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1 The Messenger Volume 53 No. 3 March 2015 a publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference Parade Or Protest March: What Are We Celebrating On Palm Sunday? page 6 ALSO INSIDE: Another Day: Awakening To An Explosion In Syria page 10 A Hard Question page 12 ISTOCK $2.00

2 Editorials As Easter approaches As Easter approaches, let s point to Jesus Christ for both those both near and far. In a single passage Menno Simons uses many biblical titles to describe Jesus, including Christ is our King, Prince, Lord, Messiah, the Promised David, the Lion of the tribe of Judah... the right Way, the Truth and Life, the promised Prophet, our Master and Teacher, our Redeemer, Saviour, Friend, and Bridegroom. In short, our only and eternal Mediator, Advocate, High Priest, Propitiator, and Intercessor; our Head and Brother. Menno said the foundation on which the entire edifice of our faith must be placed, is Christ Jesus alone (Complete Writings, 329, 339). What has Christ done for us? Menno says God for our sakes gave Him over, humbled Him, suffered As Easter approaches, wondering and wandering people are intrigued to attend services. May we present Jesus Christ well. Him to endure hunger and thirst, to be reviled to be scourged condemned, crucified, and slain, so that we through His weakness and stripes might attend to health; through his poverty to wealth, through His humiliation to glory, through His cursing to blessing, through his punishment to grace, through His blood to pardon, through His sacrifice to reconciliation, and through His death to eternal life ( ). Easter season is a high point in the Church Year, a time when many wondering and wandering people are intrigued enough to attend services. May we use this opportunity well to present the wondrous person and work of Jesus Christ. Terry M. Smith Yes, let s plant more churches! We need to plant more churches! That s the reality presented by Charles Koop, Canadian church planting coordinator, who shared some of his thoughts in our Jan. issue. Some local EMC churches and regions will decide to plant a church nearby; they can take the initiative. In other settings where there is no EMC church nearby, church planting needs to be a national act and initiative. Frankly, we must prepare to fail at some church plants. Some starts stop in all denominations. To succeed in more church plants, we need to start more church plants. The reason? To help people have life in Christ in its many layers. Pray for coordinator Charles Koop and the Church Planting Task Force members (chair Les Kroeker, Angel Frankly, we must prepare to fail at some church plants. To succeed in more church plants, we need to start more church plants. Infantes, Glenn Plett, Peter Reimer, and David Wiebe) as they assist us to this purpose. As well, pray for church plants by our wider family in Christ in Canada. We have reason to rejoice when we see Baptists, Evangelical Free, Pentecostals, Free Methodists, many more evangelical groups, and mainline church groups start new works across Canada. We are, ultimately, in the Lord s eyes one team working together. Whether in new or established churches, we want the light of Christ as gracious Saviour and Lord to be seen. And if it s obscured in some way, we pray that a richer understanding of Christ and his work would break forth and radically change churches from within. Terry M. Smith 2 The Messenger March 2015

3 Table of Contents Features Columns 6 Parade Or Protest March: What Are We Celebrating On Palm Sunday? Dr. Tim Geddert 10 Another Day: Awakening To An Explosion In Syria Pastor Ibrahim Nsier 12 A Hard Question César García 14 Una Pregunta Dificil César García 5 Focusing On The persecuted church in Nigeria Tim Dyck 16 An Education App Three overlapping commitments Terry M. Smith 22 Further In and Higher Up The password to the promised land Layton Friesen 29 Here and Far Away That is sure! Jocelyn R. Plett page 19 page 11 Departments 2 Editorials 30 Poetry The Enigma Brigitte Toews 3 Pontius Puddle 4 Letters 17 With Our Missionaries 20 With Our Churches 23 News 31 In Memory 35 Stewardship Today Year-round generosity Darren Pries-Klassen 36 Kids Corner What happens in March Loreena Thiessen 33 Shoulder Tapping page 27 The Messenger 3

4 The Messenger Volume 53 No. 3 March 2015 EDITOR TERRY M. SMITH The Messenger is the monthly publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference. It is available to the general public. Its purpose is to inform concerning events and activities in the denomination, instruct in godliness and victorious living, inspire to earnestly contend for the faith. Letters, articles, photos and poems are welcomed. Unpublished material is not returned except by request. Views and opinions of writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Conference or the editors. Advertising and inserts should not be considered to carry editorial endorsement. The Messenger is published by the EMC Board of Church Ministries, 440 Main St, Steinbach, Man., and is a member of Meetinghouse and Canadian Church Press. Subscription rates 1 year $24 ($30 U.S., $45 foreign) 2 years $44 ($55 U.S., $85 foreign) 3 years $65 ($82 U.S., $125 foreign) Manitoba residents add 8% PST. Digital only subscriptions: $15 per year. Single copy price: $2 Subscriptions are voluntary and optional to people within or outside of the EMC. Subscriptions are purchased by the Conference for members and adherents. Change of address and subscriptions Undelivered copies, change of address and new subscriptions should be addressed to: 440 Main St, Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5 Phone: Fax: Second-class postage paid at Steinbach, Manitoba. ISSN: Publications Mail Agreement Number: We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage for our publishing activities. Advertising The Messenger does not sell advertising, but provides free space (classified and display) to enhance our Conference, its churches, boards, and ministries; inter-mennonite agencies and educational institutions; and the wider church. Ads and inquiries should be sent to THE MESSENGER schedule: No. 06 June issue (copy due April 08) ASSISTANT EDITOR ANDREW WALKER Submissions to The Messenger should be sent to Letters and Notices The power of grace For by grace are we saved through faith and not of ourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). The word grace means unmerited favour. It was freely given to us. We cannot earn it, nor can we buy it. Jesus Christ is the only channel for grace. Grace is sufficient to meet our every need. Grace has the power to turn the world around. For we maintain that we are justified by faith apart from the works of the law (Rom. 3:28). For the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). For Christ is the end of the law. The only way to have faith is by grace. Sin has been destroyed by grace. Grace has been given us by full measure and not by degrees. Grace enables us to keep from falling. Sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but under grace. By grace we have the power to bind every evil force. No matter how weak or how failing our life has been, we are as victorious as we want to be. By faith we are made righteous without being righteous. Ultimate grace appeared when Jesus died in the cross at Calvary. Olga Nahnybida Pelly, Sask. ABUNDANT SPRINGS 2015 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and training toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for May which God has called speaker me gord heavenward penner worship/band in the Christ color band bold as lions artist riley armstrong Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 Why was the March issue delayed? Some readers might receive this issue in April, affecting use of the April EMC Missionary Prayer Calendar. We regret this. One-third of the magazine s budget comes from the Department of Canadian Heritage, which selects periodicals for a circulation audit. On Feb. 23 we were informed of an audit and provided information. Late on March 10 we received a detailed list of information to be provided by March 19. The magazine has only two parttime staff. With the help of general secretary Tim Dyck, accountant Wannetta Fast, former assistant editor Rebecca Roman, administrative assistant Diana Peters, and the magazine s staff, we complied with the DCH s expectations. We fully respect the Government of Canada s desire to ensure good stewardship of its funds. As a result of our compliance, the March issue s production was delayed. Terry M. Smith Executive Secretary 4 The Messenger March 2015

5 Columns Focusing On The persecuted church in Nigeria When we read or hear news about the atrocities that are taking place in Nigeria, I hope that we will be moved to prayer for many people who are suffering at the hands of the terrorist group known as Boko Haram. The terror is inflicted upon Christians and Muslims alike. There is, however, a significant link to the Anabaptist church in this reign of terror. Many of the Christians living in this region of Nigeria and suffering the actions of the terrorists are from the Ekklesiyar Yan uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The Church of the Brethren is an historic peace church that is influenced by the Anabaptist tradition, although it is not part of the Mennonite World Conference. It should not be confused with the Brethren in Christ, who are members of Mennonite World Conference. Sharon Williams, a Mennonite minister with Church of the Brethren roots, says recent reports on the persecution of Christians and Muslims in northeast Nigeria reveal the conflict is worse than we ve heard and has been going on for a long time, the witness of EYN is a testimony of kingdom proportions, and we need to pray and be vigilant. She provided the material below to the Bearing Witness website. (The article is shortened and edited.) The EYN started in There are 500,000 members and a total of million people who worship in EYN congregations and preaching points each week, more than all Anabaptists in North America combined. These EYN congregations compete to lead people to Christ through establishing preaching points. This missionary activity is likely the reason why Boko Haram attacks EYN. Boko Haram, a militant, radical group claiming to be Muslim, has been operating in Nigeria since For six years it incited riots and burned some churches and mosques. In 2008 it began targeting Christians and churches. In 2009 it started to openly pursue an insurgency to create an Islamic state in Nigeria. DREAMSTIME It was declared a terrorist group by the U.S. government in Their leaders trained with Al Qaeda groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Upon returning to Nigeria, they began recruiting and training youth to persecute their people. The areas controlled by Boko Haram overlap with a concentration of EYN congregations. As of September 2014, 1.5 million people have been displaced by the Boko Haram violence 700,000 of which are connected with EYN. Of 50 EYN districts, only seven are functioning. Additionally, 278 (of 456) church buildings and 1,390 (of 2,280) preaching points have been destroyed. Most of EYN s 456 pastors and 450 assistant pastors are homeless; eight EYN ministers have been murdered, alongside 8,034 EYN members. Whole villages and cities homes, businesses, schools, churches, and mosques have been obliterated by bombs and fire. These numbers have continued to escalate. The kidnapping of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls most of them high school seniors, 178 of them EYN members is horrifying. Fifty-four girls escaped off the truck on that fateful night last April, while 218 girls are still missing and have reportedly been sold as soldiers brides or killed. Sixteen of their parents have died of trauma. Worse yet, the Chibok girls are just the tip of the iceberg 4,500 children and women have been kidnapped, including an EYN minister, a pregnant pastor s wife, and her three children. Call out to God for EYN, to have mercy on our people, Dr. Musa Mambula, EYN s spiritual director, pleaded with us. To read more about Nigeria, go to www. anabaptistwitness.org/blog. by Tim Dyck General Secretary When we read or hear news of the atrocities taking place in Nigeria, I hope we will pray for people, Chrstians and Muslims, suffering because of Boko Haram. The Messenger 5

6 Parade Or Protest March: What Are We Celebrating On Palm Sunday? by Dr. Tim Geddert DREAMSTIME 6 The Messenger March 2015

