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February 28, 2017

Why Are We Here?

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By Judah* RMM worker in the Middle East

Since being here we have been asked this question more times than we can count – by locals and foreigners alike. Honestly, it can be a bit wearisome, especially after you have answered the question many times, and every time it feels like you have given an unsatisfactory response. This is mainly due to the fact that the answer we give would not have brought us here on its own. Because of this, I sat down one afternoon and reminded myself of why we are here. So to you on the other side of the big pond, here is a bit of why we pulled up roots and moved to the other side of the world.

Our Father has told us to “Declare His glory among the nations...He is to be feared above all the gods.” As I write, I hear the call to prayer sounding in my neighborhood. I am sure men are going to the mosque to pray, trying to please a god whom they fear, but we know the power he truly has. I am here because my God is to be feared, yet he loves each person deeply and paid the ultimate price for them.

“I am here because my God is to be feared, yet he loves each person deeply and paid the ultimate price for them.”I am here because there are millions of people who do not know the things many of us were taught as children. “How are they to (trust) in him in whom they have not heard?” Thinking of millions of people can be very impersonal, but if I think of Muhammet* from the local bakery or the covered woman sitting across from us on the bus, it becomes more personal. It is because of individuals like these who have not trusted our Father that we are here. We long to say with the Old Testament prophet, “waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool and the thirsty ground, springs of water.”

These are some of our real reasons for being here and we try to remind ourselves of this when we are asked questions of why we are here. While we try to keep this focus on our side of the world, may you be doing so in your areas as well. He should be the reason we do what we do.

We have now been here three and a half months, and life has begun to settle into a bit of a routine. A typical day entails personal language study in the morning, working on tasks that need done at home or seeking out shopkeepers to talk with in the afternoon, and going to language school three evenings a week. Both of us have some local shops we frequent in an effort to practice language and build relationships. We enjoy these opportunities and are looking for more ways to interact with people. Language is slow in coming, but we are making progress and we try to focus on how much we know rather than how little we know.

Since coming here our lives have revolved around discerning, figuring out, and deciding things. Last week, we passed a major hurdle that had been looming in front of us. We had an appointment for our residence permits and were given permits until December. We are very glad to have this behind us for the time being. As things are checked off of the “to do list” it seems the list quickly fills in behind them. In the near future, we will be welcoming a new little one into our family so we will be learning many things with that. Besides that, we are continuing to seek the Father as to the best ways to learn the language, build relationships, and in general get plugged into life here in our country. We would appreciate it if you would remember these things when you think of us.

On February 11, 2017 Judah and his wife Rayna’s baby boy, Tevye,* was born. Praise God for his guidance and provision during this time, and continue to pray for health and a peaceful adjustment for this family.

*Names changed for security

February 24, 2017

Walk and Talks: A REACH Update

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By Candace, Team Himalayas

Team Himalayas spends much of their outreach time encouraging believers and visiting different villages. Because of the sensitive nature of the region, this team uses creative language to discuss certain spiritual concepts.

We have been in our current village for about three weeks now, and every day has been quite the experience. Lately, we have been finding more time to go to town and talk to store owners and make relationships. A lot can be talked about over a cup of chia (tea)!

Recently we traveled to a village about 2 ½ hours away and stayed there overnight. It was a short time, but it was packed full of “walk and talks” with the Father. There are very few believers in that area, but the passion of the ones there are incredible. They want to share with everyone everywhere! One of the places our team and some local believers walked to was a shop/house of a family who had recently come to faith. “There are very few believers in that area, but the passion of the ones there are incredible. They want to share with everyone everywhere!”We were gladly welcomed in and were given some tea. We sat together and introduced ourselves and then had a time of listening to requests and talking to the Father with the family. We later left with the shopkeeper and he showed us where the land he donated for the Father’s house would be. There is currently no building, but construction is soon to start! We then lifted up to the Father the land that was given and then headed back to where a small fellowship was being held at a house. There was lots of singing and dancing, and then Jared shared.

The next morning we headed towards the mountains to do more walk and talks with the Father. It was about an hour drive and then we arrived! We poured out of the little taxis and started walking. We walked for a ways in silent prayer then we gathered at a house and had a fellowship there where Robert shared. Then we walked to another piece of land where another Father’s house will hopefully be built. After about two hours of walk and talks, we started back. We piled in the taxis and drove back to the shop/house we were at earlier. They fed us an awesome meal of rice, lentils, veggies, and fish. We were all stuffed. We then headed back and had one last fellowship time before we left and they gave us some small gifts. It kind of took me by surprise because we were there for only about two days! But they just keep on giving!

