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July 24, 2014

A Simple Act of Kindness

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By Amy*

I backed my scooter out of the carport and prayed that it would start easily after sitting idle for three weeks. Thankfully it started right up so I didn't have to face the embarrassment of sitting by the side of the road trying to start it while the school children sauntered by. We had just returned from our visa trip and I needed to stock up on groceries again, so I headed to the market. I drove slowly and relished the cool morning air, but not the speed bumps in the alley that I tried to ease over. As I turned toward the market, my eyes drifted to the hill climbing steeply up from our town nestled in a valley. That view always takes my breath away. Then my eyes quickly came back down the hill to scan the road as I began to navigate the crush of people, motorbikes, vans, and minibuses that surround the market, the center of life here. I was eager to see the people that, in the last year, I have come to know and enjoy chatting with every couple of days. These beautiful people have been my teachers as they have helped me learn "These beautiful people have been my teachers as they have helped me learn more language, the names of various fruits, vegetables and spices, and have helped me learn more of the culture of my new home."more language, the names of various fruits, vegetables and spices, and have helped me learn more of the culture of my new home. It felt good to look forward to reconnecting with the people even as, at the same time, my nose was revolting at the smell of the rotting vegetables that is a part of the market experience. As I pulled my scooter into the "parking lot," I looked for the kind parking man who always helps me find a place even when it looks impossible to me. Instead a young guy came up to give me my parking tag. "Hmm, that's odd," I thought, "he's always here, except around lunch time when I've seen him take a break. Maybe it's his day off." So I went to order my usual flat of eggs and continued on to find the rest of the things on my list.

When we first arrived here, my neighbor took me around the market and introduced me to sellers, so I have gone back to many of them and have established a relationship with them. Just as I expected, they wanted to know where I had been and why I hadn't come by for so long and then when I explained we had to go to renew our visas, they wanted to know about that process. I headed to pick up my eggs with a happy and content heart. I greeted the egg seller and as he handed the carton to me he said, "He died. The man that parked the bikes just fell down." Now my language is not the best but I knew every word that he said, and yet it was like I was trying to fight the awful meaning of it and find a different one. "Yes," the lady in the next stall nodded, "four days ago he just dropped dead; the big guy. He wasn't even that old. They don't know why." My happy heart quickly changed to one of sadness as I tried to wrap my brain around this shocking news. The kind parking man who had directed me where to go when I wasn't sure of where to park, who had taught me how to balance the egg carton and my heavy bag of vegetables on my scooter and who had been a part of every market experience I had had in the last year. I had taught him how to say "chicken" in English just a few days before I left. And now he was gone, just like that. My heart was heavy as I expressed my sadness for the man's family and the market seller community, and then I headed back through the crush and over the bumpy road to my home.

In the weeks since, as I have tried to process why this man's death affected me so much, several things have come to mind but the one I want to share, is that your life matters to those around you. When we are in new situations like we were a year ago, we look for people to help us. There are strangers and people you have known for a long time that are blessed when you are there for them. It might feel to you that you are doing the same thing over and over but to someone it can provide that sense of security that they need in an otherwise overwhelming experience. My friend parked bikes day in and day out, fitting them in like pieces of a puzzle; it is a needed part of the market community. He helped me not to be afraid that I wouldn't be able to find a place to park and have to go somewhere else which can seem like an overwhelming task when you don't know the town and how things work in a new place. There are so many people who have welcomed us to this town and made us feel a part of the community over the past year and many of them will never know how grateful we are. My prayer is that many of them will know over the next years how much we do appreciate them as we are able to give back more and more to our community—physically, spiritually and through simple acts of kindness. So to help us celebrate our first year here and to remember the life of one man who showed kindness to me, will you show a simple act of kindness to someone today? Your community needs you!


Amy and Dave, with their three children, have lived in Southeast Asia since 2012. They live in a remote town, among an unreached people group, where Dave runs an eco-tourism business. Dave and Amy participated in REACH in '96 (Dave, Israel; Amy, Turkey) and '97 (Dave, Phoenix; Amy, Germany). From 1998-1999 Dave was on staff with SEND Ministries and during that same time Amy served as an intern with RMM in Bad Pyrmont, Germany. After they married in 2000, they moved into RMM's "Peace House" in Cincinnati, Ohio and ran the International Student Ministry there until 2004.

*For security reasons, country name, agency name, and last name have been omitted.


July 11, 2014

Seeking Applicants for an Administrative Assistant in the Finance Department

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RMM is seeking applicants for an administrative assistant in the finance department. Primary responsibilities of the position include receipting/depositing contributions and assisting with various accounting tasks. The ideal candidate is someone who is detail-oriented, good with numbers, and has computer experience. This is a full-time paid position with a preferred beginning date of mid-August 2014. Initially the position will be based in the Rosedale office but will move to the Rosedale International Center in Columbus late 2014/early 2015.

For more info or to express interest contact Mim Musser, HR Director, at (740) 857-1366 or mim@rmmoffice.org.


