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Stories of Mission

Explore mission themes in our quarterly magazine as workers tell stories of making disciples in the way of Christ.

Stay informed of all the latest VMMissions news.

View of the slum community in Southeast Asia. Courtesy photo by Anita Rahma

Do You Want a Puppy?

“Reaching unreached people groups demands more than what is easy or comfortable,” writes Anita Rahma. To reach Muslim neighbors and remove barriers to the gospel, her family uses contextual language and lifestyle to connect. For them, it means choosing to surrender some things they have a “right” to.

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Jason Rhodes Showalter

Ambassadors to the Unreached

VMMissions increasingly partners with churches in the global south, the majority Christian world, as they send workers to live and work among UPGs as ambassadors of the gospel. Many of these sent ones continue to work in the professions they practiced in their passport nations.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Striving for Greater Balance

This year the concept of “unreached people groups” turns 50 years old. The idea of UPGs is not new, but it is relatively new for VMMissions to make UPGs a priority in our work. Currently, the percentage of workers we support who are serving UPGs is 43%.

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Great Community Give open house

Great Community Give Raises More Than $20K

On April 17, VMMissions participated in the Great Community Give, a dedicated giving day for nonprofit organizations in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Virginia. The net total was $20,250, representing 135% of the goal of $15,000.

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Joyel Allen Worker Profile

Worker Profile: Joyel Allen

Joyel serves as a campus missionary to Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, where she shares the gospel with students and disciples them. She serves with Every Nation Campus, in partnership with VMMissions.

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Yacoub and his MST pray together

Call to Prayer: Praying for Direction

Prayer isn’t something that I just do before I relate to people. Prayer means carrying something with you all the time. Without it, nothing happens. I need someone to show me the way. How will I minister without the Holy Spirit showing me the way?

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South Asia believers pray

The Multiplying Impact of Testimonies

If we are taking Jesus’ command seriously to make disciples of all nations, then strategies that produce multiplication are worth pursuing. One of these strategies is through sharing our own testimony.

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Planting a Church Using the Four Fields

A simple tool has helped our church focus on kingdom work, emphasizing empowering others to make disciples. We believe that this is fruitful when used along with the power of God’s word, the obedience of his servants and the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

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Momentum of the Movement

Disciple-making movements can’t always be fast because discipleship is a marathon, not a sprint. While working for momentum in evangelism, we must keep our focus on the quality of our discipleship. The emphasis remains on faithfully drawing near to Christ, rather than reporting a snazzy number.

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Lizzette Hernandez

Why a Disciple-making Movement?

VMMissions has shifted from traditional mission models to the multiplication-oriented model of disciple-making movements. Starting small, investing in and equipping the faithful few takes time, patience, and faith. But in the end it produces deeper and greater fruit.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Back to Basics

Global Christians are not just the hapless victims of Western expansion. They are active recipients of new life in Jesus, who makes himself at home in every culture and restores people in all their beautiful diversity to the kaleidoscope image of God they were created to bear.

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Worker Profile: Adam & Elise Sauder

Adam and Elise (names changed) serve with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. They help staff six-month discipleship schools for young adults, which is followed by an “outreach” phase to South Asia.

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David Stutzman

Call to Prayer: Renewal Starts With Prayer

A resourcing network that David Stutzman works with in Germany has hosted a prayer month for three years now. David writes, “There is something about prayer, as a church, that helps us see the spiritual landscape around us and bring into words God’s movement among us.”

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Partnerships Enhance Jail Ministries

Skip Tobin writes about prison ministry in the local jail in Harrisonburg, Va. “This is a relatively new field for us at VMMissions. We have the privilege of supporting what God is doing across denominational lines as we pray together and work in a field that is not far away but at our very doorsteps.”

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SLAQ members

A Long-term Vision of Renewal

Instead of going out to make as many new disciples as possible, SLAQ (Servant Leader Quest) takes a handful of youth and provides an opportunity for them to become particularly strong disciples, something SLAQ intern Devin Stipe appreciates.

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Solange Tartari

Reimagining Our Mission

“Our main resource for spreading the gospel is people, but it is the Spirit who is at work in the lives of those we engage with the gospel,” writes Solange Tartari, serving in Shkodër, Albania. “All we can do is be clear about our role and purpose in God’s reconciling work in the world.”

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The Soil and The Seed Project

New Expressions of Ancient Practices

As an innovative expression of mission, The Soil and The Seed Project Director Seth Crissman writes that an ongoing posture of learning can change preconceived ideas about what mission and being “sent” looks like. We can then join in God’s work in the world in new and beautiful ways.”

