CHOELE CHOEL, Argentina (Mennonite Mission Network) – During the biennial mission festival of Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Argentina (Argentine Evangelical Mennonite Church), Juan Sieber challenged the 500 people in attendance to imagine what great ministries God might carry out through them in the next 50 years. Nearly one-tenth of the assembly responded by coming forward for prayer for future involvement in short or longer-term mission work.
Sieber is pastor of the Choele Choel congregation that hosted the mission festival held Oct. 14-15.
The IEMA's Patagonia Mission Project supports four couples and four single women as mission workers. These 12 workers are recognized by Mennonite Mission Network as International Partnership Associates with Mennonite Mission Network.
While the daytime activity of the mission festival -- with its abundance of food, conversation, camping, soccer and volleyball -- resembles a church picnic more than an organizational business meeting, mission activity takes shape and flourishes, according to Linda Shelly, Mennonite Mission Network’s director for Latin America.
Following the festival, a delegation from Illinois representing the Arm in Arm partnership with IEMA and Mennonite Mission Network met with Argentine church leaders and representatives from the mission agency. During this meeting, Amaris and Juan Sieber accepted a call to return to mission work in Illinois for 10 months in 2007. The Siebers had previously served in Illinois from July 2004 through February 2006.
The Patagonia Mission Project, formalized in the mid-1990s, carries out a twofold vision; developing new churches Argentina’s Patagonia region and renewing established churches in Patagonia and Illinois. Renewal in Illinois congregations has opened the doors to opportunities for church-planing within the state.
The partnership has sponsored annual exchanges between Mennonites in Argentina and Illinois to build relationships and share resources.