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.

Continue reading "Marriage on the Rocks in Spain" »

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.

Continue reading "Thoughts from World Awareness Week" »

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.

Continue reading "Open Doors" »

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...

Continue reading "Preparing Workers to Join the Thailand Team" »

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.”

Continue reading "Locally Grown: Being Jesus to the Homeless in Sarasota" »

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.

Continue reading "An Introduction to Rosedale Business Group" »

November 03, 2014

Do You Mean Discipleship or Disciple Making?

What’s the difference between discipleship and disciple making? Are they basically interchangeable terms? I’ve been thinking about these terms for a couple of reasons. First, because they are at the heart of what RMM is all about. Jesus gave his disciples the commission to make disciples of all the earth’s peoples, and as spiritual descendants of those first disciples, we in turn accept the call to make disciples.

I’ve also been thinking about these terms because one of the three aspects of Conservative Mennonite Conference’s new strategic vision is discipleship (along with leadership and partnership). I am pleased that together as churches, we are committed to discipleship at our core.

Continue reading "Do You Mean Discipleship or Disciple Making?" »

November 02, 2014

Prayer Gathering Photos

The CMC prayer gathering this weekend was a wonderful time of hearing together from God.

Continue reading "Prayer Gathering Photos" »

October 28, 2014

Getting to Know Al Raber

Al is planning to begin his assignment in the Amazon River Basin of Brazil in 2015. Right now he is putting together his Missionary Support Team (MST), raising funds, training, and preparing to go. If you’d like to partner with Al in God’s work in this unreached area of the world, please visit donate.rmmweb.org.

Can you tell us a little about your growing up years?

I was born into a large Amish family in Holmes County, Ohio. I am the second to youngest of twelve children. I attended elementary school thru the 8th grade and then began to work in my father’s sawmill at the age of fifteen. Growing up we were never farmers but always had various animals on our property, like horses, steers, dogs, and chickens. We always kept a large garden which we tended to religiously every morning during the summer months. We were never rich nor poor as dad, mom and all of us worked hard to keep food on our table.

How did you come to know Jesus?

Early in my life, I was introduced to God and his Word in the Amish church we attended, but I rejected God for a ten year period of my life. During that time, I went through the “rumspringa” (a rebellious adolescent) phase in my life. As alcohol and other worldly pleasures left me empty inside, I began to seek a deeper purpose for my life. Through several influential people, I came to give my life to Christ in the summer of 1999.

Continue reading "Getting to Know Al Raber" »

October 22, 2014

Praise from our friend Pon

By Tom,* RMM Asia regional director

Pon is a young Laotian friend who came to know Jesus through the RMM team in Bangkok. Several years ago he returned to his home country and now lives in the capital city, Vientiane. He's gotten married and he and his wife, Nam, are expecting their first child in February! God has been blessing Pon in many ways over the last few years. During our recent visit to Laos, Pon excitedly shared with us about how he's seen God at work in and through his sushi business. When he started selling sushi, he wasn't sure that he could make it work. He had only a little capital and even less experience, but he prayed a lot and asked for God’s guidance in all the decisions he had to make. In the past year Pon’s business has begun to grow quickly. He’s opened a second kiosk and in the near future will open a shop where he will sell sushi and other Japanese food. He's quick to give God the credit for this and said that he prays about everything – even small details like the design of his logo. Praise God for all the good gifts God is giving to Pon and pray for continued wisdom for him in managing his business and hiring employees. Pray that those who work with him would be drawn to God through his witness.

*Last name omitted for security reasons.


October 15, 2014

Update from Sarah and Josiah

Excerpted from newsletter. If you would like to receive regular updates from these workers in North Africa, contact the RMM office at info@rmmoffice.org to be added to their mailing list.

School is off to a good start for our three oldest children! We're grateful for a smoother start this year and for some budding friendships for them. Thanks to all who have been praying for them!

A dear friend lost her mother several months ago. She invited us to join her family (“in place of my mother,” she said) during the Feast of the Sacrifice (Sunday), the high holy day of the Islamic year and an important time when families gather following the loss of a loved one. It's also a day of a lot of work, and both our help and presence seemed deeply appreciated. Join us in praying for this family’s peace.

Continue reading "Update from Sarah and Josiah" »

October 13, 2014

Greedy for Jesus

By Tom,* RMM Asia regional director

My first trip to one of the most densely populated countries in Southeast Asia was even more intense than I had expected. I’ve never been anywhere so crowded, noisy, or generally overwhelming! My introduction to the city was an auto-rickshaw ride that covered 15 kilometers and took nearly two hours in the blazing afternoon sun. At the time, I was sure that I’d never been so hot in my life. Later I discovered that the traffic never really gets any better and that the heat, noise, and smells are a normal part of life in that amazing city.

I only spent one week in the country—not nearly enough time to begin understanding life there. But I was able to spend a lot of that time with our team of national workers, Hiralel* and his wife Bindu* and Protap* learning more about their ministries. I saw some of the many challenges they face, but also some exciting glimpses of what God is doing through them.

Continue reading "Greedy for Jesus" »