April 19, 2016

Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins in Holmes County, Ohio

By Jewel Showalter

“The magnitude of the problem of physical and sexual abuse in our very religious Amish-Mennonite community keeps weighing on us,” said Larry and Kendra Kaufman, pastoral couple at Grace Mennonite Church in Millersburg, Ohio, for the past 15 years.

The Kaufman’s explained that just this year in their community, the once-hidden issue has been thrust into the public eye through the conviction and imprisonment of an Amish preacher who is a sex offender. Larry explained that since many in their congregation come from an Amish background, Grace has felt led to launch a safe house known as 58:12 Rescue – “a safe place of healing and restoration for female victims of sexual and physical abuse” in Holmes County.

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May 06, 2015

Locally Grown: Cherry Glade’s “Behold the King”

By Barry Maust, Pastor, Cherry Glade Mennonite Church, Accident, MD

Cherry Glade’s Easter Play has become a beloved tradition, drawing the church family together to produce the play, and reaching out to the community with a vivid portrayal of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This story is an inspiring example of how outreach can be woven seamlessly into the ongoing life of a church.

In the early 1980’s, Edna Bender, Chester Yoder and Esther Yoder were a part of the Special Programs Committee at Cherry Glade Mennonite Church. It was customary to have a Christmas Eve program that included special music and/or a drama, and concluded with singing Silent Night during a candle-lighting ceremony. At a meeting, these three committee members were brainstorming about how the Easter season could be celebrated. God had placed it on their hearts to do something that would bring honor to what the season means to believers. Chester suggested that a passion play should be produced, and Esther was given the task of writing the script for the drama.

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January 08, 2015

Locally Grown: Grantsville’s Bridge to the Middle East

By Tim Yoder

This story begins long before anyone at Maple Glen became a part of it. It is a story of how God, through the power of his Holy Spirit, begins to draw people to himself and allows us to become part of something bigger than ourselves.

Abdul and Nany* grew up in Muslim families in Iraq. As a young person, Nany was drawn to Jesus and wanted to follow him, but was forbidden by her family. After Abdul and Nany married, Nany and her mother-in-law would occasionally attend church. It was soon discovered that Abdul and Nany could not have children. When Nany and Abdul’s mother would go to church, together they would ask Jesus for a child. After six months of asking Jesus for a child, Abdul’s mother told him that he also needed to go to church and pray for a child. Abdul and Nany went to the church and prayed. As Abdul prayed, a very nice feeling, something “electric,” went through his body and tears began to run down his face. The next month Nany was pregnant and they knew that the baby was from Jesus. Soon they were enjoying their son Hassan.

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November 06, 2014

Locally Grown: Being Jesus to the Homeless in Sarasota

By Marjorie Bozer

“It was 2:00 in the morning and I had already eaten my ice cream. I wasn’t sure where I could sleep. I knew I wanted to come here for breakfast and my camp is out in the country, east of I-75. So, I slept a few hours over there,” Darren said, first putting a finger to his lips to warn me of his secret, then pointing over his shoulder. “You are inside so you probably have never noticed how many ‘No Trespassing’ signs there are. Just look around. The police said if we find a spot without a ‘No Trespassing’ sign they will look the other way, but good luck finding one,” he said, pointing to yet another “No Trespassing” sign on the side door of the church. Darren was easy to talk to and shared freely when I opened the conversation with a comment about the treasures stored on his bicycle.

Maria refused to have her picture taken because she had new wounds on her face. “I was beaten up last night. They took everything I own, even my medicine. I had seizure medicine and stomach cancer medicine… they even took my aspirin. I have a headache from this gash and don’t have any medicine to make it go away.”

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June 20, 2014

Locally Grown: Neighbors Become Friends

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By Jennifer Falb

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

It is with this command in mind, that a group of people here at Fairlawn Mennonite Church in Apple Creek, Ohio have recently felt called to form a Community Missions Team. While not called to overseas missions, we have felt a growing burden for the people of our own neighborhoods who desperately need to know the redemption of our Savior. The team, led by Steve Bixler and his wife Becky, is composed of people of various ages and life stages who share a common goal of intentionally serving our community in order to make Jesus known.

