December 19, 2014

Fellow-Traveler Kind of People: Getting to Know John and Cecelia

John and Cecelia* have been RMM workers in the Middle East for the past eight years. They are both working in English language instruction—Cecelia teaches English in a local language school and John teaches Environmental Law and International Energy and Environment Issues courses. Their ethos: “We feel we shine best as we work well, immerse ourselves in the lives of our students and build relationships with co-workers.”

Where are you from in the U.S.? How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and supporting church after being gone so long?

We hail from Wayne County Ohio, where we met in high school, married, and began raising our family until God moved us to pursue graduate school. At that point we began sharing our lives in a city setting and then moved in 2000 to Central Asia, where we lived for six years. It is a challenge to stay connected from a distance over so many years, but the internet has been a huge asset, allowing us to stay connected via Skype, Hangout, Facebook, Pinterest, and e-mail. We also make relationships a priority on our summer visits, connecting with friends and supporters and hanging out with our family as much as possible.

Previously, you were workers in another country. How long did it take you to feel like your current country became “home?”

It was different for the two of us. For Cecelia it didn’t take long. People here are friendly, and we soon met neighbors and others, many of whom are still close friends. I also think we had already learned a lot about the culture and knew how to give honor and live uprightly in Asian culture. We try to be teachable and curious and present ourselves as students of the culture by asking lots of questions, learning about their cultural values and saying ‘yes’ as much as possible. For John, it was much harder to adapt to the new country because of not having a clear identity or role in society here at first. It seems now as if we have three “homes:” our former host country, our current host country, and Ohio.

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December 16, 2014

A Christmas Commission

By Larissa Swartz

“Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.”
(Luke 2:10-12, The Voice)

This passage has become familiar to us over the years through readings, dramas, songs, and movies where this scene is reenacted. But taking a look at it again this year, I realized something: the angels never told the shepherds to actually DO anything. They come, they deliver their proclamation, sing ”Glory to God in the highest,” and leave; after which the shepherds themselves search out the baby Jesus and spread the news of his birth, becoming the first evangelists. From the natural overflow of their amazement and joy at the birth of Christ, they glorify God and proclaim his awesomeness to the world.

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December 15, 2014

Come and Stand Amazed: A Christmas Greeting from RMM

As Christmas approaches and 2014 comes to a close, we “stand amazed” at the beautiful, life-changing work God has done this year...

Come and Stand Amazed

Performed by Lucas Russell (SEND staff intern)
and Lexi Beachy (REACH Canada).

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December 12, 2014

Willing and Ready to Go: An Opportunity to Give

Over the past months we’ve introduced you to Nixson and Rhonda Jarquín, (Preparing Workers to Join the Thailand Team and Shining the Light of Jesus on a University Campus) a young couple (Rhonda from Ohio and Nixson from Nicaragua) who met in Thailand, got married, and are preparing to return to Thailand long term in January. We are ready to send them and they are more than ready to go, but more financial partners are needed!

Nixson and Rhonda have spent the past four months in Nicaragua diligently working at missions mobilization. They have traveled extensively, meeting with churches, pastors, and prospective missions candidates. We’re excited about the growing vision for missions within Nicaragua. More than 30 people are actively pursuing the possibility of being sent. One of them, Jonatan, is a young man who has been preparing for the past three years. Within the past month he has been approved by the local council and with a combination of funding from his home country and from churches in North America, he is ready to go.

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December 11, 2014

What I Learned in DTS

As the REACH teams prepared to leave for outreach, we were curious…what were some of the things they learned in DTS (discipleship training school)? We asked a few of them to share their thoughts and searched through their blog entries to share some of their insights with you.

Last names omitted or names changed for security.

Team Canada

Micaela: One of the sessions that really hit home for me was when Galen Burkholder spoke about global realities. One thing that broke my heart was when he said that 49,000 people die daily without ever hearing about the gospel. It really moved me to see how passionate Galen was over this devastating fact, so much so that he was in tears. I think in America it’s so easy to get caught up in our comfortable lives because everything we could ever need or want is so easily accessible, while all across the globe many people are trying to live on less than $1.25 a day.

