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April 27, 2017

Love Like the Father: A REACH Update

By Sarah, Team Eurasia

I've met a lot of people in these last five months of outreach. People who have stories, dreams, passions, fears, and futures just like me. During our first three months, we worked with refugees, but they're so much more than that. They are my precious friends. I got to meet people who have lost all hope, who are scared, who are angry, and who are lost. They dream about freedom and what it looks like, what it feels like. They crave it. They used to have it all. My friends used to have jobs that paid well. They used to have cute little houses with little white fences around them. They used to have nice cars and closets of clothes. They used to have friends to hang out with and things to do. Then one day a war started or some other upheaval, and they had to leave. Everything was gone, ripped right out from under them. The only thing they have left is the pain they carry with them. It's still so hard.

During the last two months, we have been helping college students practice English. These are also some of my precious friends. They are happy and safe. They have lots of energy and make their dreams into reality. They have such eager minds and want to soak up all they can. They work hard in school. They aren't afraid to make mistakes. When you see a person so passionate about what they are learning or doing, there's a light in their eyes that sparks with excitement. It's so inspiring to watch students show me what they care about. They know they have so much potential ahead of them. They have the world at their fingertips, but these friends also have pain they carry with them. It's still so hard.

These are two different places with different people. Almost opposites if you ask me, at least that's what I thought until a few days ago when I was writing in my journal and came across these verses in John 19:

"Jesus saw his mother there. He also saw the disciple he loved standing nearby. Jesus said to his mother, 'Dear woman, here is your son.' He said to his disciple, 'Here is your mother.' From that time on, the disciple took her into his home” (vv. 26-27 NIRV).

That's it. These two verses. The first time God led me to them I thought, What? This can't be right. They're so simple. All of a sudden I heard a little whisper say,

"Oh my precious child, these aren't two different people. It doesn't matter what they have or don't have. It doesn't matter where they live or lived. It doesn't matter if they are successful or not. It doesn't matter if they are going to college or if they are in a camp. What matters is that these precious people are mine. They are mine and yet they are broken. They need me. They need my love to mend them, to make them whole and to remind them that they are found. I haven't forgotten about them. Refugee or college student, it doesn't matter."

“When I was dying on the cross, looking at my mom and my disciple, I was looking at you. I was talking to you.”I wrote this down in my journal and just sat in awe, in amazement. I felt my tiny peanut-sized brain explode as our Father revealed this truth to me. Oh, but he wasn't done. He continued,

"When I was dying on the cross, looking at my mom and my disciple, I was looking at you. I was talking to you. My dear child, this is how I want you to live. I want you to love people abundantly. I want you to care deeply for people. I want you to take them in just like you would your own son or your own mother. Reveal my love to my broken people and watch me work in them. Watch me change their hearts from hard to soft. Watch them come to me.”

What a blessing that we can simply love and care for people. And that's enough. We can live in freedom because of what our Father did.

Please pray for this team as they finish up their time in outreach. Pray for continued energy, strength, and motivation as they care for those around them.



April 25, 2017

North African Carrot and Chickpea Salad

By Susannah Fath Cotman
Serves 5-6

Dressing


1 clove garlic, crushed

½ c. fresh parsley (preferably flat-leaf Italian), chopped

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

¼ c. lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

½ c. extra virgin olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender; blend well. Then, with motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until well blended.

Salad


1 16-oz can chickpeas (or about 2 c.), drained and rinsed

⅓ - ½ c. thinly sliced red onion

2 c. grated carrots

4 oz. (about two large handfuls) fresh spinach or other leafy green


Make dressing and pour into serving bowl. Add the chickpeas and onions, stir and let marinate 10-15 minutes. Stir in carrots and marinate 5 minutes. Mix in spinach, add more salt or lemon juice to taste if desired and serve. Great with seasoned rice and grilled chicken with North African spices.

For A Summer Pasta Salad Variation


Double the dressing recipe and add 1 lb. cooked and cooled rotini (or other small pasta) to the salad. Garnish with crumbled feta and chopped fresh mint.



April 21, 2017

The Power House

The 2017 SEND Interns (Paige, Josh, Janelle, Sarah, Jenny, Amy, Cameron) on their way to serve at The Power House in New Haven, Indiana.

