After a total of 26 years serving with EMM in Maine, Guatemala, and Belize, Phyllis Groff and her husband Galen have retired this year. Here, Phyllis looks back on the missionary journey that spans over four decades of her life.
SALUNGA, Pa. — In Latin America, where 90% of people identify as Christian and only 0.1% as Muslim — according to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center — Christian-Muslim relations is not often emphasized. However, with an expected 12.5% increase in the Muslim population there by 2050, understanding between Christians and Muslims is a growing need.
LANCASTER, Pa. — At Rivers Edge Fellowship in Lancaster City, children from Nepali refugee backgrounds danced to worship songs with members of Weaverland Mennonite Church’s youth group. Then the group sat together on the floor.
One of the hardest things for me to do when I was little was to sit and wait. I had nap time after lunch every day, but I never fell asleep. I would try my hardest to sit still, but I always had too much energy. I have trouble being still to this day — but that is exactly what God has been leading me to do lately. I know I'm not the only one to notice that our God has quite the sense of humor!
WILLOW STREET, Pa. — Whether it was Mahur and Randa Almahasheh, who arrived in Lancaster from Syria a short seven months ago with their four children, or Benuka Tamang, who came from Nepal eight years ago, their opinions were the same. “Everyone is so welcoming here at Global Fair,” they said. Mahur added, “I really like Lancaster; I really like Americans.”
CHICAGO — Last year, an Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) team that works in Christian-Muslim relations was invited to hold the only booth representing a Jesus-following witness at America’s largest yearly gathering of Muslims.
DANGRIGA, Belize — After 26 years serving as missionaries with Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM), Galen and Phyllis Groff are retiring from formal ministry in July 2017. They plan to retire in Dangriga, Belize, volunteering in church development and supporting missionary work throughout the region.
WILLOW STREET, Pa. — The international cultures festival — Eastern Mennonite Missions’ (EMM) Global Fair — is returning to the 1719 Hans Herr House and Museum in Willow Street, Pa., on July 15, 2017, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The 22nd annual fair celebrates cultures and people from around the world through exhibits, food, animals, and more.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Two members of Eastern Mennonite Missions’ Christian/Muslim Relations Team visited Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to present three forums focusing on interfaith relationships and the spirituality of peacemaking.
ARUSHA, Tanzania — When over half of the Tanzania Mennonite Church’s bishops retired at the end of their terms in January, a number of younger leaders were elected to take their place. Emerging visions for the church’s future were shared and encouraged at an EMM-hosted retreat for the new bishops and their wives on April 25–28 in Arusha, Tanzania.
SALUNGA, Pa. — Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) is organizing its first-ever adventure fundraiser: a six-day trek through the Andes Mountains.
“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:10–13).
As humans, we are acutely aware when we are in a culture that is different from our own. We know we have come up against something other than our known experience. It affects us all, independent of our age or where we are living.
CAIRO — Since 1980, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue by Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk has been helping Christians and Muslims cultivate mutual understanding. On March 15, prominent Egyptian Muslim and Christian leadership gathered at All Saints’ Cathedral to celebrate the official launch of the Arabic translation of the influential book.
AKRON, Pa. — “I think religious minorities in this country, no matter who they are, are feeling under threat,” said Trina Trotter Nussbaum, interim director for Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU’s) Center for Interfaith Engagement.
Lancaster City has recently become known as “America’s refugee capital,” following a report by the BBC which said that Lancaster takes in 20 times more refugees per capita than the rest of the U.S. Meet Barbara Witmer, one Lancaster City resident whose longstanding commitment to refugee resettlement has affected hundreds of lives.
The annual report provides a window into the work EMM is doing in 11 regions of the world. For a more in-depth look at our vision for each region and the work taking place there, visit www.emm.org/regions. You can also stay connected with our work through news releases, feature stories, podcasts, photo galleries, and more at www.emm.org/stories. Thank you for taking the time to engage with our mission!
EMM’s regional representatives (RRs) are experienced missionaries who specialize, serve, and usually live in a particular region of the world. Due to their insight and experience, each RR provides valuable oversight for the EMM work happening in his or her region. This includes general guidance (for example, forming a mission vision and strategy for a region), and also counsel in specific situations. Recently, RRs were essential in helping two West Africa workers navigate a tricky situation.