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April 06, 2013

Intercambio en España

By Lia Hershberger,
REACH Spain Co-Leader

Editor’s note: “Intercambios” in Granada, Spain are informal language learning groups that meet in public places like coffee shops. The groups have roughly equal numbers of English and Spanish speakers who learn each other’s language through conversation. Part of the Spain team’s outreach is participation in these conversations.

“Intercambio.” This is a word we use a lot here in Granada. It means exchange, and specifically, language exchange. But it is definitely more than that. You see, we start out with the exchange of pleasantries, and then progress into the exchange of life stories, of problems that popped up during the week, of morals, and of beliefs (or at least snippets). Soon you have a foundation for a friendship, and that was only your first time meeting. Week after week you start building on that first encounter and your conversations deepen as well as your respect for one another, and while they wouldn’t call you a friend, there is a definite relationship being created.

It is always such a win to share beliefs with people, and at every opportunity we’ll take it, but what has been happening more than that during intercambio has been talking about and living out our morals. People definitely take notice when we shy away from using or applauding the use of profane words or gestures, they notice when we defend the vulnerable and when we stand for what is right and pure. On several occasions we’ve seen people stunned, open-mouthed, when we take a stand for purity in such a depraved generation.

Intercambio is so much more than language exchange. It’s coming together in humility, choking out in whatever language you can the words on your heart. It’s encouraging one another, laughing together, listening to problems, advising, and challenging one another to grow in language, in life, and in relationships. Above all, it’s creating “God space” in a natural and comfortable way.

What Is Going On at Rosedale Mennonite Missions?

News and Stories from Around the World.
From the April 2013 Beacon

Art and Paula Shore Return to the Field

In April 2012, Art and Paula Shore (names changed for security) returned to Canada from the Middle East so Paula could receive treatment for cancer. Art had to return to the Middle East alone at the end of January 2013, because even though Paula had completed her cancer treatments, she was still recovering, and their house overseas needed work to make it more comfortable. Paula described the house as “rustic”—cold in the winter, and with water lines that had not been reconnected after service work. Thieves had also broken in while they were away and stolen a number of their possessions. Paula said Art had discovered one of their paintings hanging in a local restaurant (the restaurant returned it) and a number of other items showed up around town.

In addition to fixing the house and tracking down goods, Art also used some of this time to reconnect with people in the region and visited their old city of residence to encourage some who were going through hard times.

When this article went to press, Paula was planning to leave for the Middle East in early March.

Efraín Returns to Thailand

Efraín, from Nicaragua, was working with the RMM team in Thailand in 2011 when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer. In the fall of 2011, he returned to Nicaragua for treatment. Nicaraguan churches and the team in Thailand organized fundraising for his medical bills and many people prayed. He responded well to his treatment.

Efraín married his fiancée Sujen at the end of September 2012, and they went to Thailand to join the team there at the end of January 2013. They are moving into an apartment near Kasem Bundit University where he will continue his English studies. She will focus on Thai language studies for the remainder of 2013 and will also be looking for a job. They will both be involved with ministry to university students. Efrain has received good news after a checkup at a Bangkok hospital. His cancer remains in remission and he will continue his maintenance treatments.

New Believer From Southeast Asia Shares Faith

Pon was the first baptized believer in the RMM team’s house fellowship in Bangkok, Thailand. He introduced his friend Lan to his new faith, and Lan experienced a dramatic answer to prayer in his life that led him to become a follower of Jesus. (Read the whole story, An Answer to Prayer in Thailand, on the news page on the RMM website, in the March 2011 archives).

When Lan went back to his home country which borders Thailand, he continued to grow in his faith and began sharing with his friends and neighbors.

Tom, who with his wife Candice leads the team in Bangkok, gave this update on Lan:

“Lan has embraced his evangelistic gifts and is beginning to disciple his friends who are scattered throughout Southeast Asia. He does this through phone calls and visits. He is currently facing a couple of challenges…he is facing financial limitations. He helps with his family farm but that does not provide him with enough money for travel. Our group in Bangkok has been helping him with these expenses but we haven’t settled on a long-term solution. We highly value his participation in our team’s current ministry and believe that he is a key person for expanding the work in the region.

“Lan is facing increased scrutiny in his village. He has been sharing his faith there with family and friends and this has come to the attention of the authorities. Both the village leaders and the police are rumored to be involved and Lan is expecting that he'll be required to report for questioning sometime soon. His older sister and one of his good friends are both moving towards Jesus and Lan is excited about that. He says that he's not too worried about the opposition. It's something that believers in must expect. Lan is a natural evangelist and we see him as being a ‘key person’ in the future work in Bangkok and area countries. In the coming months he'll divide his time between his family's farm (rice and peanuts) and traveling to support the work in Vientiane and Bangkok. We're praying and talking with him about how he can find a good balance of employment and freedom/funds to travel for evangelism and discipleship.”

Changes for Tom and Candice

Tom became Regional Director for Asia in January after Dan Byler requested release from Regional Director responsibilities. Dan wanted to spend more time focusing on his work in the field, mentoring workers and interacting with people in Bangkok, and less time doing administrative work.

Tom and Candice and their family are also transitioning back to Columbus, Ohio in June. They want to spend time with family, and give their children a chance to experience their “home” culture and the educational opportunities in the U.S. Tom will work as regional director from Columbus, and Candice will continue providing “member care” for the Thailand team—helping look out for their spiritual and physical well-being. The family plans to go back to Thailand after two years.

During their time in Columbus, they are interested in finding more people to join the team in Thailand. “We're looking for people who can study/work in Bangkok and who will help to disciple the emerging groups of believers,” Tom said.

Signs of Growth in Spain

Pablo and Judi are working in Granada, Spain. They have been discipling a growing number of people who meet weekly to worship and study together, and are hoping to form a second house group sometime this year. They will be returning to the U.S. this summer for a two month home assignment, halfway through their current four-year term.

Ride for Missions

The eighth annual Ride for Missions will take place July 27-31. The ride will begin in Waynesboro, Virginia. Waynesboro is about 100 miles northwest of Richmond (or, for a more CMC frame of reference, about 30 miles south of Harrisonburg). The city is a popular rest stop for hikers from the nearby Appalachian Trail and is close to Shenandoah National Park.

The ride will follow the Appalachian mountains up through Western Maryland and end in Belleville, Pennsylvania, site of CMC’s Annual Conference in 2013.

In the 2012 Ride, 66 riders raised more than $110,000 by traveling 350 miles from Lexington, Kentucky to Goshen, Indiana. That total represents about 5% of RMM’s entire annual budget!

The deadline to register for the ride is July 2, 2012. More information is available online at www.rfm.rmmweb.org, or by calling the RMM office at 740-857-1366.

RMM Financial Overview

In 2012, the RMM operating fund ended the year with a surplus, mostly the result of expense reductions from a reduction in salary and benefits for all employees, and a reduction in the number of staff positions at the home office. For 2012, general contributions showed a slight decrease of $19,000 (‐1%). Giving from CMC congregations was down slightly (‐$21,000, or ‐2.5%).

2013 Budget

CMC pastors approved RMM’s proposed operating budget of $2.175 million. This budget represents a decrease of 3.5% ($78,000) from the 2012 budget.

Rosedale International Center Debt

At the end of 2012 RMM’s loan balance was $1.84 Million. With a combination of RIC-designated funds and the Operating Fund, RMM is well positioned to cover loan payments into the fall of 2014. We continue to receive (and welcome) contributions to the RIC fund that we anticipate will keep us well-positioned to cover the payments beyond 2014.