September 23, 2016

“…For Now You Shall Laugh”

Living cross-culturally sometimes leads to awkward miscommunications, cultural blunders, and many opportunities for laughter. Rather than keeping these to ourselves, we thought we would share a few stories from RMM workers to give you a dose of the “best medicine.”

Jordan (Himalayas REACH team, ‘10 – ‘11)

We entered our host church for another “all-night prayer.” These meetings, although not entirely accurate in name due to the fact that they only lasted from about 9 until 12, were nonetheless quite long enough for us. It’s not that we were entirely unspiritual, we just felt exhausted from teaching at the Discipleship Training School and teaching English, struggling to use fire to cook, etc. So the arrival of yet another spiritual activity did not garner the typical amount of joy you would expect from short-term missionaries.

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September 21, 2016

Expanding the Kingdom: Introducing the Director of Church Planting

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

“What if we really believed that the best way to reach more people for Christ is to plant healthy, gospel-centered, reproducing local churches in rural communities and urban cities all over North America? What if we had a vision to plant 50 local churches in the next decade out of our conference to multiply the gospel, and to advance the kingdom of God?”

Larry Kaufman, in his first report as Director of Church Planting, posed those questions to the RMM board in June 2016. Earlier in May 2016, a diverse group of Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) constituents had met to study scripture, seek the Lord, and discuss church planting. This group sensed God calling CMC to engage and expand the Kingdom through prioritizing church planting in every church and every member within every church. Adding to this growing momentum, Pastor Larry Kaufman of Grace Mennonite Church (Millersburg, Ohio) accepted the appointment to direct the carrying out of this vision.

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September 13, 2016

A Place to Call Home: An Update from Josiah and Sarah

At the end of July, we shared a number of prayer requests for Josiah and Sarah* as their family returned to North Africa. Below is a recent update from Josiah reflecting on their arrival and the way God has provided for them.

In these initial days there have been many reminders of how familiar life is here and why we’re grateful to be back: we’ve had visits with dear local friends, celebrated milestones with teammates, used words and phrases we haven’t thought of in a year, and eaten favorite local fruits. There have also be some reminders that the life we lived for the last year was different, and some accompanying growing pains as we readjust to our North African skin and work out (again) the shape that our marital and parenting relationships take in this culture..

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September 07, 2016

Witch doctors, church planters, and the sovereignty of God

By Jordan*

“A witch doctor?” I ask again, trying to clarify this story that made me marvel anew at the strange ways in which God chooses to move. A young pastor and I were sitting together in the shade of a large rock, pausing for a moment as we followed a small trail up the side of the mountain. We had spent much of the previous day riding together on a motorcycle and the sunburn on my neck was a constant reminder that sometimes, every once in a while, my wife does have valid packing tips. As he drove through places that would give a dirt bike pause, I held on, vowing that when I returned to America I would never again drive on a highway without giving thanks for the smooth ride. As we bounced along, I tried to focus on praying for the villages and vast areas that he would point out to me. Areas where the church was not – at least, not yet.

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September 04, 2016

Meet Cora: From Canada to North Africa

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

Cora* is 21 and grew up in Ontario, Canada where her parents are involved in a church plant. In early September she moved to North Africa for two years to assist RMM workers Raleigh and Opal* in caring for their children. She will also study the local languages and point locals toward Jesus.

What have you been up to in the last five years?

I graduated from high school in 2012, and then I went straight to a Bible college in Ohio the following fall. After a year there, I returned home to go to our community college for early childhood education. That was a two-year program, so after I graduated from that, I have been working in a childcare setting and loving it.

What excites you about going to North Africa?

I am excited to experience a new culture and see how people live in another part of the world and learn from them. I also look forward to the laid-back culture and how relationships govern the schedule, rather than time. I am eager to help Raleigh and Opal, so they can continue to build relationships with the locals. I am also rather excited about the fact that I won’t have to deal with snow for the next two winters!

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August 16, 2016

Put Your Yes on the Table, Let God Put It on the Map

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

In 2014, Larry Kaufman, pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Millersburg, Ohio, worked through a sermon series called, “Do Justice.” Pastor Larry says, “We resolved to speak out for orphans, and those who are alone and abandoned, the unreached, and those who have no voice and no hope in our world. We asked people to pray and discern if God was calling them to engage with any of these injustices. Out of that series the Lord called our Thailand team.”

After that series a group began meeting every Wednesday night to figure out what the next steps should be. During this process the team learned a lot about trusting God. Their plans came in and out of focus during those months, and after much prayer and fasting, they all felt confirmation to go and join Rosedale Mennonite Mission’s team in Bangkok.

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Conference Recap: Missions Day Offering 2016

Even though some of the totals are still being counted, we’ve put together an overview of how the various parts of the Missions Day Offering fit together as a whole. Many thanks to everyone who gave, or raised funds for RMM this year. We thank God for the generosity of our partners and the participants in our annual fundraising events.



