« February 2017   |   Main   |  April 2017 »

March 28, 2017

God’s Not Done Yet: A REACH Update

By Gabbie, Team Spain

Up until last week, our schedules have been pretty routine. Language classes, teaching, babysitting, etc. This last week, however, we went to Antequera, a town about 90 minutes west of Granada, to do some manual labor for the camp Manantiales de Vida (Springs of Life).

We were greeted by our gracious and hospitable hosts and owners of the camp, Glenn and Sue. We got to spend every lunch and dinner with these two around their dining table talking and laughing. Sue prepared every meal and Glenn did the dishes. We offered to help (trust me, we did), but they wouldn’t accept it. Every meal was followed with tea or coffee and dessert. Not only that, we arrived to a giant jar of peanut butter, a rare commodity in Spain, and bags of popcorn. (Confession: We had the peanut butter nearly finished by day three.) They spoiled us so much, and we loved every second of it. Glenn and Sue, thank you for having servant hearts and for being so kind and generous to us four crazy girls.

We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more for the first few days, and then Glenn and Sue took us on an excursion to Ronda, a beautiful Spanish city with a pretty cool bridge. On Friday, we hacked our way through weeds to find the garden underneath. The work was hard. Two days later, we still feel the ache in our muscles and hands, but man, that garden looks good.

“Things are in motion, wars are being fought for the people in this city even if it’s not seen with the human eye.”Accomplishing something with our hands and getting to see immediate results was extremely satisfying. However, immediate results are not something we are accustomed to. With our time coming to an end in Spain, it’s so easy to look back and question what it is we’ve even done here. We may never see the fruit of our presence, what God has been doing through us being here, but we trust him. He brought us here. Things are in motion, wars are being fought for the people in this city even if it’s not seen with the human eye. God’s not done yet, and our small but significant acts of obedience are bringing forth his kingdom little by little. So, my friend, keep fighting the good fight of the faith. What you’re doing matters even if you can’t see it right away. One day, all will be revealed. What a beautiful day that will be.

Please pray that this team would continue to plant and water seeds of God’s love in Spain, even if they cannot see the results of their efforts just yet.

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

Hotline to Heaven

By a worker in Spain

As we interact with friends who know of our faith, we are often asked to pray for different aspects of their lives. This can be a great opportunity to show them we care and to provide a simple picture of dependence on God – whether he answers the way we want or not. This story, from workers in Spain, shows the importance of praying for our friends through the ups and downs of life.

Brian,* an American, was the director of the English academy where I teach. Since his sudden death a year and a half ago, his young Spanish wife, Begonia* has assumed that responsibility, along with being a pediatrician and now a single mom with two young boys. We've maintained an ongoing relationship with her, including having them over for the boys' favorite meals: pancakes or tacos. She occasionally asks us to pray for things beyond her power to change, saying we have a hotline to heaven! We are happy to pray, but tell her that she can talk to God as well. She jokingly says that when calling up there, the line is either busy or she is put on hold!

“She and her husband were ready to give up when Begonia said, 'Wait a minute, I have some friends who have a hotline to heaven'”A recent request was for a close childhood friend who couldn't have children, even after trying many modern expensive medical procedures. She and her husband were ready to give up when Begonia said, “Wait a minute, I have some friends who have a hotline to heaven,” and asked if it would be alright to share her friend’s story with us and have us pray for her. Wouldn't you know, the friend became pregnant! Halfway through the pregnancy, when they found out it was a boy, they gave him a name: Gabriel! The birth was by C-section, but there were complications. The baby was fine but the mother hemorrhaged, was transferred to another hospital for emergency surgery and almost lost her life. She recovered and both mom and baby Gabriel are doing fine.

Our prayer for Begonia is that her heart would open to Jesus. Brian had been disillusioned with the church in his younger years and this, along with some not-so-happy experiences as a child with her father, has affected her understanding of a loving, personal God.

*Name changed for privacy

March 22, 2017

Riding for a Cause

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

Roy and Karen Schlabach take some time to share their thoughts on Ride for Missions Florida, which recently covered over 150 miles of trail and road along the west coast of central Florida. They discuss this ride as well as the summer ride (July 22-26, 2017).