By Paige Chupp, SEND Ministries Intern

When I look back on my past it amazes me to see how God has redeemed me in areas that I once thought completely hopeless. The song “Great Are You Lord,” by All Sons and Daughters, speaks so much truth and power about this kind of restoration, and how God longs to restore his people (if you are not familiar with this song, have a listen below). The lyrics fill me with hope and remind me of the countless verses in scripture, especially in the Old Testament, where God’s people were in rebellion against him. All they had to do was turn from their wicked ways and trust him again, and he would redeem them! That’s what God wants from us today too. He wants us to repent of our evil, fleshly ways and trust solely in him. He wants to redeem us; this truth is written all throughout the Bible. Often it’s hard to see and believe those truths and promises, especially if they aren’t right there in front of us, but that doesn’t change the truth about who God is. God IS moving, he IS restoring, and he IS redeeming. Even through everyday life in a small Indiana town.

A few weeks ago, we (the SEND Interns) worked with a ministry called The Power House in New Haven, Indiana. The ministry has been there for over 20 years – pouring love and service into the community. They offer a place for middle school and high school students to come hang out and do homework for a few hours after school Monday through Thursday. On Friday night they host a dance party and hangout place for the students to be in a fun and safe environment. While there, we did service projects in the community, helped set up a rummage sale fundraiser, and loved on the kids that came to hang out after school.

“He uses our small and big acts of obedience to bring life, love, light, restoration, and healing.”Though at times it didn’t seem like we were doing all that much and didn’t get to see the direct fruits of some of our labor, we got to see a lot of fruit from past and current staff members and volunteers. We were blessed to go out to eat with one of the students and hear his incredible testimony. Unfortunately, he came from a broken family and was abused physically and emotionally. He told us how he started getting involved in The Power House, and through several staff members pouring love and Jesus into his life, he gave his life to God. Since then he has been building a personal relationship with God and digging deeper into scripture. Because of the volunteers’ acts of love and obedience to God’s command to make disciples of all nations, this student and so many more have come to know and love Jesus. It probably hasn’t always been glamorous and easy, but just seeing the way the students look up to the staff and hearing their stories of God’s redemption in their lives, shows that the effort is definitely worth the sacrifice.

We don’t always get to see the fruit of the things God calls us to do, especially the little everyday things, but God still uses them to speak life and love into the lives of others while drawing them to himself. He uses our small and big acts of obedience to bring life, love, light, restoration, and healing. Consider the student’s testimony from The Power House. To some, his situation may have seemed like a lost cause, but someone shared God’s love with him and he came to Christ. Obedience doesn’t have to be this huge grandiose thing we do for people. It’s through simple acts of love and just being there in the lives of others.


The SEND Ministries Interns are a group of seven young people who live and serve at the Rosedale International Center (RIC) from January to December. The year is designed to help them mature in their faith and grow as leaders through times of training, mentoring, ministry, and community outreach. Pray that this group would be faithful in bringing God’s redemption to the lives of young people who come to the RIC through encouragement and discipleship.




April 18, 2017

In The Way of Jesus: A Book Review

By Ashley West, RMM Logistics Coordinator

Missions and discipleship go hand in hand. We see the simplicity of this partnership in Jesus’ final mandate before leaving Earth—“go and make disciples.” Our workers are aiming to do just that, and we love sharing stories of the ways that God is at work through their labors. It’s incredible and humbling to watch God expand his Kingdom around the world, and to play a small part in it.

Sometimes, though, these stories can also be a little discouraging. God is raising up churches in Asia, in Africa, in the Middle East, and people are coming to faith in him in record numbers. But what about here? Sometimes it’s hard to recognize discipleship and growth in the North American church, and it raises the nagging question “where have we gone wrong—and how can we make it right again?”

“...where have we gone wrong—and how can we make it right again?”First time author and longtime disciple-maker Paul Kroeker examines this very thing in his new book, In the Way of Jesus. With over 40 years of discipling and church planting experience, Paul has witnessed rapidly reproducing discipleship firsthand—both internationally and in the North American context. Throughout the book, he unblinkingly examines the ways that the North American church has strayed from Jesus’ model of discipleship, and challenges the church to return to an approach that values personal, authentic, life-on-life discipleship that is necessarily messy but eternally transformative. Filled with personal stories, unique illustrations, and even lessons learned from teaching at the 2015 REACH discipleship training school, In the Way of Jesus is encouraging, convicting, and inspiring.

You can find In the Way of Jesus by Paul Kroeker for purchase on amazon.com or friesenpress.com.


