February 27, 2015

Passing the Peace to the “Beard Bosses”

By Josiah,*RMM worker in North Africa

The news is filled with hate and violence these days. One of our children is especially troubled by fearful thoughts. After reading a children’s story I remember as harmless, she often reports with consternation, “That story was bad.” I recently added a separate “kid’s corner” feature on my phone so that my children could access its educational apps and games without seeing news headlines that appear on one small tile of the welcome screen; the headlines alone provided plenty of fodder for fearful bedtime pondering.

Just as our daughter’s reading gives life to her fears, our media diet can make our own fears grow and impact our relationships. For example, in the midst of the recent rise of ISIS, a group of robed young men (many bearded) began using a school just up the street from our house for religious instruction. They always dress in the long, hooded robes that are traditional to the culture here, but wearing them to the exclusion of more “western” garb can signal a deeper religious orientation. When I walk by the building, I often hear Quranic chanting.

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February 25, 2015

Where Are They Now? RMM asks REACH alumni: “What is your new mission, post-REACH?”

Take Me Deeper

By Kristyn Byler

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

Over the summer of 2014 I sang this song every week during worship times, and every time I sang it I asked myself, “Do I even know what I am asking for?” My thoughts would wander to times in the past when God had led me farther than I could’ve imagined, and how those times really did make my faith stronger and my trust more firm. Of course I wanted to go deeper than before – farther out on the water. Yet the question remained, did I really want more than what he has already led me through, to go deeper? More than the nights of feeling completely alone after our last family move? More than the struggles in Malawi, the fear in Tanzania, and the craziness in Uganda? More than my year internship in Columbus where I had to serve people even when I had nothing to give? Was MORE something I really wanted?

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February 17, 2015

Welcomed and Transformed at Christ’s Table

By Timothy and Alice Colegrove

It’s 6:30 on a Sunday night and Dinner Church Boston, a new urban church plant of the CMC, is gathered around the table. Our bellies have been satisfied with a home cooked meal and we have transitioned to coffee and dessert. We are caught up in reflection on the Beatitudes of Matthew chapter 5, specifically the verses on judging. Christian and pagan sit elbow to elbow as we open up the scriptures. For some of us, this is our first encounter with Jesus. For all of us it is a time of deep listening and learning. I ask the group simple questions, to provoke discussion: “What do you observe in Jesus’ teaching here?”; “How does this resonate with your experience?” Some responses come easily: “Remove the log from my own eye first.” “Look at yourself before you look at others.” Others speak up from personal experience, “Many Christians I’ve met don’t seem to match up with this…”; “There seems to be a big difference between Christianity in essence and Christianity in practice when it comes to judging” and; “It seems that smaller churches do a better job at not judging. Why?” The time of sharing and reflection is lively and charitable, with no question or comment off limits, and no shame in not having all the answers.

It is in the context of this ragamuffin dinner community that we’ve embarked upon a crash course in church planting. A year and a half ago, when my wife Alice and I were first led to the CMC to plant a church, we were keenly aware that our community would be representative of a new wave of CMC churches adjusting to the challenges of a rapidly post-Christian context. We knew that the old presuppositions of Christendom often don’t hold water. People in Boston are no longer convinced by arguments such as, “Because the Bible tells me so” (should they ever have been?). Most of the people around us did not grow up in church-going households. Our society is no longer a place where Christians wield political power, and a growing number of individuals (22% in Massachusetts!) no longer identify with any religion. On our tiny one-way street alone we share space with Muslims, Hindus, Gnostics, and atheists. It seemed clear to us from the beginning that a long road of experimentation lay ahead of us, filled with successes and failures, trial and error.

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February 12, 2015

A Minefield for Methodologies

By Phil*, RMM worker in Malaga Spain

I was struck recently by the comment of a Spanish evangelical pastor. He was recounting to another Spanish church worker how he had thought that the expository approach to preaching and teaching the Bible would be the key to rapid church growth in Spain. He had seen the method used successfully in London, England to start and grow a church there. It was new to him and falling in love with the approach, he was convinced it was the key to success in his home country of Spain. Five years of church planting efforts later, while still highly appreciative of and committed to expository Bible teaching, he was much more sober about it being the methodology that held the key to successful church growth in Spain.

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February 10, 2015

Donut Dough and Kingdom Building

By Joe Showalter, RMM president

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Matthew 13:33, NLT)

We discussed these words of Jesus yesterday at our house church gathering while we waited for donut dough to rise. We had decided to make donuts as an intergenerational activity that would also produce some tasty holiday gifts for friends and neighbors. So after watching a couple of video clips about the science of yeast and sourdough, we discussed the implications of what Jesus had to say about yeast.

Someone noted that in order for yeast to do what we want it to do, it has to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. It doesn’t take much yeast to make a huge impact, but it does have to be mixed in. We figured that the yeast in our donut dough represented about 1/50th of the amount of flour we’d used.

