City of despair becomes international beacon of peaceNanjing, Chinahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/City-of-despair-becomes-international-beacon-of-peaceCity of despair becomes international beacon of peaceBy Mike Sherrill

Blog

 The latest

 

 

Get a taste of Service AdventureTry it outhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Get-a-Taste-of-Service-AdventureGet a taste of Service AdventureBy Susan Nisly
Advent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel Adventhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Advent-hope-and-Easter-faithAdvent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel By Joe Sawatzky
Muslims help build church in Burkina FasoBurkina Fasohttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Muslims-help-build-church-in-Burkina-FasoMuslims help build church in Burkina FasoBy Siaka Traoré
Family across the oceanFamilyhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Family-across-the-oceanFamily across the oceanBy Diana Cruz
I wear my heart on my sleeveBarcelonahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/I-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeveI wear my heart on my sleeveBy Joshua Garber
Ephemeral details and lasting relationships: What I learned from writing obitsReflectionhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Ephemeral-details-and-lasting-relationships-What-I-learned-from-writing-obitsEphemeral details and lasting relationships: What I learned from writing obitsBy Travis Duerksen

 Voices

 

 

Walking the Watershed Wayhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Walking-the-Watershed-WayWalking the Watershed WayBy Alice M. Price <p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Wendell Berry once penned: "Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you." That theme was woven throughout a recent gathering, "Walking the Watershed Way: Going Deeper into Creation Care," held Sept. 27-29 in Alamosa, Colorado. </span></p><p>I was grateful to be part of a Mountain States Conference planning team* that helped to shape the high-energy gathering of 40-some Mennonites and other diverse community allies. Together, we explored ways to build capacity to respond locally and globally to the climate crisis. The Anabaptist Fellowship of Alamosa hosted the weekend of presentations, activities, practical tools, and commitments to action. <a href="https://mennocreationcare.org/">Mennonite Creation Care Network</a> provided a small grant to help with expenses. </p><p>It was heartening to see a wide range of participants – people in their early 20s up to their 80s – engage with each other and the material. For me, it held one vision of what "church" might be moving forward in this region. Hands-on portions of the weekend, a "Taste of Place," pivoted around local field experiences and presentations, exposing out-of-town visitors to innovations in the Alamosa area related to equitable land and local foods access and environmental restoration efforts.  </p><p>For example, Liza Marron, executive director of the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, shared information about the organization's varied initiatives. Tours followed, led by various project managers such as Jesse Marchildon, of the Rio Grande Farm Park. Abe Rosenberg prepared a Local Foods/Local Places picnic shaped by foods from the Valley Roots Food Hub. Zoila Gomez gave a tour of the Alamosa Farmers' Market, highlighting her program's focus on nutritious cooking for lower-income families. Emma Reesor, executive director of the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, took the group to a bend in the Rio Grande restored through efforts by that project, where a history of indigenous presence was shared and prayers were offered. </p><p>The next day, Reesor and Patrick O'Neill shared about ongoing collaborative efforts in our Valley to preserve and restore important water and soil resources. O'Neill also spoke of his long-time partnership with the Guatemala family farmers at what is now the Rio Grande Farm Park.  </p><p>Todd Wynward and Daniel Herrera, leaders of a Watershed Way group in Taos, New Mexico, challenged the audience with what <em>Walking the Watershed Way</em> requires, from overall life commitments to specific daily practices. They highlighted five practices that inspire the Taos group:<br></p><p><br></p><ol><li>Fall in love with your place.</li><li>Protect your place and practice abundance.</li><li>Celebrate and surrender to each season.</li><li>Practice communion through common projects with diverse groups.</li><li>Treat your place as your teacher/rabbi.  </li></ol><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"><br></span></p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">Interwoven throughout the weekend was space for individual and small-group networking. Every break included the buzz of conversation. Folks swapped contact information along with advice on worms, seeds, and garden produce. They also shared recipes, music, poetry, book recommendations, and connections for accessing desired foods and other regional supplies. Opportunities to explore "next steps" for action by individuals, local community groups, and the larger regional network also helped to drive the event. Towars the close, Wynward repeated his ongoing challenge for individuals and groups to move beyond ideas to action. He urged them to draw upon learnings they gained from projects they had visited and connections they had made during the gathering.