From Emma . . .On a November Sunday morning, J. Mark and I sat in an auditorium in the center of Mexico City surrounded by brothers and sisters, many of whom we hadn’t seen for a long time. It is seven years since we left Mexico. We’ve been back a few times and have been in contact with many of them now and then. But in this setting whole families gathered together and it felt like a family reunion. The children I taught in Sunday School are teenagers and I had to concentrate on their faces to recognize them. The teenagers are now adults and leaders in the church. Young couples have reached middle age, and some gray hairs have snuck in among the black ones. A few more wrinkles tell me that years have passed.
Mexicans are very relational people and I saw the same warmth I always remembered as we greeted one another and rejoiced in God’s goodness to us. The worship of God together was energetic to say the least. Booming voices now and then behind us shouted out ”Gloria a Dios!” or “Aleluya!” There was no doubting that these people were there to celebrate. As they called out the names of churches and their people stood up, everyone cheered. We felt at home!
The day before, we joined pastors and lay leaders as we spent a day reflecting on the struggles of the past, identifying where they are now and looking toward the future. Many questions were asked about what it means in their present reality to be Anabaptist Mennonites in Mexico. Young pastors and leaders, who had been teenagers when we left, now led out with vision and energy with a new wave of enthusiasm demonstrating their hope for the future.
We rejoiced as they glorified Jesus and spoke of new initiatives to reach out to youth and families. There is no doubt that they have encountered Jesus in new ways and God’s Spirit has been working among them. The seeds that had been planted 50 years ago in such an imperfect way were bearing fruit, and God is building the church. All along the way and throughout the years God’s Spirit has been there and Jesus has walked with them to create a new sense of community in that huge metropolitan reality. Much diversity among them and the many difficult realities of the city, such as the distances between the churches, all add to the challenges that face them. We were impressed, however, with the maturity of leadership that is in place to face these challenges and experience the growth of the Kingdom of God in the metropolitan area of Mexico City and Puebla.
From J. Mark . . .We want to thank Swamp Mennonite Church and Franconia Conference for making it possible to attend the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Conferencia de Iglesias Evangélicas Anabautistas Menonitas de México (CIEAMM). We were also pleased to represent both Franconia Conference as well as Mennonite Mission Network in gatherings that took place.
We come back with the certainty that God’s kingdom purposes are being worked out in the Mennonite congreagtions of CIEAMM because of the faithfulness of our brothers and sisters. To God be the glory!