March 15, 2019

Updates from the Field

Times of confusion, trial, and frustration are often opportunities to see God’s faithfulness at work. RMM workers around the world share stories of what God is teaching them in the midst of (and through) their sometimes-chaotic lives, and how he is giving them peace in their current situations and hope for the future.

Katie,* REACH Team Indochina

Patience is something I’ve certainly learned a lot about over the past couple weeks. One particular day I was helping in the kindergartners’ class and they were doing a little craft coloring paper planets. A little girl had attached herself to me and wouldn’t let go, so I sat down and helped her and the others around her. It wasn’t long until she turned to me in distress, “teacher! I want the purple pencil!” The issue was, the little boy next to her was using it. “Well, you can wait until he’s done with it and then you can use it.” But she wasn’t satisfied, “no, teacher, no, I want it now!” I reminded her to be patient and wait for her turn. To which, of course, she responded that she didn’t want to be patient. And then I caught myself saying something I often heard growing up, “well, you know, patience is a virtue.” Then I had to try and describe what a virtue is to a kindergartner. That was fun. But it made me think. How many times have I heard that phrase and not really thought what it meant? Or even known what it meant?

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March 08, 2019

Holy Ground: A REACH Update

By Shontel, REACH Team Ecuador

Nap time arrives at 1pm every day – this is when we enter the zoo. Sometimes it involves wrestling six, seven, and eight year olds into their beds and holding them there until they calm down enough to sleep. There’s often yelling, running, chasing, and hiding. But eventually the room grows quiet as one by one, with our help, they fall asleep.

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March 06, 2019

A Change in Perspective

By Cora,* RMM worker in North Africa

Now that I travel out to Raleigh and Opal’s* town on Monday and then return to the city on Thursday, I have three hours of travel a week. When I first began thinking about this, I thought it would get old to wait for grand taxis and drive the same roads back and forth. It has only been six weeks, but I have begun to view this time as a gift.

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February 21, 2019

Introducing Hannah: Administrative Assistant

By Lydia Gingerich

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our 2019 Interns. This group of seven REACH graduates will spend the year deepening their relationship with God, serving at the RIC, and being discipled by the SEND Department. RMM is grateful for their hard work and is excited to see them grow this year.

Hannah hails from Apple Creek, Ohio, and enjoys playing the piano and hanging out with her friends. She also likes organization and paperwork, which makes her a perfect fit for her role as Administrative Assistant. For her position she helps out with tasks around the SEND office, processes REACH applications, and handles finances for the interns.

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February 18, 2019

Introducing Valerie: Hospitality Assistant

By Lydia Gingerich

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our 2019 Interns. This group of seven REACH graduates will spend the year deepening their relationship with God, serving at the RIC, and being discipled by the SEND Department. RMM is grateful for their hard work and is excited to see them grow this year.

Valerie grew up in Abbeville, South Carolina, where she learned to enjoy hiking and exploring the outdoors. This love of creation grew as she trekked through the Himalayas last year while participating in the REACH program. During this time she experienced a deeper relationship with the Creator, and found that God could use her life to bring him glory even when she was tired and weak. Valerie also started to see missions in a different light.

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February 08, 2019

Committed to the Cause

By Lydia Gingerich
This article is part three in a series highlighting the recent work of the Latin American Mission Partnership (LAMP). Links to the other pieces are listed below:

Part One – From Costa Rica to Thailand: Introducing Four New Workers

Part Two – Pursuing Partnership

William and Laura Quiros, along with their teenage son, Willie, traveled from their home in Costa Rica to live in Vigo, Spain in November of 2018. They are adjusting well to the culture and customs of their new community, but just three years ago, they never would have imagined a life outside of Costa Rica.

Dave and Mayela Diller (Costa Rica Representative for LAMP) first heard about the Quiros family’s desire to work overseas in early 2017. They had known the couple as strong leaders in the church who were involved in many different ministries, but the Dillers did not think of them as typical candidates for missions.

“We went to the Costa Rican churches looking for young people to go into missions. We met the Quiros family many times, but they have grown up kids and grandchildren in Costa Rica,” Mayela explained.

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Pursuing Partnership

By Lydia Gingerich
This article is part two in a series highlighting the recent work of the Latin American Mission Partnership. Links to the other pieces are listed below:

Part One – From Costa Rica to Thailand: Introducing Four New Workers

Part Three – Committed to the Cause

“When RMM workers were in Latin America in the ‘70s and ‘80s, our main goal was to see indigenous churches that operate on their own without financial help or other assistance from outside. That was pretty well accomplished, but we did not work much on promoting a cross-cultural missionary vision in the churches.”

As Dan* (long-term RMM worker in Latin America and Asia) recounted the details that led him to pursue the idea for a missions program in Latin America, he said that most Latin American Christians were unaware of the many people in the world who did not know Jesus. As these churches grew and matured during the ‘90s and early 2000s, Dan realized the need for these churches to be invested in global outreach.

Dan spoke with others at RMM who had a similar vision, and through lots of prayer and discussion, the Latin American Missions Partnership (LAMP) was formed, working with churches in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

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January 30, 2019

A Lesson in Timing: Introducing New Workers to Thailand

By Lydia Gingerich

At a wedding reception four years ago, Jacob and Danielle first met and connected over a disagreement on the correct method to roast a marshmallow. Jacob prefers a slow-cooked mallow with a soft inside and a golden brown shell. Dani is just as happy with a marshmallow that is set on fire for a few seconds, blown out, and promptly consumed.

“That is a pretty good analogy of our strengths and weaknesses,” Jacob commented. “We have differing opinions on a lot of things, but we tend to even each other out.”

They have especially found this to be the case as they make preparations to go to Thailand as RMM workers in the summer of 2019.

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January 29, 2019

Rooks, Rubik’s, and Recess: A REACH Update

By Caleb, REACH Team Indochina

Often times as kids or young adults or old adults we may wonder about the passions and gifts that we have been given: Why do I care about this? What good is it that I am good at that? Growing up I had plenty of those questions. In school I very well could have been considered a “nerd.” While I didn’t have red curly hair or glasses or buck teeth or any of the physical features often associated with the label at the time, my talents and interests proved otherwise.

In middle school, I discovered an online program called “Scratch” which is essentially a computer programming language for kids. Through this I gained a passion for programming and for technology in general, that has led to me learning various other programming languages and skills. In high school, several of my friends and I became very interested in chess. We spent hours upon hours playing each other in games, either in real life or over the internet. We didn’t join the chess club, but that was only because our tiny rural school was too small to have one.

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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.* “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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