</span><br></p><p>As coordinator of a Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) program in this area for many years, it was gratifying to visit local projects that MVS volunteers and Fellowship members have helped to initiate and/or keep vibrant over the years. Reesor, who began two years of MVS in Alamosa in 2013, now directs the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project. Connor Born is a current volunteer at that project, preceded by Andrea Bachman and Reesor's predecessor, Jeremy Yoh. Hannah Thiel currently volunteers with the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, preceded there in recent years by Chris Lehman, Bryce Hostetler, Curtis Martin, and Peter Wise.</p><p>These important opportunities for community engagement resonate with our Anabaptist understandings and with the local service model of MVS in Alamosa. These and others have greatly enriched our lives and the life of our broader community in this rural setting. </p><p>*The planning team members were Anita Amstutz, Barry Bartel, Ken Gingerich, Alice Price, and Todd Wynward.<br></p>
Missionary Myth #3https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Missionary-Myth-3Missionary Myth #3By Joshua Garber <p>​<em style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">This is the third post in a three-part series addressing some of the common myths and misconceptions we experience most regularly while serving with </em><em>Mennonite Mission Network</em><em style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;"> in Barcelona. </em><a href="/blog/Three-missionary-myths" target="_blank" style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;font-style:inherit;"><em>Read Part 1</em></a><em style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;"> and </em><a href="/blog/Missionary-Myth-2" target="_blank" style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;font-style:inherit;"><em>Part 2</em></a><em style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;">.</em></p><p><strong> </strong><strong>Missionary Myth #3: We work for you </strong></p><p>We believe spiritual poverty is real and spreading, and the church is entering a time of transformation in Europe. Anabaptist-minded communities have potential to be pivotal shapers of what the next iterations of Christian community may look like. </p><p>That's what we're about. But practically speaking, we're not doing this in a vacuum—we live and serve in a faith community in Barcelona. Being present in our physical home is crucial. But we also are committed to North American supporters. </p><p><strong>One of our colleagues recently picked up on this:</strong></p><p><em>—It weighs on you guys a lot, doesn't it?</em></p><p><em>—What?</em></p><p><em>—Keeping one foot in the United States and the other here. That must be hard.</em></p><p>Here's the simple version of how our ministry works: We're partnering with one such Anabaptist-minded community in Barcelona where we've felt called. We're building relationships to foster the church body becoming a beacon for people thirsty for wholeness, liberation, and spiritual peace.</p><p>For this to be possible, we receive a salary. It is paid to us by Mennonite Mission Network and is the product of a part of our jobs we're less excited about: <a href="https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Garber" target="_blank">fundraising</a>. We enjoy sharing about what God is doing in the world and how we're partnering with God to be agents of change. But we do <em>not </em>enjoy asking people for financial support.</p><p>We are funded largely by wonderful, faithful individual supporters and churches. But we struggle with how fundraising creates a sense that you work for your supporters.</p><p><strong><em>"Show me how your ministry is being successful. We'd like to see a little more on your end."</em></strong></p><p>I understand why people say this—ministry accountability is important. We know our supporters often make a financial sacrifice. But we receive the above-type statements in ways that probably aren't intended. Aside from creating expectations with <em>how</em> we spend our money, folks want to know <em>what they get</em> for their "investment." On one hand, that makes sense: People want to be a part of something positive and know their support isn't being wasted. On the other hand, missions aren't supposed to be oriented toward the supporters.</p><p>Having talked to many pastors and missionaries, I know this tension is relatable to just about everyone in ministry. Funding sustainability is becoming increasingly elusive throughout the institutional church. In fact, during this series, we've received several comments from others serving in post-modern, first-world missions. They've expressed gratitude for articulating these misconceptions with which they also struggle. </p><p>What's changed? In the past, mission agencies raised the financial support for their workers. That freed the workers to focus on the tasks at hand until time to return to the United States every three or four years to share at churches. Most agencies, including ours, can't survive on this funding model anymore for several reasons. So, the responsibility of raising funds has shifted to the workers — a reality that always looms.