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Conference Recap: Sunday Morning

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By Lydia Gingerich

Conference concluded on Sunday morning with RMM’s Missions Day program, highlighting God’s call for all of us to make disciples and celebrating his faithfulness in blessing us as we live out that calling. The congregation was invited to join in God’s work through RMM by praising God with the children’s choir singing about missions, led by Deborah Showalter, and giving financially during the missions day offering. Along with these components of the service was a celebration of God’s faithfulness to RMM, a time of commissioning for new workers, and a message from Richard and Jewel Showalter about the urgency of responding to God’s call.


A Celebration of God’s Faithfulness

Joe Showalter, RMM President, and Mark Yoder, RMM Board member, publicly thanked God for blessing RMM with the ability to fully pay back the money they used to purchase and remodel the Rosedale International Center (RIC). They shared the story of prayers of discernment in purchasing and renovating the building, of asking God for the provision of funds, of thanksgiving for the way God has allowed RMM to be debt-free much sooner than they had planned, and of celebration for the work God is doing through RMM at the RIC.

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August 15, 2016

Conference Recap: A Taste of Missions

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By Lydia Gingerich

Over the years, the Thursday evening program at CMC’s Annual Conference has grown and changed. What was once a somewhat dry time of reporting to pastors and others interested in missions, has evolved into a well-attended kickoff to the weekend.

This year’s program began with a welcome from CMC leadership. Brian Hershberger, CMC Executive Director, offered an appeal to make the weekend a time of learning “how to live as...and make authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.” John David Swartzentruber, Pastor of Greenwood Mennonite Church, and vice chair of the local planning committee, passed along his greetings from the home community. Dale Keffer, outgoing CMC Moderator, then addressed the audience, and shared some thoughts on what CMC has meant to him over the years and some hopes for its future.

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August 10, 2016

A Father to the Fatherless

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By Danita Beachy

Danita led the 2015-16 REACH Team to South Africa. Here she shares about an experience she had during her time there.

It was a Friday night in mid-February. My team and I were about halfway through our time in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving at a home for abandoned babies. In a pinch, I was asked to cover night shift at the hospital. One of our babies, sweet 11-month-old Sybil,* had a major surgery on her skull (i.e. cranial release and reconstruction) the previous Tuesday. She had just gotten out of ICU and was stable, but they didn't want her to be alone. I felt way out of my comfort zone, surrounded by medical terminology and burdened with the fragility of this precious baby’s life.

It was a long night, yet I clearly remember the peace I felt. What I experienced in that hospital has forever changed me. I've never felt more like a mom than I did that night, sitting by Sybil's bed, comforting her and praying fiercely for her little life. I'm thankful for surgeons, technology, and medical care, whatever sort it is. The Johannesburg hospital was one of the nicer ones, but it's definitely not up to Western standards. There were three other children in beds in the same dingy gray room, I counted more than a couple of cockroaches in the hallways, and I spent the night on a hard chair next to the hospital bed. I dozed there until around 3 a.m. and a nice nurse brought me hot tea from the employee room (probably because she felt sorry for me).

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August 01, 2016

Three Generations of Faithfully Following God’s Call

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

To protect the safety of certain family members who have chosen to follow God into places of the world that are closed to the gospel, the names in this story have been changed.

What is missional living? The traditional answer to this question usually includes moving across an ocean, learning a new language, and serving under a mission organization. But this is only one depiction. Missional living is defined in thousands of different ways by people all over the world as they choose to follow God’s call to join him in his work — each one unique, important, and beautiful.

While we must ultimately look to God for what missional living looks like in our own lives, it can be helpful to examine the stories of others to learn from and gain inspiration. Many examples of missional living can be found in the Bible, throughout history, and in the lives of those around us today.

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July 23, 2016

Returning to North Africa

Josiah and Sarah* along with their five children returned to North Africa at the end of July after a sabbatical year here in the States.

Please join us in praying for the following requests:

  1. Pray that God will lead the family to a house that will be just right for them. Pray that they will find seekers and other good friends in the neighborhood.
  2. Ask God to help the family with the adjustments they will face in going back to North Africa. Pray for the grace and strength they will need in saying goodbye. Pray that the children will settle into school life quickly and easily, and that their oldest daughter would grow meaningful friendships outside of homeschooling.
  3. Pray for protection and unity for the team: two families, two singles, and a short-term team coming this fall. Pray that they will be family for each other and that God will use them to bring others to his family. Pray that they would be able to bond through prayer and worship, and all would have a similar vision in moving forward with the work in North Africa.
  4. Ask God to bless, prosper, and protect the new business that Josiah and Raleigh* will be starting. Pray that it will be instrumental in leading them to many people, some of whom will eventually want to begin learning about Jesus. Pray for wisdom, guidance, and protection from day-to-day corruption that is prominent in this region. Pray that God would soften the hearts of those who could potentially keep them from moving forward in their work.
  5. Thank God for the believers/seekers that Sarah was connecting with before leaving North Africa last year. Pray for their salvation and growth, and that out of this group would come a disciple-making movement.

*Names changed for security

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