Another experience I would like to share about is our classes. We teach English to a group of all ages, with a majority being little kids. I sat by a lady who is probably in her early thirties and knows very little English. Aaron and Bri were teaching that night and the rest of us were there to help out when needed. As the class went on I could tell the lady wasn’t catching on quite as quickly as some of the others. When class was over I saw her starting to walk home and then I yelled, “Didi! Didi!” (Older sister! Older sister!). As we walked we had our own little English class! We laughed at each other’s pronunciation of the different languages the whole way home. When we got there I had someone write some English words in the local language for her to study. She thanked me several times and it felt good to be able to help, even if it was just English.

It is things like this that aren’t really big but still make you feel good on the inside, and are a great chance to build relationships with the people here. The Father has been teaching me a lot lately and I’m excited for how he will mold and shape me in the remaining months

The Father is doing amazing work in the Himalayas and in this team! Please keep them in your thoughts as they only have three more weeks in this village. Pray that relationships will grow stronger, believers would continue to be encouraged, and the whole village would be exposed to the love of God.

February 21, 2017

SEND Interns 2017

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2017 SEND Interns: Paige, Sarah, Josh, Cameron, Amy, Jenny, Janelle

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

Each year, from January to December, a group of seven young people come to the Rosedale International Center (RIC) in Columbus, Ohio, to live and serve as SEND Ministries staff interns. The year is designed to help them mature in their faith and grow as leaders through times of training, mentoring, ministry, and community outreach. Throughout the summer and fall, they each play a vital role in facilitating the City Challenge program and REACH Discipleship Training School (DTS). They invest a lot of time and energy into the lives of the many participants of these programs, and also into their daily responsibilities at the RIC.

Paige (Chouteau, Oklahoma)

Paige is one of the hospitality assistants who helps keep the RIC clean and welcoming. She was on the South Asia REACH team last year, working at an orphanage and speaking at churches. While there, she experienced God’s deep love for the nations and how amazing it is that he also loves her. Paige enjoys photography and reading, and is looking forward to this year of being around a group of people who are seeking after God. She is learning to do everything for God’s glory. “Often people think that we can only do big things for his glory, but even in our small mundane tasks, like cleaning or helping someone with something simple, we can do it for him.”

Sarah (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Sarah is the administrative assistant and is in charge of the mailboxes, worship songs, and the cashbox during REACH DTS. She also helps with organizing REACH applications and other office work. During her outreach to Spain last year, her team spent time growing and learning with a Catholic youth group and sharing Jesus with those around them through building friendships. In Spain she realized that she could be “walking around the city, looking all alone,” but during those times she knew she had a friend in God. Sarah loves going to the beach, reading non-fiction, and hanging out with friends. This year she looks forward to building on current friendships as well as creating new ones.

Josh (Middlebury, Indiana)

A part of Josh’s position as the prayer coordinator requires spending ten hours a week in prayer – alone, with others, as worship. He will also be in charge of the City Challenge Prayer Challenge and will meet with REACH teams once a month for prayer during DTS. Last year on Team Spain he didn’t know the language and didn’t always have friends around, but he learned to rely on God for companionship and confidence. Josh enjoys fishing, mowing, and watching movies with twist endings. “Pouring into those who come for City Challenge and REACH” are among some of the things Josh looks forward to in the coming year.

Cameron (Hartville, Ohio)

Cameron assists Myron Mast, RIC maintenance supervisor, and Jordan Stoltzfus, property manager, by maintaining the RIC grounds. As the facilities assistant he will be mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, and generally fixing things. Last year, Cameron went to the Himalayas through REACH where his team “did what [they] could to encourage the church through visits and preaching.” Cameron loves playing music – he plays the guitar, bass, drums, and is learning to play piano. This year he looks forward to making God a part of every decision, taking initiative and leaving his comfort zone. He believes that “as believers, we are called to do something with our lives rather than just sitting back and letting it come to us.”

Amy (Salisbury, Pennsylvania)

Amy is the community outreach coordinator and will be setting up outreaches for City Challenge groups and REACH teams. She also hopes to spend time figuring out ways that the RIC can be involved in the community around it. Traveling to Thailand with REACH last year taught Amy to take the opportunities God gives her, even if they seem insignificant – “stepping out in faith and being confident in the fact that God is working.” Amy enjoys creating beautiful images with paints and pencils, and she is also learning to play guitar and piano. One day she desires to use her gifts to help abused or neglected children through art therapy.