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December 04, 2014

Getting to Know Efraín and Sujen

Interview and translation from Spanish by Dan Byler

Efraín and Sujen are based in the city of Bangkok where Efraín is a third year student of English at a university and Sujen relates to Thai people and does hosting. They facilitate a small fellowship of Thai and Chinese people which often meets in their home. Efraín and Sujen are also discipling Lao friends, both in Bangkok and in Laos.

Where are you from?
Tell us what your home area is like.

We come from a community called Las Palmas in rural Boaco, Nicaragua, which is 20 kilometers from Las Maderas. It is a quiet community without electricity and there are no roads into the community so we mainly use horses to travel. My wife is from a town in Carazo, Nicaragua called Jinotepe. It is a beautiful and happy place with a very nice climate.

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November 25, 2014

Marriage on the Rocks in Spain

A cultural snapshot by Phil, RMM worker in Spain

By any analysis, marriage is on the rocks in Spain. At seventy-five percent, the divorce rate here is one of the highest in Europe. This means that almost three out of four marriages will eventually end up in divorce. Apparently, many divorces are initiated in the few months following the summer vacations. It seems couples spend more time with each other since they are not out working but vacationing and discover that they are incompatible! The Italian press are reporting that even King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía could be about to announce their divorce. Juan Carlos quietly abdicated the throne this summer amid corruption scandals associated with his family in favor of his son, Felipe, who had escaped being tarnished by what had happened. Sources from within the royal household have reported that the former King and Queen have for a long time lived in completely separate wings of the Zarzuela Palace and only communicate via their secretaries. The reason for this appears to be Juan Carlos' string of extramarital affairs over the years. Queen Sofía's biography claims that the King has been involved with over one thousand five hundred women.

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November 20, 2014

Thoughts from World Awareness Week

By a REACH participant

A few weeks ago, in REACH training, we observed world awareness week at the RIC. This was a week where we are asked to try to experience a world that is more like the general population of the world, something outside of the "American Dream." We ate nothing but rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. The power only came on occasionally (which was the only time we were allowed to use our computers). Our mattresses were taken away, so we slept on the floor.

These are not exercises to punish us or make our lives miserable; they're designed to make us more aware and empathetic of how most of the world lives. They're reminders to pray. I've compiled some thoughts on this subject, and I really feel like this is what God has been laying on my heart.

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November 17, 2014

Open Doors

An update from Pablo and Judi, RMM workers in Malaga, Spain.

We went to our environmental class this morning. Why this class? We try to follow open doors. 6 1/2 years ago when we arrived in Spain, we said, "now what?" It soon became apparent that to connect with people we'd have to do what they do, better yet, what both they and we like to do. We soon realized that teaching English would be a good way to get to know people. Then a student told me about a neighbor who sings in a choir, so we got involved. A couple from the choir invited us to sign up for this environmental class, and through it we've gotten to know lots of people and have done lots of things: excursions, hiking, and attending concerts through access to super-discount tickets. The class is taught by a left-leaning teacher and we talk a lot about politics. This morning’s topic was multinationals taking over the agricultural business and the super-secret American-European trade treaty meetings currently going on that will (supposedly) eventually impoverish countries like Spain.

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November 14, 2014

Preparing Workers to Join the Thailand Team

By Rhonda

Rhonda and Nixson are visiting Nicaragua for about three months, spending time with Nixson’s family and reconnecting with the churches who would like to send workers to Thailand. They plan to return to work in Thailand in January 2015.

We've been quite busy since arriving in Nicaragua, and the times that we are with family and able to relax, we don't have internet access. So I'm finally sending an update!

Here are some of the things we've been up to...

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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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November 05, 2014

An Introduction to Rosedale Business Group

By Larry and Dot Chupp

“Marketplace evangelism happens when we take who we are in Christ to the marketplace.”

Since the inception of Rosedale Business Group (RBG) in 2007, the first and foremost desire of each member has been to seek avenues for building Christ’s Kingdom via business and poverty alleviation opportunities, locally and overseas. Making inroads for the Good News can be very challenging in today’s global market and it is even more complex given the constraints of closed countries. The RBG board and partners have been seeking creative solutions to some of these problems. We would like to introduce you to some of RBG’s current projects.

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