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August 29, 2013

Two Baptized in South Asia

Praise God with us for the multiplication of believers in South Asia!

Raj and T.O.*—two young men in their upper teens—were baptized on August 16. Both men recently heard about Jesus at a local seminar, and have been studying with a believer from their village since then. This believer was recently baptized himself, after hearing the gospel from another young believer connected to our fellowship there. All of these men have come to faith in just a little over a year’s time. They are all from a village outside the main town, and plan to meet regularly to learn more and pray for others to come to faith.

Join us in lifting up these new believers in prayer, and for the Gospel to continue to multiply through their testimonies.

*Names have been changed for security purposes.

August 26, 2013

An Urgent Request for Prayer

Josiah, Sara and their five young children returned to North Africa on August 26. Their return includes an immediate move into a new area. Please join us in fervently praying for spiritual protection, for housing, for peace in God’s purposes, and for the spiritually needy to find Jesus.

Request from Josiah and Sara:

One of our long term goals in moving to North Africa was to be located in the region of the language that we’ve been studying. In our current city, we live in a neighborhood with many of these speakers, but our new location will put us closer to the areas where we’ve been working over the last two years in holistic community development. We’ll also be located closer to the other RMM family who arrived a year ago.

We return with a number of unknowns that we would appreciate prayer for. The most significant is housing. We’ve enrolled our children in a school that we think will be a good fit for them and we’ll be trying to identify housing close to that school. We also ask that people pray for the children’s transition, that they will be able to form new friendships and good relationships with teachers.

Please pray that we find a place that’s a good blend of the space that we need but also welcoming neighbors and a feeling of community. This is a region known for prostitution. One community leader estimated that in a town in the region, 80% hire prostitutes. Other issues are forced labor and lack of access to good healthcare. When we go into these areas, we like to prepare the area with prayer because of the sense of spiritual darkness that we experience. Prayer is essential. Pray for protection for our family.

We have been warmly welcomed to the area by locals and have received much hospitality. Sara enjoys relating to women there in the context of her work, visiting in homes over cups of tea and pastries. The local people have extended beautiful hospitality to us. Pray that we continue to have an open door into these homes and positive relationships. It’s a beautiful town as well—there are mountains, cedar forests, and four seasons which we look forward to experiencing.

*Names have been changed for security purposes. We are also unable to post specifics in regard to location or job description. Thanks for your understanding.

August 20, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

Ride for Missions 2013 conquered mountains, covered 350 miles, and raised over $116,000 for RMM!

A huge thanks to the 63 riders, 12 support crew, and 22 corporate sponsors who helped make the event such a huge success! Riders enjoyed connecting with each other, the daily spiritual encouragement, and beautiful scenic views along the way, along with raising record- breaking funds. The video above provides a small taste of the event.

Follow the RFM facebook page for more information, pictures and firsthand accounts from the ride.

We invite you to join us for next year’s ride which will take place July 26-30, 2014.

August 15, 2013

Do You Have a Missional Heart?

By Candice, RMM staff writer

Missions Day, August 4, 2013, Locust Grove Mennonite Church. The second service of the morning opened with a welcome from RMM president Joe, heartfelt worship, and a crowd of shining young faces. The children’s choir sang three songs, including a “For God So Loved Us” with a verse in German.

Josiah, Sara, and Daniel*, RMM workers in North Africa, shared about how they seek to be the “visible, tangible presence” of Jesus in that place. They are continually asking themselves and learning: “What does it mean to share good news here? What is good news in this culture?” Muslims envision heavenly scales with their sins on one side and their good works balanced on the other side. The Bible tells us that God loved us enough to clear the scales. This is good news for friends and neighbors in North Africa who are burdened with the weight of their sins.

Mel Shetler was the featured speaker of Missions Day. He is the recently retired pastor of Maple City Chapel where he served for forty years and outgoing chair of the board of directors of Rosedale Mennonite Missions. He began by talking about his love for Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) and introducing his topic: Does CMC have a missional heart? He spoke from the text: John 4:1-38. He believes that God is birthing in CMC a missional heart and is on the verge of doing something new.