While levels of biking enthusiasm vary among riders, Roy trends towards the higher end of that spectrum. He has participated in the Ride for Missions (RFM) summer ride nine times, and in just the last year, he rode his bike over 10,000 miles. He rides with numerous groups but considers RFM one of his favorites “for a few reasons.” One of these reasons is the comradery he feels while interacting with other riders both on the road and during the evening meetings. “The other thing is that we are doing it for a good cause. We love what RMM is doing and we love being a part of it with this trip.”

Roy and his wife Karen also appreciate the variety of locations they have been able to see while participating in RFM. This particular Florida ride includes various optional side trips, as well as a ferry ride. Karen especially enjoyed a trip to Honeymoon Island: “I was really tired and I didn’t know if I wanted to go, but once we got there it was so beautiful and we couldn’t go very fast anyway. I’m so glad I went.”

The Schlabach’s enjoy the family that has formed around RFM and each year they look forward to fellowshipping with this group of people. Not everyone loves to ride as much as Roy and Karen, some might not even consider themselves athletic, but everyone loves Jesus and they all come together for the cause of making Him known around the world.

The Schlabach’s know that such a ride does not come together each year without a lot of planning. “We appreciate all the hard work of those who plan it. I don’t think people understand how much time and effort they put into this ahead of time – you can tell it’s very well planned out.” Andrew,* RMM Director of Partner Development, also expresses his gratitude for those who plan the ride indicating that he likely does not even know about all the work done by the Summer Ride Coordinator, Wayne Yoder. RMM is grateful for all of the positive stories that have come out of RFM and is excited for how God will continue to use the ride.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of RFM, visit rfm.rmmweb.org. Registration for the 2017 summer ride is open until July 1. Come enjoy fellowship with other cyclists and conquer a challenge together in support of missions!

*Name omitted for security

Planting Seeds: A REACH Update

By Amy, Team Montana, USA

This past week I had some really cool experiences with taking steps in trusting God and what he’s telling me. One story goes like this…

Kelly and I were driving home one afternoon and I decided I wanted to be dropped off at my favorite coffee shop. We drove past the coffee shop and for some reason it was closed, so Kelly suggested taking me to one we hadn’t tried, but where our friend was working. So she dropped me off there and I talked to my friend and got some coffee. I was just hanging out there, waiting for her to close up when a girl walked in and ordered. Obviously, that’s normal, as this is a café, that’s what people do. She took a seat at the table next to mine and after getting her food, she just sat there staring at it, looking pretty despondent.

“How many times do you feel that prompting to just smile at someone or wish them a good day?”I felt like I was to mention something about the weather to her, so I did, and that just opened it up for a really personal conversation. She told me some stuff she was going through and I basically just listened the whole time. By the time the shop closed and she was done sharing, I definitely knew God had a reason for sending me to that café. I got to pray for her at the end, but other than that, just listening seemed to be enough. I’m glad that instead of worrying about sounding awkward and not saying anything, God was able to use me that afternoon. How many times do you feel that prompting to just smile at someone or wish them a good day? Sometimes that’s all it takes to plant a seed.

Pray that this team would continue to follow the urging of the Spirit as they reach out and plant seeds in Montana.

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

March 16, 2017

“I planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase...”

By Jill Wagner*

During the years our family served on an RMM team in the Middle East (1982-89) a young engineering student, Abdullah,* came to living faith in Christ. He was a member of our house fellowship, baptized in our bathtub.

After we had to leave the country in 1987, Abdullah became the local leader of the house fellowship until he was arrested for his faith, imprisoned and interrogated for a month, and as a result, expelled from the university.

Korean brothers and sisters working in the same Middle Eastern country took Abdullah under their wing, paying for him to finish his education and to receive advanced theological studies in Korea. He married a Korean woman.

Fifteen years ago Abdullah and his wife Fatima* moved back to the Middle East with their two children, called to raise up a church there. A third child was born. Many members of Abdullah’s extended family came to faith through their witness. As they lived in a totally unchurched region of the country's largest city, prayer walking its crowded streets and meeting their neighbors, a thriving house fellowship was born in their living room.

