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The Messenger The Family of God a publication of the

Evangelical Mennonite Conference

Volume 55  No. 6 November 2017

INSIDE: Please Don't Make Me Read the Genealogies! page 6 Simeon's Wish List page 9 page 12

Eight Ways Preachers Can Harm the Depressed

page 15

ISTOCK

Letters to the Family: A Mother's Treasure


Editorial

Questions Asked Near a Mirror Q. Which early Anabaptists influence you the most? A. Menno Simons and Balthasar Hubmaier. Q. Do you believe climate change, caused by humans, is real? A. Yes. It’s a serious problem with victims current and future. Q. What’s the key issue for the EMC today? A. Since 2000 we’ve plateaued in membership numbers. We need to grow. More urgency, prayer, workers, and money will help. Q. What are your favourite periods in Anabaptist history? A. The sixteenth century, the Western Gospel Mission era (1949-1961), and now.

Q. What does being an Evangelical mean to you? A. It means being privileged. And disturbed by what some Evangelicals think and do. Q. After journalism studies, why did you study at college and seminary? A. Because of a call to be of service to the Church. Q. What question stands out from your formal studies? A. If a person is awarded a degree while married, why is it called a bachelor’s degree?

Why don't you write about some topics? What most surprises you about your work?

Q. How do you describe yourself? A. A flawed Christian. A displaced mainliner re-rooted through Evangelicalism and enriched by Anabaptism. Q. Are you a neo-Anabaptist? A. No. That’s a person influenced by Anabaptism who attends a non-Mennonite church.

Q. Do you support same-sex marriage? A. No. We need to be sensitive, though, to people struggling with sexual issues, whether same-sex or other. Q. Are you a theistic evolutionist? A. No. The Earth is older, but secular evolutionists use too many zeros and the missing links are still missing. Q. What do people overlook about your role? A. The range of my work: being a minister who serves as an administrator in education, publication, and archives. Q. What’s your heart’s desire? A. That more of the United Church of Canada would return to a historic proclamation of Jesus Christ as God become also man, Saviour and Lord.

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Q. Does the EMC need to plant more churches? A. Yes. Churches are made of people helped through Christ. Numbers matter because people matter.

Q. Which of your degrees is most important to you? A. My first MA—Mary Ann.

Q. Why don’t you write about some topics? A. If the focus shifts from the topic to me, does this help the discussion? Q. Do you believe everyone will be saved in the end? A. I wish I could say yes, but no. Q. Do you believe the Church is called to both evangelism and social justice? A. Yes. Q. Which task in your work is most important to you? A. Preaching, a joy and solemn privilege. Q. What most surprises you about your work? A. The wonder and grace of Jesus Christ. Q. Do you think the EMC, the EMMC, and the CMC (formerly Chortitzer) should merge? A. Yes. Soon. – Terry M. Smith


Table of Contents Features

Columns

6

Please Don't Make Me Read the Genealogies!

5

Simeon's Wish List

17 Further In and Higher Up

– Pastor Bob Tice

9

– Pastor Eric Isaac

Reformation Reflections

Thomas Müntzer: Too Easily Dismissed – Terry M. Smith Racist Pigs – Layton Friesen

12 Letters to the Family: A Mother's Treasure

18 Poetry

15 Eight Ways Preachers Can Harm the Depressed

34 Here and Far Away

– Professor Arlene Friesen

– Dr. David Murray

Departments 2 Editorial 3 Pontius’ Puddle 4 Letters 19 With Our Missionaries

page

20

Gratitude at Christmas – L. Marie Enns Scandalous – Jocelyn R. Plett

page

27

35 Stewardship Today Contagious Generosity – Kevin Davidson

36 Kids’ Corner

Are You Balanced? – Loreena Thiessen

22 With Our Churches 31 News 33 Shoulder Tapping

page

30

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The Messenger Volume 55 No. 6 November 2017

EDITOR TERRY M. SMITH tsmith@emconference.ca

ASSISTANT EDITOR ANDREW WALKER awalker@emconference.ca

Submissions to The Messenger should be sent to messenger@emconference.ca. The Messenger is the publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference. Its purpose is to inform concerning events and activities in the denomination, instruct in godliness and victorious living, inspire to earnestly contend for the faith.

