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September 29, 2017

A Hushed Conversation

By Judah,* RMM worker in the Middle East

In the midst of the daily grind of language study, we never know what surprises the Father has in store for us. These surprises include some maybe not so comfortable things as well as some good things.

As typically happens at my language school, most of the students show up late to class. This tardiness may range anywhere from ten to forty-five minutes late. One day, I was the only one in the classroom when the “While not being interested in reading the Bible, she definitely sees the failure in the system here.”teacher arrived for class. Since no other students were there, my teacher and I started chatting to pass the time before the other students arrived. Out of curiosity, she asked me if there are actually people in America who do not use electricity and drive cars. I informed her that, yes, there are actually people who live that way, and that it is not just in the movies. The conversation quickly turned into why people lived that way. At this point, my teacher started looking around and talking in a hushed voice stating that she can only talk until some of my other middle-eastern classmates arrive. She proceeded to share some of her thoughts on both religion as a whole and also her thoughts on the predominate religion in this country. While not being interested in reading the Bible, she definitely sees the failure in the system here. This whole time, she was continuing to talk in a hushed voice as well as regularly glancing at the door to make sure the "wrong" students did not enter the classroom. As soon as one did arrive, the subject quickly changed. I do not know what the Father has in mind for this connection, but I want to use the opportunities he places before me to be salt and light.

Judah and Rayna* ask for prayer in continued growth to understand the language, direction in finding like-minded people to encourage and be encouraged by, and increased connections.

*Names changed for security

September 27, 2017

Returning to U.S. after 40 years

By Lydia Gingerich

Returning to the U.S. was not an easy decision. Dan had hoped a team of LAMP participants would join him in Thailand, but those prospects fell through. After approximately 40 years of service in a foreign context, Dan moved back to the United States to serve in Columbus, Ohio. While there is a note of disappointment in some of the lost opportunities in Thailand, RMM welcomes the experience and gifts Dan brings to the ministry efforts in Columbus.

In 1973 Dan began his career with RMM in Nicaragua, traveling to mountain villages and sharing the gospel. For three years his team promoted literacy, held medical clinics, and taught farming techniques in less-developed areas. Today there are numerous thriving churches in those villages because of the seeds planted many years ago. In 1990 Dan began his ministry in South Asia, reaching out to Muslims and Hindus. After raising up a local team that would carry on the ministry in South Asia, he moved to Thailand and served as the Asian regional director for RMM for several years. For the past 13 years Dan has been teaching and discipling in various parts of Thailand and overseeing church planting efforts in a nearby country. Dan plans to continue to visit Asia periodically to maintain a connection with the work there and to mentor leaders, but his continual presence will certainly be missed.

“… he likes us to share our experiences and talk about what we are learning, even though he has a lot of experiences already.”Tom and Candice, who have worked with Dan in Thailand for over ten years, were deeply impacted by their time together. Candice observes, “One thing that I’ve really appreciated is the way he leads with humility. He always has a learning attitude and when we meet together as a team, he likes us to share our experiences and talk about what we are learning, even though he has a lot of experiences already.”

Tom, who succeeded Dan as the Asian regional director in 2013, reflects, “Dan has to do things a lot of different ways as he moves through cultures and languages, but through all that he remains in one vision of reproducing disciples.” RMM is excited to have Dan in Columbus, making connections and continuing to invite those around him to worship Jesus.

Pray for Dan as he faces many adjustments in the months ahead. Pray that his global perspective will be heard and utilized in the American church.

September 19, 2017

More than an Adventure: Introducing Jada

By Lydia Gingerich

“I have a deep passion to join the fight against the injustices in this world, and to bring God’s healing to victims of sex slavery.” As one of the largest centers of human trafficking, Bangkok is the perfect place for Jada to participate in this work. Jada joins RMM’s team in Thailand and will partner with a local organization that aids in the liberation and recovery of those wounded by the slave industry.

