NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) — On the eve of its own 20-year anniversary in print, Missio Dei, a publication of Mennonite Mission Network, celebrated the milestone anniversaries of two Anabaptist ministries in Latin America.
The 30th and 31st issues of this booklet series, which has been produced since 2002, were centered on Anabaptist ministries in Ecuador and Argentina, respectively. Both booklets, as well as all previous editions, are available as free downloads on the series homepage.
Missio Dei #30: The wind blows where it wishes: 30 years of walking in the Anabaptist faith in Ecuador, highlights two major anniversaries for Anabaptism in Ecuador: 30 years of partnership between Mennonite Mission Network, Ecuadorian congregations and partners, as well as 20 years of ministry partnership between Mission Network, Iglesia Christiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL, Colombia Mennonite Church) and Central Plains Mennonite Conference, an area conference of Mennonite Church USA.
The booklet title was inspired Peter Stucky, of IMCOL, and refers to John 3:8, "You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God" (MSG).
Partnership visitors participate, for the first time, in an ICME worship service, in 2018, at the Camino de Salvación church in southern Quito. Photo by Linda Shelly.
Ecuador Partnership co-coordinator and Mission Network worker Peter Wigginton reflected, "We have seen how God's Spirit has moved in so many different places and through different congregations and people in Ecuador. We have not been able to see the Spirit move and do not know where it comes from, but we have been able to see and hear the effects of it, like the swoosh and swaying of the páramo, the Andean tundra grasses. We have seen the manifestation of God's hand."
Missio Dei #31: Remembering forward: Celebrating a century of Mennonite ministry in Argentina features stories that span the 100 years since the first Mennonite missionaries arrived in Latin America, in 1917.
"Celebrating 100 years of mission work in Argentina sets the stage for looking ahead," wrote Linda Shelly, director for Latin America for Mission Network. "The first missionaries were sent from North America to South America. Especially during the past decades, serving and learning have become increasingly multi-directional."
A procession of church members in Fortín Lavalle, Argentina, celebrates the arrival of complete Bibles in the Toba Qom language in 2015.
That multi-directionality in ministry is shown in Cathy Schmid's reflection on what North American churches may find inspiring about Argentine mission work.
"We saw in the Argentine congregations a clear understanding that the church's common life is about taking the gospel to people who have not yet heard the good news," she wrote. "[It also includes] living abundantly in fellowship with one another, no matter the differences between them; and being good disciples, by building neighborhoods of shalom."
Another highlight from Missio Dei #31 is the Argentina Chaco Mennonite Team ministry, coordinated by Alfonsina Finger and José Oyanguren, who serve through Bragado Mennonite Church and Mission Network. The team walks alongside Indigenous churches and communities in the Argentine Chaco and works with local leaders to develop ministries, including a Bible institute, oral Scripture productions, and a recording studio and radio station.
James Krabill served as the Missio Dei series editor from its inception, and after completing Missio Dei #31, he retired from the role.
Each Missio Dei booklet includes discussion questions for individual or group reflection. Printed copies are available upon request. Visit the series homepage for more information.