7 Palm Sunday is a day of pomp and pageantry. Many church sanctuaries are decorated with palm fronds. I ve even been in a church that literally sent a donkey down the aisle with a Jesus-figure on it. We cheer with the crowds shout our hosannas praising God exuberantly as Jesus the king enters the royal city. But if Matthew, the gospel writer, attending one of our Palm Sunday services, I fear he would respond in dismay, Don t you get it? we call Jesus ride into Jerusalem The Triumphal Entry, and just like the Jerusalem crowds, we fail to notice that Jesus is holding back tears. Jesus did not intend for this to be a victory march into Jerusalem, a political rally to muster popular support or a publicity stunt for some worthy project. Jesus was staging a protest a protest against the empire-building ways of the world. Zechariah s Script The script for Jesus dramatic action is found in Zechariah. Matthew makes this unmistakably clear (Matt. 21:1-11). Zechariah refers to a colt, the foal of a donkey, and since the script has Jesus on a donkey that is what it must be. And two of them, if necessary. The crowds have read Zechariah s script. Well, part of it, at least. I quote from Zech.9:9: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious (TNIV). If that were the end of the text, we might well say, Good for you, Jerusalem crowds. Shout it out. Cry your hosannas! You got it! Jesus is playing his scripted role, and you are playing yours. But really, they don t get it. Jesus script has him coming, triumphant and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey. The crowds somehow manage to ignore the animal on which Jesus rides and thus misunderstand the script that Jesus is following. They are sure that Jesus is coming to restore their national fortunes. They are certain that his popular appeal can be turned into political advantage. They envision the day his ability to rally the troops will pay Jesus did not intend for this to be a victory march into Jerusalem, a political rally to muster popular support or a publicity stunt for some worthy project. DESIGNPICS handsome dividends. Here is someone who can get them out of the mess they are in. And Jesus weeps! Each of the Gospel writers hints that Jesus is on a completely different wavelength than the celebrating crowds, or, for that matter, than the 12 men who are supposed to be his faithful followers. Matthew does this by telling us in the previous chapter that Jesus followers are still completely oblivious to what lies ahead. They are still competing for positions of power left and right of the soon-to-be world ruler. Mark does this by having this so-called Triumphal Entry lead directly into the fateful temple inspection that confirms all Jesus suspicions. The entire religious establishment is a sham, and it will stop at nothing to stay that way, even if it means making protesters pay with their lives. Luke does this directly by reporting Jesus tears: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace (Luke 19:42). John does it by bluntly The Messenger 7

8 saying that Jesus followers just didn t get it, nor would they until after the resurrection and then just as blunting reporting Jesus response: Now my soul is troubled! (John 12:27). No wonder. This was not supposed to be a parade. It was supposed to be a protest march, or, rather, a protest ride. After all, that is what the script calls for. Reasons To Rejoice The script does indeed call for Israel to rejoice, but not in the mistaken hope that the oppressors will finally be wiped out of the land. Israel is called to rejoice that a king is coming, one who will spread peace through non-violence, who will cut off the chariots, break the battle bows and spread another kind of dominion from sea to sea. But the crowds don t read past the opening lines, and so they cheer. Jesus understands the script. So he recruits not a war horse, but a humble donkey. And he knows where this protest ride will take him. The principalities and powers, the powerful leaders of institutionalized religion, and the combined ingenuity of local and foreign politicians, ultimately representatives of the world empire, will conspire to wide out this dangerous peacemaker. But God will have the last word. So Jesus recruits a donkey and rides humbly into Jerusalem. People cheer as though they cannot distinguish a donkey from a warhorse. And Jesus weeps. What About Us? So why do we sing praises this day? Why do we not weep with Jesus? If we are cheering along with the crowds, Jesus understands the script. So he recruits not a war horse, but a humble donkey. And he knows where this protest ride will take him. Jesus will continue to weep. But if we cheer for very different reasons, then a smile of resurrection joy will spread across our Saviour s face! On Palm Sunday, if we really don t get it, then I suppose we can just continue cheering along with the crowds. We can misunderstand this Prince of Peace. We can explain away his call to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. We can turn a blind eye to the fact that Jesus practices what he preaches and is killed because of it. We can say, This no way to run the world! We want someone with power and charisma. We want someone who will look out for our national security, who ll make our nation strong, who ll rally us and make us proud of ourselves once more! In fact, we can cheer because we don t really know what to do with Easter week all that morbid stuff about suffering and blood and death and complicated theories about how this saves us from our sin. We could cheer because the crowds around us are cheering and Jesus will continue to weep. But if we understand what Jesus is doing, we can cheer for a different reason. We can cheer because we see in Jesus the one who turns the world upside down, or rather right side up, by identifying with the weak and helpless, by loving and forgiving where others only condemn, by turning the other cheek where others strike back, by transforming hearts where others impose rules, by absorbing violence rather than resorting to it. We can cheer because we have seen in his Jesus our only hope for the kind of peace that 8 The Messenger March 2015

9 So we join with Jesus as he cuts off the chariots, breaks the battle bow, reshapes swords into plowshares and rides the donkey to protest a world gone mad. ISTOCK really matters and that ultimately lasts. We can cheer because we are given the privilege of following him, of saying yes even if this means carrying a cross. We can cheer because, having made this decision, having begun to walk that road, we are also experiencing the resurrection life to which that path inevitably leads. We can cheer because Jesus takes the risk and vulnerable road and demonstrates that it leads to glory on the other side of the cross. And because we have the privilege of joining his protest ride, and his death march, and his walk right out of the tomb. More Triumphs Ahead I think that we should keep on calling this the Triumphal Entry because we know about Jesus Triumphal Exit, right out of the tomb and then his even greater re-entry into our world as the one who conquers violence and death, that greater Triumphal Entry that we will be celebrating on Easter Sunday and then again on Pentecost. And so we can celebrate already. We celebrate not with the crowds who did not get it, but with Jesus who did. For Jesus, despite the tears in his eyes, has something of a smile on his face. He knows that there is suffering up ahead, but for the joy set before him, he is willing to endure the cross! (Heb. 12:2). And so, despite our own tears, we also rejoice! We rejoice greatly, we shout aloud, we cry hosanna, we sing our songs of praise. Not because we misunderstand, but because we look back on the day we are celebrating today, from our vantage point beyond the resurrection. We celebrate because we have begun to understand. We understand that the way of the donkey, not the way of the warhorse, leads to the goal. So we join with Jesus as he cuts off the chariots, breaks the battle bow, reshapes swords into plowshares and rides the donkey to protest a world gone mad. We weep still, but not as those who have no hope. And we journey on, riding our donkeys, entering that kingdom of peace that shall one day rule the world. Dr. Tim Geddert is professor of New Testament at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, a Mennonite Brethren institution. He was the speaker at our EMC convention in This article is reprinted, with permission, from the Christian Leader (April/ May 2011). Free for Sunday School! Contact or The Messenger 9

10 Another Day: Awakening To An Explosion In Syria by Pastor Ibrahim Nsier This morning I woke up early at 4:30 a.m. to the sound of a mortar exploding. I said to myself, A new day is started. This is something normal in Aleppo. I went to the kitchen, hoping to get some tea or coffee, but I had an urgent call from one of our members who was injured by the shelling. He needed someone to take him to the hospital. I got my shoes and got to the car quickly. Thanks to God, they dealt with his wounds quickly and he was in church for our service. Even a Tiny Thing Today I preached that we should use what God has given us. No one can say, I don t have, because if God has given us even a tiny thing, we can do a lot with this tiny thing in this situation in this community. The church where we worshipped before the war was bombed, so now we meet in an apartment building. It s up five floors, almost 120 stairs. We have had mortars hit the building, but God saved us and as many as 150 of us continue to worship there. Being a pastor in this crisis is not as much about preaching as it is being with the people in their difficult time. Even if we cannot give money or fulfill their physical needs, we can at least pray with them, try to comfort them. A Day Like Every Day After the service, I received another call two older women who had not one ounce of water and had run out of money to purchase water after paying for their rent and medicine. I got my family and went looking for someone in order to get them water, which I am sorry to say costs a lot of money. We need $300 a month for a family of five for drinking and washing water. DREAMSTIME After that I received more calls asking me to go quickly to look for a home for two people whose houses were damaged from the mortar attacks that morning. We called a family from church that was out of town. They agreed to lend their house for a week until we can make repairs. This day I described is like every day. Even what I have said doesn t describe fully what is going on. My Family I am thankful to my wife and my family who remain with me in Aleppo during this crisis. Without my wife, I could be failing. She is my supporter. We have three children, ages six to 12. This situation has forced itself over their lives. My children, when they hear a lot of bombing, they come to our room to feel a little bit secure. When we send our children to school, believe me, we say goodbye to each other because we don t know if we ll have the opportunity to see each other once again. Being a pastor in this crisis is not as much about preaching as it is being with the people in their difficult time. 10 The Messenger March 2015

11 MCC Always we teach the children that although it is difficult in this time, our security is in God. We try to teach them that we suffer as Jesus suffered and that the day of resurrection will come someday. A Lot To Do We believe we have a lot left to do in this community. As I walk around the neighbourhood, I see the despair on the faces of the people. I see children on the streets begging for money. I can see people walking without shoes. In 2013, through the church, we distributed food baskets to 100 families for two months. Last summer we were able to help 118 families with monthly cash allowances, which helps families pay for things like medical treatment, food, tuition. From August to December 2014, 65 of the most vulnerable families got monthly allowances. [MCC supported these efforts through its partner, the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches.] We are not only supporting Christians, we are supporting the whole community to Rev. Ibrahim Nsier in Allepo, Syria We are not only supporting Christians, we are supporting the whole community to teach them that being a human means having a responsibility to the others. teach them that being a human means having a responsibility to the others. Believe me, we never think in ways that this is Muslim or this is Christian. We think differently. We think we are here for a message and this message should be clear for everybody that God loves all the people and I insist on the word all. Called to Live in Hope We are called to live in hope. We trust God and we do our job praying, taking care of each other, reading the Bible, and being an instrument of love and peace in this community. This is what we do and this is the hope we live in. Please don t forget us in your prayers. Ibrahim Nsier is pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, Syria. MCC supports the church s work to meet urgent needs and distribute food, working through the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches. This article was reprinted from MCC s A Common Place (December 2014). The Messenger 11