It is published 12 times per year, six in print (also online at www.issuu.com/emcmessenger) and six in a website format at www.emcmessenger.ca. To get the most out of The Messenger, viewing both versions is encouraged. Letters, articles, photos and poems are welcomed. Unpublished material is not returned except by request. Views and opinions of writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Conference or the editors. Advertising and inserts should not be considered to carry editorial endorsement. The Messenger is published by the EMC Board of Church Ministries, 440 Main St, Steinbach, Man., and is a member of Meetinghouse and Canadian Church Press. Subscription rates (under review) 1 year print subscription $20 ($26 U.S.) Manitoba residents add 8% PST. Single print copy price: $2 Subscriptions are voluntary and optional to people within or outside of the EMC. Subscriptions are purchased by the Conference for members and adherents. The Messenger is available for free to all online at: www.emcmessenger.ca If you wish to sign up for our email newsletter pleaase contact Andrew at: awalker@emconference.ca. Digital copies are free. Change of address and subscriptions Undelivered copies, change of address and new subscriptions should be addressed to: 440 Main St, Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5 Phone: 204-326-6401 Fax: 204-326-1613 E-mail: messenger@emconference.ca www.emconference.ca/messenger Second-class postage paid at Steinbach, Manitoba. ISSN: 0701-3299 Publications Mail Agreement Number: 40017362 Advertising The Messenger does not sell advertising, but provides free space (classified and display) to enhance our Conference, its churches, boards, and ministries; inter-Mennonite agencies and educational institutions; and the wider church. Ads and inquiries should be sent to messenger@emconference.ca.

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Letters Seeking Peace Between North Korea and the U.S. We, two pastors among the Christians in Canada, pray for peace between North Korea and the United States. We do not seek the destruction of the DPRK or of the U.S. We want children, women, and men to live safely within their borders. We do not think any nation should have or use nuclear weapons. We ask that the U.S., with more nuclear weapons than any other country, would reduce and eliminate its nuclear stockpile as an example to other countries. North Korea, the U.S., and Canada have brave leaders and people who will protect themselves. We know this. But war devastates countries for generations. It harms children, the elderly, sick, women, and men. It destroys cities and rural areas. It harms crops and water needed for life. War dishonours the aggressive, the injured, the dead and the living. We want to protect the lives of people. We ask leaders in Canada, the U.S., and the DRPK to build relationships

and to avoid conflict even at the last moment. Please avoid war. Please talk, negotiate, and compromise. Please respect each other. In our tradition of faith the one who reduces the conflict first deserves the highest honour. Remember our respect for you. We seek your well-being. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Respectfully, Pastor Hyoungjin Kim Pelly, Sask. Pastor Terry M. Smith Mitchell, Man. Note: The letter was sent to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs; the Honourable Donald J. Trump, president of the U.S.; and to Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. No clear way was found to send this letter to officials in the DPRK.

Respect, Yes, But More Than Silence is Needed

Responding to “Silence Needed in wholly committed to their church the Sanctuary” by Jake K. Friesen and all the members in it. The newer (Sept. 2017). churches are so focused on includOver the years the culture of ing and adapting to everyone’s needs church has changed. Some churches that they forget about the “devout and have stayed in the ways of the past, sanctified” part of church, which I do and others have adapted to the culture believe is a problem. So maybe we do of society. The proper way to worship need to have a bit more respect for why has been hotly debated in the late past, we’re there, but if there is only silence and now more concerns are coming up in the church, where are the people? from respectable people from churches Suzanna Hopcraft everywhere. I believe that the church Winnipeg, Man. is a place to worship Jesus, and have community with all the members. If your pastor knows you Can you read old German script? well enough to crack a joke, I’d The Evangelical Mennonite Conference say that is good sign that there is seeks volunteers to translate letters, sercommunity. mons, diaries, and documents from earlier However, I also believe that KG/EMC history into modern German our society is losing that abiland then English. If you are willing, conity to commit to a belief. In the tact Terry Smith at the EMC national office past, members of churches were (204-326-6401; tsmith@emconference.ca).