Paul Kroeker is the former Canadian Regional Director for Global Disciples, and is currently working with C2C Network planting churches in Winnipeg, Manitoba and beyond. Rosedale Mennonite Missions has gotten to know Paul well throughout the years at Global Disciples equipping events, and during his visits to the Rosedale International Center to teach at the REACH discipleship training school.




April 14, 2017

The Lamb We Slaughtered: A REACH Update

By Daniel, Team Eurasia

Sitting down and eating a meal for the last time with beloved friends.

Showing servanthood by “the washing of feet.”

Witnessing the slaughter of a lamb.

Sounds like something taken straight out of the gospels, right? But this is something that our team witnessed this Easter week… and yes, we literally slaughtered a lamb.

In any other year, a normal Easter week for me consists of practicing for my fellowship’s “Behold the King” Easter drama. I played the role of Jesus the last two years, before that I played the role of Judas, and before that I helped backstage, and before that I was a filler in the crowds as a child. I look forward to this opportunity every time because of the beauty and power that this drama displays, reminding us of the scandalous love, ultimate sacrifice, and absolute victory that Jesus brought to the world on that hill called Calvary. This is the first year I was unable to participate in “Behold the King.” I am very sad that I am unable to help display this presentation of the good news, but this year God has shown me “Easter” from a new perspective.


The Blood of the Lamb

On the Wednesday before Easter, the guys were summoned to go help a man load a lamb into his car. Yeah, we also thought that was a strange request, but we listened and drove to a field in the middle of nowhere. There we met the owner of the herd of sheep. He did not speak any English so we just followed him and we were prepared to help him. He walked into a pen and grabbed a lamb. He took the lamb out of the pen and tied its legs together and laid it beside an olive tree. The lamb didn’t really fight back a lot. It just went with the flow. At this point I was prepared to help lift this animal into the car, but out of nowhere the man pulls out a large knife. No! No! Surely this isn’t happening, please don’t…. He said a short prayer in the local dialect and then quickly took the knife to the lamb’s throat. I stood there with my jaw open, shocked, witnessing the life of this innocent little lamb drain out of its body. The ground under it becoming a river of scarlet. Yep, that just happened. I’m still stunned. The lamb became still and the river ceased as it slowly absorbed into the ground. Its life was gone and we now had the job of butchering it. To do so the man hung the lamb from a winch on the olive tree. After butchering the lamb we realized that we were going to be doing the same thing to a second lamb. This time, as the same series of events unfolded, I could only see this lamb as Jesus. He was separated from the others and led to the slaughter. I heard it cry it’s last breath “It is finished” and saw its life fade out while the crimson blood was poured out on the ground. I thought to myself “Oh! precious is the flow; that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.” I stood in awe. Not because of the shock of seeing death, but this time seeing the love of God. There hung the lamb from that olive tree, body broken and blood spilled.

Washing of Feet

There is a man named Zac who lives in a small remote village. He and his wife run a small hotel and they need do it without employees because of the small profit margin. Zac has been a believer for several years and he was just recently diagnosed with cancer. Because of his illness, he has not been able to work as much, meaning that his hotel was slowly falling into disrepair. His wife also has some health issues making it difficult for them to even keep up with the day-to-day chores. Our team left the city where we live, and have been living with them for a week and a half to help them restore their hotel to the proper conditions and to help with the day to day tasks. To be honest, the work was not always easy nor was it always fun and the hours were long, but it was so beautiful to see our team practicing something that Jesus did just several nights before his crucifixion. The King of Kings, the Big Cheese, the Head Honcho, the Big Kahuna bent down and humbled himself by becoming a servant to his disciples by washing their feet. He then commanded them: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” This is living the Kingdom of God. A kingdom where a true leader is a servant, to truly live is to die to self, and to live a rich life is to give generously. This is God’s “upside-down” kingdom. Seeing our team serve Zac with labor and Zac serving us with hospitality and wisdom was truly a glimpse of heaven where we as God’s people put others first and ourselves last.

During our last day at Zac’s place, we asked him if he would like to have communion with us. It was Thursday before Easter, just as Jesus had the last supper on the Thursday before his crucifixion. Zac is still young in his faith and did not really understand a lot about communion. We got some bread and rose water. Rose water was the reddest drink we could find at his house and for some reason it is a special local drink. We talked about how Jesus broke the bread with his disciples to help us remember His broken body and how he poured out wine to help us remember His blood was poured out for us. We also talked about the lamb that we slaughtered and how much that helped me see Christ’s sacrifice for us. This Easter week was unusual for me, but God still shows himself in an amazing way.