12 A Hard Question Posed in Malawi by César García, General Secretary Mennonite World Conference Some months ago I had the privilege of visiting our churches in Malawi. There we were, along with delegates of several local Brethren in Christ (BIC) congregations, gathered under a tree in order to worship God and speak about our global communion. After a vibrant time of worship, I had the opportunity of speaking about following Christ in our worldwide Anabaptist family. Then a pastor raised his hand and asked: How can we follow Christ in contexts of poverty, economic inequality, and intense financial needs? That was a hard question. What could I say as a comparatively wealthy Latin American to my brothers and sisters facing such a difficult context? In Malawi there are around 4,500 baptized members in about 46 local congregations. All of them face low life expectancy, a high infant mortality, increasing statistics of HIV/AIDS, and lack financial resources. An Answer Observed All these facts, plus the images of the immense financial resources that we have in other parts of our global family, came to my mind when I considered how to respond. After leaving our I was amazed when there was the time of offering. Every member, children included, got out of their chairs and went to the front to deposit their donation. Not a single person stayed seated! DESIGNPICS meeting a clear thought came to my mind: This church already had the response to the pastor s question. Generosity that balances economic inequalities brings hope and practical ways of overcoming this inequality. Some days before our service under the tree I attended another service in Blantyre, one of the main cities of Malawi. I was amazed when there was the time of offering. Every member, children included, got out of their chairs and went to the front to deposit their donation. Not a single person stayed seated! The joy and hope expressed in worship that followed that time of offering amazed me. Generosity, I thought generosity of resources, and generosity of spirit in worship to God is the answer to the pastor s question. Generosity is an action that transcends economic inequalities to bear fruit as hope. Generosity proves that the immediate situation can be overcome. Through generosity, our global community can find hope in the midst of our economic inequalities. How could this happen? 12 The Messenger March 2015

13 Being able to wait means resisting the threats and seductions of the present, not letting oneself be brought into line, and not conforming. Look To The Future First, we could follow the words of the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, writing in his book Ethics of Hope (Fortress Press, 2012): Perceive things not just as they have become and now exist but also in the different ways they could be. Our life needs to be eschatologically oriented. We can look to the future that is revealed by God a future without economic inequality and, in this light, denounce, criticize and look for ways of changing current circumstances that contradict such a future. As Johannes Baptist Metz and James Matthew Ashley claim in their book Faith in History and Society (Crossroads Publishers, 2007), the imminent coming of a final point in history a point in which justice and restoration will be a present reality brings hope and strength in order to transform current realities of injustice, suffering, and oppression. Find A New Identity Third, we must find a new identity and fellowship. This new identity must be more important for us than the old one. We are Christians first of all, and only after that are we members of our own particular country, concludes Moltmann. This means we should develop a Kingdom of God mentality instead of a nationalistic mentality. Let s start to think as citizens of a new nation in which there is not a gap between rich and poor, but where economic equality exists between all people. Let s start to experience the reality of this new Kingdom among us today. Our church is called to be a foretaste of this kingdom. Let us live it here and now! César García, MWC general secretary, works out of the head office in Bogotá, Colombia. The next Assembly Gathered will be held on July 21-25, 2015, in Harrisburg, PA. For information, check www. mwc-cmm.org/pa2015. Resist Materialism s Pressures Second, we need to be set free from the world around us, and resist its pressures. Consumerism and identity based on materialism are modern idols that feed inequalities. We can destroy them through the practice of generosity. Moltmann affirms: People who expect God s justice and righteousness no longer accept the so-called normative force of what is fact, because they know that a better world is possible and that changes in the present are necessary. The Messenger 13

14 Una Pregunta Difícil Posed en Malawi por César García, secretario general del CMM Hace unos meses, tuve el privilegio de visitar nuestras iglesias en Malawi. Nos reunimos bajo un árbol, junto con los delegados de varias congregaciones locales de los Hermanos en Cristo, para adorar a Dios y conversar sobre nuestra comunión mundial. Después de un culto muy animado, tuve la oportunidad de hablar sobre lo que significaba seguir a Cristo en nuestra familia anabautista mundial. Luego, un pastor levantó la mano y preguntó: Cómo podemos seguir a Cristo en un contexto de pobreza, desigualdad económica y graves carencias económicas? Era una pregunta difícil. Qué podía responder, desde mi lugar de latinoamericano relativamente acomodado, a mis hermanos y hermanas inmersos en dicha realidad tan dura? En Malawi hay alrededor de miembros bautizados que pertenecen a 46 congregaciones locales. Todos padecen una baja expectativa de vida, alta mortalidad infantil, aumento del HIV/ SIDA y falta de recursos económicos. Una Respuesta Observada Teniendo en cuenta estos datos y pensando cómo respondería, me vinieron a la mente imágenes de los cuantiosos recursos económicos que tenemos en otras partes de nuestra familia mundial. Al retirarme, me quedó claro que esta iglesia ya tenía la respuesta: la generosidad que Cómo podemos seguir a Cristo en un contexto de pobreza, desigualdad económica y graves carencias económicas? equilibra la desigualdad económica, brinda esperanza y maneras prácticas de superar dicha desigualdad. Unos días antes había participado de otro culto en Blantyre, una de las principales ciudades de Malawi. Quedé asombrado a la hora de la ofrenda. Todos los miembros (incluso los niños) pasaron al frente a dar su ofrenda. Ni una sola persona permaneció sentada. Me asombraron la alegría y esperanza expresadas en el culto que se celebró después de la ofrenda. Generosidad, pensé generosidad de recursos y generosidad de espíritu al adorar a Dios es la respuesta a la pregunta del pastor. La generosidad es una acción que trasciende las desigualdades económicas, cuyo fruto es la esperanza. La generosidad demuestra que la situación inmediata se puede superar. A través de la generosidad, nuestra comunidad mundial puede hallar esperanza en medio de las desigualdades económicas. Qué hacer para que esto se pueda lograr? La generosidad es una acción que trasciende las desigualdades económicas, cuyo fruto es la esperanza. DESIGNPICS 14 The Messenger March 2015

15 necesarios en el presente. Ser capaces de esperar significa resistir las amenazas y seducciones del presente, y no dejarse caer en el conformismo. Mira Hacia el Futuro Primero, citando al teólogo alemán Jürgen Moltmann, podríamos percibir las cosas no sólo como son sino también cómo podrían ser. Es necesario que nuestra vida se oriente escatológicamente. Podemos vislumbrar el futuro revelado por Dios un futuro sin desigualdades económicas y, a la luz de ello, denunciar, criticar y buscar las maneras de cambiar las circunstancias actuales que contradicen dicho futuro. Tal como manifiestan Johannes Baptist Metz y James Matthew Ashley en su libro, Faith in History and Society (La fe en la historia y la sociedad), la inminente llegada de un punto final en la historia un punto en el que la justicia y la restauración serán una realidad presente brinda esperanza y fortaleza a fin de transformar la realidad actual de injusticia, sufrimiento y opresión. Resistir las Presiones de Materialismo Segundo, es necesario que nos liberemos del mundo que nos rodea y resistamos sus presiones. El consumismo y la identidad basada en el materialismo son ídolos modernos que generan desigualdades. Los podemos destruir a través de la práctica de la generosidad. Moltmann, en Ethics of Hope (La ética de la esperanza), afirma: Las personas que esperan la justicia y rectitud de Dios ya no aceptan la llamada fuerza normativa de lo que es un hecho, porque saben que un mundo mejor es posible y que los cambios son Buscar una Nueva Identidad Tercero, debemos encontrar una nueva identidad y hermandad. Esta nueva identidad debe ser más importante para nosotros que nuestra antigua identidad. Antes que nada, somos cristianos, y solamente después de ello somos miembros de nuestro país en particular, concluye Moltmann. Esto significa que debemos desarrollar una mentalidad consecuente con el Reino de Dios, en vez de una mentalidad nacionalista. Empecemos a pensar como ciudadanos de una nueva nación donde no haya una brecha entre ricos y pobres, y donde la igualdad económica exista entre todos. Empecemos a experimentar hoy la realidad de este nuevo Reino entre nosotros. Nuestra iglesia está llamada a ser un anticipo de dicho Reino. Vivámoslo aquí y ahora. César García, secretario general del CMM, tiene su oficina en la sede central en Bogotá, Colombia. La próxima Asamblea Reunida se celebrará los dias 21 a 25 de Julio, 2015, en Harrisburg, PA. Para obtener más información, consulte www. mwc-cmm.org/pa2015. cmu.ca/gstm GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY The GSTM is a special place that helped me by its faculty who care and think, students from different traditions, and subject matter that stretched the soul to serve in the Church. The bursary for EMC students helped a lot, too. David Kruse MA (Theological Studies), 2011 Grad A bursary for graduate students from the Evangelical Mennonite Conference is available. For more information contact CANADIAN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY The Messenger 15

16 Column An Education App Three overlapping commitments Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that salvation is only through the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you repented of your sin, accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and are you committed to follow Him as the Scriptures teach? Do you accept the Statement of Faith of our church and are you committed to support the church with your prayers, gifts, and service as God enables? Evangelical Mennonite Conference (Minister s Manual, 1999) by Terry M. Smith Executive Secretary Today we need to highlight the three irreducible commitments: to Christ in life with others. DREAMSTIME Have you now the assurance of the Holy Spirit that your sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ? Do you intend to serve God by the full use of the abilities He has given you? Do you accept the Articles of Religion, the Membership Covenant, and the Organization and Government of the Free Methodist Church, and will you endeavour to live in harmony with them? Free Methodist Church in Canada (Book of Discipline draft, 1990) Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was born into the world, and who suffered death for us; and in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of sins, and the Life everlasting? Will you then endeavour to keep God s holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your life? Do you promise to make diligent use of the means of grace, and in all things to seek earnestly the peace and welfare of the Church of God? United Church of Canada (The Book of Common Order, 1950) In the Book of Acts people confessed their faith in Christ and were baptized on the same day (2:41, 8:36). Many centuries later, it s more complicated. Churches commonly ask questions that revolve around three overlapping essential commitments of a believer: to Christ (personal), in life (discipleship), with others (the Church). A pledge is being made (1 Pet. 3:21), but how many details need to be sorted? Related to this, the EMC Constitution says that prospective members, both regular and associate, are to be in agreement with the Statement of Faith. What does agreement mean? The EMC ministerial has grappled with this. Pastors, members, and would-be members still do. How carefully do people read and scrutinize any Statement of Faith before saying they agree with it? Does agreement mean total, perfect, partial, essential, with the important stuff, the basics? Agreement likely varies among people. In Acts, new believers were asked of their faith in Christ and expected to connect with each other and to learn together (Acts 2:41-44). The Church then focused on Christ and explained differences with non-christians, not with other Christians. Today we need to highlight and maintain the three irreducible commitments: to Christ in life with others. As faith in Christ begins, or as we transfer as believers, we are to follow and be accountable within the Body of Christ. There the apostles teaching continues (Acts 2:41-44) and further discussion occurs. Are you committed to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? In life? With us? 16 The Messenger March 2015