</p><p>When we worked at <a href="http://lcc.lt/" target="_blank">LCC International University</a> in Lithuania, those of us who were American staff and faculty always half-jokingly said: Fundraising was everyone's part-time job. However, what we didn't realize then was that it is much easier to quantify a highly structured, <em>project</em>-based ministry like what we had at the university. It is much harder to quantify the foundation-building phase of an organic, <em>relationship</em>-based ministry like what we've been sent to engage in Barcelona.</p><p>We've never been about tally marks of the number of people that are "saved" and baptized because of our work. Such things are always the result of many points of light in someone's journey and the work of the Holy Spirit. But sharing about the number of student leaders we mentored and the growth in chapel attendance was easy.</p><p>The content of what we share isn't the only issue, though. Rather, our struggle is with the time commitment and constant shifting of attention that communication requires. Blog posts, ministry updates, holiday cards, video calls — we value these as tools for staying connected with family and ministry partners. Yet, they gobble up time and energy we could direct toward the Barcelona community we've been sent to serve. At the same time, this connection is precious and encouraging for us. </p><p>That illustrates another tension: Alisha loves making personalized greeting cards for the folks at Trinity Mennonite Church in Arizona. But currently, there's not time to also make them for folks at <em>Comunidad Evengélica Menonita</em> in Barcelona. We've lived with this tension for nearly seven years and accept it as part of the landscape of our work. </p><p>For example, this blog is read mostly by North American supporters. I would love to post on it every week or two. Yet, I create these posts in a narrow slot of time between when our language courses end (20+ hours a week) and when we get Asher from school. During that slot, I'm also studying, planning youth worship rehearsals, preparing teachings and worship leading for the church, organizing committee meetings, doing handyman stuff around the house, eating lunch, and running errands. In this time frame, Alisha does a plethora of <em>other </em>important things.</p><p>When external voices start adding one-off requests to that list, we choose what area we need to let slide on the local side a bit. <em>That's totally fine and we pivot when needed.</em> When the voice seeks to add something recurring to that list, we are faced with an even more challenging decision: What do we drop? If it's not ministry time, it's often family time.</p><p>We want (and need) to include our U.S. American partners in our work as much as possible. But we struggle with feeling fully present and committed to our current community. So please keep connecting with us: It's <em>vital we stay connected. </em>But also consider what and how you're asking: Maintaining balance can be hard and exhausting.</p><p><strong><em>Reflection questions:</em></strong></p><p><em>What's the best way to straddle two continents, being present and engaged in both?</em><br><em> What do you expect in return from nonprofit individuals and groups you support financially?</em></p><p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p><p>Confronting misconceptions can feel abrasive. While I stand by the content in this series, we don't want our supporters to feel unappreciated or attacked. In the case of our sending church, Trinity Mennonite in Phoenix, that's a journey of nearly 15 years! <em>If you've found you've held any of these misconceptions, know that we're speaking to a much wider-spread issue in global missions than toward specific individuals. </em></p><p>We shoulder the blame, too. Many misconceptions evolve due to fractures in the communication process, which involves both receivers (i.e., our North American supporters) and senders (us). Communicating can become intensely difficult in an era where we're inundated by messages from all kinds of senders vying for our attention. </p><p>In the not-too-distant past, information from the mission field would trickle to supporters in the form of a newsletter via snail mail a few times a year. Now there is an unspoken expectation that information flows regularly. </p><p>Groups like Mission Network can keep up with that on an organizational level, but at our level, it feels daunting. Play the game and we risk burnout and the arrested development of our ministry. Avoid it and we risk funding being a barrier for sustainability and being replaced by another worthy cause — the consequence of being "out of sight, out of mind."</p><p>Jesus teaches us <a href="http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=432219853" target="_blank">not to allow our lives to be dictated by worry</a>. However, that doesn't mean we ignore our obstacles. We created a<a href="http://www.facebook.com/WorthwhileAdventures" target="_blank"> Worthwhile Adventures Facebook page</a> to communicate the ministry we're doing in Barcelona. We are also maintaining personal pages to communicate other stuff that happens to a young family trying to thrive in a new, dynamic environment. However, that's not been enough. By having far more connections on our personal pages than our ministry page, our ministry experiences are often not successfully communicated. Add to the mix the unorthodox nature of the type of work we do and it's easy to see how myths and misconceptions develop.</p><p><strong>Now we're trying to adapt.</strong></p><p>As we traveled and visited supporters this summer during our two-month furlough in the United States, we did quite a bit of soul searching and learned some ways we can do a better job communicating. </p><p>For starters, we realize this series may have focused more on what we're <em>not </em>about than what we <em>are </em>about and, in retrospect, that's rarely a good way to define something. While you <em>can</em> paint a picture of something by describing the negative space around it, we're going to fill in the full picture. The first paragraph of this post is a fair starting point.</p><p>We ask for grace and understanding as we figure out how to navigate this thing.<br></p>
