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January 30, 2019

A Lesson in Timing: Introducing New Workers to Thailand

By Lydia Gingerich

At a wedding reception four years ago, Jacob and Danielle first met and connected over a disagreement on the correct method to roast a marshmallow. Jacob prefers a slow-cooked mallow with a soft inside and a golden brown shell. Dani is just as happy with a marshmallow that is set on fire for a few seconds, blown out, and promptly consumed.

“That is a pretty good analogy of our strengths and weaknesses,” Jacob commented. “We have differing opinions on a lot of things, but we tend to even each other out.”

They have especially found this to be the case as they make preparations to go to Thailand as RMM workers in the summer of 2019.

A year after their marshmallow debate, Jacob and Dani married and began to think about going overseas to be advocates of God’s love in a country that is largely unreached by the gospel. Dani had already spent six months in Thailand as a part of the REACH program, and then another two years as an intern with RMM. She felt a call to overseas missions and a strong connection to the Thai people and culture. Even as she and Jacob dated, they talked often about the possibility of living in Thailand in the future.

“Once we got married I realized it wasn't as simple as just packing up and going. I wanted to make sure that he felt called to missions, if not to Thailand. And so I feel like that took a while,” Dani said.

Talking about missions led the couple to take Perspectives, a 15-week course exploring the global Christian movement. The course helped motivate them to pursue living in Thailand and go through RMM’s CALIBRATE program for prospective workers. They also began to reach out in various ways where they live in Columbus, Ohio.

One of the ministries they are currently involved with is a tutoring program for Spanish speakers. This experience has not only been a time of meaningful connection with those they are working with, but great practice for them working within another culture and language. In Thailand, Jacob hopes to use his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and enjoyment of mathematics, to find employement teaching math at a high school or university. Dani’s education is in hospitality and hotel management, and she hopes to be involved in teaching English to the many Thai people who want to work in the tourism industry.

As well as teaching, they plan to dedicate much of their time during their first years in Thailand to learning the language and culture.

“The goal is long-term for Thailand. This means we need to put a high priority on language training so that we can be there for a long time and be sustainable,” Jacob said.

Once they arrive in Thailand and begin to reconnect with Dani’s old friends and make new ones, they hope to begin a house church, “meeting around a meal and then reading the Bible, maybe singing some songs. Trying to keep it very traditionally Thai,” Dani explained.

“…we would like to learn how Thai people can become believers of Jesus and still be completely Thai. We are excited to go and learn more about that.”She continued, “One thing we really hope to do is discover. In Thailand, to be Thai is to be Buddhist. It is hard for anyone to imagine being Thai and being a Christian. And so we would like to learn how Thai people can become believers of Jesus and still be completely Thai. We are excited to go and learn more about that.”

The process of going overseas has been closer to a slow cook than a quick burn for Dani and Jacob, but they realize that God’s timing is best. One of the more important things they will have to do before they leave is have a baby – a daughter scheduled to arrive in February.

Another part of the process is raising funds. It is not always easy to visit churches, write letters, and keep track of large numbers, while still trying to work jobs and get ready to have a baby, but they have found that the process of working together as a team has brought them closer to each other and to God.

“I feel like this whole process has, if nothing else, really strengthened our relationship,” Dani said. “Even though we have our little times when we butt heads during the process, I feel like in general we have a unified long-term vision of what we want. I feel like God is building that up for when we do go to Thailand – we are not always going to agree on how we do different things, but we have the same vision and we both want the same goal – to invite Thai people to worship God.”

Please pray for this couple as they prepare to go to Thailand. Pray that funds would be raised quickly and that the process of bringing their little one into the world would go smoothly.

January 29, 2019

Rooks, Rubik’s, and Recess: A REACH Update

By Caleb, REACH Team Indochina

Often times as kids or young adults or old adults we may wonder about the passions and gifts that we have been given: Why do I care about this? What good is it that I am good at that? Growing up I had plenty of those questions. In school I very well could have been considered a “nerd.” While I didn’t have red curly hair or glasses or buck teeth or any of the physical features often associated with the label at the time, my talents and interests proved otherwise.

In middle school, I discovered an online program called “Scratch” which is essentially a computer programming language for kids. Through this I gained a passion for programming and for technology in general, that has led to me learning various other programming languages and skills. In high school, several of my friends and I became very interested in chess. We spent hours upon hours playing each other in games, either in real life or over the internet. We didn’t join the chess club, but that was only because our tiny rural school was too small to have one.

Later that year, the new hobby among my friends was to solve Rubik’s Cubes. We all learned how to solve ours, and then we practiced and practiced and practiced to make our solve times faster and faster and faster. When we got as fast as we could, we bought newer, faster cubes designed for speed-cubing. Needless to say, chess, programming, and Rubik’s Cubes aren’t the most popular or obviously useful skills for life.

Often you don’t know that you should be waiting for something to happen until it does.

When I first arrived at our apartment here in Indochina, I met the people that owned the place. The landlords have two kids: a girl and a boy aged 8 and 10, respectively. All four of them live here in the apartment alongside us. I noticed that the boy, who is somewhat quiet and non-talkative to the new strangers in his house, was carrying around a Rubik’s Cube. Over time, I also noticed that he did not know how to solve it. So, I showed him a couple of times that I could solve it, in an attempt to impress him.

