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March 29, 2018

Being Still, Not Passive: A REACH Update

By Paige, Team Mediterranean

My heart is full – full of love, full of joy, and full of life that the Father has graciously given me these past few months. He has provided several amazing friends that have played major roles in the fullness of my heart. They have opened their lives to me and shown me incredible kindness. At the same time though, my heart is heavy – heavy from the thought that a lot of those friends aren’t believers. The more time I spend with them, the more I can see hurt and confusion in some of their eyes. It is so painful to see the darkness they are in. They are longing for truth, longing for the Father. They are some of the best people I have ever met, but without genuine faith in the Son, that means nothing.

Throughout the past couple of weeks, the lostness of my friends has weighed heavily on my mind. The enemy can come flooding in with lies that tell me I am not doing or saying enough to help my friends. He can attack with feelings of anxiousness, pressure, and sadness. He tells me that it’s on me to save my friends and that I am doing a terrible job at it – but that is a lie. It is my job to love them and show them who the Father is through my life, but not to save them, that is for the Father alone to do. In the Word it says, “[He] will fight for you; you need only to be still,” (Exodus 14:14) so all of the negative thoughts and feelings are not true and not from the Father. He will fight this battle, I need only to be still.

The other day during our team devotion time we read in the Word something that sounds very similar to the verse I mentioned above. He says, “Be still, and know that I am the Father; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Often, when I read these verses I think that I should just sit back and do nothing. I mean, it does say be still right? Yes, it does say that, but I think I was misunderstanding the point of it. The Father is not asking us to be still, sit back, and do nothing. Instead, to step into the fight and the darkness of this world, trusting him fully with a heart that is still in his intimate presence and peace. It’s finally starting to click in my head. “I felt the Father asking me to step into the darkness these friends live in to fight for them…”
Being still does not mean being passive. It means being bold enough to step into the fray in the Father’s strength, not my own, with full confidence that he will be exalted among the nations, he will be exalted in the earth, he will fight for me. Trusting him is not passive but active; we actively trust him by doing the hard things with confidence in him and his power.

After realizing this I started thinking through what this looks like for my life. I felt the Father asking me to step into the darkness these friends live in to fight for them; to fight hard for them in prayer, to season my speech with his grace and to be gentle and kind to them for the sake of the kingdom. I can’t force my beliefs on them and I can’t save them, but I can live my life and love them in ways that point to the one who can save them.

Please pray for Team Mediterranean as they work in the strength of the Father and for his glory. Also, pray that their friends would see Jesus in them and that God would draw them to himself.


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



March 13, 2018

“Say God”: Moving Beyond Knowing the Right Answer

Jordan Stoltzfus, CMC Outreach Mobilizer, with his wife Megan and son (newborn daughter not pictured).
Part 1 by Joe Showalter

In 2016, CMC hired sociologist Conrad Kanagy to conduct a survey to help reveal and clarify the identity and vision of CMC. After surveying over 1,200 CMC respondents and conducting listening sessions with almost 200 individuals, Kanagy and his son Jacob report a variety of interesting data. In response to the question, “Can you name one thing that God may be calling CMC to embrace in order to become more faithful in fulfilling its mission?” the researchers note a key theme of “Emphasizing more local outreach and mission.”

Following are two survey comments representative of this larger theme:

“I know that CMC is very focused on the 10/40 window. However I think CMC should consider equipping missionaries to tell people about Jesus in America. CMC could provide resources for local congregations to minister to the lost in the local community. I know in Sarasota there are many who are lost without Christ.”

“We’ve always had a strong overseas mission emphasis, but have not done well at advancing the Gospel and planting churches at home.”

The Kanagys make a series of recommendations for CMC to consider. One is to “Enlarge the Table” by developing “…a new initiative in church planting and local community engagement among CMC congregations. There are relatively few ‘new believers’ among CMC congregations—expanding community engagement will also enlarge the table.”

“Can RMM reposition itself to resource local congregations in reaching their communities for Christ?” they ask. RMM exists to serve the mission of the local congregations of CMC, so we are responding to these calls for deeper engagement here on the home front. A team is working with Church Planting Catalyst Larry Kaufman to mobilize CMC to plant multiplying churches. In addition, we want to listen well in the months ahead to discover how we can best resource our churches in reaching their communities for Jesus.

RMM recently appointed Jordan Stoltzfus on a part-time basis to discover how we can best help churches. Jordan brings experience from RMM’s REACH program as well as years of living and ministering in a needy urban community. He is passionate about us as followers of Jesus taking the risk to engage in our communities. In Part 2 Jordan takes the time to introduce you to himself and to that passion.