Then, unexpectedly, a spinal cancer diagnosis lay Abdullah low. He was in and out of the hospital for several years--living with constant pain – prayers for healing. Tears. Longings. Trust in the goodness of God.

In March 2016 we received the devastating news that Abdullah had died. We hadn't known that death was imminent. We wished we could have visited this spiritual son before his death. What would happen to his little family; the young church in his home?

Of course, the “little flock” reeled at the death of its shepherd. Would the sheep scatter? Fatima asked God for direction. Were there others who could step in as leaders? Several leaders came and assisted, but none seemed like a good fit. As Fatima persisted in fasting and prayer, she sensed God's gentle question, “Are you willing to care for my sheep?”

“But I'm a woman,” she protested.

“So?” God said. “Does that prevent you from caring for my sheep?”

Fatima accepted God's challenge. And that's how we've gotten involved. As we reached out in support of Fatima after Abdullah’s death, she contacted my husband Emmanuel* about assisting with a baptism. On April 24, barely two months after Abdullah’s death, Emmanuel traveled to the Middle East, visited Abdullah’s family, grieved at his grave, and helped to baptize three new persons into the fellowship. One was a young man who had come to faith at Abdullah’s bedside.

As Fatima continued giving leadership, she was often in touch with us for counsel and asked if she could look to Emmanuel, Abdullah’s spiritual father, as a spiritual overseer for the fellowship. We couldn't say no. In September we both went back for another baptism. This time we had the privilege of assisting with a baptismal service that included Abdullah’s mother and two others.

“Is there any way you can come and stay longer?” Fatima queried. “There's so much that's happening! It's amazing that you still remember the language after being gone for almost thirty years.”

In November we returned again, staying for three weeks this time. We lived with Fatima and her family. And there was another baptism!

This baptism included a young married couple and the young adult daughter of a woman who had been baptized in September. It was exciting to see the gospel beginning to spread through friendship and kinship networks. A whole minibus full of interested relatives and seekers attended this baptism at a church in the middle of town.

“...one day riding to work I started thinking about all the unrest and terrorism here, and in fear I found myself praying. Suddenly I stopped and thought, if I don't believe in God, who am I praying to?”“What drew you to faith?” we asked the young professional couple who were baptized.

“We've always been secular,” the man explained. “Atheists, really. But one day riding to work I started thinking about all the unrest and terrorism here, and in fear I found myself praying. Suddenly I stopped and thought, if I don't believe in God, who am I praying to?”

That thought led him to download both the Quran and the Bible onto his smartphone. During slow days at work, he devoured the Bible for the first time, finding it incredibly life-giving. It answered many of the existential questions he'd always had about life. A young married man, he loved what it said about marriage and other practical issues. As he compared the Bible to the Quran, he saw that many of the stories referred to in the Quran are told more fully in the Bible. It seemed obvious to him that the Quran had been heavily influenced by the Bible and the Arab culture of its day. His interest in learning more about the Christian faith led him to an old family friend who was a member of the house fellowship that met in Fatima’s home.

Now he and his wife are excitedly telling their family members and friends about their new faith. The idea of someone becoming a disciple of Jesus feels jarring to many people in the Middle East. Atheism or deism is not a problem, but vibrant Christian faith is.

In November as we walked with the young fellowship and heard their persistent questions about whether or not we could spend more time with them, we sensed God’s call.

Even as we revel in the joy of spending time with our biological children and grandchildren, God has given us spiritual children and grandchildren – and we feel an answering call in our hearts to come alongside this young fellowship.

Thirty years ago when we were deported, I wept. Feeling that all our efforts to learn language and culture were now in vain, just a wasted investment.

But God never wastes anything.

