« September 2016   |   Main   |  November 2016 »

October 31, 2016

A Reflection on the 2016 Prayer Conference

On October 21-22, almost a hundred people from all different walks of life gathered at the RIC to reflect on, grow in, and worship through prayer at RMM’s biennial Prayer Conference. The weekend included prayer workshops, a time of worship through prayer led by Merlin Miller, and a session on bold prayer taught by Verlin Haarer. After numerous prayer activities that the participants could choose from on Saturday afternoon, the conference concluded with a time of corporate communion. Mim Musser, RMM’s Prayer Coordinator shares a few highlights of the weekend:
A highlight of the weekend is that it was an intergenerational gathering. My sense is that often in our churches intergenerational interaction doesn’t happen easily because everyone is in a class/group with others close to their age. “There is a richness that is lost when we interact only with people like us…”There is a richness that is lost when we interact only with people like us no matter what age we are or what life season we are in. It was a delight to watch the eighty plus year olds interact with the young REACHers, older parents connecting with a young pregnant mother, and young adults ministering through prayer for persons much older than themselves. I saw a young adult sitting with an older couple most of the weekend. And I saw people of all ages gather around the REACH teams to pray blessings on them as they head for outreach. One attendee, on his evaluation, said a highlight was: "praying with experienced prayers (old people)." Many of those “experienced prayers” said: “keep REACHers in the mix."

Another highlight for me was observing people engage in a variety of prayer opportunities and seeing how some connected more easily with one than another. Some delighted in the corporate prayer times where they prayed out loud with ease, while others much preferred the solo activities where it was just them and God. Many enjoyed prayer through singing of hymns – in fact, one said that was when they pray the best. Praying for healing for fellow participants was a highlight for some while others felt somewhat uncomfortable and remained on the fringes. Many enjoyed using the names of God in a prayer exercise. I left the conference grateful that our prayer lives can remain fresh and growing as we expose ourselves to variety in our expression.


October 25, 2016

REACH Teams 2016-17

For the past twenty-five years, young people have gathered in Columbus, Ohio, every fall to focus on discipleship training and missions. The REACH program begins with a three-month period in which the participants learn about the Bible, themselves, and how to live as God-honoring and people-loving men and women. They also prepare for the cross-cultural part of the program by studying the languages and cultures of the countries they will live in for six months. This year, the twenty-nine participants and ten team leaders have enjoyed practicing what they are learning here at the RIC and in Columbus, but they look forward to living out these lessons and concepts when they begin their outreaches in December.

Ecuador

css template
Katie, Brenda, Erica, Alisa, Esther (team leader), Rachel
This team will be serving alongside the Shekinah Foundation to care for, invest in, and mentor children and teenagers, many of whom are orphaned or escaping abusive situations. Additional opportunities include home visits, earthquake relief, manual labor, assisting in church planting, and partnering with the Ecuadorian church in evangelistic efforts.

Follow their team blog here

Eurasia

css template
Danae and Daniel (team leaders), Kurt, Micah, Sarah, Lauren
This team will spend three months in Greece, reaching out to immigrants by distributing supplies, building relationships, doing manual labor, and teaching English. For the second half of outreach, they will reach out to a different immigrant population in a nearby country. They will spend their days connecting with international college students, practicing relational evangelism, discipling new believers, supporting a church plant, and assisting long-term workers in ministry.

Follow their team blog here

Himalayas

css template
Robert, Aaron, Raegan, Jared (team leader), Brianna, Candace
In the Himalayas, there is a history of repression of Christianity. Yet in spite of the danger, the church in the Himalayas is the fastest growing church per capita in the world! This team will be involved in a variety of outreaches including trekking into unreached villages, volunteering at a drug rehab center, teaching English, preaching, earthquake relief, and helping with discipleship training.

Follow their team blog here

Indochina

css template
Derrick (team leader), Megan, Kara, Shayne
This southeastern Asian country has struggled to find its role in a region that is dominated by other, more advanced countries. Today, eighty percent of the people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and natural resources for survival. This team will be serving alongside a local NGO, assisting in relief work and educational projects. Other possible opportunities include building relationships with university students, prayer ministry, discipling young believers, teaching English, and encouraging the persecuted church.