Jenny (Au Gres, Michigan)

Jenny is the other hospitality assistant this year. As a part of Team Himalayas last year with REACH, she helped with earthquake relief and encouraged the local church. During outreach, her team did not always know what was next on the schedule, but she learned to be flexible and open to whatever God was bringing them. Jenny loves being outside, especially during the winter when she can ice skate and snowboard. She knows that being in more of a leadership role this year will be challenging, but she is excited to “step into that role and take initiative.”

Janelle (Greenwood, Delaware)

As the food services assistant, Janelle helps Susannah Cotman, RIC food services manager, with food preparations and meal planning. Janelle indicated that during the winter and spring she takes care of the interns, “so I make sure they are not starving to death.” Janelle’s REACH experience was in South Africa, caring for babies at an orphanage, which she says “grew [her] heart for foster care and adoption.” In her free time Janelle likes to take long hikes, or sharpen her drawing and piano skills. As an intern she is excited to meet lots of new people and hear their stories.

Please pray for these interns throughout the year as they disciple and encourage other young people who come to the RIC. Pray for boldness and a strengthening of their faith in God.

February 16, 2017

Being Fed for the Journey: Team Thailand Retreat

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By Candice, worker in Thailand

The RMM Thailand team had a wonderful retreat this past weekend with visiting speakers Steve and Phyllis Swartz! Our theme was "journey" and we learned so much and each heard from God in unique ways. The Swartz's first took us through a "hero's journey" where we learned the steps of a disciple maker's journey looking at the parallel story of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. We talked about our call to adventure, our big steps over the threshold from known to unknown, and the challenges and temptations that follow, eventually leading to death, resurrection, and finally reproduction. "Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over." What an encouragement to us! We understood again the importance of sticking with our adventure here and dying to self in order to produce fruit – to be patient in waiting for God to bring us a harvest in Thailand.

Steve and Phyllis also helped us stock a "toolkit" with new and fresh ways to study Bible stories. Some of those tools were numbers, type scenes, words, motifs, and story arc. We looked closely at two stories with similar type scenes of "trial in the wilderness" (Hagar and Ishmael/Abraham and Isaac). We learned how to dig deeper into the story to find God speaking on multiple levels. There were other interesting talks too: water for the journey (pouring out, sacrifice), “It was a wonderful time of being fed by God – a feast for our team!”together on the journey (encouraging words, hard relationships) and rest for the journey (listening, leaning, landing, limiting). We had lots of time for sharing our thoughts in small and big groups, thinking and praying and writing to Jesus, and reflecting on quotes and scriptures. It was a wonderful time of being fed by God – a feast for our team!

The weekend was a great bonding time as a team as well. We had a fun pizza party and late night talks in our hotel rooms. The kids enjoyed tons of snacks and special classes with the REACH teams. The Thailand and Indochina REACH teams had fun being reunited again for the weekend. We all especially loved Karly's minute-to-win-it games like stacking soda cans with raw spaghetti in the mouth and a blindfolded maze game. Steve and Phyllis also tested our teamwork with a survival game in which most of us died in the snow (we're in Bangkok, we don't know how to survive subzero temperatures!). We are so thankful for this chance for input and growth as a team. Thanks for your prayers for our work here!

Introducing New Executive Assistant

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By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

The newest member of the RMM office staff, Danae Stoltzfus, will be working as the Executive Assistant at RMM. We couldn’t be more delighted to have such a capable person fill this role. In her free time, Danae enjoys creating art, participating in church outreach, and attending local events with friends. Danae grew up in Apple Creek, Ohio, but has been living in Columbus for the past three years working at a number of bakeries, and most recently, as a nanny.

Before moving to Columbus Danae traveled to Hawaii to work with Surfing the Nations for four months, and then to Honduras for ten days to help out at an orphanage. This past summer she joined her aunt and uncle in Kenya to help with some of the various ministries they are involved with there. She has a great desire to see the love of Jesus impact every nation. Throughout Danae’s life, God has shown her that his timing is always perfect and she can trust him to take care of her needs. She looks forward to this new position with RMM and is excited to see how God will use her here.

