Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Part of a beautiful movement: EMM honors missionaries’ service

Written by Kristina Charles   
Thursday, 12 August 2010 12:34
SALUNGA, Pa. – Eastern Mennonite Missions marked the completion of service for 32 missionary workers with a catered meal and many words of gratitude. On July 29, missionaries coming back from their international assignments for the last time joined their supporters at the Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) Meetinghouse for a time of appreciating the past and anticipating the future.
Apprec. Banquet
Ahmed Haile (left) and his wife Martha (right) were honored for their fifteen years of mission work in Kenya at an appreciation luncheon on July 29. They were among 32 missionaries completing their service with EMM this year. Photo provided by Tammy Evans
EMM President Richard Showalter thanked the group of men, women, and children who returned from four continents and six countries. “I just want to bless you today, and to thank you for being a part of the blessing of places around the world. You are part of a beautiful movement of the Spirit of God which has flourished in the places you have been and beyond,” Showalter said.

Showalter noted that former EMM missionaries have continued to be mission-minded wherever they go, and some have returned to overseas work. “I just want to tell you that, some of you, you’ll be back!” he said, to a round of laughter.

Glenn Kauffman, currently director of EMM’s Global Ministries Department, was formerly a missionary in Asia with his wife June. He celebrated the families in the group. “June and I went out as two and came back as four. We were multiplying missionaries! I know many of you did the same,” he said.

Jeanette Hunt, from EMM’s Human Resources Department, specifically thanked the fourteen children in the group for their missionary work. “You were rubbing shoulders with people every day and expressing Jesus in the way you were living. Continue being Jesus to people, no matter where you live,” Hunt said.

Matt and Judy Krebs and their children completed their service in southern Europe. They have two daughters, Landry and Anika. Both said they are excited about beginning classes in a new middle school and elementary school in Denver, Colorado, where their parents are joining a church-planting effort.

Ahmed and Martha Haile raised their children, Afrah, Sofia, and Gedi, in Kenya, where they lived for 15 years. Clair Good, who was a missionary in Africa and is now the area representative for the region, thanked the Haile family for blessing him with their wisdom and grace. Martha offered hospitality to so many people that she routinely bought rice and sugar in 200 pound increments, Good said.

Apprec. Banquet
Verle Rufenacht (right), who served in Tanzania for over 29 years and trained over 1200 nurses, received a letter of thanks from Clair Good, EMM area representative to Africa, at an appreciation luncheon on July 29. Photo provided by Tammy Evans
Ahmed Haile addressed the group, reminiscing about how a time of tea with a group of friends around his table has grown into a church of one hundred people. Haile went to Nairobi to design and teach a peace studies program at Daystar University. He has been a mediator and mentor for many people during his time in Africa.

“The cross makes peace. It is the difference between our faith and others,” said Haile. He urged EMM to be aware of the seeds of the gospel which have been planted in people’s hearts and to continue ministering to those who are overlooked by the world.

Others honored at the luncheon were; Jim and Anna Ralph and their son, Zachary; Verle Rufenacht; and Ron and Regina Shultz and their children, Hannah, Jeremiah, and Bethany. Those not able to be present were Dennis and Shelley Abline and their children, Naomi, Janaya, and Micah; Carl and Vera Hansen; Carrie Kleinschmidt; and Lee and Lisa Zimmerman and their children, Caeley and Lily.

Joe Sherer, chairman of EMM’s board of directors, looked forward with excitement to the places God would take each of the missionaries. He knew he was not “decommissioning” the workers like Navy ships before they are sent to a scrap yard. “We know that your experiences will serve you well for the next stage of your life,” he said. “God will use them wherever you go.”

Source: Eastern Mennonite Missions

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