May 01, 2015

Growing and Learning With the REACH Teams

The following REACH updates are adapted excerpts from their team blogs, and give a small glimpse into their lives over the last five months.

Team South Asia Update- Abundance of Fruit

Recently, we spent some time in a village. We loaded up the jeep and headed to what would be our home for the next ten days, and as always, we arrived to one of the warmest welcomes you could imagine. As soon as our feet hit the ground, we were rushed into chairs, handed coconuts for drinking, and given more apples than we could eat. This was the start of our fruit overload that would last our entire visit. The next morning we woke up to rice cakes and chutney, a type of spicy peanut sauce that is probably my favorite breakfast of all time. After breakfast, we started right into telling Bible stories at two different churches. This started a pattern of this breakfast and sharing in two or three churches, and because of the constant chutney and fruit (and the fact that we can’t pronounce the actual name of this place), I call it The land of Fruit and Chutney.

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April 29, 2015

RMM in the City

By Joe Showalter, RMM President
Adapted and updated from an April 24, 2014 open letter

Within a few weeks after Rosedale Mennonite Missions had purchased the facility at 2120 E. 5th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, that is now called the Rosedale International Center, a few of the RMM staff approached me about the possibility of RMM moving its headquarters from Rosedale to Columbus. At that point, we knew we had just purchased a large facility that would allow us to grow REACH and City Challenge, our summer and fall programs for youth and young adults. We also knew that it was for more than that. When the RMM board took action to purchase the building, they had clearly stated that they saw broader uses for the building. They had a sense that this could be a center that would take RMM to a new level in its mission training and networking and sending.

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April 24, 2015

Faith, Hope, and Love: a Whirlwind Visit With REACH Teams in Asia

By Hans Shenk

On a damp, dreary day in March, my wife Courtney and I flew out of Port Columbus International Airport, surrounded by crowds of Ohio State students headed for warmth and sunshine, fun and relaxation. Like them, we were headed someplace warm, but unlike them, we had few plans to relax.

We were on our way to visit the REACH teams in South Asia and the Himalayas; our primary aim was to encourage the teams and equip them to finish strong. Secondly, since communication with both teams had been limited, we were hoping to get a clearer understanding of how things were going by talking to the teams and observing their work in person. Finally, we hoped to meet with both teams’ outreach coordinators to ask how they felt about continuing to minister to the American church by hosting teams.

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April 20, 2015

Welcome to My World

A day in the life of Thailand team member, Rhonda

Each morning, Monday through Friday, I wake up bright and early at 5:30 to get ready for language school. I went to language school when I was in Thailand before, but now I am learning to read and write. My husband, Nixson, gets up with me every morning so we can eat breakfast together, then takes me to the end of the street on our motorcycle. Our house is pretty far away from the main road, and there is no public transportation that passes the village where we live.

I take a “songtaew,” which is like a pick-up truck with benches in the back, to the Skytrain station. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to the station.

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April 16, 2015

Introducing a New Partnership in East Asia

We are pleased to introduce William and Rebecca,* a couple newly-appointed by RMM but with close connections to CMC and years of missions experience in a challenging setting. In 1998, William and Rebecca moved to a mountainous region of East Asia and began living among a people group with very little Christian witness. They have spent years learning the language and culture and building relationships. During that time their family has grown and they now have four young sons, ranging in age from two to nine. They have been working with Eastern Mennonite Missions and are continuing that relationship while also joining the RMM family. William explained that they wanted to formalize a connection to CMC and RMM that they already felt strongly since their family and church roots are in CMC (their sending church is Mechanicsburg Christian Fellowship).

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April 14, 2015

Guvech Recipe

Enjoy this recipe from RMM workers Paula and Art Shore, currently working in an immigrant community in the Waterloo region of Ontario.

In the hot climate of our former home in the Middle East, this dish (or a similar version) was often prepared in the homes and sent to the local ovens in the neighborhood. There it was baked and then, along with hot fresh pita bread, was delivered to our door. In the Cappadocian region, it is often baked inside clay pots. Although the preparation of guvech was somewhat time-consuming, I have great memories of sharing these experiences with friends and their daughters. We huddled around their cutting boards on the floor, sipping our tea and sharing our lives and experiences. My legs were soon aching because I didn’t fold up as well as my more flexible friends but time was forgotten in the enjoyment of the moment. The memories and delicious tastes still linger.

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March 31, 2015

Getting to Know Raleigh and Opal

Raleigh and Opal and their two children, Robbie (2) and Anna* (7 months) will be moving to North Africa later this year. Right now, on top of jobs and raising kids, they are working at fundraising and training and looking ahead to a year full of good-byes, changes, adjustments, and language learning. Without a doubt, they could use our prayers! We asked Raleigh and Opal to help us get to know them as they prepare to go. Thanks for encouraging them and lifting them up! *Names changed for security

Hi Raleigh and Opal! First of all, where are you from originally and where are you now living and working?

