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Taste of Missions 2014

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By Candice, RMM staff writer

Thursday night at CMC Conference 2014, Naumburg Mennonite Church. The theme of the 104th Annual Conference was “Faithfulness in the Home” and a prominent thread that ran through the meetings was how our families and homes can be extended out to include others and bring them to Jesus. RMM’s Taste of Missions program featured stories from our “extended family” in both local and international missions.

Wayne Yoder, ride coordinator, spoke about Ride for Missions (RFM), which is an annual event to raise money for RMM as cyclists collect pledges and bike to Conference. This year, the ride grew to 85 riders and 20 support people. Wayne emphasized that the ride is to raise money, but that’s secondary to the fact that we as Christians are called to be missionaries wherever we go. Riders have a chance to share about missions and also to fellowship together. If you can ride a bike and enjoy it, Wayne encourages you to come along next year! Marlin Ebersole, RMM board member, talked about the first year for Rosedale Missions Cruisers (RMC); eight persons rode motorcycles to Conference and were blessed with a good trip. Along with RFM, the goal of RMC is to invite the world to meet Jesus and to bless him in all they do.

Joey Widrick, from Naumburg Mennonite Church, shared about the mission of the local church and our responsibility to share Jesus with lost people. He asked the questions: Is your faith in Jesus Christ the most important thing in your life? And... How are you representing Jesus on a daily basis? Joey talked about “Go and Tell Tuesdays” at Naumburg Church. The group meets monthly at the church to pray and ask God where he wants them to go that evening. They end up at restaurants, malls, convenience stores, or bars, sharing the good news of Christ and having encounters with all kinds of people. He reminded us that God will provide the power through the Holy Spirit to share him and we just need to be obedient.

Nate Olmstead, church planting team coordinator for RMM, shared about what God is doing stateside in church planting. The CMC has a mission, over the next three years, to assist 10% of its churches to initiate church plants stateside. That goal means that eleven churches or individuals by the end of the year 2016 will be planting a church. To do that, we need to discover the spiritual need in the community around us—possibly within a different ethnicity or subculture where there is no church presence currently. For us in CMC, the decision is whether or not to get involved in the life of those communities in our home areas. Nate and his wife Denise work with Hispanics in their area of upstate New York with the goal of reaching them for Christ but also sending them as disciple makers to their own home communities in other places and countries.

Tim Colegrove spoke about a new church planting effort in Boston. He, along with his wife Alice, are church planting among homeless people in Harvard Square and have developed many friendships as they do street outreach work. Their goal is to bring the church to the streets and to develop a Christian community that doesn’t depend on an invitational model that waits for people to come to church. Their desire is to plant a community that takes the gospel out to the world. Currently, they are meeting with a small group of friends for a “dinner church” (a common meal, worship, scripture discussion) that “brings together the rich and poor, the housed and unhoused.” Tim and Alice are currently seeking individuals or families from within CMC who might consider relocating to Boston to help with the work. Tim said, “We believe that our community needs a few ‘natives’ from within the CMC to help us maintain a conservative Mennonite theological identity and to anchor us relationally to the Conference.” If this resonates with you, connect with the Colgroves at: timothy.colegrove@gmail.

Esta Felder* wrote and directed the play “The Invitation.” The play explored Jesus’ invitation to us to make ourselves uncomfortable for God in order to relate to people from other places and contexts who need to feel welcome in God’s family.

Joe Showalter interviewed Al Raber who is on his way to the Amazon region of Brazil. Al talked about his past—growing up Amish, and later realizing that only Jesus could fill the emptiness in his life. Al has been to Brazil eight times in the past few years. He now plans to join the long-term work and be involved in a ministry to unreached people in the Amazon River basin.

Derek* shared about leading a REACH team to North Africa (his third trip there) and about the team’s mission of sharing scripture via recordings on solar-powered MP3 players in unreached villages. Derek plans to rejoin RMM’s team in North Africa later this year to work on agricultural projects.

Finally, Nixson and Rhonda shared their heart for Thai university students and their plans to return to work and study in Bangkok starting in January of 2015.

Taste of Missions night wrapped up with a good time of fellowship over a Turkish menu prepared by Susannah Cotman which included: lentil patties, pita with spreads, hummus, and baklava.

*Names changed or last names omitted for security reasons.