February 14, 2017

The Great Unpredictable: A REACH Update

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By Kara, Team Indochina

Kara is a part of Team Indochina, reaching out to a southeastern Asian country through teaching, building friendships, and encouraging local believers.

Well, things are starting to fall into place for Team Indoscribable. We each have our own unique schedules and duties at the international school, and it’s been amazing to connect with the hilarious and precious children there. I’ve never felt more like a celebrity than when I walk into the school yard and am suddenly surrounded by excited faces all shouting “Teacher! Teacher!” touching my hair, and asking a hundred strange and completely random questions. My music classes are painfully loud and often completely off key, but seeing the grins as the kids bang away on whatever instruments they can get their hands on, and hearing adaptations of the songs they’re learning as I walk through the school, makes every chaotic moment absolutely worth it!

Twice a week, I do some one-on-one language tutoring with one of my sweet little school girls. I love this job because I get to see the progress she’s making, as well as directly speak with and encourage her. Other tasks I’ve taken on here include organizing boxes of untouched books at the school (if you know me at all, you understand how much joy this brings me!), playing with and getting to know the three little kiddies who live in our apartment building, and teaching English to fifteen college students two nights a week. English teaching is a struggle at times. I’ve definitely had to sacrifice a lot of my pride and standards of perfection in the attempt to find fun and effective ways of communicating. Sometimes the things I plan the most turn out to be an utter failure in the classroom and I find myself completely winging the remaining painful hour, but I’m slowly figuring out that what matters most is just finding some minor way to connect with the students. Even if I feel like I didn’t teach much, the brief conversations and exchanged smiles remind me that I’m really here to love, not to be the perfect teacher.

"'Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.' Those words made me stop and think, 'What am I sowing?'"This past month has been so very different from the previous month, going from feeling like I was doing nothing, to wondering how in the world I’ll stay on top of all the things asked of me. A couple weeks ago I was brought to 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, a passage which encourages generosity – generosity of service and gifts, it never specifically refers to money. “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor” (v. 9). It’s got me thinking a lot about time. Time is really my greatest resource right now, and a few weeks ago I felt some conviction in the way in which I was spending it. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (v. 6). Those words made me stop and think, “What am I sowing?” I’m giving six months to be in this country, to serve, not to sit. It’s not my job to worry about the fruit produced. All I can control is the seeds being sown, and nothing gets sown when you stay stationary, never going out into the field. So I find myself challenged to step further out, give more of my time, and in doing so I’ve discovered an interesting truth. By better living out my dream and passion for being here, I’ve found myself full of more dreams and passions than before. Following one has opened up many more, which is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. However, there’s the reassurance that even when this adventure comes to an end there is still more for me to pursue.

I’m starting to think that “regular” life is completely something of our own making–the result of static complacency. Life will never be “regular” as long as you remain open to being filled with and obediently pursuing the dreams, passions, and opportunities God brings before you. Regular is not a word to describe life purposefully lived; it is not a word that could ever be used to describe the All-Knowing, Awe-Inspiring, Great Unpredictable One. If my life can ever be described as regular, or if I think that after this I am returning to regular, then I have shut out the extraordinary life that has been graciously bought for me. I want to live a life of continual walking into that Great Unpredictable.

Please be thinking of our team as we continue making decisions for how and where we want to be spending our time. We are really thankful for the opportunities opening up before us, but it can be overwhelming to choose what we want to get involved in, what we can handle, and what we have to turn down for the time being. We also ask for persistence and creativity as we continue trying to overcome the communication barrier and find ways to better connect with the people here.

Do you want to join a REACH team in 2017-2018?
Click here to apply or learn more.

February 10, 2017

Go. Be Love: A REACH Update

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By Katie, Team Ecuador

Katie and her team have been in Ecuador since the beginning of December, helping at a foundation designed to care for neglected and at-risk children and teens. Here she shares a story of how she was emboldened to be God’s love to those around her.

I’ve now been living on another continent for two months. That seems crazy to believe, and as cliché as this may sound…time is flying by. My team arrived in Ecuador on November 29th and now here we are, just a few days shy of February.

Our first month seemed to drag on forever. We all had thoughts of “are we ever going to leave?” and “how long is outreach going to take?” I don’t want to spend my whole time here waiting to go home. I want to look back on my adventure to Ecuador and remember living in the moment. I want to cherish my time of trying new foods, learning a new language and most importantly being God’s love.

