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Monday, Oct 15, 2012
I still remember the first time I met Pastor Irina.  She was part of the Russia Delegation visiting the West Ohio Annual Conference to promote partnerships between the churches of West Ohio and the Volga District in Russia.  Although we met over six years ago, I clearly recall our first conversation.  It went something like this:  “Hello, my name is Irina.  I graduated from seminary in 2004.”  I responded, “Me too!”  I shared, “I was married shortly after gradu... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
Hello, my name is Maxim Kvyatkovskiy, I am 21 years old and I'd like to share my story with you.I’m from Russia; my mother is a Muslim and my father is a non-practicing Christian. We are a very strong and happy family; my younger sister and I were taught to be honest, responsible and respectful. We’ve grown up surrounded by the love of my mother and strictness of my father, and we grew up in a family where the questions of religion or worship had never been rai... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
My name is Tola Seng. I’m from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I just turned 24 years old in October. I was born in a refugee camp on the Thai border to a single mother who, by God’s grace, was able to raise my sisters and me on her own. I grew up watching my mother struggle to earn money to support us, and I always wished I could grow up faster so that I could find a job and help her. My mother became a Christian when we were in the refugee camp, and when peace finally... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
By Mariellyn Dunlap GraceFor many children in the United States, church camp is a rite of passage, a summer-time tradition. Not so for missionary kids like Nicole and Michelle Gitobu, who live in Cambodia in Southeast Asia. This summer, however, while their mother, Missionary Esther Gitobu, itinerated to various churches in West Ohio, Nicole (age 14) and Michelle (age 11) were gifted with the opportunity of attending Camp Otterbein in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
By Mariellyn Dunlap GraceE. Barte never expected to marry a missionary, let alone become one. Growing up in the Philippines, E. was, in his own words, a very ‘active’ young adult. “When the pastor came to lead Bible study at my house, I would escape from the house to play basketball with my friends,” E. recalls. But after meeting his future wife, then a student deaconess, his life would quickly change.B. Barte grew up attending a large, urban United Methodist C... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
By Mariellyn Dunlap GraceMissionaries today come in all shapes and sizes, with varying backgrounds, job descriptions, and titles. With a background in finance and administration, Esther Gitobu may not seem like your typical missionary, but her gifts fit perfectly with the needs of the Methodist Church in Cambodia.After growing up in a Christian family in Kenya, Esther worked for 10 years at the Central Bank of Kenya before deciding she would prefer serving with... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail—than attempt to do nothing and succeed.” -Anonymous“If you can believe it, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT” -W. Clement Stone“If you can dream it, YOU CAN DO IT!” -Robert Schuller“If you’ve got the faith, GOD’S GOT THE POWER!” -Corrie Ten Boom“If you have faith…NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!” -Jesus Christ"Dennis, do you have your passport? You are going with me to Vietnam in February!" -Joseph Bishman (Sept/09)In March of 2010, th... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Psalm 24:1It was Friday in Phnom Penh, the sun high in the clear blue sky. On this day of new life, we were reminded of dark days of Cambodia’s past. Our team stood in front of the Choeung Ek Memorial Stupa looking up at some of the 9,000 skulls that filled the memorial reminding us of the mass killings of Khmer Rouge. Following our guide, we walked around the mass graves stoppi... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
By Mariellyn Dunlap GraceThree countries…one mission partnership.Three distinct and varied cultures and histories…one area of the world.Three peoples scarred by religious repression…one redeeming God.For years, the forces of poverty, violence, and war have plagued many countries in Southeast Asia. For instance, after nearly 100 years of French domination in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Communist forces drove France out of the country, and the land was split into Nort... (read more)
Monday, Oct 15, 2012
In the summer of 2010, I traveled to Russia as a member of a Volunteers in Mission team that was a mixture of VIM veterans and me, the rookie who had never been on a VIM team before.Members of my church, Hyde Park Community UMC, had been doing trips to Russia almost annually for over a dozen years.  I had often thought about going, but it always conflicted with one plan or the other, or so I convinced myself.  When the trip had been announced almost six months... (read more)