Q&A: The God signs that brought me to Service Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/QA-The-God-signs-that-brought-me-to-Service-AdventureQ&A: The God signs that brought me to Service AdventureInterview with Cindy Headings <p>NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) – <em>Cindy Headings has been the unit leader for the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Service Adventure unit since 2017, and began her third year-long term in August 2019. She sat down with her son, Zachary Headings, marketing associate for Mennonite Mission Network, for an audio interview on what led her to Service Adventure, her growth as a unit leader, and being “the cool mom.” The following is an edited version of the interview.</em></p>
Turmoil in Ecuadorhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Turmoil-in-EcuadorTurmoil in EcuadorBy Peter Wigginton <p style="text-align:left;"><strong></strong>Ecuador has generally been a very peaceful and politically stable nation, compared to its close neighbors, Colombia and Peru. Delicia and I have been serving the past four years with Mennonite Mission Network in Quito, Ecuador's capital, and we have experienced this calm. However, Ecuador has struggled a lot economically. And now these struggles are coming to a catalytic moment as mass transportation sector strikes and a large indigenous march are exciting the nation.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Ecuador's current president, Lenin Moreno, has tried to distance himself from the previous government and leader, Rafael Correa. Correa had always championed his "Civilian Revolution" and invested a lot in public infrastructure. He also pushed back against U.S.-led policies and other neoliberal ideals.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Moreno recently worked with the International Monetary Fund to strike a deal for a loan for the government; some of the deal required that the government reduce spending. The deal was hammered out behind closed doors, without the knowledge or approval of the Ecuadorian general assembly or congress. And now some terms of the loan agreement are coming due. </p><p style="text-align:left;">The government announced Oct. 1 its plans to cut subsidies for diesel and gasoline. Those cuts raised costs for taxi operators, bus owners, and food prices. These subsidy cuts have caused an almost 100 percent hike in gas and diesel prices. This huge spike has sparked protests from transportation organizations and unions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong><em>Mission Network partners </em></strong><strong><em>encourage peace and justice to reign </em></strong> </p><p style="text-align:left;">Those strikes eased after a few days, but now student movements and indigenous organizations—especially CONAIE, a national indigenous organization—are pressing forward in a growing indigenous march now storming into Quito. More information on IMF and subsidies are explained by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/27/imf-economics-inequality-trump-ecuador" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>The Guardian</em>,</span></a> <a href="https://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/2019/10/imf-ecuador-agreement-undermines-workers-rights/" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>Bretton Woods Project</em>,</span></a> and <a href="https://www.vox.com/2019/5/17/18624740/fossil-fuel-subsidies-climate-imf" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>Vox</em>.</span></a>  <br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Mission Network partners, the Quito Mennonite Church of ICAME, and the indigenous Mennonite churches of ICME, are involved in fixing food for the marchers. Mission Network's local partner, FEINE, is also helping to organize the march. It has officially said that it is against the decree that cut the subsidies for fuel.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Oct. 8, several FEINE leaders were arrested and detained when they pushed into the national Assembly building with other protesters. Julian Guaman of ICME estimated that more than 50,000 indigenous people are participating in the march to Quito, and more than 20,000 are marching to Guayaquil. Members of ICME churches are also participating in the indigenous march. Guaman shared that ICME has not issued an official statement. But members of their churches are pushing against injustice, citing Matthew 21:12-13, when Jesus pushed out the money lenders from the temple.