human trafficking. Find out more about their story here.

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. Through prayer, conversations with the leadership at their home congregation, and meeting with other ministries in Pattaya, this team has decided to pursue opening a home for vulnerable children.

The home will be an extension of 58:12 Rescue, a ministry established by Grace Mennonite Church in Holmes County, Ohio, to care for women who have been physically or sexually abused. Seeing the need to bring God’s healing to their community, Grace established a home to offer rescue, shelter, and restoration for these women and their children.

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June 22, 2018

A Free Prayer

By Tom, Asia Regional Director

During my recent visit to South Asia I heard a lot of stories about what God is doing through our team there. One thing that stood out to me is the number of different people from a variety of ethnic groups that the team has worked with over the years. Many of these were young men who came through the hostels that the team has managed or supported. These men came to faith as students and now that they have graduated, have moved to various places around the country. Many of them are still in touch with our team and it’s exciting to think about how God will continue to use them in the future.

Another current development is in Bindu’s* ministry. After she moved to the northern part of the country with her husband a few years ago, she began visiting new believers in several villages. She has a friendly personality and is skilled at telling Bible stories in an engaging way. The villagers welcome her warmly and her reputation is growing. Hiralal,* her husband, complains (half-seriously) that when she visits the villages she never gets home before dark. He is worried about her safety, but she phones to say “I haven’t left yet…they are asking me to stay a little longer.” The women in the villages are especially receptive to her but even some of the men come to observe and listen as she shares.

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May 31, 2018

Rain in the Desert

By Joe Showalter

It had been raining heavily for a few weeks leading up to our arrival in Lodwar, a small city in northwestern Kenya’s Turkana County. Benson, known by many as “the Desert Boy,” informed us that they hadn’t seen rain like this for five years. While the region has experienced a physical drought over the last few years, it has been a place of spiritual new life and growth.

Benson leads a group of churches called Glory Outreach Ministries (GOM). With churches not only in Turkana but also in neighboring Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. With fifteen mission training centers, GOM is a vibrant and growing network of churches. When Benson entered the International School of Mission (ISOM) program in Thika, Kenya, in 2000, he had planted eight churches. (REACH was instrumental in launching ISOM in 1999.). With the training and tools he received at ISOM, Benson believed God was calling him to plant 100 churches among his own Turkana tribe. Today, Benson says there are about 175 GOM churches in Turkana, but when you include the churches planted among neighboring tribes (he’s currently engaged with five tribes and has a vision to reach seventeen) and in neighboring countries, the number is over 400. Given the nature of these things and the simplicity of their strategy, Benson guesses there could actually be as many as a thousand churches, since he’s not trying to track all of the added layers of multiplication.

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