“If I am here six months and choose to be God’s love daily, then that is enough for me. I was called to go, and while going I am then called to be God’s love.”For a while, as we were first starting out, I was so focused on thinking “we have to make a big impact.” But that is so false, and honestly, it’s a lie from Satan. My time here doesn’t have to involve some crazy story of how I led someone to know Christ or the way I spent each day out preaching in the streets. If I am here six months and choose to be God’s love daily, then that is enough for me. I was called to go, and while going I am then called to be God’s love.

I want to share this story with you…

This was just this week, during one of my shifts at the foundation. I was asked by a “tia” (one of the paid caretakers), to have a girl wash school uniforms. Now, this girl is known to have a bit of a temper, so I knew I may have my work cut out for me. Regardless, I went upstairs to her room and told her it was time to wash uniforms. She flopped her eleven-year-old self onto her bed and moaned, “I don’t want to.” Please honey, you know you have to…come with me and I’ll help you. No. She wouldn’t budge. I showed her my watch and told her I would give her one minute, then she needed to come. I walked out into the hallway for a minute to pass. When I walked back in, she got up and came with me (although still grouchy). We went outside to where the children hand-wash clothes. She washed the skirts and pants, while I stood beside her, washing the shirts. Once we had finished I told her how much I love her and that even though she acts bad sometimes, I will always love her. A smile sprouted on her face and she gave me a long, tight hug.

That story may seem simple to you, it really was nothing major. But to the eleven-year-old little girl who harbors anger from her past…I was the one who chose not to yell at her. Instead, I gave her a minute, literally just one minute. I showed her that I would be there with her, helping her and loving her. In that moment I was being God’s love.

I was called to go, and I was called to be love…and these kids are the recipients of that.

As you pray for Katie and her team to love the children at the foundation, ask God how he can use you to be his love to the people he puts in your path.

Do you want to join a REACH team in 2017-2018?
Click here to apply or learn more.

February 09, 2017

An Invitation to BOOST 2017

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Are you a Christian business person seeking fellowship, encouragement, training, and networking opportunities? The BOOST Business Retreat may be just what you are looking for. Larry and Dot,* Rosedale Business Group Directors, share about their experience at BOOST:

“From the first time Larry and I had the privilege of attending BOOST, we have made a strong effort not to miss this retreat. We have been through many transitions during the last few years and BOOST has served to provide a wealth of connections for us as we worked through these experiences. We find this retreat to be a wonderful gift and a highlight in our year. We find new friends to network with through each stage of our lives. We love the input from the plenary speakers and we are grateful for the quality of individuals CMC provides for BOOST.”

The 2017 BOOST Business Retreat will be held at Hartville Kitchen in Hartville, Ohio, on March 2-4. Register now at www.cmcrosedale.org/events/boost.

*Names omitted for security

February 07, 2017

Called to the Middle East: Introducing Glen

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By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

Four and a half years ago Glen* left his home in Grantsville, Maryland, to join a REACH Team to the Himalayas, awakening a desire to be involved in overseas missions long-term; he has been working toward this goal ever since.

Upon his return from the Himalayas, Glen attended Rosedale Bible College (RBC) where he gained important knowledge about studying the Bible, and developed close friendships. As part of his education at RBC, he joined the Bridge program, interning with International Friendships Incorporated (IFI) in Columbus. As an intern with IFI he befriended international students and learned about cross-cultural discipleship.

Glen returned to the Himalayas for a year to lead a REACH team, and then continued pursuing his education at Columbus State Community College. Here he began searching for an opportunity to go back overseas in order to follow the call God put in his heart in 2012. Glen hoped for something that would prepare him “through experience and education for that long-term call.” On February 8, Glen will travel to the Middle East to start a six-month internship with RMM.

“It has taken the encouragement, love, and prayers of many friends and family to get him to this point, and he knows that he will continue to need that support as he follows this call.”While in the Middle East, Glen will spend most of his time working with refugees. He plans to visit different camps, work at a school for refugees, and help with an after school program for both refugees and locals. He will also serve in a few small hospitals and clinics. As he gets involved, he hopes “to be understanding more of the cultural mindset of the people, needs that they have, and ways that others are working towards meeting those needs.”

This internship is another step in Glen’s journey to reach out to displaced peoples and help meet their needs for healthcare, education, and the love of Christ. It has taken the encouragement, love, and prayers of many friends and family to get him to this point, and he knows that he will continue to need that support as he follows this call.