Someone else noted that this parable seems to suggest that if there are places in the world where we can’t see the positive effects of the presence of those who follow Jesus, it means we haven’t permeated every part of the dough very effectively.

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February 09, 2015

REACH is...

Learn more at www.send-me.org/reach

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January 31, 2015

RIC Renovation Photos

Renovation is underway at the RIC! Leon Ruch from Beiharz Artchitect Inc. in Defiance, OH designed the floor plan for the remodel and Weaver Commercial Contractor from Wooster is doing the construction. Plans are for the office wing to be finished near the end of March and RMM staff will move offices in April. We’re super excited about being in one building instead of two!

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January 27, 2015

Introducing a New Member of the Thailand Team!

Anna* is a teacher in Thailand who has joined the RMM Thailand team. We are so happy to have her as a part of the team in Bangkok and for the gifts and desire to serve Jesus that she brings. Anna is from the London, Ohio area and grew up attending London Christian Fellowship, which is now her sending church. She attended Cedarville University, studying Elementary Education and ESL (English as a Second Language) and had the opportunity to do her student teaching in Bangkok. Anna taught at the International Community School (ICS) and fell in love with the school and with Thailand. She had peace about returning and when a teaching position became available, she decided to return the following year.

Anna is now in her second year of teaching at ICS and has committed to an additional year. She teaches students in grades K-5 in a pull-out ESL classroom. She is very involved in many other areas of school life as well including: English testing for admissions, facilitating chapel, teaching an after school Bible program, and tutoring. Outside of school, Anna enjoys time with her friends, running (when it’s not unbearably hot!), studying Thai with a tutor, and going on adventures around Thailand with her friends. She is also working with a ministry called Lifesong whose mission is to rescue and disciple children found in migrant construction sites and slum communities. Anna participates in this ministry by teaching English classes to children of Cambodian construction workers and local Thai kids who don’t have the opportunity to learn from native English speakers. She has made occasional trips to Cambodia to support the Cambodian side of the ministry.

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Keith Scheffel Resigning as CFO

Keith Scheffel, who has served with RMM for the past 22 years, recently announced plans to resign as CFO, effective February 28. He has accepted a position with Layman, Diener, and Borntrager Insurance and Financial Services. We are very sorry to see Keith move on after such a long history with RMM, but we appreciate the spirit in which he is leaving and we wish Keith and his family many blessings.

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January 23, 2015

Exciting Day!

Please pray for Nixson and Rhonda as they return to Bangkok today (January 23). They need prayer to find housing in a central location (between school and work). They will both be studying Thai for a few months as a refresher and to learn the more formal Thai used in the Bible, so pray for quick language progress. Pray for them as they reconnect with old friends, rejoin the RMM team, and begin their work again.

Pray also for Jonatan who will be flying from Nicaragua, to the States to meet Rhonda and Nixson and will fly to Thailand with them. Pray for his cultural adjustment and as he learns language. Pray that he could meet key people to help with his adjustment. Praise God that he can meet his goal of going to Thailand after four years of preparation!

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January 22, 2015

Puzzles and Seekers: A New Year in Spain

By Pablo,* RMM worker in Spain

For us, 2015 literally started out with a bang! We were able to watch fireworks from the rooftop after our New Year’s dinner. For the dinner, we had roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts and parsnips, made by a good friend with my help. It was a risky thing to do, given that he has not made it for 15 years and my major ignorance of cooking and kitchen protocol. But it turned out splendidly and was timely as well. We finished eating just before the stroke of midnight, then stuffed down grapes, one for each of the 12 chimes of midnight, which is a tradition here in Spain. Some say it’s for good luck, and if you can’t get all 12 grapes down in time, something bad will happen during the year. A more probable theory is that the tradition began within the past 75 years or so to get rid of an abundant grape harvest. Of course, making a profit had nothing to do with it! But I digress.

Last year six of us celebrated the New Year together. This year one couple couldn’t because of his mother’s advanced skin cancer. It’s untreatable at this point. She’s in pain and requires family members to be with her constantly. This is probably the last New Year she will be with them, unless God does a miraculous healing. We’ve not had opportunity to meet her, and visiting people in the condition she’s in is just not something Spanish families do. But why not ask him for healing? He can do it!

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January 20, 2015

Hello from Sunny Costa Rica!

Liz is an associated worker with RMM. She is working as an assistant director of Vida 220, a discipleship training school based in Talamanca. She is mentoring students, working with local children and building friendships and discipling relationships with university students. She is from Plain City, Ohio and her sending church is Agape Community Fellowship.

Hello from sunny, warm Costa Rica! It's hard to believe how quickly the time has gone since I left Ohio back in September.

We are in the second to last week of Vida220 training Right now Elam Stauffer is with us teaching on the spiritual disciplines. We have a great group of students here, and it's been really fun getting to know each of them. There are four from the Hartville area in Ohio, two from Mexico, and six from Costa Rica—three of which are from the indigenous reserve where one of VidaNet's bases is located and where Vida220 training is held.

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