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Every September there is anticipation in the air at the Reign Ministries Headquarters, as we prepare to launch our Royal Servants mission trips for the following summer. Locations have to be chosen, details have to be finalized (as much as we can), and the website needs to be updated. But now…it is ready for YOU!

We are excited to announce the following Royal Servants Mission Trips for summer 2019. With all these wonderful places, how can you choose just one?

China, Costa Rica, Ireland, Japan (brand new to Royal Servants), Macedonia – Greece, Morocco, Nehemiah (alumni only), Nepal, Scotland, Spain, Uganda, and Western Europe.

See a photo that stirs adventure in your heart? Can you guess which country it is? Click the image to see if you guessed correctly, and then don’t forget to register for a life changing summer!


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And just like that, the last Royal Servants mission trip of 2018 has landed. Nehemiah/Timothy is on the ground in Chicago!

The last and final Nehemiah and Timothy 2018 team family photo! 😭 It was what it was, it was more than enough, and it was more than we know. And with that, shalom out y’all!

Praise God for all He has done through our teams this summer.

Fin


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This point of the summer always comes both too fast and not fast enough. Too fast because the experience is so rich, both in the relationships formed overseas and the relationships formed within our team family, we feel we just barely sink our feet into the life and culture here and then it is over. And also not fast enough because as a Trip Leader, this is my favorite vantage point and I am often overzealous to get to it. The view from debriefing is like standing at the top of a hill where you have a clear view of where you’ve been, but also the view ahead of where you are going is starting to come into focus. It can be a bit exhilarating.

Our Nehemiah and Timothy experiences this summer have led us through quite a lot! The past two days our students have spent luxurious time reflecting on all that this summer has held: rereading their journals, walking back through the various locations and ministry partners we’ve immersed ourselves in, and asking the Lord to reveal to them all the lessons He has so faithfully led them through. It has been a time of gratitude, praise, and celebration, both individually and collectively.

It is no coincidence however that we are in the port city of Joppa for this process of debriefing. It was in this city that Jonah left to head to Tarshish – only to be turned around in repentance to head where the Lord has asked him to go, Nineveh. It was also here that as Peter napped on the roof of Simon the Tanners house, that the Lord clearly called him out of his comfort zone to include the Gentiles in his scope of ministry. This city is in the direct path of the “Via Maris” (the ancient trade route meaning, “The Way of the Sea”). This trade route bridged the worlds of Egypt to Syria, from the Mediterranean world to the land locked Empires of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent. In short, it is what allowed travel between Africa and Europe and Asia to Africa. This crossroads was what made this part of the world so strategic.

Likewise, our students are at the point in the summer where they are beginning to recognize their own strategic crossroads in their lives back home; the places God has had them travel from, and the places He has laid out ahead for them to now travel to (school, work, sports field, home…). Just as God sent both Jonah and Peter from this tiny port town, to places they may or may not have wanted to go, so now our students are being sent. Sent back home to discover how God wants to continue to use them as voices of influence, ambassadors of His Kingdom, and Servants to the people in their paths. I can’t wait to see how the road unfolds!

For the Kingdom,
Stephenie

Short Worship Video


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We’ve been in Jerusalem for close to a week now and the narrow and bustling market streets are starting to feel like home. The overwhelming sensory experience of crowds and colors, where the crossroads of religion and ethnicity meet, were once intimidating and frenetic, but are now met with eagerness and excitement — an invitation to engage in the diversity of human experience, spiritual alertness, and the real lives of real people.

Each day our leadership groups have been going out with the mission of creatively finding ways to bring about bits of shalom, making shalom more than a mere greeting, but instead a redemptive act that ushers in the kingdom of God, in big and small ways. Here are a couple of stories from the past few days of how our students have seen God’s presence here in this city and in these people.

Leadership Group 1 (Sarah Katharine, Kirsten, Mary, Marie, and Gabe)

“Yesterday we had the opportunity to serve in a physical way with one of the Nehemiah Team’s oldest friends. A father and his two sons own a coffee shop in the Old City called Al Mufti and we started in on a job of cleaning his ceilings for them. Our arms were super tired by the end of it but it was really worth it to be able to continue the relationship and conversations that have been had for almost a decade now. The father of the shop mentioned he feels like a father to the students on our team. It was a great opportunity to serve in a tangible way. On top of that, we had many people walking by stop and ask what we were doing and why we would spend our time cleaning. We were able to share a little bit about our heart to serve Jerusalem.”