Follow their team blog here

North Africa

css template
Asher (team leader), Garret, Treyvon*
This region of the world is a center for Islamic learning and heritage, and only five percent of people in this region have ever met a Christian or heard the gospel. After language study, this team will work alongside RMM’s long-term workers on several community development initiatives. Possible projects include dairy farming, agriculture, and renewable energy. The team may also spend several weeks trekking into mountain villages to share Jesus, which in many places is for the first time.

Follow their team blog here

Spain

css template
Ruthann (team leader), Mandi, Gabrielle, Alexa
This team will partner with RMM’s long-term workers in building relationships and reaching out to the Spanish people. Possible outreach options for this team include: prayer ministry, teaching English, friendship evangelism, immigrant ministry, homeless ministry, food distribution, and volunteering at an agricultural youth camp.

Follow their team blog here

Thailand

css template
Lacy, Kris, Noah, Josh and Nikki (team leaders), Paige
This team will join RMM’s long-term workers in building relationships and discipling new believers and seekers in the capital city. After language school, they will spend their days teaching English, ministering to kids, building relationships with university students, prayer walking, and mentoring the children that are part of the long-term team.

Follow their team blog here

USA, Montana

css template
Kelly, Christian, Trent (team leader), Amy
This team will work among the people of the Flathead Reservation in northwestern Montana with a thriving ministry that is dedicated to sharing the gospel through a variety of ways. Opportunities for outreach include sports ministry through Athletes in Action, labor projects, relational ministry, children’s programs, church planting, participating in Bible studies, and working with several programs sharing the gospel throughout the state.

Follow their team blog here




*Name changed for security

October 20, 2016

Hello from Me to You: An Update from Cora

Edited excerpt from Cora's* October 2016 newsletter

It has been exactly one month since I arrived here in North Africa! As I look back on the last four weeks, I am so thankful for the smooth transition I have had since arriving. I know I still have a lot to learn and there are still parts of the culture that I will need to get used to, but I feel like I’m past the initial shock of moving to a new country.

When I was thinking about the reasons for my smooth transition, it came to my attention that the team here has taken such good care of me. Every one of them is so supportive and has such a heart for the work here! We share many meals together, travel together, and just spend time hanging out! I have also been attending the international fellowship here which gives a good sense that we are not alone in our work! Also, I have wonderful roommates! We all have different schedules, but we normally have supper together in the evenings and hear about each other’s days. It is a great support system and a lot of fun as well (especially when we go on adventures like stargazing on the flat roof and walking the length of the street on the apartment roofs, because they all connect!). I am continually grateful for all these people in my life and I thank God that he has worked out all the details for this stage of settling in!

“I am continually grateful for all these people in my life and I thank God that he has worked out all the details for this stage of settling in!”My biggest update is that I have started language study! I study five days a week for three hours every afternoon and then normally two to three hours of homework each day. Initially, before starting language, I felt intimidated by the challenge because I had never attempted to learn another language in my life. I asked you all to be praying for me and I am so thankful for your prayers. If you were praying that I would enjoy language and step up to the challenge, then your prayers were answered!

After our first day of language study, our teacher gave us homework; we had to go to a little shop and buy something! That was a little embarrassing because 1) we couldn’t pronounce the words properly and 2) there were multiple men standing around, waiting for their own things. But everyone was gracious and the owner knew a little English so he confirmed what we wanted in English. But I can now say I have successfully bought things from the shop since that time!

I ask that you continue to pray for me as I continue language study. Pray that my enjoyment would not turn to discouragement when I come to obstacles in the language and that I would persevere even when I feel that my brain cannot possibly take in any more information!

As you are praying, you can also ask God that I would sense his leading on my next steps of involvement here in the city. There are times when I feel like I am in a bubble, because I have language study here at my apartment, and if I go out, normally it is simply to get groceries or to visit Raleigh and Opal. I am still at a hard stage for building relationships because my language is so limited, but I want to be open if opportunities arise.