Column • Reformation Reflections

Thomas Müntzer: Too Easily Dismissed

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as Thomas Müntzer (ca. 14881525) an Anabaptist? He seems to have opposed infant baptism, yet it’s uncertain if he was rebaptized. In any case, he's a figure from whom many modern Anabaptists disassociate themselves. But what do they do, then, with the prophet Amos and the apostle James, whose social concerns and words were equally strong (violence excepted)? There’s more to Müntzer than his support of violence. Look beneath it to his broader social concerns. His story reflects the social environment out of which Anabaptism emerged. Thomas Müntzer was from Saxony, a “bright, but undisciplined,” yet serious student at three universities who became a priest. By 1519 he was influenced by Martin Luther. He became a reformer and yet soon was sharply critical of Luther. Yes, he promoted the use of force, but not for its own sake. He wanted the Christian faith to be expressed partly through social justice. People were oppressed; social change was needed, he said. Müntzer “proclaimed that God would soon bring the present age of the world to an end, punishing those who oppressed the people.” In 1524 he preached a blunt sermon to Duke John of Saxony, his son, and court officials, “urging them to become God’s instruments in the revolution.” “Not surprisingly, they declined,” says William Placher. These powerful people could have punished Müntzer had they so chose. Yet he didn’t mince words. Such courage! Here’s a bit of his sermon: “… Perform a righteous judgment at God’s command! You have

Thomas Müntzer

help enough for the purpose, for Christ is your Master. Therefore let not the evildoers live longer who make us turn away from God. . . God is your protection and he will teach you to fight against his foes. He will make your hands skilled in fighting and will also sustain you” (see Placher). After that, Müntzer joined German peasants in their short-lived Peasant War (1524-1525). by Terry M. Smith Captured at the Battle at Frankenhausen on May Executive Secretary 15, 1525, he was tortured and imprisoned. He recanted and was executed (H. Hillerbrand). I’ve read that just as modern Anabaptists reject the violent legacy of Thomas Müntzer, some Lutherans today grapple with what Martin Luther wrote to German princes about the warring peasants: that the princes could kill them just as a person would kill an attacking mad dog. Luther had earlier, and still later, supported some of the peasants’ concerns, but this was overshadowed by his support of force Sources: C. S. Meyer, against them. By alienating some of the “Luther, Martin,” in Dicpeasants, he hurt the Reformation in some tionary of the Christian circles. Church, ed. J. D. DougWe might ask what would have haplas (Zondervan, 1981); R. pened if Luther had been as forceful as H. Bainton, Here I Stand: Müntzer in challenging the princes to A Life of Martin Luther show their Christian convictions through (Mentor, 1950); W. C. social justice? At the same time, it’s Placher, Readings in the important to realize that, as Dr. Robert History of Christian TheKolb shows, Luther did challenge rulers. ology, vol. 2 (WJK, 1988); Consider these quotes: “Disciples of H. J. Hillerbrand, ed., Christ commit themselves to righteousThe Reformation (Baker, ness, justice, peace and love in their repr. 1987); “Müntzer, homeland and in the global community.” Thomas,” Wikipedia; “Stewardship is demonstrated in our life“Battle of Frankenhaustyles, in our relations with the poor and sen,” Military Wiki; the disadvantaged, in our view of posR. Friedmann and W. sessions, in our concern for all of God’s O. Packull, “Müntzer, creation and in our response to global eco- Thomas” (GAMEO, nomic injustice.” Christians “should assume 1956, 1987); “Thomas social responsibility; oppose corruption, Müntzer,” New World discrimination, and injustice.” Encyclopedia (2014); No, these statements aren’t from the Robert Kolb, “Luther Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peason Princes and Peasants. They are found within our EMC ants,” Lutheran Quarterly Constitution. (online in more than one form).

