October 20, 2016

Hello from Me to You: An Update from Cora

Edited excerpt from Cora's* October 2016 newsletter

It has been exactly one month since I arrived here in North Africa! As I look back on the last four weeks, I am so thankful for the smooth transition I have had since arriving. I know I still have a lot to learn and there are still parts of the culture that I will need to get used to, but I feel like I’m past the initial shock of moving to a new country.

When I was thinking about the reasons for my smooth transition, it came to my attention that the team here has taken such good care of me. Every one of them is so supportive and has such a heart for the work here! We share many meals together, travel together, and just spend time hanging out! I have also been attending the international fellowship here which gives a good sense that we are not alone in our work! Also, I have wonderful roommates! We all have different schedules, but we normally have supper together in the evenings and hear about each other’s days. It is a great support system and a lot of fun as well (especially when we go on adventures like stargazing on the flat roof and walking the length of the street on the apartment roofs, because they all connect!). I am continually grateful for all these people in my life and I thank God that he has worked out all the details for this stage of settling in!

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October 14, 2016

The Apostolic Band: Church Planting Initiators, Trainers, and Mission Mobilizers

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

The term “apostle” is not one that we commonly use to describe leaders in the church today. There are different ways that the title is used in the New Testament, but the word simply means: “one that is sent.” Jeff Carver, who founded SpiritualGiftsTest.com, writes that the mission of apostles today “is to plant new ministries and churches, go into places where the Gospel is not preached, reach across cultures to establish churches in challenging environments, raise up and develop leaders, call out and lead pastors and shepherds, and much more. They often have many different gifts that allow them to fulfill their ministry. These are leaders of leaders and ministers of ministers. They are influencers. They are typically entrepreneurial and are able to take risks and perform difficult tasks. Missionaries, church planters, certain Christian scholars and institutional leaders, and those leading multiple ministries or churches often have the gift of apostleship."

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October 11, 2016

Hello from the Amazon

This is a short update from Al Raber, sent by RMM and Berean Community Church to work with SEARA, a boat ministry under Word of Life Brazil, which focuses on evangelism and taking medical teams and supplies to unreached river communities in the Amazon River Basin. Here Al shares about what life has been like since he arrived in Brazil this past summer:

For those of you who may not know, I live on the Word of Life (WOL) North campus. It is in the town of Benevides, which is more or less a suburb of Belém do Pará close to the mouth of the Amazon. WOL has a seminary here to train, teach, and equip pastors and missionaries to reach Brazil and the rest of the world.

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October 06, 2016

Acte de Naissance

A poem by Raleigh,* RMM worker in North Africa

Morning and a new way to walk in an old city.

I interrupt men’s unholy reveries with a friendly greeting; their eyes snap to me instead, and they smile as they respond.

Here is an inviting entrance to a market with the tell-tale signs: odds and ends, vegetables and fruit, push cart men waiting nearby, steps leading up into a mystery of more. I promise myself to return here with the ones I love.

Finally I find the Mukata, people everywhere. Which line should I insinuate myself into? Okay, this one; the others will let me know. Amazing how there is a mysterious and beautiful order to this chaotic gathering of souls. I find that I begin to understand it, or at least to be at peace as I enter the fun challenge. Yes, I sense the order more than I see it—in their peaceful faces and demeanors. All is as it should be, even this foreigner fumbling through his papers again before he arrives at the window hoping to accomplish another cross-cultural task.

Acte de naissance?

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October 03, 2016

Getting to Know Judah and Rayna, New Workers in the Middle East

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

These workers are flying to the Middle East this fall to serve as students while helping to spark a people movement to Jesus in a strategic urban center. They are sent by RMM in partnership with Millport Mennonite Church in Leola, Pennsylvania.

“God calls each and every one of us to be following after him and pointing others towards Jesus, no matter where they live.” For Judah and Rayna, they believe “that means living in the Middle East, while being obedient to the call that God has given all Christians.”

Judah and Rayna first met in 2011 when Judah was a participant in REACH and Rayna was on staff at the Rosedale International Center (RIC). Although they “only got to know each other a little over those three months of living under the same roof,” it was enough that a year later Judah sent a note to Rayna to see how she was doing, and from there began a friendship that would eventually lead to marriage in June of 2014.

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September 29, 2016

Carl Wesselhoeft: 87 Years of God’s Provision

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

This past spring, I drove to Logan, Ohio for a visit with one of the most interesting eighty-seven year olds I know. Carl met me at the door of the old farmhouse that his wife grew up in and invited me into the living room to listen as he reminisced about his experiences. He took me from pre-World War II Germany, to a farm in Canada, to provincial Somalia, and back to the little church less than a mile down the road. All of the traveling and circumstances would appear random if it were not for the common thread holding it all together: God. A creative and powerful author to Carl’s story, God showed his faithfulness time and time again. God took Carl to new countries, new cultures, and new people many times, but in each step Carl was protected and prepared for the future.