In the next month I will be doing a two-week homestay. This will include living with a local family and doing life with them. I don’t really know what to expect, but everyone says it will be a great experience to see authentic culture and learn from the locals. In this time I will build relationships with the family that I can continue to cultivate. One fact that will tell you a little bit about the culture here is that, the family only wants to know a day or two before I arrive. Even though we already have planned when I will start the homestay, it’s too early to tell the family. The culture is so laid-back and flexible…you just go with the flow!

I would appreciate prayer during the homestay, because it will definitely be out of my comfort zone. Pray that I can appreciate the things that are different in this culture instead of thinking them strange. Also, that I would be willing to make mistakes when talking to the family (who will only know the local language).

Thank you so much for your prayers and your interest in this journey I am on!

*Name changed for security

October 14, 2016

The Apostolic Band: Church Planting Initiators, Trainers, and Mission Mobilizers

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

The term “apostle” is not one that we commonly use to describe leaders in the church today. There are different ways that the title is used in the New Testament, but the word simply means: “one that is sent.” Jeff Carver, who founded SpiritualGiftsTest.com, writes that the mission of apostles today “is to plant new ministries and churches, go into places where the Gospel is not preached, reach across cultures to establish churches in challenging environments, raise up and develop leaders, call out and lead pastors and shepherds, and much more. They often have many different gifts that allow them to fulfill their ministry. These are leaders of leaders and ministers of ministers. They are influencers. They are typically entrepreneurial and are able to take risks and perform difficult tasks. Missionaries, church planters, certain Christian scholars and institutional leaders, and those leading multiple ministries or churches often have the gift of apostleship."

RMM has initiated the Apostolic Band, “a group of persons designated and commissioned by the RMM Executive Team to serve as apostolic church planting initiators, trainers, and mission mobilizers for the purpose of reaching the least reached in the United States and around the globe,” facilitated by Richard Showalter. These leaders are sent by a plethora of congregations and communities to spread the gospel, and they are joining together to share stories, pray, and learn from each other.

“We know that we want to pray together, encourage each other, and partner in ministry as the Holy Spirit leads… We want to be a blessing to CMC, RMM, and the wider body of Christ as he leads us.”For the past 45 years, Richard and his wife Jewel have been involved in numerous stateside ministries such as providing leadership at both Rosedale Bible College and Eastern Mennonite Missions. They have also been involved with sharing the gospel overseas in East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The work of apostleship is one that they have been fulfilling as well as facilitating in others for many years.

The idea to form this group came from a desire within RMM and Richard to see the role of apostle strengthened in the church. Richard believes “it’s the apostolic function in the body of Christ, and the importance of recognizing and nurturing it, that led us to initiate the apostolic band.” Richard took this concept to Joe Showalter, RMM President and Director of Global Missions, and together they worked out the details of how this group would function.

“We as RMM leaders are enthusiastic about the development of this group,” Joe says. “The New Testament is clear that apostles are foundational in the life of the church. Their gifts are essential for a vibrant, thriving church.”

As Richard and Joe discussed the objectives and purpose of this cohort, they knew that those who would benefit from this band reached beyond CMC, and beyond Americans. Richard reveals that “increasingly, apostles are coming to the U.S. from other parts of the world, and a big challenge is for us in the American church to receive them, bless them, and integrate them into our church fellowships here--specifically in CMC.” As the group began to form, the Apostolic Band gained members from here in the U.S. as well as Africa and Asia. Richard explains that “the apostolic band provides a place for them to connect, a ‘home’ within CMC.”

In August of this year, the Apostolic Band met for the first time at CMC’s Annual Conference in Delaware. It was a rich time of getting acquainted as a group and briefly sharing their stories and testimonies. The group plans on meeting twice a year in person (at Pastors Conference and the Annual Conference), but to stay connected during the year through email, phone conversations, and prayer.