Mel made it clear that he was not talking about a new evangelism program or tools. “I’m asking you to do what I’ve been doing for the past seven years: Ask God every morning to give you a missional heart.” So, what is a missional heart? Mel outlined the following seven characteristics (adapted excerpts):

1. One who knows they are sent.
We are passing through this life with a sense of purpose, passion, and responsibility for the mission of God. The woman at the well had an encounter with Jesus, and then Jesus explained his heart to the disciples. It’s that heart that I’ve been praying for—a missional heart. Imagine what could happen if the good news shaped every area of your life. Too often, we go to church without engaging the church in everyday life. A missional heart engages the unchurched with the gospel. It is the decision to offer to God our plans in everyday life in exchange for his plans.

2. A missional heart lives out God’s value system.
Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me.” Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman in a winsome, powerful encounter and she received the gospel. For Jesus, this kind of work was “as good as it gets.” Sharing the good news is deeply, inwardly satisfying. When you know God’s used you, it gives you resources like nothing else.

3. A missional heart has discovered life’s purpose.
Jesus said he knew why he had been sent here: to finish the work of the Father. We should all ask ourselves what God is calling us to do. God is going to rise up in your spirit, maybe this morning and say, ‘this is what I’m asking you to do.’ Do you know what work you are sent to finish?

4. A missional heart sees the harvest as a daily adventure of life.
Jesus and his disciples were in the country at the time, likely walking through fields, and Jesus turned to them and said, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (v. 35). He didn’t want the disciples to think that the harvest was sometime in the future. He wanted them to think that the harvest is now. Every day is harvest time for somebody. Someone is ripe today in your network of connections. It’s incarnational work—we are living it out every day in community.

Missions Day Offering
The annual Missions Day offering combines funds raised by Ride for Missions, lead gifts contributed by Touchstone donors, and an offering received during the Mission’s Day program at the CMC annual Conference. At the end of the service, Joe, RMM president, announced that the offering of over $35,000 received in the morning offering pushed the estimated total of the combined Missions Day Offering above $320,000.

During the Missions Day program, RMM workers were commissioned. Reappointed workers: Josiah and Sara* (North Africa). New home office workers: Ashley Koppenhaver, SEND Department administrative assistant and Courtney Miller, SEND Department assistant director. The 2013-14 REACH teams to Greece, the Himalayas, South Asia, Spain, North Africa, and South Africa, were also commissioned.

5. A missional heart is passionate about the harvest.
The sower and reaper rejoice together. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalms 126:5). When is the last time you sowed in tears? Once a father called me in tears to say “My son has been in hell now for 2 ½ hours.” This man’s son, who was far from God, had died in a car accident. When you know someone is lost and you have no passion about that, something is wrong. Our hearts should be gripped with the passion of that. When people become followers of Jesus, we cheer and celebrate! There is passion connected to both.

6. A missional heart recognizes that we reap where others have sowed.
“Thus the saying ‘one sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor” (v. 37, 38). For every person you’ve “taken across the finish line” to salvation, others have planted the seed and prayed. Thank God for every soul you have harvested or will where many others have invested time and prayers on their behalf.

7. A missional heart accepts the hard work of harvest.
You can’t call the harvest into the barn. You need to go get it. I grew up on a farm and watched my father prepare for harvest. When the harvest was ready, he didn’t ask his eleven sons to stand and shout into the fields for the harvest to come into the barn. In the same way, we can’t expect church programs to get people into the church; we have to go seek them out. It’s hard work.

What’s God asking you to do? Is he calling you to do something?
Let’s all pray for missional hearts.

Responses from the congregation:

“After hearing Mel’s wonderful sermon, I long to reach out more in my own community, to the Amish people who are our neighbors and my husband’s patients. My husband is an optometrist in Belleville. His practice is called Big Valley Eye Care, and I am his receptionist/assistant. We try to be a light to not only the Amish but anyone who comes through our door. I’m excited! The sermon reached my heart.”
- Bethe Nardis, Locust Grove, PA

"This has been my heart and passion. I want every day to be an adventure because I believe the harvest is now. The inner city has been on my heart, but I am not sure what my role should be as a pastor of a rural church."
- Tim Yoder, Maple Glen, MD

“Each point brought heart-searching perspectives to ponder: Does the harvest challenge inspire passion in my heart? Is the harvest a drudgery issue for me, or an adventure? Does the lost-ness of people register in my thinking process? How compassionate am I? I sensed the Spirit nudging me about the Catholic neighbor women in our cul-de-sac in Cuenca with whom it has been hard to develop a relationship. Does difficulty give me permission to stop trying to establish relationship? A missional perspective prompts me not to give up either on them or on the Spirit’s ability to do amazing things with the obedience of a missional heart.”
- Thelma Nisley, Cuenca, Ecuador