*names changed for security

March 14, 2017

We Are Vessels: A REACH Update

By Daniel, Team Eurasia

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

During our day off last week, we had the opportunity to hike to the ancient Roman aqueducts in the town of Moria. Two thousand years ago these towers and vessels were created for one purpose, to carry potable water from the center of the Island to the cities along the coast. This is one of the reasons the Roman Empire flourished. They knew the importance of transporting large amounts of water from miles away to bring life to their citizens. The aqueducts were not life, but they carried life. Today these aqueducts serve no purpose other than being a tourist attraction. Large sections have already broken off and fallen to the ground showing that this structure is unable to carry water from point A to point B. No one took the time to repair them as they deteriorated. Today they are not carriers of life.

During our time in Moria (the refugee camp two kilometers away from the aqueducts), our team was given the privilege by God to carry “water” to the residents of the camp. Let me repeat that; God chose us to carry life into this world! How awesome is that? From the day I was conceived, he began forming me and preparing me for this task. I am a vessel for God’s perfect love! You are a vessel for God’s perfect love! But our vessels are weak and fragile. Just as the aqueducts are susceptible to the second law of thermodynamics, so are we. They continually deteriorate unless someone is putting energy back into them and repairing them. The erosion, earthquakes, and vandals will slowly rip apart the aqueducts until they can no longer carry life. “The enemy wants us to be distant from the creator and the repairman so that we fall victims to spiritual entropy; slowly breaking down piece by piece until we are full of cracks and holes and can no longer carry life and do what we were created to do.”This is how the enemy tries to work in our life. The enemy wants us to be distant from the creator and the repairman so that we fall victims to spiritual entropy; slowly breaking down piece by piece until we are full of cracks and holes and can no longer carry life and do what we were created to do. I fall victim to this too often. I become too focused on carrying water and not talking to the repairman when an earthquake comes. I focus on my life goals and hobbies and slowly erode instead of continually allowing myself to be restored. Sometimes I allow the vandal to come into my life instead of allowing the creator to take away my scratches. When we distance ourselves from God we slowly, sometimes quickly, deteriorate and can no longer carry living water to those who need it. We become a spectacle, a tourist attraction.

I’ve been continually reminded of John 15. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. We can only bear fruit if we are connected to him. If we are disconnected we will just wither away and be tossed on the fire. It is crucial for us to be in a daily relationship with our creator… otherwise, entropy takes over. Do not allow busyness to distract you from repair, even if you are busy “carrying water.” When people hurt you, you lose your job, your health is in decline, or you lose a loved one, do not allow these earthquakes to overtake you, but turn to him who restores so that you can carry water again.

This past month has been an amazing experience for our team while working at the refugee camp. Even though I do not speak French, Arabic, Farsi, or Urdu, God’s love in us is understood by all who are willing to listen. While working at camp I met an amazing new believer from the Congo named Dominic. His English is just as good as my French (close to none). Even though we are unable to speak to each other, we were able to show pictures of our families and show each other where we are from. I also understood that he became a follower of Christ just a few weeks ago. He just received a French Bible and is carrying it around everywhere always asking the French-speaking Christians to explain things like “being born a second time”. It is kind of funny seeing him ask the same question that Nicodemus asked Jesus thousands of years ago, but it shows that God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday. Even though we could not communicate verbally, we greeted each other every day with a smile and a hug, and then just sat with each other for over an hour sharing food and laughs. Food also breaks communication barriers.

I’ve also become close friends with a man from Pakistan who I will call “Z.” Z is not a follower, but his English was decent and we could talk. I listened to his story of how he is fleeing Pakistan, leaving his wife behind so that he can create a better life for them in the future. I could see the sadness on his face as he showed me pictures of his wife and his parents. We also had a lot of fun just sitting in the cold together sharing stories, food, and chai.

