« December 2017   |   Main   |  February 2018 »

January 30, 2018

Encouraging Epiphany: A REACH Update

By Bri, Team Montana

This past week we continued following our normal schedule. We did, however, switch things up a little bit for Wednesday night youth group. Most of the time we split up and go to three different youth groups, but instead, we all came together for a volleyball night.

Team Montana and some others played against the youth group that I usually attend. The youth group is almost all girls, most of whom have played volleyball only a handful of times, but they were still willing to give it a try. Our team ended up getting beat. I’m not going to lie, it hurt my pride a bit because most of us had played volleyball many times before that. Something about how the other team played together really intrigued me. They were encouraging each other and cheering each other on the whole game. Normally they are a fairly quiet bunch, but that night they were filling the tiny gym with their not-so-tiny voices.

“Everything we do is a group effort. We are called to help one another, to encourage one another, and to teach one another.”I could see the community they had, encouraging each person, helping the ones that hadn’t ever played before, and everyone seemed to be contributing in some way or another. At times there were girls who would miss the ball, but instead of going in front of them, the girls that knew how to play would encourage them to try again. They would give tips on what to do the next time, so their whole team seemed to be improving as the night went on. That is what I want for our team and for all of the Father’s community. Everything we do is a group effort. We are called to help one another, to encourage one another, and to teach one another.

As a leader, there are times when I am tempted to just step in to get the job done. The Father has been reminding me more often to step back, be the encourager, or just give some advice so my team can grow more and more. Each person has a gift that they have been entrusted with to bring honor and glory to our Father. How incredible it is when the community works together the way the Son intended!

Along with that, the Father has been showing me the need we have for community. I am reminded how important it is for our team to spend time together to become more unified. We need one another for encouragement as we go about our daily routines. On the other hand, it is also so important that we build relationships here and expand our community. We have come to help grow the community in this place and to support the family that is already established.

Please pray Team Montana would make time to stay unified and that relationships with their community would continue to grow deeper and stronger.


Do you want to join a REACH team in 2018-2019?
Click here to apply or learn more.




January 24, 2018

Open Doors: Three Stories of God’s Provision

The following are three reports from both long and short-term RMM workers who are seeing God create opportunities for them in their different locations. Praise God for letting us be a part of growing his Kingdom!

Thailand

By Jonatan

I have been helping some of the new Chinese students learn the Thai language because when they come to the university they do not speak Thai. It is very difficult for them when they try to communicate with people and when they want to buy something or order food. So every evening I help them with homework and practicing speaking.

Helping with Thai language has opened doors for me to get closer with Chinese students and build stronger friendships. It is a good opportunity to show Jesus’ love and to be a light and a testimony for them with my behavior. I am also looking for opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus more openly.

Please pray for all of the work here in Thailand. Pray for all of my friends at the university – that God would continue working in their hearts, and for me, that I can have a good testimony for them.


North Africa

By Cora

In my language classes I have been motivated to really know the scriptures for myself and to be ready to give an answer when people have questions. There have been times when my teacher stops me in the middle of an activity and says, “I have a question” and then goes on to ask me some deeply spiritual question. When it happened this past week I struggled to answer her in a complete manner. After struggling a few minutes, I had a great idea…“Let’s read about it and see what Jesus says about the topic.” We then spent the rest of class reading Jesus’ words concerning her question. After the fact I realized that God used my weakness for his glory, because it was better for her to read about it for herself than to hear my interpretation of it. This is encouraging to me and I sit in classes like this, amazed that I can be a part of this. Please be praying for my language teacher and the journey she is on in seeking God!


The Himalayas

By Isaac, REACH Team Leader

What a great opportunity it is to be able to be here. It is not always easy and there are many things that can become frustrations if you let them. I find that whatever we do from day to day, whether that be speaking, teaching or helping to rebuild, we must keep focus on the Father and Son. There is a work being done here that is greater than anyone of us can do on our own. Much of that work may go unseen to us in the present time, but we are looking forward to a day when all things will be revealed and we will be able to see the great work that the Father was doing. We are but a small part of the large picture, but as we continue to strive to be faithful in the time and place we have been placed, we look always to the son. For in the son there is light and life.


What are the doors God is opening in your life? Please pray that God would help us see the opportunities he gives us every day.