“I wish we could have this every Sunday. The worship time and sermon by Mel Shetler were meaningful. This is my passion, my heart."
- Phyllis Yoder, Locust Grove, PA

“A missional heart sees the harvest as a daily venture. It is not something we plan to do in the future but it naturally becomes part of our every day. We head to work or any other activity with sharing Jesus on our mind. As I listened to Mel tell the story of the man who said his son has now been in hell for 2 1/2 hours, I wondered if we really believe the reality of hell. If we really believe it is true wouldn't we all have a greater passion to share the gospel with the lost?”
- John David Swartzentruber, Greenwood, DE

“What tugged at my heart through the message was not an overwhelming sense of emotions or a call to a certain place. It wasn't even any idea of what I could do with my life. It was a desire to make my everyday life one in which I am aware of all of God's children. Knowing the harvest is a daily adventure means you might never notice any progress until it is upon you, or you might just never notice because it has become your daily life. You don't have to go somewhere else to engage this message. Having a missional heart is as Mother Teresa once said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." Loving the world one person at a time is what a missional heart looks like. So, what really tugged at my heart was a call to live my life with the proper focus.”
- Brenda Schlabach, Fairlawn, OH

*Names changed for security reasons

“A Taste” of Taste of Missions

By Candice, RMM staff writer

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (NIV Habakuk 2:14).

Paul Kurtz, RMM vice president of new initiatives, opened the Taste of Missions service on Thursday evening at Conference by sharing this verse as “God’s mission statement.” He said, “If humankind really came to know who God is, as he revealed himself in scripture, they would fall in love with him.” Taste of Missions evening is a chance to get a taste of what God is doing all around the world, through the Conservative Mennonite Conference. During the evening, REACH alumni and RIC staff performed a drama based on Matthew 28, missionaries shared from the work in Thailand, Southeast Asia, and Spain, Bob Plank talked about his local ministry to the Amish and around the world, and Wayne Yoder recapped Ride for Missions.

Tom, Asia regional director began by sharing a prayer request about RMM workers from South Asia facing persecution and prayed for the encouragement and empowerment of the believers. Tom told the story of Lan, a believer who at first seemed like an unlikely person to be a church leader but whom God has chosen for a mission to his home country which borders Thailand. He shared stories of how God has given Lan a vision for sharing the gospel within various networks of Lao people living in Bangkok as temporary workers. Lan has baptized believers in sewing and tile factories and workers at a gas station. More and more people are showing an interest in knowing Jesus. Tom said, “Keep praying for our workers in Asia, for Lan and the people God is calling and keep listening and watching to see what God is going to do next!”

Taste of Missions Menu

Watermelon: "Dessert" following any meal is usually fresh fruit.

Kaak d'Essaouira: A North African cookie with anise, sesame, and orange flower water. Cookies are served with tea in the window of 4-6 p.m. before a later main meal. This kind of cookie is taken when visiting friends and relatives during the days of celebration following the end of Ramadan, when people congratulate each other on the completion of the month of day-time fasting.

Olives: Olives and olive oil are a staple. Rural people may eat several meals each day that consist of homemade bread dipped in olive oil.

Nut Mix: Almonds are a cash crop for many rural families. In the spring, green almonds provide a snack on long walks.

Mint tea: Hot mint tea is the hospitality beverage of the region. It almost always includes Chinese green tea, which Chinese explorers/sailors introduced to the region in the 1400s.

Bob Plank, from Locust Grove Mennonite Church, talked about finding that one thing that God is calling you to and how that discovery can sometimes be a long- term process of doing whatever God asks you to do. He said, “It doesn’t take everything that some people tell you it takes. It takes a desperate desire to study the Word of God and after that desire has been birthed, you will find that God can do more with you than you ever dreamed.” Bob said it was not his intent to cause guilt (“the worst motivator in the world”) but to challenge, because it takes all of us to do ministry.

