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Pioneers Depart for the Middle East

By Jewel Showalter

Early in 2016, just a month after the REACH teams departed for their outreach locations, a different kind of team left the Rosedale International Center. Three interns, Leo, Kimble, and Rivers,* traveled to a war-torn nation in the Middle East where they will spend six months working as English teachers among a minority people group. Many in the region are displaced people and refugees.

Unlike a REACH team, the interns did not apply for this team, but RMM specifically asked them to consider going. Out of six potentials who received the invitation, these three felt a quickening “yes” in their spirits.

Although the country where they are serving has been severely torn by conflict in recent years, things are now relatively stable and deemed safe for westerners. Nevertheless, the appointment was not lightly offered, nor lightly accepted, and calls for unusual courage and wisdom.

"...we are proud of them for being willing to serve in this sacrificial way. This is a new region for RMM, and we are excited to see what God will do with these pioneers."Colleen, HR director for RMM said, “While we have legitimate concerns for their safety, we are proud of them for being willing to serve in this sacrificial way. This is a new region for RMM, and we are excited to see what God will do with these pioneers.”

All three of the interns have gone through the REACH discipleship training school, served as staff interns at the RIC, and felt God’s clear direction during the decision-making process of joining the team.

For Leo, it wasn’t something that was on his radar, but when he was asked to consider going, he said, “I immediately felt peace that this was a good direction to go. I hope to gain a deeper knowledge of Jesus through being immersed in a totally new environment.”

Kimble said, “I had already felt a call to go to the Middle East, and then an opportunity presented itself. I hope to gain a better sense of what it is like to be in more of a long-term mission atmosphere.”

Similarly, Rivers said, “My heart for Muslims has been growing since my time in REACH. This will give me experience in teaching English overseas and a firmer grasp of what a future in missions could look like.”

As they geared up for the assignment all three of the interns completed TESOL certification. Since none are experienced teachers, they were glad to learn they can begin by shadowing teachers at the language center. Eventually they plan to pick up classes of their own, four nights a week, teaching intermediate English to 18-24 year old adults, most of whom are displaced persons.

Kimble admitted he was scared of teaching, but was looking forward to developing relationships informally with local people through things like playing soccer.

Leo said, “Besides teaching I am quite looking forward to many conversations with people about God, Islam, Jesus and any other topic that comes up.”

“I’ve read a lot about the warmth and hospitality of the local people,” Rivers said. “I look forward to building genuine friendships – both inside and outside the classroom.”

“We are guinea pigs,” Leo added. “This is a new thing for RMM, so we’re needing to learn to go with the flow.”

Not a bad thing, really, for followers of Jesus.

The team requests personal prayer for:

  • confidence and creativity as teachers
  • boldness, strength, courage and perseverance
  • grace to adapt quickly to a new setting

The team requests regional prayer for:

  • a strong, reproducing local church to be birthed
  • continued openness to the gospel
  • peace and security in place of ethnic and religious tensions
  • provision for the many refugees

*Names changed for security reasons.