January 23, 2018

Luke and Robyn Spaulding: SEND Program Facilitators

By Lydia Gingerich

RMM excitedly welcomes two new staff members to fill the role of SEND program facilitators: Luke and Robyn Spaulding. In the past, Luke and Robyn have both been involved with the SEND Department as REACH participants (2013-2014), Luke as a team leader (2014-2015), and Robyn as a SEND intern (2015). They enjoyed the community they experienced at the Rosedale International Center (RIC) and look forward to joining the staff as program facilitators.

After getting married in 2016, the Spauldings spent the last year and a half in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Luke held a job in construction and Robyn helped teach a preschool class and worked at a coffee shop. Luke and Robyn like to spend their time together drinking coffee, running (usually on treadmills at this time of the year), and exploring new restaurants.

Moving to the RIC is a refreshing change of pace for this people-loving couple. In his construction job Luke spent most of the day wearing earplugs, “as an extrovert that didn't do well for me.” He hopes to be a marriage and family counselor one day and looks forward to using his relational skills as program facilitator for SEND.

“We all have the same goal and the same thing that’s driving us. And the prayer times with everyone – you can’t find a job or environment like that easily.” Robyn also welcomes the opportunity to build relationships with those who come to the RIC as well as the rest of the RMM staff. “We all have the same goal and the same thing that’s driving us. And the prayer times with everyone – you can’t find a job or environment like that easily.”

The program facilitator position within the SEND Department includes planning and providing leadership for City Challenge and REACH as well as discipling and mentoring the SEND interns.

In this new position, the Spauldings are eager to meet lots of people, work closely with the SEND interns, and use their gifts to invite the nations to worship Jesus. RMM is reciprocally glad to have them here and excited to see how God will use them.


Pray for the Spauldings as they transition into this role and begin to train the 2018 SEND Interns. Pray that God would bless their work and that young people would be drawn to Jesus through their service.




January 18, 2018

To Wash His Face: A REACH Update

By Kara, REACH Team Indochina

With language school wrapped up, we had the opportunity to travel to the southern part of the country to spend some time visiting a teammate’s family who live and own a water filter factory down there.

Our first day was spent being shown around the factory and observing the filter-making process. The simple-looking clay pots prove to be of greater value and intricacy than they outwardly appear. Not only is their construction handled with delicate precision, but so also are the opportunities to invest in all those whose lives these filters enter, whether that’s the workers who mold them or the villagers to whom they are sold. The filters provide jobs for locals, prevent disease in increasingly distant and rural areas of the country, and have even enabled those with a third-grade education to become scientific technicians in the factory lab! However, possibly the most incredible part of the business is what was conveyed to us as “washing the face of the Son.”

“It’s a chance to slowly wipe away the mud and dirt that has been cast upon the Son’s face, redeeming his image and gaining a reputation as a people of upright character and love.”Our faith family has not, and still often does not, do a great job of representing the one we follow, and unfortunately the beliefs of the west are often linked to horrors such as wars and bombings. This cultural barrier runs far deeper than we are aware of at times, and a prejudice is held against the things that we may say. The factory is a place where opportunity, education, health, honor, and a sense of familial belonging are being demonstrated and cultivated. It’s a chance to slowly wipe away the mud and dirt that has been cast upon the Son’s face, redeeming his image and gaining a reputation as a people of upright character and love. Through humble and simple actions the message of love is truly able to find meaning.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

It’s not a glamorous process, this clay-jar-face-washing. A fact made all the more evident to some of us later in the week as we headed up to a plateau village for a few days. Our team was split up, with the guys staying in a coffee shop guesthouse, and the girls living 40 minutes away in a host home. While the guys returned with tales of hiking waterfalls and wandering through fields to pick coffee beans, Shontel and I had a far less romantic experience. Call us pitiful, but we were pretty miserable. Yes, the village was as picturesque as any post card, but life there is far from idyllic.

Even knowing I only had two days and that this was more of an adventure than a reality, I found that complaining and comfort are two things that have far more of a hold in my heart than I would like to admit. Sometimes washing the Son’s face means living in a wood-stilt house surrounded by people who

babble away in a language I can barely understand. It means cleaning dishes in cold water, and taking a “bath” while standing on a concrete square a few yards from the house in similarly icy water and the perhaps chillier feeling of knowing privacy is a word that simply must be forgotten. It means painful attempts at conversation, trying to delicately avoid the profuse quantities of beer, eating bowls of noodles, mastering the art of the squat, and playing the same games for hours with the little girl who wants me to talk with her. Washing his face means admitting the struggle between knowing this isn’t my permanent reality, and desiring to understand and show others my willingness to step into the reality that belongs to much of the world.