Please pray that God will lead Glen and show him ways he can be working in the area long-term. Pray that he will have wisdom when speaking and interacting with others, and that he will be able to pick up the languages quickly.

*Name changed for security

February 06, 2017

The Unreached Are Within Reach

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By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19

Two thousand years later, this task remains unfinished. Out of the 16,560 people groups that make up “the nations” of our world, 6,698 are still unreached—with little, if any, access to the Bible, Jesus Christ, or his followers. These groups make up 42.1% of the world’s population—roughly 3.1 billion people—living predominately in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.1

Joshua Project defines an unreached people group as one “among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize without outside assistance.” For these people to ever hear about Jesus or understand his love, followers of Christ need to purposefully go to them. Rosedale Mennonite Missions (RMM) has made these people groups a priority—to engage with and show them the hope of Jesus Christ.

Hopping on a plane and quickly traveling overseas to evangelize one of these groups is not easy. Making a lasting impact takes time, creativity, and commitment. There are also numerous geographic, linguistic, cultural, spiritual, and political factors that make it a difficult endeavor. Many of these unreached peoples live in “closed countries” where it is challenging for westerners to reside because Christianity (associated with the west) is unwanted or illegal. RMM workers in these locations face added challenges. Often the unreached are unreached because they are hard to reach.

While these issues are challenging, the need to share the love of God and the message of Jesus with these people is critical. If you feel like God is calling you to this kind of work overseas, RMM would love to hear from you to discuss possible opportunities.

If you do not feel called to go abroad, but still feel compelled by the large number of people who have not yet heard about Jesus, there are many ways to engage these groups near to where you are. Millions of individuals and families from unreached people groups are moving to North America for school, work, and asylum from war, giving God’s people here an exciting opportunity to show hospitality and build relationships with them.

Art and Paula Shore,* RMM workers living in Ontario, are doing this type of work among an immigrant population in their city. They moved to North America several years ago after spending almost fifteen years living in the Middle East. Their story gives insight into what it can look like to reach the unreached within our reach:

We have chosen to live in an immigrant community so most of these relationships with the international community happen naturally right here in the neighborhood. My husband is also teaching English as a second language in various locations throughout the city. Interesting relationships have developed with some of his students, especially students from the Middle East whose countries we have previously had occasion to visit.

As Canada has recently taken in 25,000 Syrian refugees, we have been involved in training and assisting with initial orientation and ongoing input relating to Middle Eastern culture and Islam for the sponsoring churches or groups.

I (Paula) have chosen to get involved in programs at the local community center, which is located right in the heart of our neighborhood. I meet with a group of ladies every Thursday with the aim to assist them in orientation to the community and the related health, educational, and social services that are available. This group often provides the initial meeting point for future follow up and many rich relationships.

Walking through the neighborhood or working together on a community garden provides additional opportunities to do life together. I love to walk and often meet people on the street; in fact, I choose to walk for most of my errands and many of my neighbors do the same. Some of my walking is done with friends, part of a fitness plan, and some is more reflective in nature (prayer walking).

Some of the avenues for ministry are informal—such as being aware of the needs of the newcomers and becoming family for them. In one case I provided support for a new mother and her infant. Imagine the excitement of your first child, but without family to share this with. Helping students in their English language study is also a part of ministry.

Other times these opportunities are more formal. For the Christmas meeting at the community center I was asked to share on the various symbols of the Canadian Christmas; what a privilege to share of the “Good News of Great Joy for all People.” I was also involved in a summer vacation Bible school which happened right at the community center.

Singing in Inshallah (“God Willing” in Arabic), a multicultural choir, has been another door of ministry. We sing songs of worship, prayer and celebration in many different languages. One of the concerts was held at the city hall complex. I have recently invited my neighbor from the Congo and also a Syrian immigrant to join our choir. Both of these ladies sang in choirs back in their home countries. This choir, being therapeutic for me in my journey of readjustment back into Canadian life, will perhaps assist these ladies in their journeys as well.

Holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, are opportunities for further contact and ministry. A few of us rent the community center in our neighborhood for this event. Christmas Eve will include a potluck supper, an impromptu drama presentation of the Christmas story, carols, and a talent show. Prior to the celebration a few of us will go up and down the street caroling with a specific invitation for each family.