17 A nudge toward gratitude PARAGUAY Last week I felt like the rug was suddenly pulled out from under my feet when my landlady informed me that she was selling the house and I had two weeks to find another place to live. Many conflicting thoughts filled my mind and heart. How do you keep a clear and steady focus and not panic? Just this morning in my devotional I read in Luke 21:9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, do not fall into a panic. War and insurrection are rampant in the world today and are much worse than simply being told you have to move. Each of us, in our own little worlds come face to face with situations that take us by surprise, whether it be an unexpected diagnosis of an illness, a sudden accident or some other scenario. How do we react to the unexpected? Where does our strength come from? If we have allowed the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives, we have a source of hope and a firm foundation on which to put our trust. The memory verses for our ladies this week are Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I believe this peace comes only with practice, and exercise. Practicing a daily communion with Jesus Christ and exercising or putting into practice the commands of God s Word. Just like learning to play a musical instrument or learning another language takes much practice, so learning to walk in a way that is pleasing to God also takes practice. In fact it takes a lifetime. RESPONDING REBUILDING RESTORING To find out how you can help bring people home: call or go online mds.mennonite.net BOM With Our Missionaries Joanne Martens home in Paraguay. However, as we move forward, we gradually learn to trust the character of God. And that in everything that happens to us, He has a purpose, a purpose for our good and for his glory. So what thoughts chased each other through my mind when I received the message that I had to move? I thought to myself, Don t rush it. Take your time to analyze your situation. Can this really be true? Is she serious? What are my rights? Does the one-year contract that I signed just two months ago mean nothing? How do I negotiate? What is God trying to teach me through this? I decided not to be too hasty to respond because there was no way I d be able to find a new house, have repairs or painting done, and move in two weeks. I waited two days and, in the meantime, got advice from other people about what they thought I should do. The day before I was going to go out to look for another rental house, I got a message from the landlady saying she had changed her mind and I wouldn t have to move after all. I could stay in the house as long as I liked. I still don t understand why this happened, but I do know that it made me look to the Lord for strength and direction and it made me very grateful for my home. I have a good relationship with my landlady and this incident reminded me to pray for her as well. I guess every once in a while we need a bit of a scare or a nudge into gratefulness. Joanne Martens Joanne Martens (Kola) is part of the church planting team in Minga Guazú, Paraguay. The Messenger 17

18 With Our Missionaries Pouring into students lives at NTBI WISCONSIN Dear EMC family, you are a part of such great wonders that the Lord is doing. We are so involved in students lives and we don t often have pictures and stories of us teaching, mentoring, discipling, and loving. Yet seeing people on the mission field is a big picture story of why we do what we do. That is the whole reason our family is serving here at New Tribes Bible Institute. If the students here didn t continue on into ministry to reach the lost world, then we would not be serving here. So here s a story about BJ and Jill Sanders, Jack and Lael Crabtree, and Jeremy and Mandy Hambrice. Through them, your prayers and partnership travel far even into the deep jungles of Papua New Guinea and are directly attached to the Wanatikia people who will one day hear the gospel. Four years ago they were some of Dave s first students. We were a part of the couples learning, growth, and discipleship during their two years here at Bible school. They were in a class of about 80 students and these families became close friends. They continued to the next phase of New Tribes training together and then went back to their hometowns to raise support. Now they are all new arrivals in Papua New ABUNDANT SPRINGS 2015 Philippians 3:12-14 THE RUNNERS THE ROUTE THE RACE THE REWARD May 15-18, 2015 Caronport, Sask. Workshops 1. Real Questions for Real Men Dallas Kornelson (Males only) 2. Living Life Like a Girl Irene Ascough (Females only) 3. Freedom From Addiction Terry Thiessen (Teen Challenge) 4. When Bible Reading is NOT Boring Gord Penner 5. The Truth About the Gospel Carl Loewen 6. Why Bother With the Church Patrick Friesen 7. The Nuts and Bolts of Missions Mary Beth Penner 8. MythBusters: Five Lies I believed as a Christian univserity student Brett Loewen (Power to Change) 9. Talking to Youth about Same Sex Attraction Raena Peters (Youth Leaders only) Please pray that these guests would provide much more than just entertainment. NTM BJ and Jill Sanders, Jack and Lael Crabtree, and Jeremy and Mandy Hambrice were some of Dave Field's first students at NTBI. Guinea. They have stuck together as a team for many years and their story is just beginning. They made a video recently (available on YouTube) showing how the men were flown into a remote jungle area with five villages in a mountainous region. They hiked for hours over mountains to visit each village. Each village had been asking for a missionary. The good news is that all five villages are of the same language group, and the goal is to work with all of them. The villagers were happy that the missionaries had finally arrived. They had waited so long. The men were welcomed warmly and shown where they could build their houses. Thankfully, there was no competition between the villages; they understood the missionaries were there for all of them. The men prayed for wisdom to know where to settle for the gospel to spread the most. Then they were met by the helicopter and flown back to NTM s base. Together they decided on the village that would be their new home among the Wanatikia people. Now the men must once again leave their families and go back to the village and build their houses. The men will be in and out to spend time with their families, but they plan, with help, to have their three houses built and moved into sometime around March. Wanatikia. Remember that name because one day you will see people from this language group standing before the throne and the Lamb shouting, Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb. Stories like this keep the fire burning under us as we faithfully pour into the lives of students around us at this moment. Kim and Dave Field Kim and Dave Field (Steinbach EMC) serve at New Tribes Bible Institute, Waukesha, Wisconsin. 18 The Messenger March 2015

19 With Our Missionaries FLO FRIESEN Project Builders, team make a difference CENTRAL ASIA The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing (Einstein). A team of 11 chose to do something in Central Asia last fall. Flo Friesen led the team that came from EMC churches in Kleefeld (seven), Morris (one), Rosenort (one), and Morweena (one). We went to renovate a safe shelter for abused and trafficked women, and to encourage local and foreign workers. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. I am in desperate need. Rescue me from those who pursue me. Set me free (see Psalm 142:3-7). This could easily be the prayer of a woman trafficked or abused. In 2012, Starr, with help from EMC Project Builders, purchased a two-storey home for 15 women rescued from at risk situations. The house is structurally sound, has a high wall, a beautiful courtyard where children can play, several grapevines and fruit trees all make a suitable Safe Shelter. But it needed renovations, hence the October 2014 team. Plumbing issues and mouldy walls caused by circulation problems were remedied with new paneling, fresh paint, some new flooring, and a shower stall. New dishes, kitchenware, pillows, and an oven enhanced the facelift. We loved hearing stories of women who had been rescued, rehabilitated, trained in a new job, and given their lives to Jesus. Starr also runs four businesses that provide job training during the rehab process: jewellery-making, food services, sewing, and computer skills. Colton Plett from Kleefeld repairs a floor. Janine Parkinson from Morris cleans a kitchen wall. When asked what affected the team most, we agreed that while the renovation work was important, the heart of the trip was in the meaningful interactions with those we met. Starr, Hans, Jack (a local pastor) and a local Christian counselling group all broadened our vision. Hans, a businessman, hires women who ve suffered abuse or whose husbands have left for Russia. He trains the women to sew yak and goat leather bags that are then sold. We were able to pray for Hans after his recent cancer diagnosis. (He has since had successful surgery.) We enjoyed Jack and his micro-finance company. Last year, with help from EMC Project Builders, they gave loans to over 1,000 people, using $1.5 million USD. As clients pay back their first loan, they qualify for a second larger loan. Cotton and vegetable farms, a store in the local bazaar, bee and cattle operations were thriving examples. Families are empowered to provide for themselves; this inspires others to join. They see and hear the gospel while learning solid business practices. A highlight was visiting several local house groups; we marvelled at their vibrant faith. There was so much freedom despite persecution running fairly high in this country. Human trafficking, prostitution, alcohol, domestic violence, and unemployment are huge social issues in Central Asia. God delights in using us to help shoulder such Kingdom concerns. We were all immeasurably blessed to play a small part in bringing hope to the hopeless. Merle Plett and Flo Friesen The Messenger 19

20 With Our Churches Ebenezer Christian Church and Ebenezer Tabernacle Up to this point the Lord has helped us! BRANDON AND DAUPHIN, Man. He named it Ebenezer (which means the stone of help ), for he said, Up to this point the Lord has helped us! (1 Sam. 7:12 NLT). The Ebenezer Christian Church (Brandon) and the Ebenezer Tabernacle (Dauphin) had numerous occasions in 2014 to recognize and celebrate Ebenezer: Up to this point the Lord has helped us! April 13, 2014, marked the end of wandering for the Ebenezer Christian Church in Brandon. From one rental to another, the church now has its own place of worship. The church is grateful to God s blessing and provision channelled to us from other churches and fellow believers. This was a major milestone, and we continue to recognize that Up to this point the Lord has helped us! August 2-4, 2014, saw Ebenezer Christian Church (Brandon) and Ebenezer Tabernacle (Dauphin) meet in Manipogo Provincial Park for the annual church retreat. As always, we pitched our tents, shared our food, played, fished, visited, worshiped, and had a baptismal service. This year seven people were baptized and I m sure there will be many times in their Christian walk that they will say, Up to this point the Lord has helped us! 2015 Spring and Summer intensives. Enrol today! Psalms God Through the Centuries The Justice of God: Questions of Justice in the Bible and the World A Graduate School of the Church rooted in the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. cmu.ca/gstm GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY ECC Pastor Hernán Benîtez Diaz, Landis, and family Aug. 31, 2014 was the day chosen to celebrate the one year anniversary of Ebenezer Tabernacle (Dauphin). The celebration was complete with a worship service, decorations, cake and a soccer game. This young church was very aware that this first year had been possible because "Up to this point the Lord has helped us! On Oct. 5, 2014, the two churches joined together to celebrate their pastors, Hernan Benitez Diaz and Oscar Hernandez. The celebration included a worship service, games, and a potluck lunch. As pastoral couples we acknowledge that our ministry would be futile if we could not count on and testify that Up to this point the Lord has helped us! Nov. 30, 2014, was the 10-year anniversary of Ebenezer Christian Church (Brandon). An anniversary is a good opportunity to look back and see how far we ve come and look forward to where we still want to go. This celebration also included Pastor Hernan Benitez Diaz handing over the keys of the church, symbolizing his resignation. Hernan and Landis know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the last five years of pastoral leadership were possible because Up to this point the Lord has helped us! In 2015 may we all remember to recognize and acknowledge Ebenezer: Up to this point the Lord has helped us! Landis Benitez 20 The Messenger March 2015