Richard hopes that the Apostolic Band will be able to support and promote the role of apostle in the church. This is “a fellowship group which exists to strengthen, nurture, and challenge these particular members of the body of Christ in what we have been given to be and to do.” While the group is still in the initial stages of formation and figuring out the details of their focus, they do have a clear vision for interacting with each other and engaging the world around them: “We know that we want to pray together, encourage each other, and partner in ministry as the Holy Spirit leads… We want to be a blessing to CMC, RMM, and the wider body of Christ as he leads us.”

For more information about the Apostolic Band, contact info@rmmoffice.org.


October 11, 2016

Hello from the Amazon: An Update from Al

This is a short update from Al Raber, sent by RMM and Berean Community Church to work with SEARA, a boat ministry under Word of Life Brazil, which focuses on evangelism and taking medical teams and supplies to unreached river communities in the Amazon River Basin. Here Al shares about what life has been like since he arrived in Brazil this past summer:

For those of you who may not know, I live on the Word of Life (WOL) North campus. It is in the town of Benevides, which is more or less a suburb of Belém do Pará close to the mouth of the Amazon. WOL has a seminary here to train, teach, and equip pastors and missionaries to reach Brazil and the rest of the world.

Since getting here at the end of June, I’ve had the opportunity to help with teen camps. We had over 500 campers during a two-week period. I worked in the kitchen and the cafeteria. We fed about 500 people three times per day. I helped put on several day camps for students from the public schools. Whenever I can I work with the construction workers here on campus, I enjoy it very much. I like working with my hands, pouring concrete and laying brick.

I spend the bulk of my time studying and practicing Portuguese. I have a language tutor who comes here on Mondays and Fridays. If language acquisition goes well enough, I will be moving about 1,000 miles upriver to the town of Itacoatíra at the end of the year.

I would like to thank all of you for your support and prayers.


Here are some ways you can be praying for Al:
  • For continued adjustment to the climate and culture
  • For a sharp mind as he learns to speak, read, and write Portuguese
  • That he would be able to get all of his documents in order before his move to Itacoatíra

If you would like to receive Al’s updates, contact info@rmmoffice.org


October 06, 2016

Acte de Naissance

A poem by Raleigh,* RMM worker in North Africa

Morning and a new way to walk in an old city.

I interrupt men’s unholy reveries with a friendly greeting; their eyes snap to me instead, and they smile as they respond.

Here is an inviting entrance to a market with the tell-tale signs: odds and ends, vegetables and fruit, push cart men waiting nearby, steps leading up into a mystery of more. I promise myself to return here with the ones I love.

Finally I find the Mukata, people everywhere. Which line should I insinuate myself into? Okay, this one; the others will let me know. Amazing how there is a mysterious and beautiful order to this chaotic gathering of souls. I find that I begin to understand it, or at least to be at peace as I enter the fun challenge. Yes, I sense the order more than I see it—in their peaceful faces and demeanors. All is as it should be, even this foreigner fumbling through his papers again before he arrives at the window hoping to accomplish another cross-cultural task.

Acte de naissance?

He says wrong line, she says wrong office, I try again.

My spirit desires a salve while walking in the hotter sun. A brief interlude with an English-speaking comrade who crosses my path astride a bicycle does the trick, and then I am in search of the ubiquitous colored taxi, heading in the right direction.

Another office, sure to be the right one. Wrong room, go that way.

Didn’t quite catch that. Will meander.

An older, grim-faced gentleman makes eye contact, gives me a hard time, makes me feel stupid before finally gruffing me to go over there.

The man behind the computer is all business with his unusual and hilarious high-pitched voice, but he becomes friendly as I share personal bits of my story while we wait for the man who can actually help me. The latter is, of course, still out to lunch, though it is nearly 3pm.

Will he return? My friend is unsure; he is usually back by this time. But make yourself comfortable in his office, there, sit in that chair.

I sit, alone in my mystery man’s office, in awe at the trust which has just been placed in me to be surrounded by over-sized official books of what would be considered sensitive and personal information in my other country.

Finally he arrives, a cheery, tall, exuberant man. My high-pitched friend has warned him of my presence and of my ability to speak his language, and this new man welcomes me very warmly into the process of obtaining what I long for: acte de naissance for my little Beth, 2 weeks new.