Relationships have developed, a Sunday evening Bible study group has formed, and some have chosen to follow Jesus the Messiah and are currently being discipled in our home. In fact, a mature Iranian believer (whom we first met in the Middle East and later as a newcomer in our neighborhood) is currently leading the study in the Farsi language. Our group has become a “family” for some of these immigrants.

To get involved in a community near you, spend much time in prayer and do some research about the specific neighborhood. Then, consider moving into the neighborhood. Jesus was our perfect example, “…becoming flesh and living among us.” Living in community with people results in natural relationships that prepare hearts for the “Good News.”

Please pray for Art and Paula to remain focused on the Father and his heart for their neighborhood. Pray also that “the God of hope would fill (them) with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit (they) may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). They desire to share this hope amidst the feelings of pain and loss for so many of these immigrants, especially the recent Iraqi and Syrian newcomers.

There are numerous resources available to help locate where immigrant and refugee communities are living near by. The Migration Policy Institute (migrationpolicy.org) has several different interactive maps that show information about the number of people from specific countries living in the United States. Another great resource is J.D. Payne’s free eBook: Unreached People, Least Reached Places: An Untold Story of Lostness in America. Payne casts a vision to share the gospel with unreached groups in the United States. For further ideas of how to engage the unreached groups in the United States, contact Andrew,* RMM Director of Development, at andrewm@rmmoffice.org. Andrew is in contact with several churches and individuals who are currently reaching out to immigrant families within their communities.

Another way to engage with the unreached while living in North America is through adopting a people group. Scott Miller (Oak Dale Church, Salisbury, Pennsylvania) and Paul Kurtz (Lighthouse Mennonite Fellowship, Unionville Center, Ohio) are currently working with RMM to encourage more churches and individuals to adopt unreached people groups. Through an adoption, a church would regularly learn about and pray for a specific block of people, asking God to open doors and reveal ways they can help bring Jesus to the area. This connection to another culture could lead to short-term exploration of the area, and could eventually lead to sending long-term workers to the region.

RMM hopes that many CMC communities will prayerfully consider adopting an unreached people group as an integral part of their church life. There are several useful websites that can help you be well informed before making a commitment: joshuaproject.net and finishingthetask.com both give updated information on the task remaining along with helpful resources. The Joshua Project also gives direction on how to pray specifically for a group. If you are interested in adopting a group, please contact Scott at scottlamarmiller@gmail.com or Paul at kurtzpaul@hotmail.com.

Sasha and Cordell* (Siloam Fellowship, Goshen, Indiana) have personally already adopted a people group in South Asia. This couple is in contact with this group that they have visited and hope to live among one day. Not everyone who adopts a people group has a long-term vision to eventually go to that group, but for Sasha and Cordell, hearing of the need and getting to know these people has formed a passion in them to move there when God opens the doors:

Our initiation with the area in South Asia that we work with was through leading a REACH team there last year. We spent five and a half months in South Asia spending most of the time at an orphanage teaching, discipling, and playing with the children. We also spent a month or so traveling around and visiting different churches with Mr. T, the church and orphanage director. Since we returned we still e-mail Mr. T on a monthly basis and are planning on scheduling a visit in the spring.

There are many physical and financial needs for this group in South Asia. For example, when we arrived at the orphanage, some of the kids were sharing twin-sized beds with nothing but a couple of blankets. Another need was educational resources in the public school at the orphanage, especially pertaining to computer and technological literacy, which is a valuable skill to have in their economy. There are endless needs in the church; the biggest is encouragement from fellow believers—a concept we would take for granted in our church culture growing up with so many mature Christians around us. Much of the South Asian church is only a decade or so young, and fellowship—even locally—is hard to find.

As far as plans for the future, we're preparing as much as possible for doors that God will open. Simply moving overseas and being a missionary is not as easy as it sounds at times, especially in a location where there is both governmental and local persecution against certain Christian organizations. As of now we plan to continue to visit South Asia at least once a year and we would like to look for opportunities involving more effective discipleship of the young church that has developed and utilizing business as missions to create financially self-sufficient churches involving short-term business investments.

If someone wants to get involved in a similar way, it is pretty simple: be willing to sacrifice yourself and lose control of your life. Become a learner and utilize the passions that God will give you. We live in the most influential culture in the world. If God gives us something in our resourceful positions, He wants it to be used to its highest potential, however creative that looks. God blesses us (especially financially) for a reason—to bless others. This is something we can lose sight of very easily, and I have many personal examples of this myself. Take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you, be a go-getter, and don't shy away from something just because it doesn't make the most sense at the time.

