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Skating, Painting, Trekking (and other REACH adventures)

In early December, five teams of REACHers took off for their outreaches in the Himalayas, Canada, North Africa, South Asia and Spain. After three months of discipleship training in Columbus, they were excited to be sent out and used by God for his purposes. Following are adapted excerpts from their team blogs which give a glimpse into the early months of outreach. Pray for these learners and explorers as they continue on their adventure for God!


TEAM HIMALAYAS

Day three of a trek:

We’d trekked for about three hours and decided to stop for the evening at a small hotel. As soon as we stopped outside the gate, I felt a strong darkness. I didn't want to stay there, but everyone else said let's do it, so I agreed. That night we got an opportunity to share about Jesus and sang songs in the local language for our hosts. As the night went on, I felt very discouraged. Later, I shared with the team and as soon as we started praying against my discouragement, we felt a spiritual attack. We prayed against fear, discouragement, and threats of persecution against the family if they chose to follow Jesus. It was exhausting, but I loved “standing in the gap” for these friends.

Prayer requests:
1. Opportunities to build relationships and better understanding of culture and language
2. For the villages we visit; most people are Hindu and afraid of what their gods will do if they even hear about the Father
3. For our team, that we can be open with each other about struggles

For me, outreach has been a roller coaster ride. From spiritual attacks, to revisiting past wounds, it’s been difficult. I often ask the Father why he didn’t fix these things before REACH. Still, even through ups and downs, I can say that he is faithful. I know that this experience will make me stronger if I focus on him and not my problems. He is teaching me not to resist his guidance but to take his hand as he leads me.

–Jeshua


TEAM CANADA

Greetings from the North, where we are adjusting to temperatures in the teens and roads covered in snow more often than not! In Canada, if you don’t ice skate, you are viewed as a foreigner. Taking note of this, our team decided that it would be to our benefit if we all invested in a pair of skates. Let me tell you it is not all that easy to master the art of skating, but we are trying! This week, we had our first ever team skate. I think I can say that we all had fun, even if some of us looked a little ridiculous and had a few falls here and there. I will be excited to tell you all about the progress we will be making in the next couple of weeks, but for now here is a picture of all of us successfully standing up on the ice long enough to take a picture!

Before we got there, one thing I wanted to focus on, was building friendships with people here that would last for the rest of my life. I understand that this involves me stepping out of my comfort zone and initiating conversations even if I feel uncomfortable. It’s funny, we prepare ourselves, but God’s plans can be completely different. The relationships that I was really concerned about starting seem to happen naturally, even when I just show up somewhere. Thank God for how we are all learning to make friendships here and continue praying for right attitudes and words as we share with our new friends.

–Lexi


TEAM NORTH AFRICA

It’s a cold, rainy, breezy day here in the city. It’s only about 40 degrees. However, it’s been overcast and snow has turned to rain over the past several days. The rain is always icy cold and never fun to walk in. I’ve just returned from language class and am now wrapped up in three blankets while wearing my jacket to attempt to warm up in a house that has no heating system.

Ways you can be thinking of us:
1. Ask that the father would soften hearts
2. That people open their doors to us
3. Opportunities to share the light
4. That the Spirit would lead
5. For health and safety for our team


I had an interesting experience yesterday. I was meeting a friend up in the mountains to help with some agricultural endeavors. I had to be there by 8:00 a.m., so I was up by 5:00 to catch a bus. A cold front caused fog to form, making everything damp and obscuring visibility. As I walked through the cold, eerie morning to the bus station, I heard the call to prayer (there are five calls to prayer each day). As the voice of the Imam paused, I heard the call echoing off the buildings around me, reverberating through the streets. In the background I could hear the faint sound of a mosque in the next neighborhood echoing the call.

I don’t know why it all hit me so hard. I’ve been here long enough that I hardly pay attention to the call (you get used to things you hear five times a day). I felt like I had glimpsed the darkness that entraps this place. Deception stretches out over the city, country, and people groups; it’s like the call, snaking its way through the streets, entering every home. Please pray that the Father’s light would shine here.

On a lighter note, we are going on a 21 day trek through the mountains soon. Our goal is to go and obey Jesus’ command from Matthew 10: “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts, take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff….”

We’ll take one change of clothes and our backpacks. We are splitting into two groups of two (a friend from last year is our fourth man). We’ll take each day as the Father guides and go wherever he leads. We’ll walk until we’re invited in, and sleep wherever we end up. We’re relying on the hospitality of locals and the leading of the Spirit to provide.

-Levi


TEAM SOUTH ASIA

Team South Asia has spent the past two months traveling and preaching throughout several provinces. While their traveling can get tiring, this team has had the privilege of encouraging local believers who are regularly persecuted. In January, the team took a three week break from their travels to work at an orphanage. They spent time leading devotions, teaching English, and showing God’s love to the children. While plans for this outreach haven’t quite gone as anticipated, we are awed by the ways that God is working in and through this team! Keep them in your prayers, as traveling and preaching can be exhausting. Ask that God would sustain them, that they would continue to love each other well, and that God would use them to be light in a dark region.


TEAM SPAIN

We have been working with a fellowship here in Rincon and it has been such a joy getting to know the people in the church. Our aim has been to encourage and help them when and where we can. Our team is getting lots of practice in painting. We helped the pastor and Antonio paint the building where the church is meeting. The painting day was a typical workday here in Spain, where relationships are of the utmost importance. We were all laughing, working, eating, praying, and of course laughing some more. I felt encouraged as we finished the day, and my hope is that as a group we also encouraged the pastor and Antonio. The numbers of the fellowship have grown even in the past six months and all the rooms in the building are in use each Sunday. Even since the beginning of our time here, we have seen the numbers grow, which is a huge encouragement. I ask that you remember this fellowship in your prayers; there are many people to be reached in this area and I believe that this group is seeking the direction of the Father. As their fellowship grows, they will have to consider the possibility of seeking a new meeting place, which is not a terrible problem to have, but can come with many headaches. We are all looking forward to our remaining time here in Rincon (before we move to another area to help with a camp). As the weeks fill up, we continue to see ways that we can be used as encouragers to the local believers.

We are continuing with language studies, and I have noticed that all of us are improving in vocabulary and grammar. I have continued to be surprised at how tiring it can be to spend a day trying to communicate in another language. After a Sunday, when we listen in Spanish and then try to converse in Spanish, we are exhausted. It is stretching and humbling, but necessary. Thank you for your thoughts. Continue to lift our team up for unity and guidance.

-Lynette

It's amazing how everyone within the church is so supportive of each other compared to the outside world. Spain can have the feeling of a very dark spiritual climate, but as soon as we are surrounded by friends with one common thread the room comes alive with joy. I'm very glad that we are not alone here!

-Joel

*Names changed or last names omitted for security reasons



For ongoing updates from the REACH teams, check out their team blogs here.

We are still accepting applications for REACH 2015. Click here to learn more.