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October 20, 2015

The 10:2b Prayer and the 10:3a Command

I first heard of the “10:2b prayer” a few years back. I was at a weekend seminar, and the speaker encouraged us to set an alarm on our phones at 10:02 every day. When the alarm goes off, he suggested, stop and pray the 10:2b prayer.

You probably know the story in Luke 10 where Jesus was about to send out 35 or 36 teams of two to the places he “was about to go.” In verse 2, he began his short list of instructions by saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

The harvest is a pretty big theme for Jesus. In John 4:35 he says, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Is the shortage of workers simply a result of blindness—or at least failure to look?

Another time Jesus talked about the harvest is Matthew 9. He makes the same observation and the same request here as he does in Luke 10: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (vv. 37, 38). But here the context is his own traveling ministry of teaching and healing. “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (vv. 35, 36).

Jesus sees the harvest for what it is: crowds of people, broken, beaten, lost, no one to care. If that’s what Jesus sees when he looks around, it’s no wonder he longs for an army of shepherds to care for these people he loves deeply.

I certainly haven’t prayed the 10:2b prayer every day, but I continue to pray it regularly. I want to honor the heart of Jesus. Will you join me?

In 10:2b, Jesus told his disciples to pray for workers to be sent to the harvest, but he didn’t stop there; in verse 3a, he gave them a command. “Go!” It’s that simple. The fields are ripe and waiting for us.

October 18, 2015

A New Life Begins: an Update from Raleigh and Opal

Raleigh, Opal, and their children recently landed in North Africa. They are learning language and building relationships as part of a long-term vision to encourage a people movement toward Jesus. They hope to partner with locals and other workers in agricultural development and teaching English.

What can happen in one month?
The world can change, and yet remain.

One Day
Off the plane onto the tarmac.
The dusty landscape rolls away from the little airport.
Bluish olive and tall, thin cypress trees sprinkle the hills and valleys
sweeping away from our vehicle as we roll through the roundabouts to our city.
A friendly English speaker gives us a whirlwind tour of our new home,
including the...corner store literally around the corner of our house,
and the shop selling ‘complete’ chicken dinners for around $8
(we are talking a whole rotisserie chicken and trimmings).

One Week
We start reading and writing Arabic!
Our teacher is excellent not only as a teacher, but also as a friend.
We learn the lists and lists of proscribed greetings
(what to say when someone is busy or sick, for instance),
familiar verbs, family relationships, occupations, tenses, adjectives.

One Month
We know we live near the neighborhood called…
We know where to buy a chicken.
We meet the chicken while it is alive and bring it home a few minutes later,
ready to eat.
We’ve walked the streets and we’ve torn around in taxis.
We’ve celebrated one of the biggest festivals here—the killing of the sheep
in remembrance of Abraham’s (almost) sacrifice of his son
(Ishmael, in their book).
We’ve accepted innumerable hugs, kisses and candies for our children from strangers.
We’ve made friends with kind young men in the neighborhood
and started relationships with a few older women.

We’ve prayed a lot.
We’ve sung some.
We’ve read books to our children.
We’ve made oatmeal bread.
We’ve washed lots of clothes in our little washer and hung them to dry in the courtyard.
We’ve swept lots of cool, tile floors and made lots of coffee
(after finding a local roaster!).
We’ve created team with our childcare assistant
and another newly arrived young family with two young ones A’s age!
We’ve listened and received and begun to learn and even speak (haltingly).
We’ve thought a lot about you.
We’ve missed you, yes, and been thankful for you over and over.

What have you done?
You prayed that we would feel at home, and we did the first day!
You prayed for language, and we’ve LOVED our teacher and the time learning.
You prayed for our children, and minor disasters have passed and
opportunities keep appearing for them.
You prayed for friends and safety, and we’ve welcomed both.


Next Month?
Our intense language regimen continues.
We continue to learn about our neighborhood, and city, and make friends.
We continue to pray, laugh, sing, cry, miss, wash clothes, wash children…

Like you, we continue to hope.

October 07, 2015

Obeying Jesus’ Command to Go: A New Step for the Latin American Missions Partnership

By Dion & Naty Peachey

“From the moment I heard how many unreached peoples there were without the chance to know Christ, I knew that I couldn’t just keep my arms crossed without doing something.” That is how Patty Córdova* describes her call to go to the nations. Patty will be the first Latin American Missions Partnership (LAMP) worker to be sent from Ecuador to this less-reached region of North Africa.

