« Previous   |   Main   |   Next »

Conference Recap: Sunday Morning

css template
By Lydia Gingerich

Conference concluded on Sunday morning with RMM’s Missions Day program, highlighting God’s call for all of us to make disciples and celebrating his faithfulness in blessing us as we live out that calling. The congregation was invited to join in God’s work through RMM by praising God with the children’s choir singing about missions, led by Deborah Showalter, and giving financially during the missions day offering. Along with these components of the service was a celebration of God’s faithfulness to RMM, a time of commissioning for new workers, and a message from Richard and Jewel Showalter about the urgency of responding to God’s call.

A Celebration of God’s Faithfulness

Joe Showalter, RMM President, and Mark Yoder, RMM Board member, publicly thanked God for blessing RMM with the ability to fully pay back the money they used to purchase and remodel the Rosedale International Center (RIC). They shared the story of prayers of discernment in purchasing and renovating the building, of asking God for the provision of funds, of thanksgiving for the way God has allowed RMM to be debt-free much sooner than they had planned, and of celebration for the work God is doing through RMM at the RIC.

A Commissioning of Laborers

Colleen, RMM HR Director, introduced a group of eight RMM workers who will be leaving for the field within the next year. Colleen shared that working with this group of three families and three individuals over the past months has been a pleasure. She has seen that “they are very dedicated and willing to make a lot of sacrifices,” and she has been impressed with “their deep love for Jesus and passion for the lost.”

Cora* is going as an intern to North Africa this fall to help the families that are working there. She shared how she will have restrictions as a single woman. “In general, men and women do not interact socially unless they are related, so as a single woman I will have to be very cautious about how I interact with men.”

Judah and Rayna* are going to a country in the Middle East that has seen much upheaval and turmoil. Rayna shared that they deal with this by remembering that they have been called to this country. “When you feel that God is calling you to an area, you have to think about your choices. And to me, our choice is only obedience. Whatever happens, we have to trust that God knows best.”

Eugene and Katrina with their two young children, Jimmy and Lucy* are going to North Africa early next year. Katrina shared that they will have to trust God to help them overcome misconceptions of who Christians are and the fear of getting a local person in trouble by sharing the gospel with them. They plan to eventually establish a business near the coast that allows them to build relationships with employees and those with whom they have transactions.

Colleen then introduced the group of workers from Grace Mennonite Church, who were excited about heading to Thailand in less than a week: Jacob, Karly, and Angie. (Note: Jacob and Karly’s two son and a childcare assistant, Janessa, will also be traveling with the team, but were not able to attend conference) They shared about being motivated by a strong call to go and share the love of Christ with the many people who do now know him in Bangkok.

Led by Colleen and Joe, the body of believers gathered in the auditorium commissioned this group of workers. Joe prayed, “We rejoice that you are sending these workers into the harvest and we continue to beg you to send more workers into the harvest, because the laborers are few. We the church stand together to send these people whom you have called and are sending with your authority, your hope, your light, and the peace of Jesus. We commission them, as you have already done, to go and make disciples to the ends of the earth.”

A Challenge: Here Am I, Send Me
By Richard and Jewel Showalter

Richard began with a question he asked his dad years ago: “What does it mean to be a Mennonite?” His father’s answer is one that has helped to guide Richard’s life ever since; “I think being a Mennonite is like being part of a movement.” Over the years Richard has seen Jesus saying the same thing to people following him all over the world – “You are a part of a movement. I am Jesus, and I am building my church on you.”

After asking whether the people in that room wanted to be a part of that movement, Richard said, “Many of us this morning say we want to be a part of a movement, and I think a lot of us here know we are part of a movement, but I think God wants to drive a stake in the end of this meeting today in which we go from this this place with a renewed vision that we are a movement… We are a part of a great global movement under the leadership of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Richard went on to look at how the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 has provided vision for him and Jewel in how they are to live out the great commission. Like
Peter, we are eager to commit. But when the call becomes costly, we are tempted to go back on our promises. Richard pointed out that in this story Cornelius is being sent by God to Peter, before Peter is sent to him. “When God finally gets us going, we usually need as much conversion as those to whom we go.” Realizing that being a part of God’s movement can be challenging, Richard gave a challenge “to receive and disciple those who are sent to us” and “be willing to be sent to those whom the Lord sends to us.”

Jewel and Richard continued to tell story after story of believers whose walk with God was one of passion, and a filling of the Holy Spirit. These people listened to God and sought to lead others in walking with him. It is a walk that includes a willingness to repent, a dedication to honest testimony, and an eagerness to trust in God.

Richard closed with an invitation to join the movement through praying this prayer: Father, this morning I dedicate the rest of my life to meeting those people you have prepared for me. Wherever I am, in my own home, in the community where I was born, or in some other place to which you have taken me or take me in the future, lead me to prepared people—those you want me to meet, to love, to disciple, to serve, to shepherd, and to lay down my life for. I owe my life to you, you have bought me back by the blood of Jesus. I belong to you. Please forgive me for the ways I’ve been side-tracked—you know them all. Give me a life of Kingdom focus, until I see you face-to-face.

*Name changed for security