Mennonite Mission Network Collaborates with Franconia Conference in first Youth Venture Experience in Israel

naz1s.jpgFranconia Mennonite Conference (FMC) and Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) plan to collaborate in first Youth Venture experience to Nazareth Village, Israel.

Since 1985, more than 700 persons have participated in Youth Venture, a program that provides opportunities for youth and young adults to join together for service and learning experiences, seeking to capture the imagination and passion of youth and young adults to invest their lives in bring healing and hope to the world. Youth Venture offers the offers the opportunity to join with other young Anabaptists for one to four weeks of service in July or August in various North American and international mission projects.

In July and August of 2007, Franconia Mennonite Conference will partner with Mennonite Mission Network to offer a collaborative experience for youth and young adults at the Nazareth Village in Israel. This is the first time for such a collaboration, and both parties hope that by working together, a more effective and networked program can be developed for participants. David Landis, Associate for Communication and Leadership Cultivation for Franconia Mennonite Conference, will serve as team leader.

Five years ago Mennonite Mission Network began a vision of collaborating with Mennonite Church USA conferences and other affinity groups, seeking out ways to live into what networking really means. Del Hershberger, MMN Director of Christian Service, states “We believe that networking with other folks who have a passion for ministry creates new, exciting possibilities that we never could have thought of or done by ourselves. I see this as a first step in FMC and MMN each bringing our ideas, passions and resources together to enhance the faith formation and leadership development of young adults.”

Participants in the Youth Venture trip to Nazareth Village will discover the land where Jesus walked while serving at a recreated village of first century Nazareth, working on maintenance projects, at a hospital or a children’s camp. Living with local Arab Christian families will provide opportunities to understand God’s continuing work in the Middle East. Many assumptions about the way the world functions are challenged as participants discover and exercise their gifts. The experience aims to explore real ways for participants to see God’s love and concern for the connected world far beyond anything they’ve imagined.naz3s.jpg

Stephen Kriss, FMC Director of Communication and Leadership cultivation says, “I’d hope this represents a new way to embody the network paradigm that both Franconia Conference and MMN are living into in these days of rapid change and global connectivity. In working together, we’ll share our resources to create opportunities to engage the world and to find new possibilities to incarnate the Good News that speaks to a new generation, our congregations and the world.

For more information on Youth Venture, go to http://www.mennonitemission.net/Work/Service/YV/. The Nazareth Village experience will be held from July 23 to August 10, 2007, flying in and out of Philadelphia.