Carl Wesselhoeft grew up on a rented farm just outside of Rostock, Germany. When he was ten years old, World War II began, and because of the aircraft industry in Rostock, it was among the first towns to receive heavy bombing. “One night, maybe two or three bombs fell, doing little damage,” Carl remembers, “that was cause for some excitement. The war that seemed far away had come to our doorsteps. The next night the sky was red from the burning city and my dad sent a horse-drawn wagon to get us out. Soon after that the house where I had boarded was bombed, along with the school I had attended, and was completely destroyed.”

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September 23, 2016

“…For Now You Shall Laugh”

Living cross-culturally sometimes leads to awkward miscommunications, cultural blunders, and many opportunities for laughter. Rather than keeping these to ourselves, we thought we would share a few stories from RMM workers to give you a dose of the “best medicine.”

Jordan (Himalayas REACH team, ‘10 – ‘11)

We entered our host church for another “all-night prayer.” These meetings, although not entirely accurate in name due to the fact that they only lasted from about 9 until 12, were nonetheless quite long enough for us. It’s not that we were entirely unspiritual, we just felt exhausted from teaching at the Discipleship Training School and teaching English, struggling to use fire to cook, etc. So the arrival of yet another spiritual activity did not garner the typical amount of joy you would expect from short-term missionaries.

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September 21, 2016

Expanding the Kingdom: Introducing the Director of Church Planting

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

“What if we really believed that the best way to reach more people for Christ is to plant healthy, gospel-centered, reproducing local churches in rural communities and urban cities all over North America? What if we had a vision to plant 50 local churches in the next decade out of our conference to multiply the gospel, and to advance the kingdom of God?”

Larry Kaufman, in his first report as Director of Church Planting, posed those questions to the RMM board in June 2016. Earlier in May 2016, a diverse group of Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) constituents had met to study scripture, seek the Lord, and discuss church planting. This group sensed God calling CMC to engage and expand the Kingdom through prioritizing church planting in every church and every member within every church. Adding to this growing momentum, Pastor Larry Kaufman of Grace Mennonite Church (Millersburg, Ohio) accepted the appointment to direct the carrying out of this vision.

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September 13, 2016

A Place to Call Home: An Update from Josiah and Sarah

At the end of July, we shared a number of prayer requests for Josiah and Sarah* as their family returned to North Africa. Below is a recent update from Josiah reflecting on their arrival and the way God has provided for them.

In these initial days there have been many reminders of how familiar life is here and why we’re grateful to be back: we’ve had visits with dear local friends, celebrated milestones with teammates, used words and phrases we haven’t thought of in a year, and eaten favorite local fruits. There have also been some reminders that the life we lived for the last year was different, and some accompanying growing pains as we readjust to our North African skin and work out (again) the shape that our marital and parenting relationships take in this culture..

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September 07, 2016

Witch Doctors, Church Planters, and the Sovereignty of God

By Jordan*

“A witch doctor?” I ask again, trying to clarify this story that made me marvel anew at the strange ways in which God chooses to move. A young pastor and I were sitting together in the shade of a large rock, pausing for a moment as we followed a small trail up the side of the mountain. We had spent much of the previous day riding together on a motorcycle and the sunburn on my neck was a constant reminder that sometimes, every once in a while, my wife does have valid packing tips. As he drove through places that would give a dirt bike pause, I held on, vowing that when I returned to America I would never again drive on a highway without giving thanks for the smooth ride. As we bounced along, I tried to focus on praying for the villages and vast areas that he would point out to me. Areas where the church was not – at least, not yet.

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September 04, 2016

Meet Cora: From Canada to North Africa

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

Cora* is 21 and grew up in Ontario, Canada where her parents are involved in a church plant. In early September she moved to North Africa for two years to assist RMM workers Raleigh and Opal* in caring for their children. She will also study the local languages and point locals toward Jesus.

What have you been up to in the last five years?

I graduated from high school in 2012, and then I went straight to a Bible college in Ohio the following fall. After a year there, I returned home to go to our community college for early childhood education. That was a two-year program, so after I graduated from that, I have been working in a childcare setting and loving it.

What excites you about going to North Africa?

I am excited to experience a new culture and see how people live in another part of the world and learn from them. I also look forward to the laid-back culture and how relationships govern the schedule, rather than time. I am eager to help Raleigh and Opal, so they can continue to build relationships with the locals. I am also rather excited about the fact that I won’t have to deal with snow for the next two winters!

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August 16, 2016

Put Your Yes on the Table, Let God Put It on the Map

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

In 2014, Larry Kaufman, pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Millersburg, Ohio, worked through a sermon series called, “Do Justice.” Pastor Larry says, “We resolved to speak out for orphans, and those who are alone and abandoned, the unreached, and those who have no voice and no hope in our world. We asked people to pray and discern if God was calling them to engage with any of these injustices. Out of that series the Lord called our Thailand team.”

After that series a group began meeting every Wednesday night to figure out what the next steps should be. During this process the team learned a lot about trusting God. Their plans came in and out of focus during those months, and after much prayer and fasting, they all felt confirmation to go and join Rosedale Mennonite Mission’s team in Bangkok.

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