RI’s Board is made up of nine business and church leaders. They meet four times a year, providing guidance for RI’s operation, programs, personnel, and policy. The board works with administrative staff to shape RI’s vision and provide accountability for fulfilling that vision.
Highlights from the July 2020 board meeting.
Toggle sections below to reveal contents. Names changed for security purposes and last names are not used in some cases.
Joe (President) noted that our nation has been in turmoil over its personal and systemic sins but too often is dealing with its problems in ways that exacerbate them. Signs of grief and loss, anger and immaturity are all around us. It’s clearer than ever that the world is full of people who are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” and that Jesus is our only true hope.
Joe urged the board to pray that RI will have the grace to flex and reshape as an organization. No one fully knows what all the trickle-down will be from the pandemic in terms of economics, travel, long-term visas, etc. Right now some aspects of the traditional model of missions are being shaken at their foundations. Likewise, the entire church is facing challenges it hasn’t faced in recent generations in North America. Hopefully, many will see opportunities for deeper life and greater power in this moment of upheaval and tension, bringing transformation and fresh hope. The church has always multiplied better when it’s under some pressure. Jesus is at work!
Tom (Asia Regional Director) reported that life for their family and team in Thailand has been slowly returning to some semblance of normality. During the shutdown, he and Candice lost a large percentage of their English students and that has been slow to pick back up. Claire, on the other hand, has been able to take on a lot of elementary and middle school students who want to improve their English speaking and writing and is enjoying keeping busy with that. Tom completed his Master’s Degree in May and has been looking into full-time teaching jobs.
Jonatan has been seriously affected by the unprecedented disruption to the Thai tourism industry. He was well on his way to getting a job in a Bangkok hotel when the COVID-19 shutdown wreaked havoc on that entire sector. No one knows when foreign tourists will be allowed back into Thailand and hotels are shutting down. His visa has already expired but Thailand has given everyone in that situation amnesty until late September.
Jacob is now a second-grade teacher at a private Thai school on the outskirts of Bangkok. He and Danielle are thankful for God’s provision. Danielle has finished up her Thai studies (which moved online) and will now focus on building relationships in their community in addition to caring for Ellie.
The 58:12 Thailand team is delighted to be finished with the long process of establishing a foundation. 58:12 United is now an official entity in Pattaya and they are moving into the next stages of getting approval to operate as a children’s home.
Anna got married in June and ended her official connection with RI.
Dan has been active in online Bible studies with the team in South Asia, and has been energized by the involvement. The effect of the coronavirus in this region led to an extended discussion about the relief funds extended to them with several testimonies of deep appreciation for those gifts.
Raleigh and Opal and family along with Cora will have to return home for an unknown length of time due to visa changes.
Due to visa concerns, Wyatt had to make a quick and hasty departure to the States just as the North African border closed due to COVID-19. Because of his desire to live long-term in this region, he chose not to go against the directives of the authorities in hopes for favor in the future when he is able to return.
David and Emily welcomed a baby girl into their family in May. They continue to thrive in their work as David focuses on developing work relationships and Emily looks to expand her exporting business.
Amos and Alice continue in their roles, Amos as an English teacher and Alice working with at-risk teenage girls. They are heavily invested in several groups of young believers, who they seek to disciple in the ways of Jesus. They have had many challenges during the quarantine, but have shown tenacity and a desire to continue to connect with friends and contacts by whatever means possible to share the good news of Jesus.
Eugene and Katrina and family are expecting another child in September. While they had hoped to come to the States for the birth, they have had to resign themselves to staying in North Africa because of the complexity of traveling. Eugene with help from RBG has set up a local business, where he thoroughly enjoys being in the shop using his platform to connect with local people.
Pablo and Judi continue to encourage and walk alongside those who are open and intent upon seeking Jesus, both believers and “not yet” believers. They would love to see 2-3 small groups/house churches form that could stand on their own.
Our workers in the Middle East have mounting concerns about the government’s targeting of foreign evangelicals for residency revocation and barring them from re-entering the country. These incidents have increased dramatically in the past few months. This obviously creates uncertainty for RI and we hope and pray for continued favor for our workers serving in the Middle East.