21 With Our Churches Heartland Community Church Andy Woodworth new pastor at Heartland LANDMARK, Man. As David Thiessen s interim pastoral term at Heartland was coming to an end in 2014, we knew we had to hunker down and begin looking for someone else who could help us uphold and fulfil our church s values and vision. After five months of searching, process, interviews, discernment, and much prayer, we are pleased to announce that we now have our new lead pastor. After spending a week with us in January filled with meetings, interviews, and social gatherings, Andy Woodworth and his wife Stephanie, along with their family, have accepted our invitation to be a vital part of Heartland Community Church body. Andy will move into his role in March, while Stephanie and three of their children will be moving here in July. The Woodworth family comes to us from Belleville, Ont., where Andy has led a congregation in the Brethren in Christ denomination for thirteen years. Andy and Stephanie have four children: Mara (23) married to Jay, Tyler (20), Emma (16), and Cole (15). Island Gospel Fellowship During Andy s visit with us, he shared that he was raised in the Maritimes and his first Members, marriage, and ministries BURNS LAKE, B.C. Here we are at the beginning of another year. As always, when we look back, some very positive things happening and some not so positive. We have been blessed with more people coming to Island Gospel Fellowship. Families with young children make for a nice homey feeling. Amanda Plesko and Deanna Driedger were baptized on Aug. 31, Two couples, Philip and Christine Bogora and Ruben and Sharon Gaytan, also joined our congregation s membership by transfer. A year ago last October our pastoral couple took on another job: that of being parents-in-law; their youngest daughter Amanda married Evan Plesko. The Acts of Love ministry responds to various physical needs within our community by providing grocery gift cards, household items and transportation to those in need. The Men s Group hosts a weekly Saturday breakfast and on Valentine s Day they invited the ladies and cooked a wonderful breakfast for all. IGF HCC Stephanie, Tyler, Cole, Pastor Andy, Mara, and Emma Woodworth will be reunited in July. desire in life was to become a pilot. He oriented all his schooling toward that goal. But God had another flight plan and eventually redirected Andy to Bible school for some ground training. Andy married Stephanie a month after graduating and his first solo experience was to pastor a small 75-person congregation in PEI. Both Andy and Stephanie will bring valuable ministry and life experience to their roles at Heartland, and we look forward to getting to know their whole family better once they land here. Brigitte Toews IGF: a church that Christ is blessing. The Men s Group is also busy serving the community by providing firewood for those in need. The Ladies Group serves the community by catering for funerals and other events. Through the ladies fundraising efforts, a number of renovations were completed in the church this past year. We re still waiting for a youth pastor to move to Burns Lake and begin ministry here. In September the church called a couple to come and serve in this capacity. In the end, they were not able to come and we are now searching for another youth pastor. May God richly bless and keep us all. Anne Fehr The Messenger 21

22 Column Further In and Higher Up The password to the promised land by Layton Friesen To know the law is to be a skilful, crafty, and plain smart gamer in this strange place brimming with life and immediate danger. My son Marcus and his friend Mattaus taught me something about the Law (Torah) of Moses. I am puzzled by how affectionate the ancient Israelites could be about the details for sacrifice, cooking, making love, styling hair, and boiling goats they found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Psalm 119 is a lush poem of 176 verses lingering over the life provided by the Law. But how can they delight in something so many Christians find so bizarre, even embarrassing? We assume the Torah (the Law) is abolished and that in the Spirit we can ignore it. Marcus and Mattaus love to play long and complicated board games like Settlers of Catan for which I have little patience. They love the rules. The most obscure rule to guide a specific aspect of the game is a delight to them. You will get a stiff argument if you say, Rules, schmules. We don t have to be so picky. It is precisely the rules that make the game interesting. To play the game (from what I can tell, sitting across the room) is to be ushered into a wide new country with resources, enemies, possibilities and dangers. The rules are a description of this land and make it possible to even be there. The rules do not restrict; they provide the very possibility of staying alive and maybe winning it all at the end. The better they understand the odd quirks of this place, the more skill they have in navigating the twisting paths. That s a little like the Israelite understanding of Torah. To the ancients, creation is opened as a strange, new gift coming from a fierce, loving, unpredictable, and very intelligent God. God is coming into the world, seeking a home among his creatures. God wants to stream life into the world by being there, present, immediate. The Law LAYTON FRIESEN Marcus and Mattaus ponder their moves. describes how this wild and free Creator can live in the camp and stream life down from generation to generation. The Law then describes reality. It is a treasured tip into what sort of God came up with this world, how God wishes to live among his people, and how that presence shapes the life in creation. These are not arbitrary restrictions imposed from outside the world. They are insider s tips on how the world works. If you ignore them, well, in the words of Leviticus, your blood is upon you. To know the law is to be a skillful, crafty, and plain smart gamer in this strange place brimming with life and immediate danger. The question for us: how exactly did Jesus take up and live in this strange land, as its lawgiver, keeper, and punished outlaw? Jesus did not tear that world down rather he showed skill and freedom by living recklessly within this world. Jesus loved this Law. He did not abolish one iota of its force or precision (Matt. 5:17-20). He saw it as the Father s loving provision of a community for him to dwell in, the shape of a life given by which he could submit to his Father and offer the world s sins. To know Jesus, then, we must learn again to imagine the world as described in the Law and see its shape fulfilled in Christ s life. 22 The Messenger March 2015

23 News Canned meat provides drought relief in Central America Helped familes until second growing season WINNIPEG, Man. Central America faced its worst drought in 40 years in the summer of 2014 when an El Niño weather pattern hit. The dry spell affected the first growing season between May and August, causing widespread crop loss. Governments in Guatemala and Honduras declared states of emergency. In Nicaragua maize and beans crops were 75 percent less than the year before. The drought put more than 500,000 families in a vulnerable position because of lower yields and lost income, according to the European Commission. To help farmers make it through to the second growing season, MCC provided emergency food assistance to 1,666 families. That included a distribution of 30,384 cans of meat in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The distributions were done with MCC partners in each country., Purchasing beans locally became expensive due to the drought, so the canned meat helped bring the caloric and protein content of the food basket up, says Elizabeth Scambler, MCC s regional disaster management coordinator in Central America. In Honduras, the canned meat and food baskets were given out by CODESO, part of the Brethren in Christ Agripina Osorto, a farmer and mother of three in Orocuina, Honduras, received two months of food assistance from MCC partner CODESO. MCC photo by Elizabeth Scambler. Church. MCC and local partners also provided seeds in Nicaragua and Guatemala so farmers could plant new crops for the second harvest. While results of the harvest have varied, it has been significantly better than the first. Many families are able to eat three full meals a day; before they only had one, says Scambler. View this story online: canned-meat-provides-drought-relief-central-america Emily Loewen Ben Dueck new director of advancement at SBC SBC grad comes with wide work background MCC STEINBACH, Man. Steinbach Bible College is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Dueck to the position of Director of Advancement effective March Ben is an alumnus of Steinbach Bible College, graduating in 1999 with a BRS (Youth). He completed his MA in Leadership at Trinity Western University in Ben comes to SBC with a wealth of experience in many fields. Most recently, Ben established Cantera Properties, a home and condo building company. Prior to this venture he worked at Red Rock Bible Camp for five years, serving as the on-site camp director and programs manager. He has also served as a youth pastor and in several other volunteer ministry roles. Ben and his wife Kendra live in Niverville, Man., with their three young children. The family attends Niverville Community Fellowship, where Ben currently serves on the elder board as the Elder of Worship. Ben says, I m excited about this opportunity to contribute to the ministry of SBC. SBC played a huge role in my own spiritual, personal, and leadership development, and I look forward to being a part of the college s mission to train servant leaders. SBC SBC Ben Dueck The Messenger 23

24 News An Anabaptist light in isolated Albania LEZHA, Albania Klementina Shahini admits she didn t know what she was getting into when she raised her hand at an evangelistic meeting. My husband raised his, she says, and like a good Muslim wife I did the same. From that gesture some two dozen years ago, she and husband Dini became the first Mennonites in Albania and formed the first Mennonite congregation in it. Today Klementina has become an educational entrepreneur, founder, and principal of the Lezha Academic Centre in Lezha, Albania. Albania used to be the most isolated country in the world, known as a hard-core Soviet satellite. Her family was persecuted. My sister was put in jail for 10 years and I spent many years in labor camps, she says. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, communist control in Albania eased and doors opened to Christian visitors. When Dini raised his hand at an evangelistic meeting, I did too, to follow him, says Klementina. We became Christians. The 21st Annual EMC PROJECT BUILDERS Golf Classic June 18, 2015 For details: ca/new/events/ upcoming-events/ Steinbach Fly-In Golf Course WALLY KROEKER Klementina Shahini, school principal Klementina got a job in a library and studied English. More Mennonites showed up and when a local group was created Dini and Klementina were asked, Can you keep this group together? Before long she and Dini became the first baptized Mennonites in Albania. But during the civil uprising in 1997, the Shahini family was in danger, fled to Greece, then moved to the U.S. Klementina obtained a master s degree in educational leadership. A mentor urged her to go back home and start a Christian/Mennonite school. So in 2011 they moved back to Albania and she became principal of a school that was not yet established. By the end of June 2011 we had four teachers, books and furniture, she said. The school opened in September 2011 with five students. The school now has 85 students in grades 7 to 12. Besides the perpetual need for finances, a big need is teachers. Last year 15 students were turned away because of a teacher shortage. The Lehza Mennonite Church, the only Mennonite congregation in the country, now numbers about 50 people. It meets in a converted bar. The continuing struggle with Islam and communism is not to be taken lightly. Klementina says the Mennonite emphasis on peace and justice is sorely needed in her country. Wally Kroeker 24 The Messenger March 2015