Müntzer was more than a supporter of violence.

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Please Don’t Make Me Read the Genealogies! ISTOCK

by Pastor Bob Tice

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ost people either flat out avoid reading the genealogy of Matthew at the beginning of his gospel, or they approach it like they would cod liver oil— nose held and eyes half closed. Besides the many names that are difficult for most of us to pronounce, the long list of names seems boring and unrelated to the birth of Christ. “I’ll do anything, Lord, but please don’t make me read the genealogies!” most of us would say. Yet as regularly as Christmas rolls around, I believe we should hear the voice of the Lord say to us, “If you want to follow me, you must read the genealogies.” A genealogy tells us who we are. It tells us what kind of family we are considering getting ourselves involved with. A genealogy gives us our bearings. In this season of Advent and Christmas, Matthew 1 challenges us: if you enter this Advent family, here is who you are, who you will be, and what you can expect. Christ’s genealogy can remind us of four truths that, if we take the time to discover them, can enrich our lives this season.

from one family line (the Chaldean line of Ur) to start another line. Isaac then had the opportunity to enter because of Abraham and Sarah. Rebekah had the opportunity through Jacob, and Jacob and Rachel had it through them in turn. I’m a part of this Advent line because a former house burglar named Greg shared the marvelous story of his new Advent family with me. Now a whole new branch of the Tices has become part of the Matthean genealogy, as my children have responded to Christ through my witness.

In this season of Advent and Christmas, Matthew 1 challenges us: if you enter this Advent family, here is who you are, who you will We need to remember that our lives will be full of be, and what you can expect. the challenge to walk by faith

We need to remember that we are part of the Advent family line because of someone else. This family line goes all the way back to Abraham and Sarah, who courageously broke away

into the unknown. Many of the members of this Advent family are like Abraham, the first name in the genealogy. Abraham was called out of Ur—our of his comfort zone, out of his family’s surroundings and culture. What was Abraham called to? “To a place I will show you,” says Gen. 12:1. In other words, not only were Abraham and Sarah called away from the familiar, but were given no highly detailed road map describing every twist and turn to their new destination. Faith is the absolutely non-negotiable human action necessary for the divine action of God to be regularly at work within us and through us. Being in this Advent line means we will allow God to direct us, often through the unknown.

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In addition, every one of the four women listed here in a Jewish line were Gentiles: Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites, Ruth was a Moabite, and Bathsheba a Hittite. This family line overcomes some of the great prejudices of Far Eastern history! Joining this Advent family means expecting the unexpected and having the unexpected asked of you.

We need to remember to expect the unexpected. Four women are mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy. Listing women in a Jewish genealogy is not the usual practice. What women they are! They are not the great matriarchs of Israel’s history—like Sarah, or Rebekah, or Esther. Rather, they’re women like Rahab, who had been a prostitute of evil Jericho. Out of the shame of Rahab’s past, God saw a woman who, unlike the others of Jericho, finally recognized the true God. Rahab was the only one who said, “For the Lord your God is he who is God in heaven above as on earth beneath” (Josh. 2:11). The red cord—a sign of her own sin and defilement (and, of course, of the seedy men who used to climb up it)—now became a sign of her salvation.

Out of the shame of Rahab’s past, God saw a woman who, unlike the others of Jericho, finally recognized the true God.

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We need to remember that our lives are kept by a promise-keeping God. This family line—just from Abraham to Jesus alone—is some 2,000 years old. Through tens of thousands of challenges, God fights to keep this family together and intact. By Matthew 1:12—just before Jeconiah, at the time of the Babylonian exile—there was just one surviving possibility to keep the Davidic line alive. The only possibility rested with Zedekiah (2 Kings 24) and he was in exile with his eyes put out. Yet God worked things out. The genealogy that we often avoid reading can remind us of the family line God is creating. It can remind us of our place within it and our commitment to invite others to join the family. Bob Tice, DMin, is pastor of RiverRock Church in “core-city” Buffalo, New York. He is also an adjunct professor with Northeastern Seminary (Rochester) teaching the course Theology of the City. This article, reprinted with permission, was first published in the Gospel Herald (Dec. 23, 1997) when he was Mennonite Board of Missions urban ministry director, pastor of Westward Church of the Living Word (Buffalo), and adjunct professor in Houghton College’s pastoral and church ministries program.