Bob has been reaching out to the local Amish community over the past 25 years. He says that many are “truly lost,” (meaning they don’t know Jesus). Over the years, Bob has met with Amish friends late at night and in secret locations such as cabins, flower shops, and state parks. It took about 10 years of trying, of making friendships with the Amish before there was a breakthrough. The first believer opened a lot of doors to others. There are currently five counties with Bible studies going on and Jesus is doing amazing things among the Amish. The Amish are now doing a great work of discipling their own people.

Bob also shared about his ministry in various countries where God has given him opportunity to share the gospel. Bob concluded with this challenge: “Whatever he (Jesus) says, young people, do it. You’ll be blessed beyond words. You’ll have more stories to tell than you can imagine.”

Pablo and Judi, RMM workers in Spain, shared music and slides from their work and stories of their friends who are on a journey to faith. Spain has hard soil and the Kauffmans are working to try to discover good seed for Spain.

Wayne Yoder introduced the riders and support crew who participated in the 2013 Ride for Missions. This year’s ride covered around 350 miles and raised $116,000 for RMM. Wayne noted that the annual ride is more than fundraising—there is spiritual input, strong bonds between riders, ministry to each other, and ministry to new friends along the way. The riders share Jesus along with raising money and biking.

After the service, everyone was invited to enjoy fellowship around hors d’oeuvres (featuring typical foods and beverage from North Africa).

Everyone Survived: REACH Alumni Look Back at the First Year of REACH

The first REACH training: (left to right) Mim Musser, Chad Miller, Jayne, Steve Mast,
David Maundu, Grant Price, Darlene, Enos Schwartz, John Shrock, Davy Slabaugh,
Carl Bontrager, Darrell Eberly, Paul Kurtz, Eugene Kraybill

By Andrew Sharp
From the August 2013 Beacon

Paul Kurtz never said anything about digging graves when he recruited them for REACH. But here they were in Israel, spading up shovelfuls of the Promised Land to provide a final resting place for Russian immigrants.

“We learned to be flexible and roll with the punches,” Davy Slabaugh said. Davy was part of one of the first REACH teams in 1992; his team went to Israel and another team went to Kenya.

Hundreds of young people have gone through RMM’s short-term missions program since it started more than 20 years ago, serving in dozens of countries from Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. And the program has a good number of “grandchildren”—although dating in the program is prohibited, marrying afterward is not, and a statistically significant number of participants have done just that.

A lot has changed since those early days—more teams are going to more countries, and the training is in Columbus, not Cincinnati, Ohio. Teams can now Skype back to the U.S. for guidance and counsel, or if they want to be old-fashioned, send an email. In 1992, then-director Paul Kurtz said he communicated with the overseas outreach coordinators exclusively by fax and long-distance phone calls. “That it actually worked is a miracle as I look at it now,” he said. Another big change is that REACH is no longer a joint program run by both Rosedale Bible College and RMM; after several years RMM assumed responsibility for the entire program.

I caught up with a number of participants from that first year of REACH to see where they are now and get some of their memories from their time in the program: Eugene Kraybill, Grant Price, Chad Miller, Carl Bontrager, Davy Slabaugh, Jayne (who asked that I omit her last name because of the nature of the outreach work she is doing) and Darlene (who asked that I omit her entire name because of her work in a sensitive location).

“It was the first year and rough around the edges, but God worked through the experiences and circumstances in which we found ourselves,” Davy said.

Developing flexibility was a big part of both outreaches. The Israel team got their surprising grave-digging assignment through their work with a youth hostel run by Anglicans in Tel Aviv, Davy said. The church owned and operated a cemetery, and the hostel volunteers were responsible for its upkeep. “They often had trouble getting their normal volunteers to go work at the graveyard and thus it fell to the REACH team who were new and willing to do anything,” he said. In addition to grave digging, they did gardening, maintenance, and assisted with burials.

One disturbing part of this activity was that the cemetery was more than 100 years old, and some of the graves were unmarked. “We never knew when we started digging a grave when we might come down on an old one. This was a bit disconcerting the first couple of times, but we became accustomed to gathering up the bones and reburying them elsewhere,” Davy said. “The most memorable day was the one where three of us woke up at 5 and dug three graves before breakfast … then after breakfast, we headed back to the graveyard and performed two burials and a gravestone dedication, all before lunch.”