There was another man from Syria who I will call “R.” R’s English was very good, but we hardly saw each other since he lived in a different part of the camp than where I worked. R loves to be sarcastic, so anytime we greeted each other he would always say something like “Hello Mushkila” (Mushkila means “no good” or “problem” in Arabic). He would then go on and tell me how I am no good and how I should go back to America (while he was smiling and using an obvious tone of sarcasm). After two minutes of greeting each other with sarcastic insults, we would then spend another ten minutes just chatting about random stuff. The most touching moment for me was on our last day at camp when I told R that I will be leaving. His face immediately went from overjoyed to despair. I was confused because we barely knew each other and his sadness made it look like he was losing his best friend. He then said, “why do you guys always have to leave, why can’t you stay?” At this moment I about broke down into tears. He grabbed me and gave me a huge hug, not wanting to let go. That experience was all I could think of during the drive back to the apartment. R is experiencing love from the people of the organization we worked with – that he does not experience anywhere else – and he knows it. He craves it. He needs it. I wish I had met him earlier and had more time to be a vessel of God’s love to him. I think about him daily and trust that God will draw him into his love. I plead with God often that one day R will be an heir to God’s kingdom.

My strength is not sitting down with people and talking with them one-on-one, but God used me in my weakness and showed me that it is not what I do, but it is what he does through me!

Pray for safety and a good transition as this team leaves Moria and moves to another area of outreach. Pray that this team would continue to return to their creator and sustainer so they can bring the life of his Kingdom to this region.

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

March 08, 2017

Fuel on the Fire: New Sparks of Faith in Southeast Asia

By Tom and Candice, workers in Thailand

It’s with joy that we share about a new team that has formed in spreading the gospel in a restricted access country in Southeast Asia! Although the RMM team is based in Bangkok, God has consistently led us to a neighboring country since the beginning of our work here. This year, it’s been thrilling to see God orchestrating the formation of a national “sister” team and to bless that team in any way we can.

There is a registered church in this country and good things are happening within the church. However, leaders tend to exert a great deal of control – in part because the church needs to limit their activities to stay in the good graces of the government. In the last year, our friend Lan began meeting with several men, who like him, were frustrated by the lack of opportunity to work within the structures of the church. They began praying and talking about what they could do independently.

Lan came to know Jesus in Bangkok through a miraculous series of events and briefly studied the Bible with our group back in 2011. After which he returned to his village. At that time, he didn’t know other believers in his area and didn’t have a clear idea of what God would call him to do. He immediately began sharing his faith, and subsequently, family members and others began to believe. We have stayed in touch with him since then – discipling him from a distance and through visits. He also began to connect with other believers scattered in nearby villages. In time, God brought him a group of men looking for a way to share their faith in unreached communities. Lan became the leader of that team, made up of subsistence farmers and construction laborers.

In January 2017, Tom, the RMM Asia Regional Director based in Bangkok, visited Lan and his team: Lan, Puu, Saen, Wong, and Lot. A few more members joined after the seminar for prayer and encouragement in team member homes. During the seminar they studied the life of Elijah and were impacted by his story. The team noticed that Elijah was faithful in serving God but he also got tired and discouraged. They could identify with Elijah who brought an offensive message to Ahab. When they claim to know the creator of the world they offend the Buddhist/animist belief system. “...when we all pray together, it’s like throwing fuel on the fire."They saw how God provided for Elijah step by step just as he does for them. The team talked a lot about the things that are going well and their struggles. Each man shared from scripture and the group spent a lot of time praying together. They like to pray all together out loud and Saen said “when we all pray together, it’s like throwing fuel on the fire."

During their time together Tom also heard more personal faith stories of each team member. It was a tremendous encouragement to hear how they each came to faith and later joined the team. Nearly all the team members grew up Buddhist and came to faith as adults.

One member, Putorn, had a son who was bitten by a snake and was healed after believers prayed for him. Later he saw a Bible, and because he liked reading, he picked it up. He read John 1 and had a “conversation in his heart.” He’d always been a Buddhist and even ordained as a monk, but he never knew where he would go when he died. In reading the Bible, he saw that God loved him and that gave him “hope in his heart.” He has grown in faith mostly outside the official church, by going out and sharing with others. Currently, Putorn and his wife have planted watermelons in a place near three villages. People from each of the three villages are learning how to plant watermelons and also learning about the Bible. Recently a village religious leader sat and listened the whole time he was sharing the Good News.