Simeon’s Wish List by Pastor Eric Isaac

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ne of the challenges I face around this time of year is figuring out what sort of gifts I want for Christmas. My wife, my mom, and my sister like buying gifts for people. They also like being organized and making lists, so some time between Canada Day and Thanksgiving Day they tell me to write down what I want for Christmas. This is a problem because last Christmas I didn’t know what I wanted and this year I have more stuff than I did last year. In Luke 2:22-32 we meet an old character named Simeon. If there had been Christmas and Christmas gifts in his time I wonder if he would have been a hard person for which to buy. Though he had less than us, I wonder if the list with his name on it would have been empty or at least mostly empty.

One Thing

he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. have done? Maybe, with a bit of smirk on his face, he would have finally written, “I’d like to see the Messiah.” Seeing the Messiah seemed to be the only thing that mattered to Simeon.

A Wish Come True

Simeon was probably an old man by the time Jesus was born. Luke tells us that he was devout and righteous and that the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had told Simeon he would not die before he had seen the Messiah. One day, when Jesus was about 40 days old, Joseph and Mary went to the temple to dedicate their firstborn son. This was the ordinary thing for an obedient Jewish family to do (Lev.12). It was on this day that Simeon was “moved by the

ISTOCK

It seems that there was only one thing Simeon wanted. If there had been Christmas and Christmas gifts and if he had had a sister who prodded him a bit and said, “Come on Simeon, there must be something you want.” what would he

The Holy Spirit had told Simeon

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Spirit” and went to the temple courts (2:27). It was on that day that Simeon’s Christmas wish came true.

Simeon’s ‘Bucket List’

When Simeon saw the baby Messiah he held him and praised God. However, his first words of praise might sound weird to us. He said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace” (2:29). In other words, “Lord, you have kept your promise. I’ve seen your Messiah and I’m ready to die now.” Remember that imaginary Christmas list of Simeon’s with only one item? His “bucket list” also only had one item. Some of us have vacations we want to take, sights we want to see, and accomplishments we want to achieve before we “kick the bucket.” Not so with Simeon. He had wanted to see the Messiah. Now he had done so. Therefore, he was ready to die.

words about who the Messiah would be. In verse 30 Simeon said, “For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Simeon looked at Baby Jesus and simply said, “God, I have seen your salvation.” Notice Simeon did not announce, “God, I have seen part of your salvation plan,” or “God, I have seen the one who will show us salvation.” He simply said, “God, I have seen your salvation.” Period. Simeon announced, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (2:30-31). God sent Jesus to earth because He wants all people to be saved regardless of their ethnicity, religious history or worldview.

As Simeon put it, “God

prepared this in the sight of all nations.”

Who This Messiah Would Be

Simeon’s words of praise were also prophetic

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No Favourite Culture

Unlike many people, God does not have a favourite culture, ethnicity or country. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that there is at least a hint of racism or ethnocentrism in our hearts. Ethnocentrism is when someone views the world with the belief that their culture is superior to others. Consequently, racism and ethnocentrism are


almost everywhere in this world. But they do not exist in heaven. Therefore, God sent Jesus to earth because he wants all people to be saved. As Simeon put it, “God prepared this in the sight of all nations.” Simeon also declared that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (2:32). Jesus would reveal truth to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He would give them understanding about God’s character and how he acts in the lives of people. Unlike the Gentiles, the people of Israel had Moses and the prophets, so they had a clearer understanding o f God and needed revelation less than the Gentiles did. Simeon announced that Jesus would be revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of Israel.