For their part the Kenya team, as was the habit of short-term missions teams, had planned to travel around singing, doing drama, and speaking about the gospel, team leader Eugene Kraybill said. But when they got there, they were put to work digging a foundation with pickaxes for an office complex for the church there. The yawning gap between expectations and reality, plus all the other cultural differences one can expect in another country, led to some real frustration and tension. They eventually got to do some singing and speaking, but Eugene said as team leader he should have been willing for the team to serve the African church in whatever way they could. He realized from the experience that overseas work involves a lot of important cross-cultural dynamics, and said they left the outreach on good terms with the church.

Culture differences came into play even in Cincinnati, where the teams trained. One of the participants, David Maundu, was from Kenya. Davy remembered “walking hand in hand with (David) … through downtown Cincinnati while trying to explain that two men holding hands in North America as they walk down the street has different cultural connotations than it does in Kenya.”

The REACHers also had to learn how to share their faith, both in the U.S. and overseas, a process that could be clumsy at times. Eugene said they used to walk the streets and encourage people to “try Jesus.” He didn’t understand at the time the magnitude of what he was asking them to do—to switch faiths, or to adopt a new deity. As someone raised in a Christian culture, he had an unchallenged confidence in his beliefs without a corresponding understanding of what people raised outside a Christian culture would have to go through if they decided to follow Jesus.

The Creation of REACH

RMM’s once-flourishing Voluntary Service program was declining in 1992; the overseas program had been intentionally scaled back and interest was waning in stateside positions, according to Paul Kurtz, Vice President of New Initiatives at RMM. Paul served as the first director for the REACH program and was assisted by Mim Musser, RMM’s current HR director.

Richard Showalter, president across the lawn at RBC (then RBI), had just returned from missions work overseas and spoke highly of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) short-term teams that had been working in the region. RMM and RBC formed a coordinating council to create a similar short-term program. The idea, Paul said, was that RBC would be responsible for the education and training side, and RMM would take care of sending the teams overseas.

Paul was hired as campus pastor at RBI, and worked as REACH director for several years. Both the RBC and RMM boards voted to continue the program after the first year, which was a good thing, because Paul and his wife Grace had already sold their house in Indiana and moved their family, including newborn twins, to Rosedale. Paul admitted to some nervousness about the boards’ decision.

As the program grew larger, leaders at RBC and RMM decided the program needed to be the responsibility of one agency, so in 1996 RMM took on the entire program and brought Paul on as the short-term program director.

Paul said in the years after REACH started, he would hear from people that REACH had killed the VS program. He said REACH certainly played a role in the process, but VS would have ended anyway at some point. “The reality was VS was declining, it was dying … I think it was just the death knell.”

“We (REACH program leaders) knew we were doing something very innovative… something very different that as we talked to young people was resonating with them in our conference,” he said.

Davy remembered passing out tracts at a Madonna concert in Tel Aviv, “while wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Jesus is the Messiah’ in bold Hebrew lettering. In retrospect it is somewhat surprising that we survived the night.” A local Cincinnati TV station was sufficiently intrigued with REACH training activities that they got Eugene to wear a hidden microphone when the group went to the city’s red light district and talked to some of the prostitutes. They were featured on a news segment called “Mennonites on Mean Street,” Darlene remembered.

Carl Bontrager remembered an incident on outreach when sharing with fellow believers made a difference. He was speaking at a meeting in Kenya and sensed the Holy Spirit leading him in what to share, and helping him as he spoke. It went really well, he said, and one of the men who was there made changes in his life as a result. That same man later took the team on a trip to a game preserve. “The night we got back, he got sick and died,” Carl said, adding he was glad to have played a part in helping the man be prepared before his death.

REACHers got plenty of opportunities for increasing faith through challenging circumstances. Eugene said they didn’t get their plane tickets to Kenya until 45 minutes before the plane took off. That was uncomfortably close, but more disturbingly the travel agent didn’t give them their return tickets but assured them she would mail them. The tickets did not arrive during the entire outreach, and the day they left Kenya, as they sat in the vehicle waiting to go to the airport, they still did not have them. Then a secretary checked and discovered the tickets in a package on a desk and brought them out.

“Looking back I believe a practical lesson I learned was that God honors the simple faith of his people … I remember some frustrating … some sorrowful times in Thika, Kenya, but also some joyful, wonderful and exhilarating times,” Grant Price said. “I will never forget the impact it had on me. Faith, faith, faith—not saving faith, but a trusting faith that God will do what he promised and often more than we can think or ask. This is what programs like this are good for; they remove you from your comfort zone till all you have to rely on is faith that God will do what he has promised.”