When Saen came to faith, after believers prayed for the healing of his daughter, people told him he was following the “foreign religion” and criticized him for continuing in belief even when his daughter was not healed. When he had the chance to study the Bible, he felt inferior to the other students who were more highly educated. His daughter still has not been healed from a serious mental/emotional disorder and must be confined in the home. He says he needs the encouragement of the team and observed that even Jesus had a team. He said, “I want to see fast growth, but God is patient.” He has a heart for development work and wants to see the team and other believers pooling resources and knowledge. The team sees agricultural development as a key that could open the door into many of the unreached villages surrounding them.

Puu was the only member of the team born into a Christian family. As a teenager, he raised fighting roosters. After being baptized at the age of fifteen, he became more serious about his faith and has served God ever since. He said he “stopped talking about chickens and started talking about God.” He appreciates the vision of the team because he wants to be sharing, not just joining the “system” of the church.

Like Puu, many of the other team members have experienced resistance from the registered church. Naan, the newest team member, shared that he became a Christian after he prayed for his wife to be released from jail (she was with a friend who was transporting drugs). After a few hours, she was released and he trusted in God. He had only studied through fourth grade, so when church leaders talked about sending him for more training he didn’t want to go. But God told him the church needed more leaders. When he returned, he found it hard to serve in the church because he had to wait on the pastor before he could do anything. The pastor warned him not to try and discouraged him. Now he thanks God that he has found the team. He said, “In church, you only listen and go home. Now I have energy and encouragement to go visiting.”

Tom and the team spent several days following the seminar visiting a few of the team members’ homes and sharing and eating together. For supper they went to Saen’s house, joined by most of their wives, and it was good to see the women getting involved. They are limited by having young kids at home, but they seem very supportive of the team’s work and enjoy participating as they can. After a meal of duck and sticky rice they went around the circle and shared words of encouragement and then had a time of prayer.

From Tom’s perspective, the team is working very well together. They have a lot of camaraderie and joy as well as deep, supportive relationships. There does not seem to be any sense of competition or desire to control. They all believe in the vision and are individually called. They have a strong desire to work together. The team talked about spiritual gifts and roles; they will talk more about personal strengths and weaknesses as well as goals for the upcoming year in their next monthly meeting.

They recently formulated a vision for a ministry plan in which they lay out four key steps for their work: evangelism, follow-up/pastoring, disciple-making, and sending out. It’s especially exciting to see them thinking that far down the road – recognizing their responsibility to send out workers. They wrote the following statement: “In the case that some people have a burden for going out (to areas that are close by and areas that are far away) for a short period or long-term, according to our vision, in the future we will send people to: our local districts, to other districts, to other provinces, to other areas of the country, to neighboring countries.”

One tool the team is using, because literacy is limited, is audio Bibles. From donations through RMM, our team has been able to provide the team with Bibles on solar powered players. These are then distributed to new believers and seekers in villages who have no Bible or who cannot read.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for this humble group of men and their families, who are so open to God’s leading.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them in how to share, how to use development as a tool, and how to share their resources.
  • Pray that God will protect them from danger and authorities, and help them maintain a peaceful relationship with the registered church.
  • Pray that many new people will come to know Jesus as the Good News spreads.
  • Pray that God will provide for them in the midst of an economic struggle.
  • Pray that the RMM team will be wise in sharing resources and creative and helpful in supporting the work.
  • Praise God for an organic, natural movement led by workers from the harvest!

Give an Audio Bible

Are you interested in purchasing audio Bibles to distribute among this group and other communities where literacy is limited? Each audio Bible costs about $26 when bought in bulk, so tell your Bible study group, Sunday School Class, Vacation Bible School, family, or others about this cause and see how many Bibles you can fund together! Just donate the money to RMM with the specification that the gift be used for “AudiBibles.” Help us in making the name of Jesus known in all nations.

March 06, 2017

To See Them Flourish: A REACH Update

css template
By Erica, Team Ecuador

These past few days have offered a lot to think about. One hurdle is learning to love even when some of the kids don’t want to be loved. I wish so badly that I could just hold them and tell them over and over and over how precious they are, how loved they are, how powerful the love of the Father is, and how they can just let go and trust in him. But they don’t let that love happen. Instead, I have to be okay with giving them the touch they need in passing, with looking them in the eyes when they let me and saying, “Listen to me, I love you, my team loves you, the Tia’s all love you, God loves you! Why are being this way?” I don’t know if it gets through to them, but I hope it does.