25 News CFGB Livestock herders begin farming in Ethiopia Lessens burden on women ETHIOPIA, Africa Halima Muhammed is five, but her life will be light years from that led by countless earlier generations of women. Halima s family members are herders in the remote, arid northern Afar region of Ethiopia. They used to depend entirely on their livestock, moving to grazing land. The men walked alongside the livestock. The women followed, carrying everything the family owned, often with a baby on their back. After walking, women set up the huts, gathered firewood, and cooked the Her life will be different. meal. It was a tough life, particularly for women, says Halima s mother, Medina, and rare for a child to be enrolled in school. With assistance from Canadian Foodgrains Bank and its member, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Halima s father, Muhammed, now also grows cereal crops, fruits and vegetables. It s a huge change in lifestyle. But, as Muhammed says, we had no choice. Droughts, population growth, and famines in population forced the change. Gebreyes Haile, an Ethiopian who is an agricultural engineer, designed irrigation dams to divert water from nearby streams and rivers to land that was formerly unusable. Today it produces maize, bananas and papayas. Families no longer have to travel long distances to buy food. The biggest winners are women like Medina and their daughters. Amanda Thorsteinsson Millions of people near major food crisis in South Sudan Food access a problem for people trapped by conflict SOUTH SUDAN Millions of displaced people in South Sudan continue to be on the brink of a major food crisis as the country s violent conflict continues. We are deeply concerned for the well-being of the people of South Sudan, says Canadian Foodgrains Bank international program director Barbara Macdonald. Increases in violence could quickly become catastrophic for many of the most vulnerable people, especially children. According to UNICEF, at least 229,000 children in South Sudan are estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition, a number that has doubled since the start of the conflict a little over a year ago. And in a population of only 11 million people, 4.1 million people are estimated to require humanitarian assistance in the coming months, with 2.5 million people at risk of emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity. In a nation where much of the population relies on small-scale agriculture for survival, not being able to grow crops or tend livestock because of the fighting that has driven them off their land can have devastating consequences. Missed crop cycles in conflict-ravaged parts of the country mean we re now expecting household food stocks in the worstaffected counties to run out by March 2015 much earlier than in a normal year, said official Sue Lautze in a United Nations release. The CFGB, through its members, is responding, both in more CFGB CFGB is helping. peaceful areas of the country, as well as in areas that have experienced more conflict. The ongoing challenges we are faced with as we try to respond to the crisis in South Sudan are large, but not insurmountable, adds Macdonald. We invite Canadians to join us in praying for lasting peace for the people of South Sudan. Amanda Thorsteinsson, CFGB The Messenger 25

26 News CFGB: 12 projects worth $5.2M committed in January Includes additional support for South Sudan crisis CFGB WINNIPEG, Man. More than 231,000 people in nine countries will benefit from 12 projects worth $5.2 million committed by Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) in January. The projects are being implemented by Foodgrains Bank members Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), World Renew, World Relief Canada, Presbyterian World Service & Development, Adventist Development and Relief Association, and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, in collaboration with their local partners. One project, through MCC in Boricha, Ethiopia, is working to help farmers reclaim degraded land and sustainably manage it for future generations of growers. The land in Boricha is so degraded that many farmers have difficulty growing enough food to last them the whole year. As well as helping farmers reclaim land, MCC s local partner, the Meserete Kristos Church Relief and Development Association, is also providing farmers with tools and improved seeds to start them off in the right direction. About 70,800 people are benefitting from this project. Another project, through World Renew, is working with 600 farm families in the war-affected nation of South Sudan. War, economic crises, internal displacement, and ineffective traditional farming practices have all contributed to the food insecurity in this area. Many farmers work long hours on their small pieces of land, but are still unable to grow enough food to last their families the whole year. This project is training farmers to manage soil fertility and produce more staple food crops through conservation agriculture, a low-input and no-till method of growing a crop that uses green manure and cover crops. About 4,200 people are benefitting from this project. Andreas Berreira in Boricha, Ethiopia, shows off red beans he s grown on rehabilitated land with the help of MCC/CFGB. It s the first time in several years he s been able to grow a crop on his land. The red beans some farmers were able to grow this year with the support of MCC/CFGB. Other projects committed in January include: A joint food assistance and agriculture and livelihoods project in Bangladesh through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries worth $632,000 benefitting 7,500 people A joint food assistance and agriculture and livelihoods project in Bangladesh through World Relief Canada, and supported by the United Church of Canada, worth $223,000 benefitting 7,950 people A joint agriculture and livelihoods and nutrition project in Bangladesh through MCC worth $70,000 benefitting 10,500 people A nutrition project in Laos through ADRA Canada worth $239,000 benefitting 7,500 people An agriculture and livelihoods project in Mongolia through ADRA Canada worth $245,000 benefitting 2,980 people An agriculture and livelihoods project in Myanmar through MCC worth $116,000 benefitting 6,833 people An agriculture and livelihoods project in Laos through MCC worth $400,000 benefitting 5,000 people A food assistance project in Pakistan through Presbyterian World Service & Development supported by the United Church of Canada worth $1,178,000 benefitting 10,800 people An agriculture and livelihoods project in Sierra Leone through World Relief supported by the United Church of Canada worth $97,000 benefitting 1,000 people; A food assistance project in Sri Lanka through World Renew worth $290,000 benefitting 5,625 people. Projects supported by Canadian Foodgrains Bank are undertaken with support from the Government of Canada. Amanda Thorsteinsson, CFGB 26 The Messenger March 2015

27 News MHSC continues to tell Anabaptist story MAID will aid archives and researchers WATERLOO, Ont. The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada (MHSC) continues to press forward with its work of telling the Mennonite story across Canada and globally as its annual general meeting revealed here on Jan Part of the story: Ray Dirk s traveling exhibit Along the Road to Freedom tells stories of women who led their families out of persecution and suffering in World War II Russia to lives of freedom and peace in Canada. Sam Steiner, who has devoted much of his life to preserving the Ontario Mennonite story, was awarded the MHSC s Award of Excellence. It is given annually to persons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Canadian Mennonite history. Sam s KAR: a church on the move GERMANY A strange looking vehicle rolls down the highways and byways of six towns in the former East German state of Saxony. A curved cross on top of the 3.6 metre high, 4.8 tonne vehicle makes clear it is, indeed, a Church on Wheels (Kirche-auf-Rädern, KAR). The idea is to bring the church to the people. Gerry and Blanca Dueck (formerly of Rosenort EMC) are Canadians who have served as Salvation Army officers in Germany since 1994 and in the former East Germany since They have hot soup and coffee, but, more importantly, open ears and arms for people they encounter at pre-established meeting points. The base of operations is Meissen, a 1,000-year-old town with a stunning castle overlooking the Elbe River. Inside the church is place for about 12 persons. In the middle of the sanctum is a table and wooden benches. A flat-screen television shows a Word of the Week while people enjoy their soup and coffee. Some eat at small picnic tables outside, especially in summer. Church can be a picnic, a place to chill, a meeting place, family. Every week about a 120 people experience this moving church. Many carry the label of needy or asocial. But one could imagine Jesus feeling at home here, eating and drinking with the publicans, away from the holy huddle of the ninety-nine. KAR long-standing service on the executive committee of the MHSC has shaped its direction. The archives group s work over the past year has resulted in a functional Mennonite Archival Image Database (MAID); it will be a tool for archival partners and of benefit to researchers. The gifts of technology are helping to disseminate the Mennonite in Canada series. E-book options are being explored for volumes one and two. The society is excited to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in Established in 1968, MHSC is comprised of six provincial historical societies and four denominational bodies, including the EMC. MHSC Sam Steiner receives Award of Excellence The KAR in operation in Germany. The KAR hit the road first on Dec. 15, Media interest has been high ever since. The idea to take the church to the people is not new. William Booth, the Salvation Army s founder, did just that. The form of doing church or being church may change, but not the message. The model for KAR in content and methodology is Jesus. How did he do church? Gerry Dueck Editor s note: The Church is wider than the EMC and many members go on to serve the Lord elsewhere within it. Gerry Dueck, who has served as an EMC missionary in Paraguay, tells a bit of what has happened since then. The Messenger 27

28 News Through MDS love awakens hope MDSers hear stories of survivors, projects HARTVILLE, Ohio Restoring hope is at the core of the work and experience of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS). This was evident during its all-unit annual meeting held Feb at the Hartville Mennonite Church, where close to 300 MDS volunteers, staff, and donors met. The meeting brought together a spectrum of Amish, Brethren-in-Christ and Mennonites under one roof. The event included reports from all five regions in the U.S. and Canada and testimonies from survivors of disasters. The meeting s theme was A Touch of Love Awakens a Taste of Hope (from Song of Songs 8:7). From High River, Alta., Pauline Claydon spoke of how her family s situation seemed hopeless: 2013 flooding of their home, concern for the future of a disabled son, rezoning of their land, the demolition of their home, and limited finances. But Claydon says they found a way to build a home that met the zoning for a multi-family unit, a duplex to also house a single mother with children who lost her home because of the development of a floodway. CMU rates at top among 28 universities Students give top marks to faculty, academics, and community MDS Volunteers bring hope to communities. With MDS assistance the duplex will be built and both families have homes and hope for their future. The MDS has allowed us to prepare for the care of our disabled son, she said. We have a place to go to. During 2014 there were 3,636 volunteers serving with MDS as short- and long-term volunteers, including 261 summer youth volunteers. Some 463 disaster survivors were served in nearly 20 communities around the U.S. and Canada. Mark Beach, MDS WINNIPEG, Man. Canadian Mennonite University students have given top marks to the faculty, academics, and community at the university. A Maclean s Magazine February feature gives a snapshot of the 2014 Canadian University Survey Consortium s (CUSC) findings, in which CMU placed in the Top Four out of 28 universities in four categories highlighted in the article. When presented with the statement, Generally, I am satisfied with the quality of teaching I have received, 58 per cent of respondents from CMU said that they strongly agree earning CMU the top spot out of the 28 universities surveyed. Student responses to the statement, Most of my professors treat students as individuals, not just numbers, also put CMU at number one. CMU placed second when students were presented with the statement, Most of my professors are intellectually stimulating in their teaching, and fourth when presented with the statement, I feel as if I belong at this university. To obtain the results, the CUSC administered an online questionnaire to a random sample of middle-years students at each school. CMU president Dr. Cheryl Pauls says she is deeply encouraged by the way students ranked their university. To view the Maclean s Magazine article, visit macleans. A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in theology and ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs. CMU 28 The Messenger March 2015

29 Column Here and Far Away That is sure! The gospel, God s free gift of grace in Jesus, only works when we realize we don t have it all together (Miller, A Praying Life, 55). Realizing that I don t have it all together, that s when the good news reveals itself as Good News. In the midst of suffering, when I admit my poverty in spirit, my poverty in body, my poverty in material things, I see that I must rely on the DESIGNPICS One who has things well in hand. That is, not myself!...power in prayer comes from being in touch with your weakness. To teach us how to pray, Jesus told stories of weak people who knew they couldn t do life on their own. The persistent widow and the friend at midnight get access, not because they are strong but because they are desperate. Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life (Miller, 114). As J. I. Packer wrote, Where we are not consciously relying on God, there we shall inevitably be found relying on ourselves. That s true for me as I find myself worrying over our upcoming sabbatical. Where will we live? Where will my boys attend school? Will we find a vehicle? Will stresses of living in a foreign country overwhelm the benefits that Canada can provide? It s a challenging lesson on trusting God to provide for our needs, and to humbly receive that which He will give. When I come to the end of my own ability to control my situations and declare, Your will be done, I am entering God s will for my life and moving with His flow. When I understand that my challenges can bring Him glory, that is when I experience that God has overcome suffering, and death has lost its sting! Poverty in spirit being overwhelmed, not having wisdom is the door to prayer. We don t need self-discipline to pray continuously; we just need to be poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit makes room for his Spirit (Miller, 66). This is the truth that is so difficult to see when I strive to do everything on my own strength: provide for my family, attempt to fight the battles I face. Yet the Lord in His graciousness often speaks in Scripture words similar to those written in 2 Chron. 20:15-17: Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed..., for the battle is not yours but God s. Tomorrow go...you will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf... Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out...and the LORD will be with you. I will make my requests known, as Jehoshaphat did in this story. Then I will go out and stand firm in the knowledge that my Lord can provide for us in Canada just as He has done in Madagascar, and the LORD will be with us. In the face of unsettling unknowns, that is sure! by Jocelyn R. Plett wordpress.com The Lord can provide for us in Canada and will be with us. In the face of unsettling unknowns, that is sure! The Messenger 29