Many of the REACHers talked about understanding and applying their faith better. Jayne said the impact of the program was “Life-changing values. It changed my outlook on material things, on how to live life daily seeking to be in step with the Holy Spirit, rather than what the world values. I began to step out with small steps, learning how to share Jesus with others.”

“(REACH) helped me focus on God and bring focus and clarity to where God was leading me,” Davy said. “My time in REACH was foundational in the development of my worldview and my approach to life. Choices of where to live, jobs to take, jobs to decline, how to spend money have all been impacted by the foundations laid in the REACH program.”

Eugene said, “I felt like (the teachings) really integrated more in understanding of spiritual warfare, the father heart of God, understanding the power of the Holy Spirit, of fruits of the spirit and how to incorporate that into our daily life, and the importance of prayer and intercession. I appreciated the worship times that Paul Kurtz would lead and I still remember the song very well ‘Refiner’s Fire,’ which was a theme song.”

“I learned to pay attention to God speaking to me in my spirit. The teaching on (the) father heart of God was also so powerful,” Darlene said. She also said REACH helped her find her calling. “It was one more step in molding me into the person (God) wants me to be.”

Chad Miller said REACH helped him develop leadership gifts, played a significant role in solidifying his call to pastoral ministry, shaped his view of God’s work in the world and helped give him a heart for world missions. He developed deep friendships, learning to be open his faith and what God was doing in his life. “The grace and honesty I experienced … has given me hope to not be overwhelmed by my own brokenness,” he said. Davy talked about gaining a broader perspective. Worshipping with evangelical Anglicans in

Israel helped him realize “that just maybe the kingdom of God was a little broader than I had ever understood.” He also remembered “sharing a meal with an Israeli Arab family of believers and getting firsthand a perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that I had never heard before.”

There were good times and difficult times. One event that most of the Kenya team remembered was Jayne getting her foot run over by a matatu (a public transportation van). Her foot was split open, and she got 22 stitches, she said. A week later, she had to go back to the hospital with an infection in the wound, then had to go to another hospital to get stitched up again.

On a more lighthearted note (for everyone but Paul Kurtz), Davy said he remembered Paul “leaping up from the lunch table at the Peace House (the VS unit where they trained) and chasing his car down the street as the tow truck slowly pulled it away.” Despite his hearty efforts, Paul recalled that the tow truck got away with his car.

Where They Are Now

Chad Miller went to Providence College in Manitoba, then to Prairie Graduate School in Alberta. He completed seminary training at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and then took a youth pastor position at Hartville Mennonite Church in Hartville, Ohio, where he worked for nine years. He and his wife June currently live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he serves as an associate pastor at Foothills Mennonite Church, “a vibrant urban congregation” in a city with a diverse mix of ethnic groups. They have two children, Mackenzie and Hudson. Chad is part of a task force working to shape vision for Mennonite Church Canada.

Carl Bontrager led another REACH team to Belarus. He went back to Belarus for 13 months doing construction work with Logos International, then came back to the U.S. He married his wife Abby in 2001. They live in Goshen, Indiana and have five children—Daniel, Hannah, Lydia, Rhoda, and Stephen, ranging in age from 2 to 10. They ran a laundromat business for a number of years, and now Carl is employed at a machine shop that produces parts used in auto manufacturing.

Jayne went to Rosedale Bible Institute for two years and continued on in international ministry, going on several mission trips to Kenya, Ecuador, and Indonesia. In 2003, she graduated from Goshen College with a bachelor’s in education and a minor in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). Since she loved languages and was able to learn them, she went through two years of linguistics, translation and literacy training with Wycliffe B.ible Translators. She has become very involved with refugees and international students in the U.S. A connection with East African immigrants brought her to Columbus, Ohio to work with a large population of an unreached people group that has moved to the American Midwest. She does tutoring, visits homes, and shares Bible stories.

Eugene Kraybill and his wife Christina live in Berryville, Virginia, where Eugene is an airline pilot and Christina has a fair-trade gift shop (myneighborandme.com). He and Christina have both studied at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and are voluntary chaplains at Washington Dulles International Airport. He enjoys having conversations with people about faith issues. Eugene said he and his fellow airline coworkers are not able to attend many Sunday services, so they have prayer time throughout the day in the workplace to encourage one another and pray for each other.