I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). May we see that living the Christian life means “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2). Second, may we also see that the Jesus, on whom we are fixing our eyes, came for all peoples. May our whole lives agree with the Apostle Peter when he said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). May we see that living the Christian life means accepting and loving all people, no matter how different they are from us. Eric Isaac loves his wife Jennifer and their three children (James, Clara, and Emily). He graduated from Steinbach Bible College (BA, Pastoral Ministries) and is pastoring the Morweena EMC in Manitoba’s Interlake region.

LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH

Fixed on the Messiah

Jesus was the one that made Israel most praiseworthy. The Israelites were proud of their kings and their great prophets, but if they really understood who Jesus was they would be proud of him the most. They would say, “Moses was great, King David was great, but Jesus is the greatest of them all. Jesus is the one who makes Israel great.” During this season may this passage help us see two important aspects of the Christian life. First, may it help us to see how our eyes should be fixed on the Messiah. Simeon’s deepest longing, maybe his only longing, was to see the Messiah. Everything else was second place in comparison to this. May we be able to repeat what the Apostle Paul said, “For I resolved to know nothing while

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MARTYRSTORIES.ORG

This image accompanies Anna Jansz’s story in the 1685 edition of the Martyrs Mirror. It depicts Anna entrusting her son with a local baker on the day of her execution. The information and image are taken from the Bearing Witness Stories Project website, which describes witnesses worldwide throughout history. Check it out at martyrstories.org.

The Protestant (Radical) Reformation Through 2017

Letters to the Family: A Mother’s Treasure by Professor Arlene Friesen

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ur children are among the most important things given to us in our lives. With this gift comes the responsibility of passing on faith. This can be a daunting task in a cultural climate that isn’t always friendly to followers of Jesus.

The Desire of our Hearts

Maeyken van Deventers expresses the desire of our hearts when she writes to her children, “I seek the salvation of your souls; believe me, and no one else, that you may come to me and live forever.” Maeyken wrote this from a Rotterdam prison in 1572. She was one of the female Anabaptist martyrs whose final letters are preserved for us in Martyr’s Mirror. These letters, written by imprisoned wives and mothers facing impending death, show us what they thought was most important—a primary commitment to God which led them to desire their children’s salvation, urge them to fear the Lord, and bequeath them with the true treasure of a mother’s testimony and faithful death.

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Family is Secondary

These women viewed their families and life together as secondary to their life with God; they would sooner leave their family than leave their faith. Adriaenken Jans reminded her husband that they had built their house on the rock of Christ, and martyrdom was the cost they would pay for their house. This was not a cold-hearted stoicism; great affection and longing was also conveyed. Janneken Muntsdorp, writing to her infant daughter, expressed how well suited she and her husband were and that nothing could have separated them except a desire to do the Lord’s will. Soetgen van den Houte’s letter to her children is filled with tearful prayer, loving admonishment, and terms of tender affection. Choosing the narrow way of primary allegiance to Christ was not always easy. Maeyken Wens admitted in a letter to her husband that she was struggling with being thankful for all that was happening to her, and that parting was harder than she had imagined. “Oh, how easy it


my God for the great grace which He has shown me.”

ISTOCK

Encouraging a Death-Defying Commitment

is to be a Christian, so long as the flesh is not put to the trial, or nothing has to be relinquished; then it is an easy thing to be a Christian.”

Entrusting Children to God

Out of their own death-defying commitment to God, these mothers urged their children to a similar decision. In their concern for the children’s salvation, they encouraged them to learn to read and write, because in this way they would gain understanding and wisdom. The importance of this for the Anabaptists is evident in their Scripture-filled letters; in reading you can know the Scriptures for yourself and come to an understanding of salvation. Six months before her death, Maeyken Wens urged her oldest son, Adriaen, to begin to fear the Lord, being old enough to perceive good and evil. She pressed him to join himself to those that fear the Lord, and to write her with his decision. She wanted a better letter than the last two!