Leadership Group 2 (Solomon, Wyatt, Breanna, Emma, and Kylie)

“As we were headed to the Cardo area (near the Jewish Quarter of the Old City) to do our quiet time, we found a picturesque olive tree and asked a man in a uniform who was standing near by to be in a picture with us. Sol sparked up a conversation with him and eventually also the man who took the picture for us. They were part of a Zionist organization and we had the chance to ask them about their views. As the conversation continued, we had the opportunity to share with them some of our views as well — including who we believe the Messiah to be and what we believe the Messiah is supposed to do. It was interesting because although we have different beliefs we were able to have a great dialogue regardless. They were very kind to us and it reminded me that in our differences we are all still seeking God.”

Leadership Group 3 (Rachel, Marisa, Grayson, and Mariah)

“Yesterday we met a shopkeeper, Honi, who it turned out didn’t have any business all day, so as we were looking at a couple of coffee cups he was trying to sell, we told him that we would buy one as long as he shared with us his story. When we first asked him to tell his story, he seemed really confused, put off even, defensively asked us why we wanted to know. When we said it was because we care, he started telling us about his family, showed us pictures of his kids, told us about his move to Europe during the first Intifada, and how he moved back to Israel two years ago to run his shop. It was an awesome experience to be able to get to know someone who initially seems so vastly different than us, but recognizing the image of God in him.”

The Timothy Team (Joanna, Ellie, Elizabeth, Dylan, and Daniel)

“Yesterday we spent time with a Palestinian shopkeeper in the Old City of Jerusalem who told us about when he was given a Bible three years ago by a previous Nehemiah Team. Unsure of whether or not he was a Christian, we asked him if he trusted what he read in the Bible. He shared with us about the last pilgrimage (hajj) he took to Mecca in Saudi Arabia (in keeping with a core Islamic tenet) and how he experienced the appearance of an angel, assuring him to continue to seek after God, feeling (who he now understands to be) the Holy Spirit to trust the words of the Injeel (Bible). Since his return, he’s continued to study the Bible and has been meeting with some other believers in the area for study and personal discipleship. He did share, however, that the cost of following Christ here is high, especially amongst his Muslim family members and fellow shopkeepers, and has had to be careful in what he says and does, so as to not get in trouble with the greater community here. In short it was amazing and encouraging to talk to an old friend after three years and to see the progress he has made in his faith. It was a blessing to see the very real and tangible ways God moves and works here in Israel.”

We only have a few more days here in Jerusalem, with each of them being completely directed by each of our Leadership Groups. This is a part of the hands-on leadership experience that this team is specifically geared towards. On Monday we’ll say goodbye to this beautiful, complicated, and holy city as we head to our debriefing locale on the shores of the Mediterranean — Jaffa.

For the Kingdom,
Stephenie Carr


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Here are some pictures from the Nehemiah/Timothy teams from Jerusalem. For some great captions follow Andrew Larson on Twitter.


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Light of the World

For the past four days, our Nehemiah and Timothy Teams have been exploring the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding region. We’ve traveled to the northernmost point of Israel, Tel Dan, seen the headwaters of the Jordan River, sat looking at the “Gates of Hell” where Peter professed Christ in Caesarea Philipi, walked the ancient streets of Beit She’an, sat in numerous synagogues throughout the region where in all probability Jesus proclaimed his Gospel, and have seen countless images from parables and lessons Jesus placed in everyday objects and settings. As our team sat at dusk for our last night in this area, on the shore of the lake, listening to the crickets and the water lapping at our feet, we recognized what a significant body of water this is, for this is where discipleship started.

It was here Christ started his ministry, painting a picture of what the Kingdom of God is and how the upside-down (or right-side-up) values and economics of the Kingdom actually work, and it was here that the long obedience of following Christ in the very details of their lives began to take shape for His young disciples and followers.

One challenge in particular stood out as we tried to summarize the various lessons learned in the short and yet expansive last few days and that was the idea of being a city on a hill, a light of the world. As the day came to a close and the light turned from yellow to grey to purple to night, the lights of Tiberias, just down the shore, stood out more and more prominently. And the words of Jesus echoed in the deep spaces of our hearts.

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16, MSG

This is what we are here for – here in Israel – here in this day and the next – here in the places God has us in our lives back home; to make the things God is doing public, to open our lives, and to shine.

For the Kingdom,
Stephenie

Worship on the Sea of Galilee Video


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