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February 03, 2014

Locally Grown: 58,000 Pencils

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Interview by Candice, RMM staff writer

Lori Maust is the chairperson of the Missions Committee at Pigeon River Mennonite Church in Pigeon River, Michigan, which means she is a cheerleader for missions in her congregation. Lori agreed to answer a few of our questions about the missions project that she helped organize for the kids in her church this past summer.

1. Can you describe the missions project that the children in your church were a part of?

We sent home globe banks and the children raised money for a missions project. My goal was to foster the love of sacrificial monetary giving to others, even if it means DOING something to gain the funds to give away. Pigeon River Mennonite has always been such a supporter of missions—both in sending people and supporting workers and projects throughout the world and in our community—but I asked myself, “ how can we make sure this continues?” I think it is something we have to teach and model for our kids.

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November 25, 2013

Locally Grown:
Making Disciples in a Subdivision

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By Candice, RMM staff writer, from an interview with Rob and Doris Swartz

Rob and Doris Swartz and their family of four children (Larissa, Kevin, Danae, and Bryce) moved into Amherst Meadows subdivision in London, Ohio about 10 years ago. Rob, a self-described “country boy” never would have imagined himself in such a place but as they outgrew their former home, they felt God calling them to live in a neighborhood with close neighbors. From the beginning, they felt called to share Jesus with those neighbors. Rob said it took a lot of initiative on their part to start forming relationships. As introverts who enjoy family life, they had to challenge themselves to approach their neighbors. They don’t see evangelism as a natural gifting for either of them and learned they had to make an intentional place in their life for relationship building. They took walks around the neighborhood in the evenings, took cookies to the neighbors, and eventually, even began hosting an annual block party. These initial friendly encounters often lead to deeper, growing friendships.

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June 10, 2013

Locally Grown: Sharing the Bread of Life with JAM

J.J. with the kids from the bus ministry
By Andrew Sharp

Every Wednesday J.J. Nisly gets in an old minibus and drives more than 20 miles through the vast farm fields surrounding the tiny crossroads town of Partridge, Kansas, to another nearby town to give rides to children who want to come to Partridge to take part in Plainview Mennonite Church’s “Jesus and Me” program. The church, located near Hutchinson, Kansas, has run the weekly Bible-school-type program, known by its short form of JAM, on Wednesday nights for 11 years.

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March 14, 2013

Locally Grown: I’ll Come to Church If I Can Bring My Motorcycle

By Andrew Sharp
Staff Writer

They come to Pond Bank Mennonite Church in their Sunday best—engines clean, windshields spotless, and chrome lovingly polished. For the congregation in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Harleys and Hondas in the sanctuary is all part of the fun on Motorcycle Sunday, held every year since 2008.

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February 07, 2013

Locally Grown: Feeding Tigers at Zion

By Andrew Sharp
Staff Writer

There can be a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about what Mennonites are like and what they believe, even in communities with a Mennonite church. In Pryor, Oklahoma, some in Zion Mennonite Church are bridging that information gap by connecting through something they do well—good Mennonite cooking.

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January 09, 2013

Locally Grown: Go Into Your World

By Martha Stoltzfus

Editor’s note: Martha Stoltzfus lives in Jackson, Kentucky. When she heard about RMM’s efforts to help CMC churches engage in local outreach, she sent us this interview of a man from her community who is committed to sharing his faith with those around him.

Ray Mullins and his wife Judy live on Turners Creek, in Breathitt County, Kentucky, where they attend Turners Creek Mennonite Church. Ray is not a preacher or a missionary. However, he takes very seriously his responsibility to proclaim the gospel to his world, which consists of his small community and anyone he meets while on the job. Recently I talked with Ray about his witnessing.

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