Though every part of me wanted to escape, it was a worthwhile experience. Despite what we often think, worthwhile doesn’t necessarily mean fun. The value was not in “are you enjoying yourself?” because frankly, much of it was not enjoyable. Value comes from experiencing what the vast majority of others on this earth experience, from having the filter over my eyes increasingly widened, and from the challenges that continue to refine my character and strengthen my soul.

Value comes from the incredibly beautiful opportunity to be able to wash the face of the one who washed our feet.


Please pray for Kara and her team as they continue exalting the beautiful name of Jesus in Indochina.

Do you want to join a REACH team in 2018-2019?
Click here to apply or learn more.



January 16, 2018

Jesus Loves the Little Children

By Nixson, RMM worker in Thailand

In this second update from Bangkok, Nixson shares about the eye-opening experience of teaching children at a local elementary school.


Since starting to teach in May, I am understanding more and more the reasons most Thai people do not respond to the gospel in a positive way and how Buddhism is so deeply engrained in the culture. Every morning the children spend between one and two hours learning from a Buddhist monk and praying and chanting to Buddha. There is a chant they all have memorized that they say every day: “Buddhism is our religion and we will be Buddhist wherever we go. Buddha is not here anymore, but we are his disciples and will follow his teachings.” It is sad for me to hear the students say this every day, and it helps me realize why it is so hard for them to accept the truth of Jesus. Buddhist teachings are taught to them from the time they are young, so there are deep roots in their lives.

“The students that I teach need to know that God created them and loves them and that Jesus already died to save them.”Most of the students at the school come from low-income homes where parents work hard to get by and are not very present in raising and disciplining their children. This presents a challenge to the teachers at the school because the students are not learning to behave at home. I have heard many teachers using degrading terms or hitting students when they misbehave. I have made it my goal to find ways to discipline my students with love and respect, and not out of anger and frustration. There are times that I have to be strict and firm with them, but I try to make sure that they understand why I need to discipline them and that I care about them. Sometimes I feel frustrated with their behavior and I want to react negatively towards them, but I ask God for patience and that he would help me to see them through his eyes.

At times it is easy to feel hopeless when I see so much darkness around me. But I know that with God, anything is possible. God wants Thai unbelievers to know him and his love the way that we do. The students that I teach need to know that God created them and loves them and that Jesus already died to save them. This has challenged me to show them the love that Jesus has for them. I am trusting that God can use me to shine the light of Jesus into their lives through the way I teach and care for them.


Please pray for Nixson and his wife Rhonda as they continue to serve and learn in Thailand. Pray that God would continue to draw Thai unbelievers close to him.



January 12, 2018

The Greatest Commandment: A REACH Update

By Paige, REACH Team Mediterranean

My whole life I thought that serving the Father meant I had to do all these great things like build a school, work in an orphanage on the other side of the world, teach English, etc; and yes, those are all awesome ways to serve and love, and people are called to that, but I often thought of those things as the only way to serve. I discounted the value and importance of simply loving people and building strong relationships through everyday life where my feet are. Though we have had some things to do this past month of being in Spain, our main thing has been building relationships with people and seeking to encourage and support them. At times, I would do the whole comparison thing (I finally understand the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”) and would get discouraged because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough or as much as other people.

Thankfully, on my day off this week, I took most of the day to listen to what the Father had to say about it all and he, of course, was faithful to speak truth to my heart.

“Paige, what if all I ask you to do is love? To let your heart open wide and love deeply, vulnerably and selflessly, for the good of others. What if I don’t ask you to travel the world again or do any of the things you think are great? What if all I ask you to do is to spend time with hurting people and to listen to them – to love them like I do? Is that enough for you? It’s enough for me.”

My mind was blown. How could I miss that? Why would I ever think that building relationships and simply being with people wasn’t enough? I mean, even in the Word it tells us that the greatest command is to love the Father and the second is to love our neighbor. My little human mind likes to complicate things at times, but praise him for grace. Praise him for the opportunities we have right now to love his people. He has given us some great friends this past month and I feel honored that we get to do life with them for this short season. It is enough.

