Monthly reflections and stories from EMM alumni, available online and via email.
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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.
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!
“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).
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.
In the 1970s, a Marxist military group called the Derg gained control of Ethiopia by force. There followed several years of civil unrest, in which gunfire seemed to resound beyond every horizon, friends and neighbors were divided by fear and betrayal, and the church was forced deep underground.
Last year, Karen Baker and her family moved back to the U.S. after serving for three years as EMM missionaries in a rural area of Guinea-Bissau. Here are some of her reflections since coming home.
Coming home late, I can smell if he has already prayed. The beeswax candles leave a sweet warmth in the air for hours. It is always long after the children have been put to bed, with prayers and kisses and toddlers finding their second wind's second wind. It is in that decisive moment between reading one more chapter or laying the book down and heading to bed. We often wait too long, and we go sleepily to our prayer corner, yawning.
My name is Nathanael Thorne. I am 24 years old and a full-time student and employee. I served on a YES team for a nine-month assignment to Guinea Bissau, West Africa.
When a little old lady caught my eye, I didn’t think much of it. I was praying for a mentor, someone to walk with me through the seasons of life. The tiny woman wouldn’t have appeared intimidating under any circumstances, but it’s awkward, a tad scary, to ask someone to journey with you in life. I only knew her name. I assumed she was a Christian (she seemed to pray before her meals ... or maybe she dozed off, I didn’t actually know). I figured God had helped me to notice her. What would it hurt to ask her?