I was calling home the other day, spilling out my frustrations over the phone when I realized that what I’m doing here is not for here, it’s for eternity. I know that sounds trite and overused, but it’s true. If I were here working week after week with children whose love is so conditional simply to get my self-approval tank filled up, I would’ve gotten on a plane back to the States long ago. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned here, it’s that I’m not as awesome as I’d like to think I am and I don’t have very much approval to give myself. What I do have is love. I can offer them love because I was loved first.

“I look at the way the kids treat me and I see the way I treat him… I wonder how many times I’ve broken his heart by walking away when he’s trying to talk.”I started crying so hard while I was on that phone call because I realized so deeply that I want those kids to pick up that love I have for them; I want so badly to see them flourish and grow. I want to look back and see how they learned to love deeply as well. I want their walls to come down and I want them to see the beauty of living without fear of rejection.

And that’s what the Father wants for me. I look at the way the kids treat me and I see the way I treat him. I hear the things they call me and wonder how many times I’ve smeared his name in the mud. I wonder how many times I’ve broken his heart by walking away when he’s trying to talk.

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!” Isaiah 64:1. That has been my prayer ever since I got here. Show your love, show your power, be bigger than this darkness. But he has rent the heavens, he has come down. And he’s being more powerful than the darkness every time I open my heart to love a child who pretends to not want love. And that’s why I’m here – to love the unloved even when they hurt me with their words and actions. I know the healer so I can take it. Father, let them hear my voice and see my actions so that they can find healing too!

Please pray for this team as they continue to be God’s love at the Shekinah Foundation. Pray that God would continue to pour his love on them, so that they can bring his light and healing to the dark and broken people they come into contact with.

March 03, 2017

Haircuts, Diesel, and Burgers

css template
By Eugene and Katrina,* RMM workers in North Africa

Eugene and Katrina and their two children traveled to North Africa in January of this year. To learn more about their story, read their introduction here.

We arrived in our new town three weeks ago, dragging through the terminal to get outside with two sleepy kids after an overnight flight, a stroller, car seat, and five bags. What a relief to be met by our friendly teammate with a car! Thanks for your prayers!

A few days after our arrival our teammates took us out for burgers. They were good but aren’t most burgers? Then we went to the local store and there was mixed turkey and beef burger for a great price so we got two kilos. When we got home and cooked it we discovered the flavoring pre-mixed in was cumin and cinnamon, not exactly our first choice for burgers and spaghetti! About a week into being here, Eugene drove our car for the first time that another couple so kindly gave to us. It’s our first diesel, and has a nice habit of starting about the fifth time around, while the local neighborhood men stare. The second week here, Eugene’s hair was getting desperate for a cut. So he headed to the barber shop a few doors down from our apartment, and used sign language to try to communicate what he wanted done, hoping for the best. Well, it does look different than normal but not bad!

“So we have been getting to know the city by riding the bus, walking, and driving... meeting new friends at the park and trying a little language when we can.”So far our life here has been far from routine or scheduled. We started language tutoring in the afternoons the second week here, and the third week was school vacation so our teacher could not work because she needed to care for her child. So we have been getting to know the city by riding the bus, walking (sometimes three hours!), and driving; figuring out where to get groceries, which little shop to get this or that, meeting new friends at the park and trying a little language when we can, looking for a permanent apartment. This means waiting for the “realtor” to contact our teammate who contacts us and takes us to the apartment, where we wait five to thirty minutes for the owner to show up and unlock the door. No newspaper or online ads to look at, just one man to find places for us. To summarize, our daily grind is far different than before and this makes us homesick for the old “normal.” We yearn to get settled into a place to call home and make it feel like ours. We are praying for local friends and relationships and finding our new “normal.”

Please pray for this family as they continue searching for a house and settling in to their new lives. Thank God for his provision of health, a good language tutor, and good connections with the rest of their team.

* Names changed for security