Whatever season you are in – whether you feel like you aren’t doing a whole lot or like you are so busy you that you’ll never catch up – know that being willing and choosing to love and point those around you to the gentle, loving Father is enough. He desires your heart, not your works.


Please keep this team in your prayers as they continue to build relationships and move into different seasons of life in Spain. Their time in Malaga is coming to an end and they will soon have to say goodbye to several new friends.

Do you want to join a REACH team in 2018-2019?
Click here to apply or learn more.




January 09, 2018

Called To A Rounded Perspective

By Jada, RMM worker in Thailand

"God, allow my heart to break for these men as well as the women." This is the prayer Jada found herself praying after a few months of working with victims of human slavery in Thailand. Jada joined RMM’s team in Bangkok in September 2017, and recently wrote about her work to bring freedom and light to this dark industry. She felt herself being challenged to look at the root of the issue: broken men who are looking to fill a void. In this first update from Thailand, Jada shares two stories that help her love these men, knowing they need God’s salvation just as much as their victims.

I had an interesting encounter this week simply meandering the streets. I found myself being pulled out of my daydream as someone commented on the temporary tattoo I had on my leg. This expat passed by me complimenting me on my "tattoo." I uttered a quick thanks and resumed to exploring my mind and taking in the surroundings. About ten minutes later I was once again interrupted as I passed the same guy. "Hey, didn't I just see that tattoo?" he asked. I laughed, "Yes." Just the fact that we ran into each other twice was somewhat of a miracle with how large and crowded Bangkok is. Without warning, he lunged into a series of deep questions and thought-provoking statements such as:

Why are you here? What do you believe about God? Wow, the exploitation of women here is unreal and so sad. I’m not totally sure what I think about, but I know it's wrong. Oh, you work specifically with that? How do you think you are going to make a difference? These customs are so ingrained in this culture. So if you only change one girl’s life is that enough? How do they get caught in it? Isn’t it their choice? Yea, last night I was in the red light district. It just felt so wrong to be able to pay a women to do whatever I wanted. I couldn't believe all the men I saw around me acting as though they were entitled to those women all over them.

I was blown away by these questions and statements. I was praying the whole time for the Holy Spirit to fill me with words and wisdom. It was such an incredible opportunity to share about God and possibly alter his entire worldview. Chances like this don't come often and when they do, I know God is behind it all. After a lengthy conversation with people swarming around us he said, "Well I don't know how successful your mission is, but I know you just impacted my world.” He was in Thailand on business from New York and God was totally using this business trip to change him forever.

To me, the injustice feels so obvious. How can people not see it's wrong and that they are part of the problem? And yet who am I to judge? I don't know why they are here. I don't know the pain in their life. I don't know what void they are trying to fill. As I comprehend this, God can turn my cold heart of bitterness into a compassionate heart. If you are in this ministry for any length of time I think it is important to have this perspective. If you don't, you will quickly find your heart growing cold towards all men. Whether they are specifically involved or not.

“…I felt anger growing in my heart. How could he do this? Didn’t he realize he was exploiting another human being?” Over a year ago I had the honor of participating in a week-long training and outreach called the abolitionist plunge. This consisted of awareness classes, outreach in various ways, survivor testimonies, and John (buyers) testimonies. As I listened to a man speak about his involvement, I felt anger growing in my heart. How could he do this? Didn’t he realize he was exploiting another human being? These were the thoughts rushing around in my mind. As he continued to share, the anger began to fade. It was replaced with shame and sadness that I had been so quick to judge. His father had been a pornographer and that was what he saw from the time he was born till he left his home. Anyone would have issues under those circumstances.

I’m so grateful I got to hear from him. This was the point in which God began to round my perspective. I’m not saying by any means that people involved in exploiting are justified in any way. I’m just sharing the ways I have found to love. Even the people that seem unlovable. Because we are all called to love the unlovable with the love of Christ. Perhaps they wouldn’t be unlovable if they knew someone loved them.


Please pray for Jada as well as other RMM workers in Thailand that work specifically with human trafficking ministries. Pray for a continued joy to join the redemptive work of Christ in the lives of the sold, the sellers, and the buyers in this industry.