Team Eurasia is living on a Mediterranean island, building relationships with students at an international university. The students they work with are predominantly Muslim, and many are being exposed to the gospel for the first time. They spend their days investing in friendships, leading an English club, and helping with weekly bible studies.




April 11, 2017

Reservations: A REACH Update

By Christian, Team Montana, U.S.A.

Our team works primarily among the people of the Flathead Reservation in northwestern Montana, but this week we had the privilege of taking a prayer trip to all seven reservations in the state. This was probably the highlight of my outreach so far. God showed himself in new ways to all of us.

The place where I saw God move the most was in a small town in the middle of nowhere called Busby. When we first got there, I got this feeling of depression and felt really down and out of it. We found out a little later that there had been a lot of deaths recently in the community; this was common on the other reservations too. After we had gotten settled in and talked with the pastor, we had a time of worship and prayer.

Before worship and prayer, though, we were able to connect with the people there in a new, fun way. One of the young girls had a birthday, so we sang and did a dance for her, and then we somehow got into rapping. One of the staff, named Sam, from another team we were with was doing some funny freestyle rapping. It broke the ice; we had such a good time laughing with one another and that’s what softened their hearts.

After we sang a few songs, we asked some of the youth if they had any prayer requests for the area. At first they didn’t seem very open to it, but then one girl asked for prayer for her family because they just lost their grandpa. After asking her more about it, she broke down and started crying and we were able to pray for her and just be there for the family. I think when the other kids and even adults saw her vulnerability, it opened up their hearts. After she shared, people kept asking for prayer one by one, and by the end we had prayed for everyone except maybe one or two people in the church.

“We did what we thought God was wanting us to do.”During this time a young girl rededicated her life to Christ and forgave her mother. Later we prayed for a man named Dave. When we asked if he wanted prayer, he started crying and said he missed his twin brother who died a while back. We talked with him for some time, and at the end he came to Christ!!! He said it was the first time that he had felt the presence of God and that we were different from others. At the end of the night, there was so much peace and comfort there. I felt so much better than when I had arrived. And I think one thing that opened the door for all this was when we sang “Happy Birthday” and rapped. We did what we thought God was wanting us to do. Because of the heaviness of everything going on at the reservation, a normal worship service may not have allowed us to connect with people as well and been as impactful. I learned to be more open when God puts something on my heart or in my mind. Even if it seems weird sometimes, you got to have faith and trust him.




April 07, 2017

Locally Grown: The Bus Ride

By Shirley Nisly

RMM is excited about the ways God is using his church to touch people with his love. In this story Shirley describes a recent encounter she had while volunteering at a children’s ministry sponsored by her congregation, Plainview Mennonite Church in Hutchinson, Kansas.


Her eyes were cold and had dark circles under them. Her shoulders hunched, her hair was matted and unkempt. She was only fourteen and had experienced life well past her years, yet she came to JAM. JAM, which stands for Jesus and Me, is our church’s outreach program in Partridge, Kansas, where children come and hear about God, spend time in worship, go to class, and get a snack. I’ve been teaching there for fifteen years and had never met a young girl like Sarah* before. The first evening she came, around the middle of August, she told me that she was an atheist. We conversed about her beliefs and she told me she was worshiping Satan. My first thought was that she was too young to even know what she really believed.

The next week she came again and that night she showed me her skinny little arms, which had been cut, at least fifteen cuts on each arm. My heart ached for her! During praise and worship Sarah was like a scared animal; she withdrew to a corner with her black hoodie pulled up over her head. I would gently put my arm around her and encourage her to join the rest of our class, but she rejected any human touch and ran off. She came to class and brought her notebook and drew pictures of Satan and gang symbols. Sarah had no desire to pray and distracted the others, yet she came every Wednesday night. I had started praying for her the first night I met her. I knew that Sarah was worshipping Satan and needed the touch of our loving Jesus in her life. But how could I show her Jesus? By loving her unconditionally and praying for her.

Let’s fast forward to December 15. It was an exciting night since it was the night of our Christmas party at JAM. That night I was asked to do something that I had never done before: ride the bus that takes the children home. Our church has a bus that picks up the children and that night we had over thirty kids on the bus. From what I had heard about the bus ride, it was usually a pretty rowdy bunch of kids on the ride home with lots of fights and shouting. My job was crowd control on their ride home. I got on the bus, not knowing what to expect. The kids were orderly and very quiet, so I spent the first fifteen minutes talking with them. Then one of the girls said, “Ms. Shirley, Sarah needs you, she is crying.”