Patty, like some of us, had the privilege of hearing the good news of Jesus during her childhood and about 20 years ago, she surrendered her life back to the Father as she was reading the New Testament in her apartment. That commitment wasn’t easy to fulfill as she moved through times of faith and doubt, progress and failure. Yet God was faithful in spite of her unfaithfulness and led her on toward life transformation and direction for the future.

Service has been at the center of Patty’s life for many years. She has served as a deaconess and teacher in the La Paz Mennonite Church in her coastal city of Manta. God worked through her to complete her university studies to earn Ecuador’s equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1996. Since then she has been working as a teacher and more recently as director of the elementary school that meets at her church’s facility.

In 1999, Patty participated in SEMBRAR, (to plant in Spanish) Ecuador’s version of the REACH program. SEMBRAR was started by REACH alumnus Ernesto Cárdenas in 1998 as a way to disciple and plant global missions vision in the hearts of the young people of Ecuador. It was during the time of discipleship training in SEMBRAR that she first felt God calling her to go to the lost and unreached. It has been a long time since Patty first heard the call and at times she’s wondered if this dream would be realized, but God has been faithful. Through prayer, Bible study, teaching and cultural training God has kept his call alive through times of trials and doubt.

Now, as she prepares to leave for North Africa in late October, she asks that we pray that the Holy Spirit would give her much wisdom as she adjusts to a new culture and language that are very different from her own. Pray that she would be able to develop good relationships with the people she encounters and serves. Pray also that God would protect her and give her health as she adjusts to the new foods and climate.

In North Africa, Patty will be working at a school for children and young adults with special needs. This school was established by an NGO from Spain, so Patty will be able to work with a Spanish-speaking team. Her goal is to share the love of God through her relationships with students and staff at the school, praying that God would lead them to salvation through his son. She also hopes to find ways that others can come to North Africa to join in the work there.

If you’d like to support Patty financially, you can visit donate.rmmweb.org, and designate the gift for Patty Córdova. For more information about LAMP, email info@rmmweb.org.

*Name changed for security reasons.

October 06, 2015

Required Reading: Four Books that Help Shape REACH Team Leaders

By Courtney Shenk

Editor’s Note: Each year, as a part of their training, REACH team leaders read through a number of books. We asked Courtney Shenk, Assistant Director of SEND Ministries, to tell us about the books she chose for this year. This “curriculum” is designed for young adults, but will be applicable and helpful to anyone interested in becoming a better leader or disciple maker.

When selecting which books to have our team leaders read each year, I try to think primarily about discipleship since we are a discipleship training school and not as directly a leadership training school. So, if the books seem tilted in the direction of discipleship, that’s why.

That is not to say, though, that a good leader requires no training in basic leadership skills. We hope those attributes are being cultivated during the two weeks of team leader training before the participants arrive, and through their weekly team leader development sessions and one-on-ones throughout DTS.

Follow Me
By David Platt

We have the REACH team leaders read Follow Me because ultimately, learning to become followers of Jesus is the best kind of leadership training. In the Gospels, you can see Jesus practice good time management (periods of rest with periods of ministry), develop his “team” of disciples, demonstrate good priorities, good communication, and so on. Additionally, Jesus really understood his mission on earth, really had compassion for the lost, and always kept eternity in mind. If our team leaders can emulate that, then they are on a good path to leading well.

Ordering Your Private World
By Gordon MacDonald

This book really does well at emphasizing the importance of cultivating your inner life first, and letting that shape how you organize your time. It’s a helpful counter message to the American culture that places a high value on productivity and busyness.

Leadership Paradox
By Denny Gunderson

Each chapter of Leadership Paradox opens with a retelling of a Bible story, which helps to bring the main point of the chapter to life. The book addresses a lot of temptations a leader may face, and gives practical pointers in overcoming those temptations.

Soul Keeping
By John Ortberg

Soul Keeping is a good read for leaders while they’re out on the field dealing with the day to day stress of another culture, when it might be easy to forget the needs of our souls. Ortberg’s writing is light-hearted enough that the reader doesn’t feel laden down with more burdens of how to “do better,” but at the same time, he delivers meaningful challenges that inspire people to want to change.