speaking and living,
loving and sharing
Spanish and English,
city and town,
the North and the South;
Yes, all God’s children
created in God’s image,
seeking and following Christ,
experiencing and sharing
good news, healing, hope.
We, sisters and brothers from Prince of Peace Mennonite Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church, are part of South Central Conference. Early in 2001, we in Hesston heard encouragement and a challenge for connecting with others in distant districts of the conference. We responded positively to the opportunity and began to explore the possibilities.
In 2002, Prince of Peace and Hesston Mennonite covenanted to be "yoke-partners." We work together, encourage one another in the serving of our individual neighborhoods and create mutual cross-cultural relationships and reciprocal ministries.
As a result, we share phone calls, cards, e-mail messages and Christmas packages. We visit each other in our respective churches and homes. We attend South Central Conference each year, whether it is in Kansas or South Texas, so we might have opportunities to laugh, pray, eat and worship together.
In 2004, Felipe and Iris Almovodar, along with Evelyn Gonzalez, visited Kansas for a weekend. Happily, we shared the gifts of our town and community with them. During a worship service on spring mission Sunday, each of them, along with the pastors of Hesston Mennonite Church, shared stories.
With much pleasure, we have traveled to Corpus Christi and shared in the joy of interpreting Spanish to English and English to Spanish during worship, singing and praying in both languages. With additional delight, we have tasted the rich flavors of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Mexican foods as we join them in lunch following worship.
In July, our South Central Conference meeting will be held in Corpus Christi. With much excitement, delegates, other individuals and the Hesston 7th- and 8th-grade youth will attend. Following worship on Sunday morning, and for three subsequent days, a group of us anticipate staying with our sisters and brothers from Prince of Peace. Again, we look forward to fun, food and fellowship as we join them in painting the outside of the church building and helping with a picnic for the neighborhood.
What have we learned?
• Mutual relationships (including the sharing of and respect for gifts, talents, ideas, resources and cultures) take time and effort, but are tremendously rewarding.
• It is a blessing to receive.
• Learning from each other benefits both parties.
• Prayer unites one with the other.
• Two congregations working together may be better than one, for the process encourages a greater understanding of the call upon the church to become a body of believers, blessing and being a blessing.