30 Columns Poetry The Enigma A Meditation on Matthew 27 and 28 by Brigitte Toews The irony is as thick as cold blackstrap molasses A murderer set free Barabbas, son of Abba The Son of Abba Jesus, his ransom! Out of all the prisoners set for execution that day, Did not Pilate handpick the bandit in passionate mockery of the Jews? Set up against Jesus, now who would they choose? The Bandit Did the murderer see the one who took his place? Did he see his Redeemer s bloody beaten face? Could he feel his pain with every crack of the whip? Or did he enjoy the enactment of the mock kingship? Did the bandit see Jesus fall down at Simon s feet And watch him carry the cross down a roughshod street? Did he numbly walk to The Place of the Skull Where the suffering Messiah was offered wine mixed with gall? Were the thieves on the cross the Bandit s partners-in-crime? Was he a shadow in the crowd, laying low, biding time? Could the rebel imagine his pardon was a divine second chance Or that God s Kingdom would come through a non-violent stance? Jesus All of God s love was displayed on the cross Forsaking His power and wrath to gain what was lost A ransom for many, even murderers and thieves Yet, we must choose for ourselves whether to mock or believe But in darkness the people demanded signs from above Let God rescue Jesus! Let him prove His great love! So God opened the heavens and rolled back the stone, Raised his Beloved Son Jesus and gave him David s throne! DESIGNPICS 30 The Messenger March 2015

31 In Memory Werner Barkman Werner Barkman was born on May 2, 1952, in Steinbach, Man., to Jacob and Anna Barkman. He passed away peacefully on Feb. 2, 2015, at Bethesda Place, Steinbach, Man. Werner is survived by his brothers and sisters and their families: Elma and Peter Reimer, Ben and Phyllis, Tina and Arnold Thiessen, Cornie and Erna, Melvin and Arlene, Margaret and Neil Reimer, Jake and Ruby, Anna, Orla and Martin Loeppky, and brother-in-law Dave and Mary Brandt. To meet him in Heaven were his Mom and Dad, one brother Abe, sister Adeline and sister-in-law Caroline. Two months after Werner was born, he moved with his parents and family to Mennville, Man. This is the community where he spent his growing up years and younger adult life. With his having been born with Down Syndrome, he and his parents and family faced many unique challenges. Integration of children into the regular school system was not done at that time. After a great deal of deliberation Werner was enrolled in Kindale School, in Steinbach. He loved school, but not the boarding home. His parents decided that no education was worth the pain of separation for Werner. Werner s parents remained his caregivers until they were no longer able to do so. He spent countless hours with his toys taking great care of them and guarding them. His loving and teasing personality was contagious and created many fond moments for all the family. He was very sensitive to people s response to him and developed the fondest relationships with those who engaged him both emotionally and relationally. In 1987, his Mom and Dad were no longer able to care for Werner and he moved in with his oldest sister, Adeline and Dave Brandt in Blumenort, Man. While living at the Brandts, he worked at the Kindale Workshop sorting bolts and other like tasks. It was while he lived with Adeline and family that he started his hobby of colouring. We were always amazed at how he intuitively coordinated his colours and created designs unique to him. In 1996 both of Werner s parents passed away, and in 1997 Adeline became ill and was no longer able to care for Werner. He then was moved to a group home in the Steinbach area. Shortly after moving to this location, Werner lost interest in going to Kindale. Given that Werner had some major family losses, as well as a home where he loved, a decision was made for him to live with his brother Ben and Phyllis in Mennville, where he stayed until he was emotionally more settled. In 2000, he was enrolled in the Riverdale Workshop and also moved into a Riverdale Group Home in Arborg. He thoroughly enjoyed both the group home and the workshop. He bonded quickly with his buddies at the home and caregivers. At the workshop he once again pursued his love for colouring. In the winter of 2014 Werner s physical condition became such that he was no longer able to stay at the group home. Subsequently he was moved to Bethesda Place where he lived until he passed away. His Family The Messenger 31

32 In Memory Pauline Penner (nee Unger) Our mother, Pauline Unger, was born in the hamlet of Prairie Rose, Man., on Nov. 22, 1924, to Abram and Katie Unger. Several years later her parents moved to a bend in the Seine River near Ste. Anne, Man. Mom would sometimes talk about her growing up years, about her school years, the time spent doing farm work, and her work later as a bookkeeper at Ste. Anne Co-op. It was during these years at Ste. Anne that she gave her heart to God. She had been seeing our Dad, Jake Penner, for a while when, in his typical get to the point way, he said, We should get married. That s what they did in 1951 on Dominion Day, which later became Canada Day. Mom thought it nice that all of Canada would celebrate their anniversary. Mom became a homemaker, going with Dad to winter bush camps in the Whiteshell. Their first months of marriage were spent at Betula Lake. We children treasure those bush camp memories. Children were born: Jake Orlando, Marjorie Ellen, Lorne Howard (two daughters died in infancy, Sheila Ann and Karen Ruth) and then Myrna Ruth. Dad and Mom then made a livelihood in the gravel business. Mom learned to drive a truck and would sometimes pick us up at school in bad weather with a single axle tractor. We as children look on the gravel pit days with fondness: our exploring, swimming, and Mom s picnic lunches. Mom was lonely after Dad s tragic passing in a vehicle accident in She continued to live on the acreage they had enjoyed. She was driven to hard work, and we children would be told of the hundreds of bags of leaves gathered in fall. Although Dad had been ready to call family for fun and yard work, Mom was independent and managed those six acres of lawn and trees mostly by herself. She spent her senior winter months crocheting doilies. Failing health saw her move into a self-care suite in Maplewood Manor in 2012 and, suffering dementia, into full care in She was glad to spend her last years with her sister Nettie and her older sister Lizzie. Here she passed away on Oct. 4, 2014, leaving us an assurance of finding her eternal reward. She cared about the spiritual welfare of those coming after her. Mom will be remembered as a hard worker and a caring mother who lived through times far from easy. She was predeceased by Dad, two infant daughters, daughter Marge, grandson Daniel, and brothers Abe and Otto. Left to mourn are two sons, Orlando and Luanna of Blumenort, Lorne and Carol of Ste. Anne; daughter Myrna of Steinbach; and son-in-law Winston and his wife Noreen; 18 grandchildren and 31 greatgrandchildren; two brothers, Bill and Laverna, Tony and Eva; and sisters Nettie, Lizzie, Matilda and husband David Wohlgemuth; and sister-in-law Frances. She will be missed by all. We as a family say thank you to the staff at Maplewood Manor for the professional and loving care she received, which made her last weeks easier. Her Family Calendar Manitoba April 11 MDS Spring Banquet Rebuilding Homes, Restoring Hope North Kildonan MB Church Winnipeg, Man. Speakers: Harold and Sandra Friesen Janet Plenert, and others April 18 MCC Manitoba 50 th Knox United Church Joe Clark, speaker Buffalo Gals Winnipeg, Man. mccmanitoba.ca/ April 24 SBC Spring Concert Steinbach, Man. SBCollege.ca April 25 SBC Graduation Steinbach EMC SBCollege.ca May Abundant Springs July 3-5 EMC Convention July 3 EMC Ministerial Ebenezer Christian Church Brandon, Man. July 4 EMC Conference Council Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium Brandon, Man. 32 The Messenger March 2015