Working through this struggle, the women came to a place of entrusting their children to God. They did not blame him for what was happening to them, but in trusting that their persecution was part of his foreordained plan, they also trusted that he would care for their children. The Fear of the Lord Soetken, whose husband had already been The fear of the Lord is a predominant theme in martyred, wrote to her soon-to-be orphaned these final letters. Whether writing to believing children, “When I thought that for Who Were These Women? Christ’s sake we • Anna of Rotterdam (d. 1539) has a 15-month-old son Isaiah whom she must separate from entrusts to a baker on the way to her execution, along with a letter. all that we love in • Lijsken Dircks, Antwerp (d. 1552), writes to her husband Jerome this world I comSegers, also in prison. mitted all to the • Soetken van den Houte, Ghent (d. 1560), writes to her three children, will of the Lord.” David, Betgen, and Tanneken. Her husband had previously given his Maeyken’s final life for the truth. Her lengthy letter is full of Scripture references and letter to her son, quotes. written just before • Adriaenken Jans, Dordrecht (d. 1572), writes to her husband. her death, informs • Maeyken van Deventers, Rotterdam (d. 1572), writes to her four chilhim that her strugdren “in the flesh” with a concern for their salvation. gle has been met • Maeyken Wens, Antwerp (d. 1573), writes to her oldest son Adriaen, with God’s grace: as well as to her husband, a minister. “The Lord takes • Janneken Muntsdorp, Antwerp (d. 1573, at the same time as Maeyken away all fear; I did Wens), writes to her one-month old daughter Janneken, who was born not know what to in prison and is now being cared for by relatives. do for joy, when I Their letters can be found in Martyr’s Mirror (453-4; 504, 515-22; 646-51; was sentenced. . . I 926-9; 977-9; 981-3; 984-6). cannot fully thank

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children, or to those “of the flesh”, the mothers commended the narrow way. Anna warned Isaiah that this way is found by few and walked by even fewer, since some regard it as too severe, even though they see it is the way to life. “Where you hear of the cross, there is Christ; from there do not depart.” To fear the Lord is to follow the example of Christ and others who have suffered. Persecution is to be expected. Do not for this reason fail to join the fellowship of true believers. To fear the Lord is to obey. The children were to obey those who took care of them now, as long as it was not contrary to God. Their mothers instructed them in the specifics of speech, diligence, prayer, simplicity and generosity, among others. With their own lives as examples, the women encouraged their children to forsake pleasures of this world for eternal reward. Soetgen wrote, “We are of such good cheer to offer up our sacrifice that I cannot express it. I could leap for joy when I think of the eternal riches which are promised to us as our inheritance.”

Testaments Our Inheritance

And so, they wrote their final testaments, viewing the testimony of their word and death as the true treasure they left with their children. Soetgen recognized this was not a memorial of silver, gold, or jewels, but something more lasting; if her children paid heed to this testament they would gain more treasure by it than if she had left them perishable riches. The letters of these martyrs are also our inheritance. They offer us wisdom for ordering our lives and passing on our faith. We are left with questions of priority, vision, and urgency. Is our first priority God and his kingdom? In our desire to give our children every opportunity in this life, are we in danger of neglecting this first priority? What are we communicating to our children? What is our vision for our children or those we influence? Recently I took some time to think about this vision, to write it out, and to begin praying it. The next step is to share it with the ones I carry in my heart.

14  The Messenger • November 2017

Do We Sense the Urgency?