July 09, 2014

9 Ways to Support a Single Mission Worker in Your Life

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By Danielle Opel

Danielle served as a missionary intern in Thailand for two years. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio and is making plans to return to Bangkok. Here she offers a few suggestions for ways to build up single mission workers. Her advice for singles: “Singleness is really a gift if you choose to let it be. Grow. Be happy.”

As a worker in Thailand in my early twenties, I struggled with being single. Loneliness and insecurity were constant companions. I struggled with the feelings of low self-worth. I happily congratulated friends who had found their special someone, all the time wondering when it would be my turn. Being overseas made me feel like my chances of meeting someone were next to impossible. My Thai friends were always making comments about how I would be so much happier if I had a boyfriend. While these feelings are not all unique to single workers, I think some single workers share similar feelings. Following are some ways you as supporters can show you are behind them and truly care!

1

E-mail or write often. Show them you care. One of the hardest things for a single is facing loneliness. I remember wanting someone who cared and was really interested in me and my life. Be intentional in asking about their lives, interests, and friends (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

2

Set up Skype times. Be the one to take the initiative to set the times. This is a great way to catch up if you don’t enjoy writing and can be super encouraging to the single.

3

Consider sending care packages. These can be filled with needed things and/or fun things. Chocolate, candy, comfort food, or a magazine are always appreciated. I remember one person sent me real autumn leaves dipped in wax so they would last. That meant the world to me.

4

Encourage singles in their singleness. Help them to embrace this time in their lives or, for some, a long-term call to singleness. (But please don’t preach the verses about being single in 1 Corinthians; that was quoted many times to encourage me but it only pulled me down). Instead encourage us with the hope we have in our future because of Jesus Christ. Help us to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t.

5

Jesus is not my boyfriend! He is my master and commander, and I will follow him where he leads. But God created woman for man. I struggled with a lot of guilt for wanting a “real” boyfriend. Hey, it is only natural. Encourage us that while we wait for that special one, to continue to seek after God.

5

Pray for the single. Pray for their daily life, relationship needs, and spiritual health. Pray also for the future. Pray for God’s good and complete timing. And also pray for discernment and acceptance for the single as they walk the path of life.

7

Don’t play match maker. It is fine to introduce people to each other, but let God work things out from there. Don’t try to force it.

8

Avoid asking probing questions about pictures posted via social media that include the opposite sex. Most times pictures are taken with friends. Chances are, if there is something going on you will know it!

9

Avoid setting time tables. For example, “By the time I was your age I was married and had three kids.” Instead say, “Wow, it is so great that you are doing all these things at such a young age.” Thankfully God has brought me to a point right now where I feel peace in my singleness. Yes, I still feel lonely and struggle sometimes. I still want to have a partner. But I am also grateful for this time and the freedom I feel. I know myself a lot better and have grown in self-confidence. I no longer hold daily pity parties for what I don’t have, but rather continually celebrate the growth and blessings I do have. Hi, my name is Danielle. I am single, blessed, and highly favored!


July 01, 2014

Introduce the World at Your Dinner Table

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By Vicki

When I was growing up, I remember my mom making cornbread and beans and relish and a side of fried okra. Even though I was living in Pigeon, Michigan my mom was introducing her Southern heritage to me through food. Some of our dearest friends were a Hindu family who occasionally joined our family for holiday dinners. I can still remember the spicy curries our friend, Kala, contributed to our meals. Our noses would run and our eyes water from the spiciness of the dishes, but we kept going back for more because we loved it! Indian food is still one of my favorite cuisines.

Now, I live with my husband, Conrad, and our three daughters (ages 12, 12, and 8) in Urbana, Ohio, a small Midwestern city made up of predominantly white, middle-class people. In addition to the normal fast food chains often found in small cities, our town boasts one Mexican restaurant, one Italian café, and a handful of Chinese take-out restaurants. Several years ago, Conrad and I began to feel dissatisfied with the homogeneous nature of our city. We wanted our girls to understand that the world is made up of many different kinds of people and they don’t all look just like us! In an effort to introduce our daughters to something other than what our city had to offer, I began researching recipes from around the world and the idea of a weekly “International Night” was born!

How It Works

Once a week, I choose a recipe from another country to feature. Then, I research the country for things my elementary-aged daughters would find interesting: What language do the people speak? Is it a warm or a cold climate? What do the schools look like, and how do the children get to school? Do the people know about Jesus, or do they worship another god, or maybe many gods? If I’m really on the ball, I might even contact missionary friends living in that country and ask them how we might pray for their family and their ministry. Then, when it is time for dinner, our first step is to find the featured country on the globe. We show some pictures of children from that country as well as a picture of the flag and the other information we’ve gathered. Then, we go around the table taking turns praying for the featured country: Dear Jesus, we pray for the people of China that they might learn about "We wanted our girls to understand that the world is made up of many different kinds of people and they don’t all look just like us!"you and be in relationship with you. Jesus, we pray for the people of Turkey, that you would reveal yourself as the true God to the Turkish people. Jesus, we pray for our missionary friends in Thailand, that you would help them see the fruit of their ministry. Our prayers are simple, but heard by God and therefore effective.

