by Wendy Wong, Souderton congregation
This was my first experience attending Mennonite Convention. 3000 attendees were among us. I attended all the worship services and I was very impressed by the energy the worship leaders had and the amazing resonance from the attendees. I loved the inspirational songs and the fact that the leaders were ethnically diverse. The emerging intergenerational worship created an atmosphere of joy & unity. The unique stories from each speaker touched the audience’s heart. Pastor Sue Park-Hur talked about how they reached out to North Koreans, a country that many might consider to be like Nineveh back in Jonah’s time.
I loved the teaching from Tom Yoder Neufeld. He said, “Church is a mess;” we responded, “Thanks be to God!” He taught that “unity doesn’t mean harmony.” He showed a picture of a drawing of Jesus who gathers our diversity (physical and mental) into His womb to create new human beings. Churches should have vision, be open, pray for each other, show hospitality, and be transformed. Forbearance means long-suffering and forgiveness and always watching the horizon like the father of the prodigal son. There is always hope in God.
It is an excellent idea to have youth delegates and I am absolutely confident of what they can do for the kingdom of God. Nowadays youth are a lot smarter than my generation. In my opinion, a youth board member and a youth in the pastoral search team may not be a bad idea.
I totally agree on the resolution against the abuse of child migrants on the border. Churches should be loving our neighbor through lobbying for family unification and policy change, sending members to witness the conditions of migrants and sending immigration detention kits, and even sending concern letters to the Southern Baptists so they can raise the concern to the president of the United States.
At my table, I heard that delegates were still very bothered by issues like LGBTQ and women in leadership roles, and some were not sure they will come next time. I like the delegates from my table, however, and it felt like a family reunion. We had Russian, German, Swiss, and Chinese Mennonites at our table. We prayed for each other and shared each other’s burden in just a few days of knowing each other.
Without coming to this convention, I would never have known how much we can be the light of the world for Jesus as an individual church or conference because we are a part of MC USA. Sue Park-Hur challenged us to go wherever the Spirit leads us with the Spirit’s peace. Leonard Dow challenged us to receive the Spirit and follow His guidance to overcome the challenges in our life. Glen Guyton challenged us to humbly serve the body of Christ and to go, disarmed, to witness to the world.