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Between August and May: Introducing the 2015 REACH Teams

By Hans Shenk and Ashley* – From the November 2015 Beacon

It has become a part of the organizational rhythm of RMM. Every year, on a weekend late in August, between 20 and 35 young people arrive at the Rosedale International Center with their lives packed into suitcases. Every spring, near the end of May, there’s a weekend when 20 to 35 young people carry overflowing suitcases back out of the RIC, stow them in trunks and vans, and drive away.

After witnessing the annual cycle of REACH over time, whether in person or from afar through RMM communications, it’s easy for years, stories and faces to blur together, and for the significance of what happens between those weekends in August and May to be lost. And yet, every year of REACH is unique; every team and every participant is uniquely called.

“Please join us in supporting these young people in prayer as they finish their time of preparation in Columbus and go out to do the work of God’s kingdom around the world."For three months, starting in August, REACHers live at the RIC, cultivating spiritual disciplines, growing together as teams, developing any specialized skills necessary for their assignment, studying language, and learning about the cultures where they’ll be serving. REACHers attend daily teaching sessions, spend considerable time in prayer (by themselves and with their teams), and volunteer with nonprofits and ministries around Columbus. This volunteering time is designed to bless the community, but also to prepare teams for their cross-cultural assignments. Because of the international student population at Ohio State and the various immigrant communities in Columbus, some teams are even able to use their volunteering hours to work with people from the culture or country they’ll be serving in later.

After training in Columbus, the teams are sent to locations around the world where they work for six months in partnership with local ministries. This portion of REACH is meant to bless the host countries, give practical weight to lessons learned in training, and encourage a global perspective.

It’s not only easy to miss the significance of any given year of REACH, it’s also easy to forget how challenging the experience can be. Many REACH alumni describe their time in the program as life-changing, but few describe it as easy. REACHers have unique opportunities to see God move, but they also have unique opportunities to witness the darkness and pain of a world that needs Jesus. Please join us in supporting these young people in prayer as they finish their time of preparation in Columbus and go out to do the work of God’s kingdom around the world.


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Brad (team leader), Morgan, Nathan, Amber

The First Nations people of Canada have experienced centuries of marginalization and abuse, and many struggle to adapt to abrupt cultural shifts and the loss of their traditional way of life. As a result, substance abuse, broken families, and suicide are widespread in First Nations communities. Team Canada will be living in the city of Thunder Bay and working with teens, many of them from a First Nations background, at an inner-city youth drop-in center.

Follow their team blog here


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Cameron, Madison, A (team leader), Jenny, Jared, Brennan

The nation where team Himalayas will be serving is one of the poorest countries in the world, and has been battered by decades of political turbulence and the effects of natural disaster. Christianity is legal, but often oppressed. Despite these challenges, the church in this nation is vibrant and growing. Team Himalayas will travel extensively and serve in a variety of ways, including encouraging remote churches and helping with discipleship trainings.

Follow their team blog here

South Asia

This team will be serving in a region of South Asia where extreme poverty is the norm, and religious persecution is common. Still, the South Asian church is growing rapidly. Team South Asia will spend most of their outreach traveling, sharing the gospel and standing in solidarity with persecuted churches. They may also have occasional opportunities to work at a Christian-operated orphanage.

Follow their team blog here

South Africa

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Danita (team leader), Leanne, Janelle, Cassidy, Katie, Cheyenne

Post-apartheid South Africa is often seen as an example of national unity and resilience, but the consequences of decades of upheaval remain. Due to a 40 percent poverty rate, child abandonment is rampant; at least three babies are abandoned every day in greater Johannesburg. Team South Africa will work with Door of Hope Children’s Mission in Johannesburg, caring for the needs of babies and toddlers.

Follow their team blog here


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Sarah, Ruthann, Dylan, Josh, Jeshua (team leader)

Spain is a post-Christian nation. Over 70% of Spaniards claim Roman Catholicism, but for most, Christianity is nothing more than cultural tradition. This team will be involved in a wide variety of work, from prayer ministry, English teaching, service to the homeless, food distribution, volunteering at an agricultural youth camp, and ministering to North African immigrants.

Follow their team blog here


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Derrick, Amy, Kayla, Steve, Naomi (team leader)

Thailand, “Land of the free,” is a nation of deeply-held belief, tradition, and independence, but also a nation of increasing unrest. This team will live in the capital city, where they will teach English, spend time relating to children and university students, go on prayer walks and mentor the children that are part of RMM’s long-term team in Thailand.

Follow their team blog here

*Names omitted for security