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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