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Aaron M. Kauffman

The Mission Imagination

How is the Holy Spirit continuing to lead us into new horizons in mission today? I’ll name just two. First, the “receivers” of mission have become the senders. Second, the mission field has come home. How is VMMissions responding? By leveraging our resources to get behind what God is doing.

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New believers prepare for baptism at Iglesia Shalom, Waynesboro, VA

Thank You for Sharing the Hope of Jesus

VMMissions is thankful for God’s provision and the generosity of our supporters, resulting in exceeding our goal by $10,000, raising a total of $200,025. This is the second highest year-to-date total in the last 16 years!

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Recent Worker Appointments and Reappointments

See a list of mission workers that VMMissions appointed or reappointed in 2023.

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North Africa earthquake damage. Photo by alyaoum24 via Wikipedia

VMMissions Launches North Africa Earthquake Relief Fund

Our hearts are broken for the people of North Africa who recently suffered a catastrophic earthquake. In a time of staggering loss and critical need, let’s join in prayer for comfort and hope in the midst of grief.

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Central Asia sunset

Worker Profile: Kate Miller

Kate (not her real name) is a computer programmer for a U.S. company that is partnered with a company in Central Asia as business for transformation (B4T). She is working with the office in Central Asia to help strengthen the relationship between the two companies, and lives with a local family.

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Thailand mission team and prayer team

Call to Prayer: Sowing Seeds in the Dust

Sarah Schoenhals, serving among the Isaan people in Thailand, writes, “It’s a lot easier to pray when we’re buoyed by seeing tangible results! And yet, so often, the results we seek are not immediate, nor the kind of results we imagined.”

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Pam Lehman

Worker Support on the Ground

Partnering with workers on the field gives Ministry Support Team (MST) members the opportunity to share in what God is doing. It was especially meaningful for MST member Pam Lehman to visit VMMissions workers Dan and Mary Hess in their ministry location of Milot, Albania.

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Jon Trotter

There’s More to Mission Than Going

Praying for and contributing financially to the work of mission is also a response to God’s call. This backbone of support is essential for VMMissions to exist and do its best to train, send, equip, support, and encourage people as they serve near or far.

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Central Asia city

Pilgrims on the Silk Road

“Sometimes it was painful to say goodbye to move to another place, leaving dear brothers and sisters behind,” writes Paulo (name changed), a worker in Central Asia. “But it was also like turning to a new page in a book. And that is how the story of our pilgrimage continues, in this vast land along the Silk Road.”

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Bible study on the farm, Timberville, VA

Mission on the Farm

Marketplace Worker Ben Yutzy knew he was being called to be a missionary. “I began by asking Jesus, where are you sending me?” he writes. “The workplace was obviously where I spent the most time, and after I asked that question, it became the obvious choice. Jesus gave me eyes to see my coworkers with compassion and in great need of the gospel.”

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Perspectives orientation evening

2024 Perspectives Course Offered in Harrisonburg

Learn about God’s heart for mission and your part in the story. Save the dates for the next Perspectives course, with classes each Wednesday evening from January 10 to May 1, 2024, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

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Motorcycle for Missions group 2023

Riders Hit the Road to Support VMMissions

Thirty-nine riders from 18 churches came together from across Virginia to spend a beautiful weekend riding in the 11th annual Motorcycle for Missions event, raising over $14,000 towards the Mission Fund, which helps VMMissions recruit, equip, send, and support workers all over the world.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

What’s a Missionary?

We invest in the faith formation. We build meaningful relationships with our neighbors and others. We pray for those far from God and look for opportunities to share the hope we have. We support missionaries financially and pray for them. These are things all Christians can do as participants in God’s mission.

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The Soil and The Seed Project

VMMissions Awarded $1.2M Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for The Soil and The Seed Project

Virginia Mennonite Missions has received a grant of $1,222,766 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support and expand the work of The Soil and The Seed Project, a faith formation project based in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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Rissa Martin at Agape Home, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Worker Profile: Rissa Martin

Rissa serves at Agape Home, a Christian-run orphanage located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she had volunteered several times before returning as a VMMissions worker. She coordinates with incoming volunteers, teaches English in a Montessori Preschool, and manages the website and social media.

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Yute and Tukata

Call to Prayer: Living the Lord’s Prayer

The greatest shame in Isaan culture is to die without friends gathering, without the monks chanting their blessings. This is what Ying’s family expected. But members of the local church showed up and stayed with the family until the ceremonies were completed. Ying’s relatives were powerfully impacted.

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Freddy and Elena Satalaya

Being On Mission Through Our Prayers

“Sending and receiving mission workers undoubtedly brings us closer to the global community,” Elena Buckwalter de Satalaya writes. “However, it is just as important, if not even more so, to pray for the global church and the people and communities it reaches.”