Davy Slabaugh went on REACH again in 1993, where he met his wife Collette (they were married in 1998). He spent two years in Jordan as a missionary intern, studying Arabic, and returned to the U.S. to get a degree in International Business. During that time, he served with RMM as SEND House director, REACH program director, and SEND Department director, for a total of nine years. Davy and Collette have four children ages 8-13: Alinea, Connor, Chadwick, and Sabrina. They live in Hilliard, Ohio. Davy works as a database administrator and serves as an associate pastor at Agape Community Fellowship.

Darlene attended RBI for two terms after REACH. She and her husband “Ben” were married in 1993. They have served as long-term workers in South Asia for 18 years, where they live in a city of more than a million people. Darlene described it as “extremely crowded and chaotic, with long power cuts and mind-numbing poverty.” They have one son, age 14. Darlene has used her nursing training there, and she and Ben work on a variety of projects including helping set up and promote microenterprise businesses for widows. They are working to plant churches and help them grow among a largely unreached people group.

Grant Price and his wife Diane were married in 1994. They live in Pennsburg, a town in eastern Pennsylvania, where they own an apartment. Grant is a self-employed truck driver who has logged almost two million miles on the road. Diane does in-home care. They currently attend Frederick Mennonite Church. “REACH was a long time ago; however, mission and ministry continue to be more what we are than where we go,” Grant said.

David Maundu emailed us an update shortly after the article was published. Click here to read his comments

If they had it to do over, would they do REACH again? “Definitely,” Chad said. “Absolutely,” Davy said. “Yes,” Jayne said. “The next time, I would be more careful not to get hit by a matatu.”

August 14, 2013

Everyone Survived: Update from David Maundu

We received the follow email from David Maundu shortly after Everyone Survived: REACH Alumni Look Back at the First Year of REACH was finalized and ready for publication. We were not able to include any of his comments with the original article, but wanted to make it available for those who are interested.

I joined the pilot REACH Program in April, 1992. It was our hope that our church in Thika, Kenya could start a similar program after the training. The Kenyan program which is called The International School of Missions (ISOM) started in 1999. Two of my children have now been through the training.

REACH training was one of the highlights of my life. I am thankful to God that I was given the opportunity to travel by air to a foreign country. The exposure to discipleship training was awesome. We also had wonderful times of praise and worship before every session led by our Director, Paul Kurtz, playing the guitar, assisted by Chad Miller, a fellow REACHER.

The only difficult memory I have was the run we were required to take every morning. On my first run, I ran too fast, and my legs were in terrible pain for a whole week. This taught me the lesson that in running you shouldn’t run very fast on the first day! Instead, you need to prepare the body and adapt slowly to running.

The REACH Program impacted to my life in diverse ways. It deepened my prayer and devotional life with God and also my relationships with my beloved brethren. Evangelism was the core of our discipleship training in REACH. Since them, I have utilized that training as I have been involved in outreach activities in different parts of my country. I have also been to Uganda [a neighbor to the west] twice. I have taught evangelism to our School of Missions students as they prepare for outreach to countries such as Zambia, Malawi, and Uganda, just to mention a few.

Many other things have changed in my life since REACH. Before REACH, I was a librarian working at the Kenya National Library. I had trained up to a certificate level at that time. After REACH, my employer sponsored me for a 3 year diploma in information science. My current job is Librarian with the Kenya National Library at the head office.

In addition, before REACH I had a family of three daughters with my wife whom I married March 29, 1986. Later our family increased to five children: Esther, Grace, Elizabeth, Ruth and Paul. They are all through high school now and are looking forward to pursuing university educations.

Before REACH and since, I have been a part of Christian Church International, Thika. I have been an elder on the church council and have been involved in the evangelism board of the church, planning and participating in citywide gospel outreaches. This has also enabled me to join evangelists to Uganda in 2011/2012 as well as attending training on reaching people groups in Kenya with no known believers or church among them. We were able to show the Jesus film in their native language. It was very exciting to see their response. We are currently involved in a mission outreach to Tanzania, our neighboring country.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to share what God has done in my life through REACH and since REACH. God bless all of you!