Finally, we dig into the food before us, using chopsticks when appropriate, and occasionally even eating with our hands (the kids always seem to love that!). One of my favorite memories was when we asked the girls’ piano teacher to join us for dinner. When I sent the invitation, I asked her about her heritage. “German,” she wrote back with enthusiasm. So, Germany became my focus that week. The menu options were plentiful, but finally I settled on bratwurst and German red cabbage, with peach kuchen for dessert! It was a hit and we enjoyed exploring our piano teacher’s heritage that night.

Other tasty highlights of past International Nights include Lebanese chicken and potatoes, Canadian white fish and bannock, Moroccan tagine, and Pakistani Kima. Occasionally, the recipes require ingredients I don’t normally keep in my kitchen, so planning ahead is important. But in all honesty, sometimes real life gets in the way of my best intentions and I’m just desperate to get food on the table! There’s nothing wrong with serving spaghetti and praying for Italy, or even serving sloppy joes and praying for the United States! We’ve done that too!

Positive Outcomes

Since we began this tradition five years ago, I’ve seen my daughters develop a keen interest in other cultures and a concern for people of other religions. A few summers ago we were visiting the Columbus Zoo. My middle daughter pointed out a Muslim woman and her daughters who were all wearing traditional Muslim chadors. “Why are they dressed like that, Mom?” she inquired. I explained that in some cultures those robes are necessary for modesty and represent an adherence to Islam. “So they don’t know Jesus?” she asked.

“No, probably not” I replied, “and that’s why we pray for Muslims around the world, because there are many Muslims who don’t understand who Jesus is.” A bit later, I looked down to find this same daughter fighting back tears. “What’s wrong, Bryn?” I asked.

“Mom, I just started thinking about all the people who are walking around the zoo right now who might not know about Jesus, and that just makes me so sad!” It makes me sad too! So we continue to pray for our neighbors around the world who haven’t yet had the opportunity to hear about Jesus.

Another positive outcome of this tradition is my daughters’ willingness to try new foods. Squid, octopus, curry, or tofu? They love it all! Pad Thai, coconut curry, or bang bang chicken? Those are some of our favorites! I considered it a win recently when my twins requested Red Thai Curry Chicken for their birthday dinner. I was happy to comply!

Getting Started

If you are interested in implementing this idea into your family’s dinner routine, I encourage you to give it a try! This tradition doesn’t require an overhaul to your recipe collection! In fact, you are probably already cooking more meals with an international flair than you realize, so start there. How about your favorite pasta dish, or maybe rice and beans in the crock pot? Do you have recipes from your mother or grandmothers that honor your own heritage? Some of my favorite resources for international recipes are More with Less and Extending the Table but as you know, the Internet is loaded with recipe ideas with step-by-step instructions. So don’t be intimidated by fancy recipe titles or unusual ingredients! This is very doable regardless of the level of your cooking skills and no matter what your schedule is like. Once you start to see your recipe collection through “international eyes” it will be easier to implement international meals into your weekly repertoire.

The second part of this tradition is learning about and praying for the nations. Again, I encourage you to keep this simple as you get started. For really young children, maybe coloring a picture of another nation’s flag is a good start. As your children get older, it is easier to introduce more topics to the discussion. We discuss other world religions and what they say about Jesus. We talk about the persecuted church and how many of our brothers and sisters around the globe are being severely oppressed because of their love for Jesus. The more we understand about another culture, the more specifically we can pray for that nation and the missionaries who are working there.

The Greatest Payoff

Our family is wrapping up our time in Ohio. We are selling our possessions and preparing to say goodbye as we follow God’s call to Bangkok, Thailand. This is not an easy process! But all three of our daughters are excited about moving to a world city and having the opportunity to interact with people from across the globe. I am convinced they are better prepared for the next season of our lives than they would have been without our International Nights. Whether you have any intention of living overseas or not, your prayers for unreached people groups are important! With that in mind, I hope you’ll consider using your dinner table to introduce the world to your family.

A Few Other Tips for International Night

When the girls were really small, I bought each of them a set of training chopsticks (available on Amazon). I highly recommend this!

Take it easy on the spices when you get started! Sometimes spices can get really hot as they simmer and their flavors are allowed to develop. I keep sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand in case I get a little overzealous with the spices.

Several books which our family has found helpful: Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone; Stories from Around the World; Peoples of the World; and The Children’s Picture Atlas, all from Usborne Books.

RMM’s cookbook, The World at Your Table, compiled by Susannah Fath Cotman, is another great resource for accessible international recipes. You can purchase a copy at the RMM office, at the Rosedale International Center, or visit http://cookbook.rmmweb.org/

Vicki, along with her husband Conrad and three children, Bryn, Lydia, and Ellie, plan to move to Bangkok, Thailand in January 2015. They will join the RMM team there to work at relationship building, discipling, and church planting. Vicki was on a REACH team in 1996 to Israel and has traveled in Southeast Asia while researching human trafficking in that part of the world. She is currently completing work on a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies from Hope International University. In her spare time she is packing up her house in preparation for her family’s upcoming move!