Esta continues to be very effective in her work as she endeavors to train local believers in the art of theater for the purpose of creating and performing dramas and posting videos on social media. Other churches in the Middle East use her materials and plays.
Judah and Rayna and family continue to work on language training, serving in their local fellowship, and learning what roles they can fill that are most crucial for the on-going work of the Kingdom. They have moments of encouragement, such as when a friend expressed a desire to study the word together one on one, but also moments of discouragement, such as when a young man Judah had been connecting with became disinterested in conversations of substance. While it is the Father who calls and draws hearts, their desire is to be available in any and every opportunity that he gives to share with people around them.
Jerry (VP of Finance) gave an overview of RI’s financial situation. After a weak first quarter, the second quarter showed dramatic improvement. Jerry urged that while we are still living in uncertain economic times, RI should move forward in faith while still exercising caution.
Andrew (Director of Partner Development) mentioned that although church giving was down, the number of individual donors is up – and total giving, apart from estate gifts, has increased from 2019. In place of our Multiply Mission Offering at Multiply, RI sent a letter asking people to give towards the offering. In response to the letter, 52 people donated a total of $50K to the offering. This is more than double the amount received the last couple of years from the offering with about the same number of donors. Our givers remain strong in the face of this hardship. RI is blessed to have faithful and generous givers in our constituency.
Andrew shared about the relief fund that RI set up to our brothers and sisters in countries where the situation is much worse than here in the States. We have so far collected a total of nearly $33K for this relief fund.
Colleen (Director of HR) talked about the added stress on RI staff and workers in the midst of the pandemic lockdowns. Every day feels challenging at this stage of the pandemic. She shared about the challenges currently faced by the team in North Africa, starting with Raleigh, Opal, and family having to leave without having a clear path back. Several other workers from other regions remain stranded in the states while they wait for travel and visa restrictions to be lifted.
Isaac (Director of Short-Terms Programs) talked about wrestling with the decision of whether to proceed with REACH this year. In the end, STP finally decided to proceed with simplified format. Other RI leadership will be actively involved, and a primary component will be group study of the books of Luke and Acts.
Larry (Co-Director of RBG) related to the Board that he and Dot were exposed to someone who was positive with COVID-19, but was not aware of it yet. On June 19 they were both confirmed as positive by the state of Indiana, who then followed up on a weekly basis. The rest of June and first part of July was a time of feeling totally out of it. Fatigue is ongoing and seems to manifest itself at unexpected times, but they are certainly feeling much better than last month.
Larry went on to share that over 1,000 fruit trees to date have been planted and prayed over throughout Nicaragua through a tree project with more money recently transferred to continue the project. The trees continue to get dispersed despite the ongoing pandemic.
Dot (Co-Director of LAMP) gave an update on worker Jonatan’s status. Thailand extended the visa amnesty for another two months, and this has provided an open door for him to stay there.
Jerry stated that despite many challenges along the journey, LAMP has produced fruitful kingdom workers in Jonatan, William and Laura in Spain. William and Laura are celebrating the first new believer to come out of the LAMP program in Spain, and they continue to disciple several others who have expressed interest in learning about Jesus.
Jerry (Church Planting Catalyst) shared that coming out of pastor’s conference in February, progress seemed to be moving forward with results like a church planting team consisting of: Brian H, Steve S, Darren P, Jeremy M, Joe S, Phil S, Daryl D, Ron E, Scott M, and Jerry. But due to our current crisis and troublesome environment, a loss of momentum for church planting is evident. Jerry went on to state that he hopes this time causes a deeper hunger for God rather than a series of distractions.
Dennis has concluded his term on the RI board. Colleen led RI staff in expressing appreciation to Dennis for his dedicated service.
- November 9-10, 2020, RIC, Columbus, OH
- February 15, 2021, Kalona, IA
- May 3, 2021, RIC, Columbus, OH
- July 2021, TBD (most likely Goshen IN)