Jada, raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, was exposed to many countries and cultures through her mother’s work as a flight attendant. As Jada grew older, she learned about the reality of human slavery that exists not only in countries far away, but also in North America. She was filled with a desire to help these vulnerable people be released from the grip of those who are treating them not as people, but as a means to make money.

Her desire to help the hurting and make disciples of Jesus led her to REACH in 2014. As a part of Team South Asia, Jada learned to “depend on God for everything – from preaching a sermon with five minutes of preparation to working through personal struggles and interpersonal team issues.” During this time her appreciation for other cultures was deepened, and she gained a new perspective on overseas missions. Jada says that in the past she would not have known “all the commitment and dedication it takes, viewing missions much more as a great adventure,” but adds, “thankfully, it’s still that too.”

“…she prays God can use her to set free, heal, and love these ladies like Jesus would…”Jada will be working with Samaritan’s Creation to help women and children get out of slavery and find sustainable work. The specific ministry Jada plans to join is a café and bakery which provides funding for the organization as well as job opportunities for ladies who have been rescued. This particular position fits well with Jada’s experience of working in the food industry here in America at two different coffee shops, a bulk foods market, and an orchard.

Jada seeks to join in God’s work of bringing restoration to the lives of these women and future guidance for their life after healing. She knows that as she serves, she will face cultural barriers and spiritual warfare, but she prays God can use her to “set free, heal, and love these ladies like Jesus would, and help them to a place that they can stand on their own with confidence and faith in Jesus Christ.”

Please pray for Jada as she immerses herself in Thai culture. Pray that she would build meaningful friendships, and that God would be preparing her heart for the work he has for her in Thailand. Also pray for the rest of the RMM team in Thailand as many of them are involved in ministering to victims of human trafficking. Pray that they can be a vessel of God’s redemption to those without hope.

September 14, 2017

Something Old, Something New: A REACH Update

By Edith, REACH Team Himalayas

The 2017-18 REACH participants are now three weeks into discipleship training school (DTS) at the Rosedale International Center (RIC). Every week one member from each team writes a blog post about the week.

The RIC hasn't changed much in the four years since I attended City Challenge. The entrance is the same, the rooms are the same, the face of Kevin,* SEND Director, is the same (aside from a few extra gray hairs). It's familiar with good, old memories from the days when I was fifteen.

Everything else, however, is new and different. Aside from one, all of the REACHers are people I've never met before. Life is schedule – outreach, life groups, service projects, recreation, and sessions. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what I'm doing here, but then a letter from my church family arrives; or my team leader says one of his perfect one-liners and we're rolling on the floor; or I am out on the street, surrounded by my team and praying for a lady whose husband is in jail and seeing her wipe her eyes as she walks away, and I know why I'm here.

This is the first week we went to two different places for outreach: one to a Himalayan community here in Columbus and the other to House of Hope, which provides assistance in treating drug addictions and rehabilitation. They couldn't be more different. At the Himalayan community we played Frisbee and blew bubbles with kids. At House of Hope, Valerie and I sorted and folded clothes for their clothes boutique while the guys emptied trash, signed people in, or washed chairs. The Himalayan community is in the dirt and grass, outside under the blue and white speckled sky with children yelling and laughing and running around like their energy is limitless. House of Hope is clean and orderly with a room in the back for sorting clothes where quiet reigns except for the occasional beeping of a door alarm. They couldn't be more different, but both of them speak to my team members and myself in different ways.

“Learning to live in community is new for me, but it is part of being the body of Christ, and I'm excited to see how all of us change and grow during the next nine months.”We had fun life group on Wednesday, led by our team leader. He took us to the Book Loft in German Village. It's a perfect place with 32 different rooms full of books of different genres. The music changed from room to room – from traditional Irish music, to jazz, to Beethoven’s classics, to rap, to birds chirping and on and on it goes, up winding staircases, and back narrow hallways that open into another treasure trove of knowledge.