Part 2 by Jordan Stoltzfus

Two young brothers stand side-by-side in the living room. The eight-year-old fidgets wildly from right foot to left foot, excited to get on with the conversation and get to wrestling with our neighbor – who’s just come home. Our neighbor is amused and continues to prod the five-year-old, asking him if he remembers what he learned yesterday at Bible study. Finally, the fidgeting eight-year-old, exasperated with his younger brother’s seeming amnesia, loudly whispers “Say GOD!” God, at least in his mind, is almost always the right answer.

Imitating Jesus is hard – harder than just knowing the right answer. Being in contact with the “least of these” doesn’t often come naturally to me (never mind the further step of compassion). After my wife and I were married, we found that no matter how many good intentions we had, our priorities had a way of getting mixed up. We needed to organize our lives in such a way that we no longer had a choice whether we followed Jesus’ Great Commission or not. For us, this meant moving into a house owned by a ministry that reaches out to inner-city children and youth. Every week our home is invaded by beautiful, annoying, excessively loud children. No matter that most of the time we have precious little inner warmth or motivation to propel us. They’re coming, and hopefully, God cares more about obedience than desire.

“…are we truly dedicated to living out the radical, costly, and inconvenient work of bringing God’s kingdom to earth?”It’s too easy to be content with just knowing the right answers. It’s possible to look good in far more polished ways than the young boy. But are we truly dedicated to living out the radical, costly, and inconvenient work of bringing God’s kingdom to earth?

I’m intrigued by the findings of the 2016 Kanagy survey of CMC constituents. While 85.8 percent believed their congregation actively shares Christ in the local community, only 43.5 percent talk about their faith at least monthly with someone who is not a church attender. While 76.1 percent believe their congregation meets the physical and social needs of their community, less than 25 percent of respondents acknowledge participating in such activities at least monthly.

Why is there this disconnect between what people feel about their congregation and the actual actions of the congregation? Can we really believe our congregations are doing so well if we as individuals are not? What could happen if even half of the people in our churches began to meet the physical and social needs of their community instead of only a quarter of us? What if all of us talked about our faith with unchurched people? We all know that we should “say God,” but what if we actually all started to live God? The work that Jesus did could accurately be described as “meeting the physical and spiritual needs of his community.”

Let’s all do our part to enlarge the table. Let’s become deeply discontent with the status quo; become discontent with not knowing the names of the least of these in your community; become discontent with not seeing Jesus work through you to impact the lives around you; and become discontent with simply knowing when to “say God.”

RMM wants to work with your church to help you expand the ways you connect with your home communities. We want to connect you with resources that would train and enable you to reach anyone and everyone, including the least of these. We want to help you recruit others in your congregation to join you. We’d love to see every church in CMC fully engaged in being Jesus and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of their community.

I want to hear from you. Tell me what you’re passionate about and what RMM can do to help. Let’s make CMC a conference that is known as a group of churches who seek justice, who love mercy, and who show our faith through our love. Let’s make CMC a network that is full of people who regularly share their faith with others in effective ways. I look forward to working with you.


Jordan and his wife Megan live in Columbus, Ohio, with their two children. Along with serving his community through youth ministry, Jordan has filled the role of property manager for the Rosedale International Center for the past three years. Jordan spends his free time riding bike and woodworking. He also enjoys playing with playdough, tractors, and running around the house yelling with his two-year-old son.
If you are interested in joining the conversation about how your local church can get involved in your community, join the Facebook group CMC Community Outreach. You can also contact Jordan at jordan@rmmoffice.org.




March 12, 2018

Called to Faithfulness: A REACH Update

By Isaac F, Team Himalayas team leader

As I walk up the rough stone steps, I breathe deep. Not only because the walk is making me short of breath, but also because I want to enjoy the cool crisp air. It is mountain air – cool winds blown down from snowy peaks – mixed with the sunlight that shines down as the sun nears the noon position. As I continue to climb, the sound of rushing water grows louder in my ears. Finally, I reach the top and view the massive waterfall. It is several hundred feet in height, and continually unleashes several hundred gallons of water into the large pool below. It is a beautiful sight and as I get out my phone to take pictures there is a small voice in my head that says, “Wait. Just enjoy this. Look around.” I take several pictures, but then try and take a moment to soak up my surroundings. In front of me is the waterfall – beautiful, powerful. Then I walk to a small building painted red and white sitting to the right of the falls. On shelves along the outside are many candles, not burning, but small and spent. Brass bells also hang on the side of the building. I look into the building and see what has become a normal sight – a small statue of some god and stone plaques that have prayers engraved into their surface. All is cold, lifeless, and hopeless.