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Another member of the ICME churches, youth leader Anita Aguagallo, said that the government has not initiated dialogue, but has fomented hate toward the indigenous movements. She believes the church needs to have a message of love toward all our brothers and sisters. Aguagallo also shared that she was at a protest site Oct. 8 where police used violence to suppress the protesters – many of them women and children. Several protestors, including children, were hurt.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Members of the Mennonite church in Quito are participating in public demonstrations in favor of justice and peace. ICAME issued a statement that reads in part: "We call for work to overcome structural injustice and go beyond an economic model that has placed the majority of the population on the margins. [New laws must be created] to organize society not around capital, the market and the transnationals, but [around] the common good, for the people who are on foot, and to solve the problems of injustice and unemployment that afflict thousands of Ecuadorians." </p><p style="text-align:left;">The church leaders acknowledged that the United Nations and the leaders of the Catholic Church and universities have been designated to start mediation. But the president has reiterated they will not give in to the decree that cut subsidies. Please pray for Ecuador, the government, the different social and religious leaders, and the different Mennonite congregations in Ecuador. We are called by Christ to love our enemies no matter where they may be from.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Martin Luther King Jr. gave us guidance on how we can love our enemies and push against injustice: "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding, and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."  </p><p style="text-align:left;">But this question remains for the global church: How can we support brothers and sisters in Ecuador and around the world who are combating injustice? We most certainly can be in prayerful communion with them. But is this enough? We can petition our different leaders of government (the IMF is mostly run at the discretion and guidance of the current U.S. administration). Is this enough? We can take to the streets as members of the Ecuadorian church are doing, but who will take notice?  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Maybe we can take heart in a different call from King, found in an excerpt from his essay, "Loving Your Enemies:" "To our most bitter opponents we say, 'We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. …" </p><p style="text-align:left;">We can and shall pray. We can and shall make our voices heard. We can also march. But we must remember that we will also suffer, and within that suffering, we must love.  </p><p style="text-align:left;"> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><a href="/Impact/locations/Latin%20America/Ecuador">Learn more about Mission Network's ministries in Ecuador.</a> </p><p><br></p>
Missionary Myth #2https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Missionary-Myth-2Missionary Myth #2By Joshua Garber <p><em>This is the second post in a three-part series addressing some of the common myths and misconceptions we experience most regularly serving with Mennonite Mission Network in Barcelona. </em><a href="/blog/Three-missionary-myths" target="_blank"><em>Read part 1</em></a><em>.</em><br></p><h2>Missionary Myth #2: Having fun </h2><p><strong></strong><strong>"Wow, it sure looks like the Garbers are having fun!"</strong></p><p>This is the less-extreme incarnation of the <a href="/blog/Three-missionary-myths" target="_blank">previous myth</a> that we <em>do</em> tend to hear from folks who faithfully support our ministry. People often site social media as the basis for this perception, and at face value, this seems innocent. However, we've had it shared with us in ways that also communicate an absence of hard work.</p><p>If you're basing your opinion of us on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WorthwhileAdventures/" target="_blank">social media</a>, it could appear that we have a lot of time on our hands and we're really living it up. That's because we <em>do</em> have fun. Our closest friends say that has <em>always </em>been the case for us. During our pre-international-mission lives in Phoenix, we attended concerts, played music, shared meals, indulged weird hobbies, camped, decompressed with friends over a game of Uno or Rummy at the pub — these are not recent developments in our lives.</p><p><strong><em>In fact, some of our most profound relationships and deepest understandings of God were formed in such moments.</em></strong></p><p>As much as we have fun, we also wrestle with the hardships inherent to departing one's native culture and entering a new one. Even after two years, few day-to-day interactions and processes come as easily as they would in the United States. Simple things like registering Asher for school, making/receiving phone calls and going to a medical appointment are full-on ordeals. </p><p>And then there's the complicated stuff: my ugly crying at a restaurant with one of our colleagues upon realizing I no longer had close friends (aside from Alisha, of course); anxiety attacks triggered after learning the <a href="http://worthwhileadventures.org/blog/2019/1/22/closing-the-house-saying-goodbye" target="_blank">Fundación House would be closing</a> and not being able to tell our housemates for nearly half a year; weeping uncontrollably when I learned we would not be allowed to have anyone else live with us in our new home.