A couple days later I realized I was probably in this situation for a reason. So, I decided to teach him how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I actually already had instructions written down from when I taught someone else during training, so I brought those out, set them before us, and I taught him, step by step, how to solve his Rubik’s Cube. Doing this brought out a common interest, which allowed for more free communication and a more fun relationship between us.

Also during this week, Seth and I bought a chessboard. It came with no pieces, so one day I was sitting in the living room drawing out some chess pieces on paper. One of the other tenants, an American, walked by and asked if I was in to chess. I told him I was, and he informed me that he was also a fan of playing chess. We agreed that we should play a game together.

Lastly, this week began our teaching at the international school. Each day from 11:20 to 2:30 we work at a school where we eat lunch with the kids, play recess, and then teach them. Each day we typically teach only one class. Most days we teach either a sports class or a physical education class. Because all the classes we are teaching are considered “activities” classes, they are usually the fun classes where kids get to be active or creative without worrying about grades or assignments.

When planning for these classes, I had a very exciting idea. Remember that “Scratch” programming language I learned in middle school? What if I taught that as a class? Maybe I would be able to provide a starting point for any students who might have a passion for technology or programming! And so, this week I taught my first class in which the students are learning how to program using Scratch!

Just think back to the high-school version of me: I didn’t learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube because a voice from the sky told me “Caleb, you need to learn how to master this toy because one day you will be in Southeast Asia living with this kid who has a Rubik’s Cube but doesn’t know how to solve it; and you need to teach him how to solve it so that you can make an impression on him so that one day he might accept the Truth because some American was kind enough to teach him. If you don’t pull through for me, my plan is ruined!” No, that did not happen. I learned how to solve it because I wanted to. It was a hobby. I didn’t learn programming because I knew that one day six years in the future I would be teaching programming to some Korean kids living in Indochina. I learned it because I enjoyed it and it was a fun hobby for me.

“I realize that as long as I keep my eyes open to him and walk through life with an open heart, he will show me what he wants me to do…”I guess the biggest thing I learned through all of this is that I don’t need to worry about what he has planned for me. Why should I? He is truly in charge of everything, and he has just shown me three times in one week that he is willing to use things that I enjoy to further his kingdom. This has taken a lot of worry off of my shoulders about the future. I realize that as long as I keep my eyes open to him and walk through life with an open heart, he will show me what he wants me to do, and in the process I will learn why he has made me the way he did.

Take some time to thank God for the unique ways he has prepared you to share his love with those he puts in your life.

Do you want to join a REACH team in 2019-2020?
Click here to apply or learn more.

January 18, 2019

Celebrating Milestones

In 2018, a number of overseas workers and office staff reached significant milestones in their tenure with RMM. We would like to celebrate those individuals and the unique contributions they have made through their years of service.
Kristyn: five years of service as a SEND intern and the RIC Hospitality Manager

Andrew: six years of service as Director of Partner Development and RIC Director

Susannah: Ten years of service as Food Services Manager

Courtney: almost seven years tenure and conclusion as SEND Ministries Assistant Director

William and Rebecca: ten years of service with RMM in East Asia

Phil and Maretta: five years of service with RMM in Spain

Art and Paula: twenty years of service with RMM in the Middle East and North America

RMM thanks God for the love and dedication of these faithful laborers as we work together to invite the nations to worship Jesus.

*Names changed and/or last names omitted for security

January 15, 2019

He Will Provide

By Karly, RMM worker in Thailand

When Angie, Jake, and Karly moved to Pattaya, Thailand, last year, they were struck by the vast number of abandoned and abused children as a result of pervasive sex tourism in the city. While there are numerous organizations working to bring people out of this darkness, this team sent by Grace Mennonite Church feels called to work specifically with children who have been abused, abandoned, or trafficked. They are working to organize a group of homes that provide family-style settings for these children.

The journey to establish a foundation to care for orphans here in Pattaya, Thailand, is well underway. It’s been incredible to seek God through this process and see him provide and guide. We yearn for unity in this city in all sectors, non-governmental organizations, and local families. This is a time to unite together and work towards bringing the gospel and strengthening families. We feel God has clearly spoken to us to start a children’s home first and then hopefully a community center soon after. We are building relationships with different groups and individuals. We provide a weekly community outreach near our home that includes teaching English, instilling biblical values, playing games, sharing a snack and then praying together.

We want people to know there is no limit when you are serving God. God provides for all of your needs and brings everlasting Hope. Being here and watching that happen, has given us stories to share with others to help encourage and understand how truly faithful and loving God is.

Recently I met a woman and her two children on the streets of Pattaya and after an hour of getting to know her story, I could tell that she was not safe. She was not originally from Thailand, but had come with her children and now felt trapped. I contacted a friend who came to help. We took her to a secure home where they could stay for the next two nights. During those two days we were able to get her connected with a social worker who identified some of her most pressing needs and why she was on the streets. Eventually, she and her family were put on a bus to take them home, with another team waiting across the border to help get them home safely, get her a job, and get the children into school.

“You cannot help.
She is fine.
Keep walking.”
All this being said, when I first saw her on the street, I honestly wasn't going to stop. My human self and the devil himself spoke clearly to me: You cannot help. She is fine. Keep walking. So I walked past her and went to a coffee shop close by. An hour later I walked past again, but this time I stopped about ten feet past her. The Lord stopped me. I prayed and I told the Lord I don't know what to say or if she will even understand me. But he spoke, he led, she understood, and now she and her children are safe.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6