Together, we have the joyful task of deciding how to spell the name in its closest equivalent letters in Arabic. We debate a few of the letters and enjoy the challenge. Here and there we break to ask each other personal questions and he laughs when I say the correct blessings over his own little daughter and we discover that we have the same age and same wedding ring.

Act de naissance will be ready tomorrow. First name, middle name, middle name, LAST. 4 copies and without cost because you are one of us.
I leave, buoyed in spirit on the top of a beautiful, murky sea.

And Beth? She is an alert, light-loving and peaceful baby. I am that baby too.


Raleigh and Opal* moved with their children to North Africa in September of 2015 to bring the light and love of Jesus to those who do not yet know him. In the last year they have experienced all of the joys and pains of learning a new language, establishing new friendships, and participating in a new culture. In August they brought a new baby girl into the world, Beth. To receive more updates and find out ways to pray for this family, email info@rmmoffice.org.

*Names changed for security


October 03, 2016

Getting to Know Judah and Rayna, New Workers in the Middle East

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

These workers are flying to the Middle East this fall to serve as students while helping to spark a people movement to Jesus in a strategic urban center. They are sent by RMM in partnership with Millport Mennonite Church in Leola, Pennsylvania.


“God calls each and every one of us to be following after him and pointing others towards Jesus, no matter where they live.” For Judah and Rayna, they believe “that means living in the Middle East, while being obedient to the call that God has given all Christians.”

Judah and Rayna first met in 2011 when Judah was a participant in REACH and Rayna was on staff at the Rosedale International Center (RIC). Although they “only got to know each other a little over those three months of living under the same roof,” it was enough that a year later Judah sent a note to Rayna to see how she was doing, and from there began a friendship that would eventually lead to marriage in June of 2014.

“God calls each and every one of us to be following after him and pointing others towards Jesus, no matter where they live.”Even before they were married to each other, both felt a call to overseas missions. Aside from participating in REACH (Judah - Chile 2011 and Rayna - the Middle East 2009), Rayna also spent time in Kenya with RMM’s SWIM program in 2005, and went on short missions trips to Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico. Judah’s travels included Israel with Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) in 2007, and brief stays in Peru and Belize.

During these trips, they learned that there are challenges with living overseas. As they go to the Middle East, Judah and Rayna are trusting God to assist them with the initial challenges of finding a house to live in and learning the local language. They also know that building the trust of locals will take intentionality and perseverance, but is “necessary to being effective in sharing the gospel.” The time they spent overseas not only gave them invaluable insight in dealing with communication and culture barriers, but also showed how near God is during those times. “I know God will be with us,” Rayna says, “I experienced him being with me and growing closer to him while I was overseas before, and this helps to reassure me that he will be with us again.”

The first two years of their assignment will be spent learning the local language and adapting to the culture, while focusing on building relationships with the people whom the Lord places in their lives. Judah then plans on continuing his studies at a local university in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, which they hope will help provide them with visas and a means to find employment in the future. Judah and Rayna have committed to an initial plan of six years, but they will stay as long as God allows the door to remain open to them.

Judah and Rayna are passionate about bringing God’s truth and love to this area of the world. “Millions in this region are living under the heavy weight of Islam, while never having the opportunity to meet a true follower of Jesus. God loves them and his heart breaks for those deceived by the enemy. [Judah and Rayna] would love to see a body of men, women, and children go from being held captive by Islam, to being set free to worship the one true God.”

Judah and Rayna are “thankful for God’s leading and for the support of our family and friends. This is something way bigger than ourselves and we so desperately need God’s enabling power to be a part of his heart in the Middle East. He is faithfully leading one step at a time.”


These workers ask us to pray that:

  • God will enable them as they learn the language and adapt to the culture.
  • God will make the way for them to find a place to live in the city.
  • God will be bringing people of peace who are searching for truth and are open to hear the Good News of Jesus.


If you would like to receive Judah and Rayna’s newsletter, email Lonita. You can give to the work at donate.rmmweb.org (designate Judah & Rayna).

*Names changed for security