Please pray for Sasha and Cordell as they engage this group. Pray that they do not lose focus and allow their passions to dwindle. Strength is needed as Sasha raises their first little disciple, wisdom for Cordell as he balances a very busy schedule, and patience for both of them as they look for what the future may hold.

The work that is already being done to reach those who have not yet heard is exciting and encouraging. But there is still work to do. Please take some time right now to pray for these beloved brothers and sisters who do not know the love of Christ. As you pray for these groups, ask that God would provide bridges over language and culture so that his light can reach those who are living in darkness. Through the power of God and the work of his people, those who are unreached can be reached with his love.

1 “Global Statistics,” Joshua Project, https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/statistics

*Names changed and last names omitted for security

February 02, 2017

Lady Liberty: A REACH Update

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By Daniel and Danae, Team Eurasia

Daniel and his wife Danae are leading the REACH Eurasia Team, currently working at a refugee camp in Greece. The following excerpt is a reflection on a few of their experiences and encounters.

In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, my ancestors sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of liberty. They were welcomed by the sight of Lady Liberty herself, The Statue of Liberty in New York, New York. Today there are thousands of refugees who are also in pursuit of the same liberty that my ancestors gained hundreds of years ago. These refugees are also welcomed by the sight of Lady Liberty… but the Lady Liberty located in Mytilini Greece! Every day we drive past the Statue of Liberty (pictured above) on our way to the Moria Refugee camp. Moria is the first stop in Europe for the thousands of refugees fleeing from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa. These refugees are being detained for months until they get processed to move onto mainland Greece, Europe, or America, waiting for Liberty.

We have the opportunity to serve them and listen to their stories while we work in the camp these next three weeks. After being here for one week, I’ve already heard stories from kids about how the Taliban invaded their homes and murdered their cousins, I have watched helplessly as a dead body was removed from a tent in camp, and I have heard about the fear of ISIS that many of the Syrians carry. Even though there is a lot of darkness and distress, the light takes over the darkness. I met an Iraqi teenager who is a Follower and we were able to share our hope. I’ve seen the joy of families as they finally received their paperwork and can move into a hotel in Mytilini or move to mainland Greece. I’ve seen and been a part of the body who intercedes, feeds, and loves those who are “the least of these.” Lady Liberty may be the hope for freedom in this world, but may we as the body point to the everlasting hope, a hope and freedom that is much greater than just a finite life here on earth.

“It’s absolutely incredible how many of the people I see every day, who have lost everything, still have the ability to smile, laugh, and invite me in to have tea and share life with them!”We arrived on the island of Lesvos last Friday night, settling in the town of Mytilini. Though I had done some research about Camp Moria and had seen several pictures, I was still unprepared to walk into the camp and see the astonishing number of tents/containers that house over 4,000 refugees with more coming in every week. It’s hard to prepare your heart and mind to see so many people who are living in what seems like a hopeless situation. Despite the difficulty in seeing their situation, it has been an amazing opportunity to work with people from places like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and so many more.

When we arrived we were able to volunteer to work in one of three areas in the camp. Family Compound, Clothing, or Information. Since Family Compound is what I have been working in the most, I’ll talk a little about that. The camp has several different gated levels and the levels are divided based on nationality. People may not enter a level without an ID card that shows their name and level on it. One of the main jobs in Family Compound is to guard the gate. If someone wants to come in but does not have an ID card or their ID card says the wrong level, we may not let them in. We also help to distribute meals. Apart from guarding the gate and distributing food, working on the levels is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with the refugees. There are several families that I have gotten to know and it has become a routine to go and visit and have tea with them at some point on my shift. Last night they also shared some amazing food with me. Speaking of sharing, these people are some of the most generous people I have ever met. Whether it’s offering tea, giving an apple, sharing their food, or inviting you into their tiny blanketed corner of a housing container, they are constantly wanting to share the little that they have. It’s absolutely incredible how many of the people I see every day, who have lost everything, still have the ability to smile, laugh, and invite me in to have tea and share life with them!

How amazing that my Father is using little ol’ me to interact and share His love with people from all over the world who are searching for hope. Please be lifting us up to our Father as we have been given this opportunity to share hope and love that can change their lives.

Please pray for peace and protection for Team Eurasia as they serve amidst the unrest in this camp. Pray that they continue to learn and love with the many hurting people at Moria.

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