33 Shoulder Tapping *With any applications for EMC church pastoral positions, candidates are expected to also register a Ministry Information Profile with the EMC Board of Leadership and Outreach, which can be obtained through Erica Fehr, BLO Administrative Assistant, at or EMC Positions* Taber EMC is seeking a full-time youth/associate pastor. Candidate should have the ability to plan and oversee a comprehensive youth ministry and oversee associate pastor ministries as arranged by the church leadership. Valuable assets would be skills in sports and music. Contact church board chair Abe Klassen at or Send resumes to Taber EMC, Box 4348, Taber, AB T1G 2C7 or yahoo.ca. Hillside Christian Fellowship is looking for a fulltime or interim pastor. Previous experience is preferred and housing is available. Hillside Christian Fellowship is a rural church located on Highway 697 in the Buffalo Head Prairie area, about 25 kms from La Crete in northern Alberta. The industries that drive our community are farming and logging. We have about 50 to 60 people attending on average each Sunday. For information contact Jim Friesen at or call (work) or (cell) La Crete Christian Fellowship is seeking candidates to fill the role of senior pastor. LCCF is located in a beautiful, prosperous farming and logging community in northern Alberta. We are a multi-generational congregation with a strong commitment to missions. Our average Sunday attendance is 450. The senior pastor would be a team member working with and providing general oversight to the associate pastor, youth pastor, office staff, lay minister and a large, supportive ministerial. He would have appropriate Bible college education and preferably a number of years of pastoral experience. He would agree with the EMC Statement of Faith and Church Practices. Duties include, but are not limited to, preaching, teaching, some administration and officiating at various church functions. Information can be found at Please contact Darryl Olson at com or if you can serve together with us in this capacity. The Church of Living Water in Tillsonburg, Ont., is seeking a full-time senior pastor. We are a young church with attendance ranging from We have a growing children and youth ministry. CLW is seeking a pastoral couple who will live among us to guide and direct the church to deeper and greater ministry in our community. We believe the senior pastor role to be that of a shepherd who guides his congregation, needs to be a strong encourager and a pastor who has passion for God and his people. This is best accomplished by studying and teaching, praying and preaching, and visiting and visioning, all based on God s Word. Previous pastoral experience is preferred, and candidate must be in agreement with our EMC Constitution and Statement of Faith. Applications or resumes should be sent to the CLW Board of Elders: Abe Neufeld (chair) and David Dyck (vice chair) Mennville EMC, a rural congregation with an attendance about 90, located in Manitoba's Interlake region, seeks a full- or part-time pastor. The pastor will work within a ministerial team as the church seeks to renew and grow. College or seminary training and pastoral experience are definite assets. Starting date is flexible and salary will reflect EMC guidelines. A candidate should be a collaborative leader (team player), comfortable in the pulpit and in pastoral care, familiar with the EMC Statement of Faith, and respectful of various cultures and rural living. Contact minister Terry Dueck at hotmail.com. Abbeydale Christian Fellowship (Calgary, Alberta) is seeking a full-time pastor to work alongside our current pastor and our congregational leadership team. We would expect the successful candidate to have the following characteristics: previous pastoral experience, very relational, a good communicator and preacher, and comfortable working with all age groups. This person would have post-secondary education, would be able to work in a team setting, and be able to mentor others. This pastor's focus of ministry would be on the discipleship of the congregation through preaching, teaching, the encouragement of small groups, and prayer. This pastor will also lead in caring for the congregation. We are an urban congregation of 100 attendees with an informal atmosphere. ACF is Anabaptist in its theological roots, congregational in its governance, and committed to love through service to one another and to our community. your resume to: High Level Christian Fellowship (HLCF) is looking for an interim pastor effective immediately. HLCF is a diverse but well-established EMC congregation, in northern Alberta, serving in a community where oil and gas, farming and forestry are the driving industries. HLCF has an average attendance of 130 members and adherents. The successful candidate would be able to relate and work well with people working together towards building an active community of believers. If God is directing you in this mission please forward your resume to either Jake Neufeld at or Greg Derkson at or by phone Jake ( ) or Greg ( ). Blumenort EMC is seeking a full-time community life pastor who will focus on developing Christian community inside our congregation and providing oversight for community outreach ministries. Key responsibilities will include creating vision and enabling our members to be effective in their connections inside the church and in ministry outside of the church. Previous pastoral experience is preferred but all candidates will be considered. This is a new opportunity which we hope to fill as soon as God provides. The candidate must be in agreement with our EMC Constitution and Statement of Faith. For a full job description or to send in a resume, please contact Anthony Reimer at blumenortemc.ca or Other Positions Mennonite Foundation of Canada has an opening for a full-time administrative assistant in its Calgary office. Expected start date for this position is July 6, This person will be responsible for providing administrative support for the Calgary office. Key responsibilities include front desk and telephone reception, processing incoming and outgoing mail, faxes, bank deposits and receipts, preparing letters, reports and presentations, and offering information to clients. Flexible attitude and team spirit, strong organizational skills, exceptional computer skills, superb verbal and written communications skills, and professionalism are essential competencies. MFC offers a competitive salary and benefits package. A complete job description is available at Applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Please submit resume to Shelly Wilcoxson, Markham Road, Winnipeg, MB R3T 4J6 or Where are position ads to be sent? Please send all position ads, including pastoral search ads, to All ads are to be 150 words or less. All ads can be edited. Please advise us when it is no longer needed. The Messenger 33

34 Pennsylvania 2015 at a glance Register Today! Assembly Gathered July 2015 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA Theme: Walking with God See note below about programming for children and youth under 18 Global Youth Summit For youth and young adults age 18 and over July 2015 Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, PA Theme: Called to Share: My Gifts, Our Gifts Assembly Scattered before and after Assembly Gathered various locations in North America Who is coming to PA 2015? Global Mennonites are already making plans to attend PA 2015, especially those from countries like Paraguay and Zimbabwe who have hosted Assemblies in the past. For you to appreciate who you are as a church, it is critical for you to come and see these other brothers and sisters from around the world, says MWC president Danisa Ndlovu, noting that hundreds from his home country of Zimbabwe have already registered. It is an opportunity to see Christ in other people s faces. The Geographic Distribution of Registrants as of 07 January 2015 Africa: 25% Asia & Pacific: 10% Europe: 7% Program Highlights In the morning, an international choir will lead singing and small groups will gather for conversation around the morning s themes and prayer. In the afternoon, participants will choose between workshops, service projects, historical and cultural tours, outings for hiking and shopping, or sports even a Mennonite World Cup! The Global Church Village will be open every afternoon, featuring church and cultural exhibits, global music, and art exhibits. Evening worship will include singing, speakers, prayer, and time to listen, share gifts, and encourage one another. Children & Youth After morning singing, children ages 4-11 will enjoy a multicultural program and lunch, rejoining adults for dinner and evening worship. Youth age will have their own morning program after singing as well as late night events for youth staying at Messiah College. Registration Registration: US $ plus meal plans and transportation (discounts for volunteers and families) Lodging: US $25-159/night Visas If you need a visa to enter the United States, please register early. To get a visa, you will need a letter of support from your home congregation and you will receive additional instructions from MWC about the visa process. Travel The closest and recommended airport is Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) but shuttle buses will run from Philadelphia (PHL) and Baltimore Washington (BWI) to Harrisburg at major arrival times. An excellent train system connects Harrisburg to Philadelphia and New York City. Tours On 20 July, one-day tours will be offered to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, and several Anabaptist communities. Global Youth Summit (For youth and young adults age 18 and over). The GYS theme is Called to Share: My Gifts, Our Gifts. Worship services, workshops, sports and more will add to the fun! Registration fees: US $265 (global North) and US $57 (global South), including housing and food. Assembly Scattered Assembly Scattered will take place before and after Assembly Gathered. Visit local congregations in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Alaska, and more. Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and will pay costs for food and lodging. Latin American/Caribbean: 10% North America: 47% Want more information? Have questions? Contact us! Mennonite World Conference PO Box 5364 Lancaster, PA Provided by Mennonite World Conference 34 The Messenger March 2015

35 Column stewardship today Year-round generosity The 2014 Christmas holiday season again brought a bombardment of consumerism. But after this festive frenzy was Giving Tuesday a day that demonstrates how charities, businesses, and individuals can transform the way we think about and participate in this season of giving. What began in 2012 as a grassroots effort with 2,500 non-profit agencies has grown to include 20,000 charities in 2014 and donors are responding. Online donations on Giving Tuesday were up 90% in 2013 and 60% in While Giving Tuesday raised awareness of giving by designating a day for charitable activity, real success happens by an increase in yearround generosity. Founder of Giving Tuesday, Henry Timms states its goal this way: The most passionate givers come to celebrate the cause (their charity of choice) on a year-round basis. People can get behind (their cause) for a long time, and if they re able to, make a recurring gift. There s nothing more valuable to a non-profit than recurring giving (Forbes.com). Canadians are already making recurring gifts as shown by the relatively consistent $9 billion given annually since But there s more to consider. The number of donors is decreasing, while the number of charities in Canada is growing. There are currently more than 85,000 charities recognized by Canada Revenue Agency. Active fundraising is increasing, resulting in more organizations vying for charitable dollars. According to current research, people are interested in being part of something that makes a difference. This is great news. According to research by BMO, one trillion dollars is expected to pass from one generation to the next in Canada over the next couple of decades. Most will go to family; some will also go to charity. If charities want more of those dollars, they ll need to do four things: Prove themselves worthy recipients. Charities need to clearly articulate their purpose using various media. Focus on impact and engagement. Charities need to tell stories of the difference they re DESIGNPICS making in people s lives and show donors how their contributions make this happen. People give to causes, not to overhead and administrative costs. Incorporate gift planning (legacy giving, future gifts, and deferred gifts) into their promotional and fundraising efforts. Charities should encourage donors to consider bequests, gifts of life insurance, securities, RRSPs, etc. Most planned gifts in Canada come as bequests from generous people who consider charitable causes in their wills. Change the mindset from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking. In the late 1980s, almost 30 percent of Canadians claimed a charitable donation on their taxes. That number has steadily declined, falling to 23 percent last year. On average, Canadians now give less than one percent of their annual income to charity. If charities can get people to focus on their blessings, people will be more likely to give. The $9 billion pie is capable of significant growth in Canada, but it requires more than just a generous heart on Giving Tuesday. We need year-round generosity. Our God is generous all the time. We should be too! Darren Pries-Klassen is the Executive Director of Mennonite Foundation of Canada. For information on impulsive generosity, stewardship education, and estate and charitable gift planning, contact your nearest MFC office or visit MennoFoundation.ca. by Darren Pries-Klassen Cornelsen, MFC Executive Director Change the mindset from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking. The Messenger 35

36 Column kids corner by Loreena Thiessen Activity: Paint with food. What happens in March During the winter months the northern half of the earth is tilted, or turned, furthest away from the direct rays of the sun. In fall, daylight gets shorter until the shortest day of all on December 21. Because of this tilt away from the sun, sunlight in winter often appears paler; it does not feel warm on our skin. And the sun is lower in the sky. Its rays take longer to reach us. After December 21, the days begin to lengthen. The time of daylight grows longer each day. The earth s tilt straightens and on March 20 daylight equals nighttime all over the world. This is known as the vernal equinox. The word equinox is from the Latin language and means equal night. The word vernal means spring. For people living in North America the vernal equinox is the beginning of a time of renewal. The sun s rays are more direct and bring warmth to the earth. The winter resting time for plants and animals comes to an end and they begin to stir. Need: Cocoa powder, blueberry juice, beet juice, mustard powder, water, water dropper, water color paint brushes, muffin tin, paper for painting. Do: 1. Place 1 teaspoon each of dry cocoa powder and mustard powder into separate muffin tin cups. 2. Add water one drop at a time with the dropper into the dry powder. 3. Stir until it looks and feels smooth like paint. 4. Put ¼ cup blueberry juice and ¼ cup beet juice separately in the next two muffin tin cups. 5. Paint a scene using the paint you have just created from food: cocoa powder for sand, trees, rocks; blueberry juice for sky, water, clouds; beet juice for the setting sun; mustard powder for the sun and the sun s reflection on clouds and on water. 6. You can also try colours made with fresh (not used) coffee grounds, onion skins, and turmeric powder. DESIGNPICS It is a time for renewed life. Temperatures rise and the earth warms up. The roots of grasses and trees feel the change and begin new growth. Insects awaken and begin their tasks of finding food and organizing themselves as they prepare for the busy seasons of spring and summer when their life above ground resumes. Birds return and in addition to looking for food they instinctively search for grasses and twigs to begin building a new nest for a new batch of eggs. All of life feels the change, the warmth of the spring sun, which means new activities can begin. You are included. You feel excited to run outside over the grass just starting to green. You rake the old dried grasses to make space for new sprouts. You help clean up the garden or the garage. Perhaps you and your mother plant seeds or seedlings to form the new garden. Leaves burst from their buds. The whole world begins to shimmer in a green glow. And all around cheerful chirping sounds fill the air. A new season of life has arrived. This is when we celebrate Easter. We celebrate the hope for new life because Jesus lives. Read Luke 24: The Messenger March 2015 The Messenger Evangelical Mennonite Conference 440 Main St., Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5 Publications Mail Agreement #

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