As we encounter these shrines I have started to talk to the Father about the people who visit them. Recently we went to a large temple in the northern mountains. It was an impressive place where you could see mountains all around. At the temple there were numerous fountains pouring out of a concrete wall. The belief is that if you run under all the fountains and bathe in the pools of water you achieve eternal life. As I walked around and observed people lighting candles, burning incense, and running through freezing water, I couldn’t help but feel hopeless. These high places should be places of adoration to the Creator, not to created false deities. We gathered in the place and spoke to the Father together on behalf of the people there. As we spoke we lifted up songs to the true One and proclaimed his power and goodness in that place. When we were done I felt as though we had done work. I can think back to days on the farm when I would go out and mow the fields, fix a fence line, or chop some firewood. When I was done I could see the result of my work and I felt like I had accomplished something. It was that kind of feeling. It was a peace coming over me.

“So often we want to do his work, but sometimes our work is inviting Him to do his work.”One thing I am learning in my time here is what the work of our Father looks like. So often we want to do his work, but sometimes our work is inviting him to do his work. So often I gauge what is worthwhile by the results I see in the time I see them. But we are called to be faithful to our Father and the work he has set before us. There are days where all we did “for him” was lifting different people and circumstances to him. There are days that if we haven’t spoken to a gathering of brothers and sisters, or if we haven’t helped to rebuild a house, it can feel like we aren’t working for the Kingdom. I have been reminded of what we are called to here: faithfulness. I must be faithful to each of my teammates; to lift them up to the Father. I must be faithful to lift those around me, both believers and nonbelievers, to the Father. There is work to be done all around us. Let us be faithful in asking the Holy Spirit to move. Let us be faithful with what we have been given, which is access to the Throne where the Son intercedes on our behalf. Let us be faithful in the work we have been given.


As you remember Team Himalayas, please pray for continued openness and unity between the team. Ask that they would be hearing the Father’s voice and that they would be speaking through the Holy Spirit and not on their own strength.

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



March 08, 2018

A Daily Choice: A REACH Update

By Kara, REACH Indochina team leader

Right before we flew out of the U.S. we had a session that looked briefly at the phases of culture shock. The first three months are commonly referred to as the “honeymoon phase,” where everything is exciting and rather rose-tinted. Three to six months marks the “frustration phase” when one can easily become irritated and emotionally exhausted. Six months to a year is the “recovery phase,” where one gains understanding and starts knowing how to better adapt to the culture. Since I’d already spent six months in this country last year, I was curious to see where I would fall on the cross-cultural wavelength, especially since I had never really dealt with the frustration phase, at least not in the cultural sense. Would I start the whole process at the honeymoon stage again? Would it feel like coming home? I’d spent most of my time back in the states daydreaming about returning to this country, so I was completely unprepared for what actually hit me.

All I could do that first month was keep asking, “Father, give me enough joy for the day.”Homesickness. It was awful, immediate, and utterly foreign. Perhaps it came from being here a second time with things not being as new or exciting, or just from going through another season of holidays away from my family. I arrived wanting to be a strong, positive, and encouraging leader, but instead found myself a soggy, pitiful mess more often than not. The emotional exhaustion was a perpetual pressure. All I could do that first month was keep asking, “Father, give me enough joy for the day.”

Through that simple, desperate-hearted prayer, I began to realize that even the yuckiest days come bespeckled with gold-coated moments that just require a deliberate attitude to recognize them. Deliberate joy sounds fake, but really it’s the start to a mindset and a lifestyle. Joy is one of the most difficult emotions to truly feel, and my new thought is that joy isn’t actually even an emotion!

Joy is a choice. Happiness is the emotion that follows.

I’m convinced that joy is first and foremost a decision – a conscious choice to worship the Father, completely independent from situations or circumstances. Recognizing all the more that emotions don’t justify my actions, I’ve found it so much easier to be reminded on grumpy days that my bad attitudes stem from self-focus and that the focus needs to be changed. My mind is learning to daily choose joy, and I’ve never been so full of gratitude, worship, and awe as I have the past month!