</p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">We're having fun, but we're also working hard and often feeling a bit overwhelmed. We're contemplating how we can utilize social media more effectively because using Facebook and Instagram "normally" are simply poor ways to communicate the full picture of our experience. Like most folks, we're more inclined to post the highlights of our lives rather than the mundane. That's not about conveying a false reality to our supporters — it's because those positive, exceptional moments are the ones that inspire us to grab a photo. When we're having a hard day with Asher, I don't capture the moment for the world to see.</span></p><p>There's a quote from Robin Williams' character in the 2002 film <em>One Hour Photo</em> that has aged well, considering it came out well before social media as we know it blew up:</p><p><em>"People take pictures of the happy moments in their lives. Someone looking through our photo album would conclude that we had led a joyous, leisurely existence free of tragedy. No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget."</em></p><p>There's another <em>cultural</em> component at play here, too: People don't really gather at each other´s homes unless there's a deep, pre-existing relationship. Instead, most relationship-building happens over a coffee, sandwich or beer in a neighborhood pub. It's likely folks will see more photos of us "out having fun" if we're doing our jobs right.</p><p>I also wrestle with the intersection of where marketing, manipulation and authenticity connect. Marketing is, essentially, manipulation done for good. <a href="https://medium.com/tech-critical/everything-on-social-media-is-fake-95c0947bbd6b" target="_blank">To do either with authenticity</a> — a requirement for postmodern ministry — relies on transparency. Our stated objectives <em>can</em> be communicated in this way, but there are also consequences.</p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li><em>How can I visually communicate the growth of a relationship in a way that doesn't also cause the other person to feel exploited or question my motivations (thus potentially hindering future relational growth)?</em></li><li><em>How do we communicate ministry moments such as involvement in the Sunday worship service without indirectly reinforcing the false perception that's what our jobs are all about?</em></li><li><em>How do I share my new hobby of making </em>kombucha<em> in the context of ministry without it feeling forced? Or should I just not share it??</em></li></ul><p>Society is still relatively new to social media. It's not always clear what the ins and outs are. Communication has changed dynamically in the realm of mission work. In the not-too-distant past, folks were content to receive prayer letters from international workers once or twice a year. Our dilemma now is whether we should continue to use our personal social media accounts like normal folks, or if we need to be more "brand focused" and invest more energy into the North American part of our work.</p><p><strong><em>Questions to reflect on: </em></strong><br><em>What does your social media content say about you (and what does it leave out)?</em></p><p><em>What does it mean to be authentic and transparent on social media? How do you do that?</em></p>
Letting others be Christ to youhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Letting-others-be-Christ-to-youLetting others be Christ to youby Jenna Baldwin <p><span lang="EN">My term of service in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with Service Adventure was both the best and toughest year of my young life. A highlight of my year was my job placement. I worked at Our House: Bright Futures, a day program for adults with disabilities. I was surrounded daily with individuals who greeted me with a hug as they walked in the door. It was the place where I grew into the person I am today. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">Yet this place that was such a source of joy in my life also provided one of my toughest lessons in service: learning how to step back and be served. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">At the beginning of the year, our unit talked about how we were not only in Service Adventure to serve, but also to be served. This was not something that I felt familiar or comfortable with initially. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">Towards the start of my time at Our House: Bright Futures, I noticed an individual standing and hand signing with a care provider. I walked over and introduced myself by signing – the extent of my knowledge. Eventually, he taught me more sign language. First the practical, then the ones that made us chuckle. When this ritual began, I considered it a learning opportunity for myself; but it turned into much more than that. By his teaching me, I was backing down and simply being served, just as our unit had talked about.<br></span></p><p><span lang="EN">As Mennonites, we often talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities. Yet, sometimes we need to sit down and let others wash our feet. This is often the image that comes to mind when I think of being served by others—a parallel frequently drawn by theologists. As a person who is always eager to help others, I often struggle with this widely accepted interpretation of the scripture. I was generally uncomfortable with the idea of being vulnerable and letting others serve me. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">Yet I was also being served by my housemates from day one. When I touched down in Colorado Springs, I was terrified of what would await me. But I found some of the most understanding, compassionate and loving friends that I could ask for. That’s apart from the issue of whether they were intentionally serving me on a daily basis. We often sat together, discussing our days, which could be anything from giving advice regarding a difficult work situation or the offering of a hug or a cup of tea. I learned that it was okay to let my housemates help me through difficult times, because we were all experiencing them. That’s a part of the beauty of living in community. You have people to walk with you through a season of life. </span></p><p><span lang="EN">Service is often mischaracterized as only serving others. Yet the people surrounding you have just as much to give to you as you do to them. Give them the chance to be Christ in your life. You’ll thank them for it.</span></p>

 

 

City of despair becomes international beacon of peacehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/City-of-despair-becomes-international-beacon-of-peaceCity of despair becomes international beacon of peaceBy Mike SherrillGP0|#a595f38c-5e88-47b4-b5b0-852175302927;L0|#0a595f38c-5e88-47b4-b5b0-852175302927|China;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#af610d13-4793-4c57-8b8c-d4ea261d7a85;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Get a taste of Service Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Get-a-Taste-of-Service-AdventureGet a taste of Service AdventureBy Susan NislyGP0|#2ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a;L0|#02ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a|United States;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#89f1dfe2-8e50-4b9f-b81a-f3f6dcbc35fc;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Advent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Advent-hope-and-Easter-faithAdvent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel By Joe Sawatzky
Muslims help build church in Burkina Fasohttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Muslims-help-build-church-in-Burkina-FasoMuslims help build church in Burkina FasoBy Siaka TraoréGP0|#024ac062-71a9-4b18-9ee6-bca9c86be075;L0|#0024ac062-71a9-4b18-9ee6-bca9c86be075|Burkina Faso;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#4d0e08ea-d1a0-4141-9eba-431183992152;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Family across the oceanhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Family-across-the-oceanFamily across the oceanBy Diana CruzGP0|#53f671dc-6b11-4308-ab01-f8c0f7df8786;L0|#053f671dc-6b11-4308-ab01-f8c0f7df8786|Benin;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#4d0e08ea-d1a0-4141-9eba-431183992152;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
I wear my heart on my sleevehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/I-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeveI wear my heart on my sleeveBy Joshua GarberGP0|#e284ba0e-faee-49c7-b590-84141094dd09;L0|#0e284ba0e-faee-49c7-b590-84141094dd09|Catalonia-Spain;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#e1c6021e-2f25-46dc-91a1-be34789acdf9;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Ephemeral details and lasting relationships: What I learned from writing obitshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Ephemeral-details-and-lasting-relationships-What-I-learned-from-writing-obitsEphemeral details and lasting relationships: What I learned from writing obitsBy Travis DuerksenGP0|#2ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a;L0|#02ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a|United States;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#89f1dfe2-8e50-4b9f-b81a-f3f6dcbc35fc;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Walking the Watershed Wayhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Walking-the-Watershed-WayWalking the Watershed WayBy Alice M. Price GP0|#2ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a;L0|#02ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a|United States;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#89f1dfe2-8e50-4b9f-b81a-f3f6dcbc35fc;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Missionary Myth #3https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/Missionary-Myth-3Missionary Myth #3By Joshua Garber GP0|#e284ba0e-faee-49c7-b590-84141094dd09;L0|#0e284ba0e-faee-49c7-b590-84141094dd09|Catalonia-Spain;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#e1c6021e-2f25-46dc-91a1-be34789acdf9;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf
Q&A: The God signs that brought me to Service Adventurehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/QA-The-God-signs-that-brought-me-to-Service-AdventureQ&A: The God signs that brought me to Service AdventureInterview with Cindy HeadingsGP0|#2ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a;L0|#02ab17779-1e85-4ea3-bd7e-1348a1fb087a|United States;GTSet|#f1c3ac69-6cd4-4109-8ba8-137477ba8a7d;GPP|#89f1dfe2-8e50-4b9f-b81a-f3f6dcbc35fc;GPP|#62ebb633-b401-4243-a537-1a85230e4ebf