So here we are, being challenged, stretched, and grown. My teammates' personalities are becoming more distinct and complex. We're not without fault or struggle, but we're committed to encouraging and supporting each other. Learning to live in community is new for me, but it is part of being the body of Christ, and I'm excited to see how all of us change and grow during the next nine months.

Please pray that these teams will continue to grow in unity and purpose. To read more team updates, check out the REACH team blogs here: http://send-me.org/reach/blogs.html

*Name omitted for security

September 12, 2017

Saying Goodbye to SEND Program Facilitators

By Lydia Gingerich

If you were involved in REACH, City Challenge, or a SEND internship the past four years, you probably know Brian and Brittany Troyer. This couple was and is highly instrumental in implementing all of those programs, and SEND Ministries has been blessed with two wonderful people as program facilitators. While Brian and Brittany truly enjoy their job and community in Columbus, they plan to move back to Hartville, Ohio, at the end of the year and get involved with their home church and community. They also feel called to expand their family through foster care and adoption. Currently, they have one son, Malachi, and they are excited to begin the process of welcoming more children into their home and family.

Brian and Brittany give much energy and love to the work they do, and it is greatly appreciated by their colleagues. Colleen, director of human resources for Rosedale Mennonite Missions (RMM), observes that they “mentor, challenge, teach, encourage, and even have to act as substitute parents at times – running people to the Emergency Room and comforting those in emotional distress.” She realizes that they have carried heavy burdens and lots of stress over the past few years, but they always seem to remain calm and trust God.

“Words like trustworthy, dependable, diligent, grateful, integrity, gentle, kind, and hospitable” come to mind for Kevin, director of SEND Ministries, when he describes Brian and Brittany. Kevin has witnessed their “unique abilities to mentor and guide people” which leaves a significant impact on the lives of many youth. He appreciates their passion to disciple young people and to challenge them to give their all for Christ.

Through working alongside Brian and Brittany, Courtney, SEND Ministries assistant director, says that she has become better at her job, and a better person. “Brian brings a lot of humor to the department, but also his passion for discipleship has often been a challenge to me. Brittany is really socially gifted. I’ve learned a lot just watching her interact with people, and I always try to think like Brittany would when I need to show someone I care about them – she’s really thoughtful, and seems to always know exactly what someone needs to encourage them.” Courtney and the rest of the RMM staff will greatly miss Brian and Brittany when they leave.

Brian and Brittany express deep appreciation to “our home churches, our families, friends, our church in Columbus and the community we have built; all of [RMM’s staff and their] love, support, and friendships; all of the ways we have been blessed by participants, especially interns over the years, but most of all,…the SEND department through all of the experiences: good, bad, and funny – they have been so incredible to work with and have such inspiring passion for these ministries and what God is doing in the world. Thank you guys so much, we will miss you a lot. Everyone has made these past four years so incredible and powerful in our lives, we truly can’t express our appreciation and love for all of this but thank you all so much.”

RMM is reciprocally grateful for all that this family has given over the last four years. In the words of Colleen, “thank you for using your unique gifts to invest in the kingdom!”

Please pray for Brian, Brittany, and Malachi as they enter this time of transition, pray for continued blessing and peace in their future move. Pray also that RMM would find the right person or couple to fill their position. If you or someone you know would be interested, click here to learn more.

*Names changed or omitted for security

Job Opening: SEND Ministries Program Facilitator

SEND Ministries, the youth ministry branch of Rosedale Mennonite Missions, has an opening for either a couple or a person who exhibits passionate energy and thoughtful counsel to engage young men and women in their pursuit of drawing closer to Jesus. The Program Facilitator(s) not only function as the house parents at the Rosedale International Center, but also provide support and leadership to the various programs of SEND Ministries. This is a full-time, salaried position. All applicants must apply by the end of October.

For more information please contact Myron Sommers at humanresources@rmmoffice.org.