Time has passed away, so has the homesickness, and my heart remembers why I love this country and these people. Our team has been blessed over and over again with open doors of opportunity. Not only have we received work that provides purpose here, but it’s also work that utilizes our various passions, interests, or giftings. Through teaching, playing sports, going to the gym, reading aloud to kids, learning how to cook locally, or sitting and talking with a friend at the sauna, I’ve seen the strengths of my teammates enhanced as they pour out generous and abundant love. I’ve watched them choose to be intentional in moments where being intentional wasn’t the most exciting option. Sometimes it takes deliberately pushing past emotional barriers in order to become aware of the favor being displayed all around us. Right now it may not be all that difficult to choose joy, but as life becomes more routine, complacency threatens to set in. With complacency comes a lack of diligence and discipline, and before you know it, attitudes and loss of focus can slip back in. So as we press into month three here, please continue to think of us. As Henri Nouwen put it, “joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”


Please pray that Kara and her team would continue to choose joy – inviting those around them to see and know the giver of that joy.

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



March 06, 2018

Introducing Kris: SEND Facilities Assistant

By Lydia Gingerich

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our 2018 SEND Interns. This group of seven REACH graduates will spend the year deepening their relationship to God and his Kingdom through serving at the RIC and being discipled by the SEND Department. RMM is grateful for their hard work and is excited to see them grow this year.


Kris serves as this year’s facilities assistant – changing light bulbs, mowing lawns, and helping to keep the RIC running smoothly. He joins the SEND Intern team from Fair Play, South Carolina, and was on the 2016-17 REACH Team Thailand.

In his free time, Kris enjoys making and listening to music. He currently plays the drums and numerous stringed instruments, but his goal for the year is to learn to play the piano. Kris also likes to play sports and hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy after his time as an intern.

“He remembers the interns during his Discipleship Training School as not only being role models but also good friends.”This year, Kris is looking forward to his roles as a leader and a mentor during the REACH program. He remembers the interns during his Discipleship Training School as not only being role models but also good friends. “That's something that I look forward to doing and being.”

Please pray for Kris and the other interns as they are used by God to impact the lives of those who come to the RIC. Pray that they would be drawn closer to God and invite others to do the same.



March 05, 2018

Introducing Candace: SEND Hospitality Assistant

By Lydia Gingerich

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our 2018 SEND Interns. This group of seven REACH graduates will spend the year deepening their relationship to God and his Kingdom through serving at the RIC and being discipled by the SEND Department. RMM is grateful for their hard work and is excited to see them grow this year.


Candace serves as a hospitality assistant at the RIC. She is from Pryor, Oklahoma – making her the 2018 SEND Intern who traveled the farthest to get to Columbus.

During the 2016-17 REACH year, Candace was on Team Himalayas, and one of the things she appreciated about being in that part of the world were the thunderstorms. “You’d be sleeping and then all at once, it comes out of nowhere real fast. I just love that energy.” She also loves being outside when it is not storming and says that one of her favorite things to do is hang up her hammock and listen to the birds.

“His incredible outpouring of love in her life has been a deep comfort to her and she wants to spend her life sharing that with others.”It was also during REACH that she began to experience God as a close friend. His incredible outpouring of love in her life has been a deep comfort to her and she wants to spend her life sharing that with others. She feels especially called to work with teenage women and looks forward to getting experience working with young people in both City Challenge and REACH this year.

Please pray that Candace would continue to experience the love of God and that those around her would see and respond to that love.



March 02, 2018

Introducing Aaron: SEND Prayer Coordinator

By Lydia Gingerich

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our 2018 SEND Interns. This group of seven REACH graduates will spend the year deepening their relationship to God and his Kingdom through serving at the RIC and being discipled by the SEND Department. RMM is grateful for their hard work and is excited to see them grow this year.


As the 2018 SEND prayer coordinator, Aaron leads prayer-related activities during REACH and City Challenge as well as within the SEND intern team. Aaron’s family currently resides in Goshen, Indiana (where he lived for the first part of his childhood), but they have also lived in Plain City, Ohio, and Richmond, Kentucky.

In his free time, Aaron likes to play and listen to music. Aaron first began playing instruments while living in Ohio while his father worked as the SEND Ministries Director. When he was 12 he received a guitar from a REACH participant and has since learned to play electric guitar, bass, ukulele, and a bit of piano.

“We had to learn to trust in God and be ready for whatever.”In 2016-17, Aaron traveled to the Himalayas as a REACH participant. “Many times we would have a plan, and then it would just get completely botched and we'd do something completely different. We had to learn to trust in God and be ready for whatever.” Aaron hopes to continue deepening his reliance on God this year, and help others do the same.

Pray for Aaron and all of the SEND interns to put their trust in God as they serve at the RIC this year.