“The battle for her soul at that moment was one like I had never witnessed before.”I went to the back of the bus and Sarah was sobbing. I asked her what was going on and she said, “I want them to leave; I just want them to leave.” When I asked who, she replied between sobs, “The demons.” Sarah was crying with sounds I’ve never heard coming from such a young girl. So I started praying for her. Soon the bus stopped and I asked JJ, our bus driver to come join me, and we continued praying the “Blood of Jesus” over her and asking the demons to leave. The words of the hymn “There is Power in The Blood” kept going through my mind. After a while, Sarah looked up and said, “They’re gone, they’re gone!” The battle for her soul at that moment was one like I had never witnessed before. And there were more sobs – only different this time. The demons were gone and Sarah asked Jesus to come and live in her heart, right there on the bus at 9:45 p.m.

Sarah has a difficult battle ahead of her and our church has been fantastic in supporting her. She is prayed for every day by different church members, and some ladies are writing notes of encouragement to her weekly. When I gave her a new Bible she clutched it to her heart, beaming with joy. Sarah comes to JAM with a smile on her face, participates in worship, and told me several weeks ago that she wants to learn how to pray. Sarah is one of many who need the touch of our Lord. Praise the Lord, I know there was rejoicing in heaven on December 15, 2016, when another lost lamb found her way home! All Glory, Praise and Honor we give to Jesus, our Savior!

*Name changed for privacy


If you have a story of God working through your congregation, let us know at mosaic@rmmoffice.org.




April 04, 2017

One Step at a Time

By Lydia Gingerich

In December 2016, Elmer and Eileen Lehman, long-time Rosedale Mennonite Missions (RMM) supporters and missionaries, published the inspiring story of their lives in a book entitled: One Step at a Time. The Lehmans traveled to Costa Rica as RMM missionaries in 1961 hoping to start the second evangelical church in a city of 17,500 people. Their autobiography begins on two separate farms in upstate New York and recounts their journey through a plethora of communities and events, following God all the way.

The following excerpt from the book, details one of the pivotal events in their early ministry:

“Our college graduation came in June 1960. We were two of the 90 graduates. Interestingly, fourteen of the graduates were married. There were also five engaged couples among the graduates. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, and Elmer received a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Bible and Pastoral Ministries. He had gone straight through in four years, with my faithful support as the primary breadwinner. I had started college in 1949, and after years of part-time studies, we graduated together.

Now we needed to respond to the request from Mark Peachey. After two years in Puerto Rico, and four years at Eastern Mennonite College, we felt out of touch with the Conservative Mennonite Conference. The annual Conference sessions were held that summer in August in Kalona, Iowa. We decided to attend as we sought God’s direction for our next step. We returned to New York State to see family members and there we joined my parents and my older brother, who was serving on the mission board at the time and had given them our name. We stopped twice overnight as we covered the 1,000 miles in pre-interstate highway days.

When Mark Peachey and the mission board members found out that we were on the conference grounds, they asked to meet with us. They informed us that after an investigative trip, Costa Rica had been chosen. Then they wanted us to know this: the mission board had already accepted us. Would we now accept them? The next day was the final day of our Conference sessions. They wanted our answer before the sessions ended.

“…His voice seemed so clear as His words were impressed upon us. 'You have been preparing for this all these years. If you say no, what is your reason?'"What a night that was! We were staying in a farmhouse of one of the local believers, and that upstairs bedroom remains entrenched in our memory. We prayed and we struggled. Yes, we felt called to Latin America, but now we were being asked to go to a new field and start from nothing. We felt so inadequate. We cannot say that we have ever heard the Lord speak to us in an audible voice. Yet, His voice seemed so clear as His words were impressed upon us. 'You have been preparing for this all these years. If you say no, what is your reason?' We continued to hesitate. Those words came to us again and again. Finally, we said yes. But, Elmer was committed to a year of study at the seminary.

The next day we met with the mission board. We informed them that we were ready to commit to this assignment, but we would not be ready until Elmer finished a year of seminary. They looked at each other and one of them answered for the group, 'We’ll wait.' We left the grounds as missionaries under appointment.”

Many more stories of trusting God and participating in his work can be found in the pages of this book. Their story is a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness as he leads this couple, one step at a time. The Lehman’s have graciously decided to gift RMM with all the proceeds from the sales of One Step at a Time.


To purchase your copy of this book go to www.elmereileen.com