Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 4:32PM
Missionaries share at JKV
By Russ Pulley
What can a horse teach you about relationships?
A lot, says Roxanne Van Reissen, of Returning Glory Ranch, a ministry in rural eastern Jackson County.
There troubled youth, or adults facing all kinds of challenges, from addiction to anger, get direct experience in managing their emotions and actions by working with horses.
It’s not therapy, but “experiential learning” Van Reissen said of her faith-based ministry.
“Life is all about relationships with others, ourselves and God,” she said. “They’re often wounded.”
At the ranch participants go through activities that allow them to learn about themselves and grow in those activities.
Van Reissen is among those who’ll be explaining their work at a Mission Fair, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct 18 at John Knox Village Pavilion, 520 NW Murray Road, Lee’s Summit.
This is the second year for the fair, said John Knox Village Chaplain Bev Weddle, with last year about 35 booths and this year 42.
There will be missionaries who are on furlough, local groups which work in town like Lee’s Summit Social Services and local groups whose mission extend overseas, like Wheels to Freedom, which collects wheelchairs to be refurbished and shipped globally those who need them.
While many of the missionaries have an evangelistic motivation, the fair is open to anyone who is providing help to others, Weddle said. It is free and there will be no selling or money collected.
“It is educational and inspirational,” Weddle said. “Evangelism is what it is, but also teaching, training, building houses, getting water. There are all kinds of missions.”
If a visitor is interested in supporting a ministry, they can get contact information and contribute later, she said.
Some of countries presenters have worked in include Iberia, Guatemala, Jordan, Mexico and Germany.
At the various booths last year missionaries brought laptops to show photographs, or tapestries, figurines, even candy from the countries they’d visited.
“It made it fun,” Weddle said.
Eleanor Timmerman, a member of Lee’s Summit Bible Church on Colbern Road, is another person who’ll have a booth to speak about her career teaching in missions in Mexico.
She’s retired, but still volunteers with hospice and her church. These days she gives caregivers respite, a chance to shop or run errands, while she can read or talk to the patient.
Timmerman spent 40 years in Mexico, mostly in Puebla, about an hour’s drive from Mexico City. She taught the children of other missionaries and also Mexican residents who could learn in English. Her job was to make sure the missionary’s children were ready for high school of college in the United States of America. She taught in English and also taught Mexican children who wanted to learn in that language.
She said her command of Spanish wasn’t good enough to cover some topics in much depth.
She was “faith” missionary, in other words she depended strictly on donations in her name, from churches, individuals, and from family. She’d stay in Mexico several years, then come home on furlough to visit friends and family and raise support, then return.
She said she’d “been called” to be a missionary when she was a young girl. She has a lot of experiences to share. After graduating high school in 1943 she worked in a war factory, then went to college in Tarkio Missouri, was a teacher in Kentucky for a “home mission” sponsored by the United Presbyterian Church, then in taught school in Kansas City, KS, where she worked with Hispanic children to prepare for going to Mexico. She joined an organization now known as Crossworld, which has offices in Kansas City.
There some of the homes she stayed in didn’t have indoor toilets. Some had clay floors. She visited pyramids and watched the country evolve to get McDonald’s restaurants and Sam’s Club outlets.
She taught Vacation Bible School, where her English was translated to Spanish, then the Spanish to Aztec.
The Mission Fair is a good opportunity to reminisce, she said.
“It’s fun that I get to dig out my stuff and answer questions,” Timmerman said.