Opal: I grew up at Turkey Run Mennonite Church near Logan, OH. As a junior in college I transferred to Eastern Mennonite University, met Raleigh through his sister, and eventually married him! We’ve lived in Harrisonburg most of our married lives, excluding a year we spent in the Middle East.

Recently, our family went through some changes, and I now work while Raleigh stays with the children. We are really enjoying this transition. I work as an instructor at EMU in their Intensive English Program and love interacting with students from around the world. Before the recent change, I spent three years in graduate school and in the life-giving work of raising our two children.

Raleigh: I grew up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. My dad was a pastor at Dayton Mennonite Church, where I spent my formative years. I’m thankful for the many friends—both peers and mentors—who nurtured me at Dayton and continue to bless me with their friendship and encouragement.

The last three years I’ve been the executive director of a grassroots Christian organization in Harrisonburg called Our Community Place, which seeks to love the people on the fringes of society. It was an incredible time of growth and learning as my staff and I sought innovative ways to bring the gospel to life, build trusting relationships in community, and effect healthy transformation in individuals’ lives. Presently, I am very much enjoying my new role as stay-at-home dad for my two lovely little children! My oldest calls me “Baba,” which is Arabic for “Daddy.”

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March 26, 2015

Back to My Small Town Roots: A New Opportunity in Thailand

Many of you already know Dan* quite well! He’s been with RMM for 41 years as a worker in Nicaragua, Ecuador/Costa Rica, South Asia, and now Thailand. He is a visionary and a pioneer and God has given him many opportunities to serve, disciple, mentor, and begin work in new areas. Although you may already know him, he has recently moved to a new area of Thailand, and we wanted to give him the chance to talk about his new work and new area.

Dan, can you explain in general the work of the Thailand team in Bangkok and how you decided to make this move to a new area (Kanchanaburi)?

The team in Thailand works in pioneer church planting among the many people of Thailand and the surrounding countries. Most Thais are Buddhists. Our team looks for people whose hearts have been opened to the gospel message by God, and through them we establish fellowships of believers who will reach their own people for Christ. Our main task is to disciple those who come to faith and whom God is calling to be leaders. So far the team is limited to Bangkok and, through Lao people who have come to faith here, the team visits and encourages believers in Laos. Kanchanaburi is on the Thailand Myanmar border and offers the opportunity to reach both Thais and different people groups in Myanmar.

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March 23, 2015

Book Recommendation: Contagious Disciple Making

In Contagious Disciple Making, David and Paul Watson (father and son, working for CityTeam), write about some very practical steps that all of us can take toward seeing more people become disciples of Jesus. This is a book about very big ideas—seeing rapid multiplication of believers as thousands or millions turn to Christ and then reproduce themselves. The stories are exciting and the Watsons’ make a compelling case for why every believer should want to be a part of a contagious movement. Additionally, they give ideas about the small things that we can do in our everyday lives to set the stage for a larger move of God. It’s a book about large-scale transformation, but the focus is on the very small, practical steps that lead to that kind of change.

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March 20, 2015

Is Jesus Really Worth It?

By Kevin Mayer, SEND Ministries director

In January, I had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia to attend the Annual Equipping Event with Global Disciples. This is a time where leaders of other discipleship programs similar to REACH spend a week praying, worshiping, encouraging and connecting with each other. I highly treasure these times where we can talk about the challenges and issues we face as leaders and to glean from the wisdom and experiences of others. I can quickly think of many highlights of our time together, such as witnessing the daring and determined faith of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters, their desperate hearts and utter dedication to the gospel, and their deep love for Jesus. Particularly moving for me, was hearing about the amount of persecution that many of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters have experienced over the past century. However, in spite of this intense persecution, the church has grown exponentially.

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March 18, 2015

Sure, Come on Over!

From the Canada REACH team blog

Greetings from the north where the weather is warming up and bringing with it lots of sunshine and smiles! It’s amazing how moods pick up when people can feel spring right around the corner! Also I love feeling like I am adapting quite well because at home 30 degrees feels pretty chilly and here it means it’s T-shirt time!

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March 16, 2015

Jesus in a Terroristic World

How should followers of Jesus respond to the very real threat of Islamist terrorism? Said and Cherif Kouachi massacre journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Boko Haram continues to massacre whole villages in Nigeria. The Islamic State drives out Christians from Mosul Iraq and brutally kills hostages.

What is real Islam and how should we as followers of Christ respond to such brutality? How should we relate to our Muslim neighbors in this kind of an atmosphere? The EMM Christian/Muslim relations team has written a very concise statement that we recommend to you, our readers. If we can live out all of the seven practical steps outlined below, we will witness again and again the transformative power of God’s redemptive love in our broken world. “May His kingdom come, his will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

– Jay Martin, Mediterranean Regional Director

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