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SWAP trip team

The Impact of Ministry Collaboration

“Our ministry of church planting, pastoring, and gospel outreach has been deeply impacted by partnerships that God has brought together,” Veronica Sanchez writes. “We know that God is on mission in the Waynesboro, Va., community where we have planted a new community of faith.”

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The Beauty of the Body of Christ

Churches across denominational lines have come together to support reaching the local Arabic-speaking community in Harrisonburg, Va. “What has blessed and stretched my faith has been the “unity amidst diversity” that I have seen expressed in [VMMissions worker] Yacoub’s team,” Pastor Blake Wood writes.

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New Year's event in Italy

Mission Is a Partnership

“Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection is often the focal point of his purpose on earth, and for good reason,” Shawn Green writes. “But we shouldn’t overlook or miss the countless bits of perfect knowledge that Jesus taught and shared as he walked among his followers, and with which we are invited to align our hearts and immerse our souls in God’s goodness and mercy.”

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Moving Together in Mission

A few years ago while recovering from surgery I picked up a book gathering dust on my shelf called In His Image. I found the combination of medical insight, missionary zeal and biblical wisdom to be fascinating and moving at the same time, especially fitting to read while my own body healed.

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Great Community Give Open House 2023

Great Community Give Fundraiser Raises $11,000+

VMMissions joined over 100 other local organizations in the Great Community Give, a special online day of giving on April 19. The event raised a total of $11,380. VMMissions hosted a lunchtime open house cookout and welcomed around 50 people to enjoy food and fellowship.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Invest in God’s Harvest

At VMMissions, we step out in faith with the God who can do more than we ask or imagine. This spring, we invite you to invest in God’s harvest with a gift to VMMissions. Can you help us raise the $65,200 we need by the end of April to keep pace with our budget?

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Jhustin Thompson

Worker Profile: Jhustin Thompson

Jhustin serves in a college ministry assignment with Every Nation Campus and VMMissions. “My work and goal is to show the love of God and be a light to campus. I want to see lives changed by the good news and do the work of God,” he writes.

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Perspectives orientation evening

Call to Prayer: Joining God’s Heart for Mission

Prayer is a fundamental underpinning of how we partner with God to engage in our small part of the great gospel task. As followers of Jesus pray together, the Holy Spirit enables us to see the grand reality of God’s plan for the restoration for humanity, and to see the immediate needs of the people right in front of us.

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View from apartment in Central Asia

God Helps Us Speak the Message

Receiving the call to go to another place implies many changes and a lot of learning in unfamiliar areas, such as language, culture, and food. All of this can become overwhelming,” David and Marta write. “But we can be filled with encouragement and hope knowing that the Lord will be with us.”

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God’s Mission Is Bigger Than Mine

“God’s mission is bigger than mine,” church planter Juan José Lagos writes. “That allows me to join his story and his mission rather than carrying the burden of accomplishing it all on my own strength. This is how we must see ourselves as we follow the call of God our Father who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ.”

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Every Nation Campus at DUCC

God’s Heart Is for Reconciliation

God leading this mission helps me acknowledge that he doesn’t need us to accomplish his plans, but rather, God invites us to partner with him. Personally, this demolishes any ounce of pride in my heart that tries to make disciples without Christ’s partnership. This also allows me to rest in the fact that I don’t have to be in control.

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Pastor Howard Miller

God’s Mission Has a Church

Our church history is shaped by the legacy of Christendom: the church aligning with political power to protect and maintain our position in society. This is vastly different from understanding the church being shaped as a missionary church whose calling is to be embedded as “sent ones” in our own societies.

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David Gingerich Named Director of Partner Development

David Gingerich has assumed a new leadership role as Director of Partner Development, focusing on fundraising, donor cultivation and church relations. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to nurture and grow relationships with our community of partners,” David writes.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Doxological Mission

God’s mission is first and foremost about the pursuit of God’s glory. It includes us, but it is not primarily about our needs, ambitions or hopes. God’s burning desire is for all of creation to know God’s glory and to give him the praise he deserves so that we might enjoy him together forever.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Bridge Builders

What if the God of the universe did not wait for us to bridge the gap between us—and I’m staking my life on the belief that it is—then we have a message that everyone deserves to hear. And they deserve to hear it in the cultural idiom that will make sense to them.

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Slum neighborhood fire in Southeast Asia in 2020

Whose Voice Are We Listening To?

Anita (name changed), serving in a slum in Indonesia, writes, “It is lovely when we have attainable rhythms and goals to keep us healthy and measure “success” clearly. But on the mission field, so often this seems impossible. Much of our energy is spent just surviving in a different culture, language, and religious context. And it can feel impossible to measure.”

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