Do we sense the urgency of these life choices? These women viewed every choice through the lens of eternity, as life and death matters. Do we shy away from this “narrow way” talk, desiring a less demanding portrayal of faith? In emphasizing the love of God, has our pendulum swung too far? What is the narrow way? For these women, one expression of it was choosing adult believer’s baptism as a sign of their loyalty to Jesus, knowing that this baptism marked them for a baptism in blood. They did not shy away from expressing the cost to their children, but fearlessly called them to follow in the same path. In our lives, what are the “narrow way” choices we are making and calling our children to? Recent research encourages us with the fact that the spiritual vitality of parents contributes to “sticky faith” in their children. Let these women’s examples embolden you to speak your faith and live it before your children as the richest inheritance you can leave to them. “Fear God; this is the conclusion” – Janneken Muntsdorp, 1573. Professor Arlene Friesen, BRS, MTS, teaches courses on Bible and Ministry and serves as registrar at Steinbach Bible College. She is a part of Morrow Gospel Church (EMMC), Winnipeg, Man.


Eight Ways Preachers Can Harm the Depressed

ISTOCK

by Dr. David Murray

I

n a church of 100 people, 20 people will likely experience an episode of depression at some stage in their life. If you are in a church of that size, there are probably five to 10 people struggling with anxiety or depression right now. But instead of finding comfort and consolation in the preaching of God’s Word, these suffering souls often find themselves battered and bruised by insensitive preaching. What kind of sermons harm depressed and anxious Christians?

3. Sermons that extol constant happiness as the only valid and virtuous Christian experience. The deep pain of depression is multiplied when a depressed person is repeatedly told that sadness is a sin. 4. Sermons that question the faith of anyone who doubts. A lack of assurance is not necessarily a lack of faith. Believers who hang on to God despite feeling no assurance sometimes have the greatest faith.

Believers who hang on to God despite feeling no assurance sometimes 5. Sermons that demand, demand, and demand. The have the greatest faith. depressed person already feels

1. Sermons that over-stress the moral evils of the day. They are anxious enough through hearing the daily news without every church service ramping up the “we’re doomed” rhetoric. A steady diet of gloomy sermons is not going to lift up the head or heart of the cast down.

2. Sermons that include graphic descriptions of violence. They are deeply traumatized by preachers reciting the gory details of shooting massacres, abortion procedures, persecution of Christians, and child murders.

like an inadequate failure. To be regularly berated for not doing this ministry, or failing to engage in that Christian service, only crushes what’s left of their spirit. 6. Sermons that are too loud for too long. When a preacher pours out high-decibel words with hardly a breath between them for 45 minutes, it’s not just the nerves of the depressed that are frayed.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 15


7. Sermons that condemn anyone for using meds to treat depression or anxiety. These are often preached by pastors whose medicine cabinets are overflowing with pills and potions for every other condition under the sun! 8. Sermons that overdo the subjective side of Christian experience. Depressed people need to focus most on the objective facts of Christianity, the historic doctrines of the faith. Facts first and feelings follow. There’s a place for careful self-examination, but remember Robert Murray McCheyne’s rule: “For every look inside, take ten looks to Christ.” And that really brings me to the best way to preach to the depressed, and that’s to preach

Christ. Preach His suffering and sympathizing humanity. Preach His gentle and tender dealings with trembling and timid sinners. Preach His gracious and merciful words. Preach His beautiful meekness. Preach His miracles to demonstrate His power to heal. Preach His finished work on Calvary. Preach His offer of rest to the weary. Preach the power of His resurrection-life. Preach His precious promises: ”A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matt. 12:20). Preach Christ! Preach Him winningly and winsomely. Preach Him near and ready to help. Preach Him from the heart to the heart. Preach Him again, and again, and again. Until the day dawn and the shadows flee away. Dr. David Murray is professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary and pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. With his wife Shona and their five children, Murray enjoys life in the Lake Michigan area. This article is reprinted with his permission.

Anabaptists and Evangelicals Together:

An Evening to Launch the Anabaptist Studies Track at Providence Theological Seminary Time: 7:00 p.m, February 22, 2018 Place: The Reimer Student Life Centre at Providence University College. Please join us to launch an exciting new addition to our seminary program. Providence Seminary is now offering an Anabaptist Studies Track in its pastoral ministry training. Join us for a dessert reception to learn about this venture, connect with fellow church leaders and hear a presentation by two faculty members on the question "What do Evangelicals and Anabaptist Have to Teach Each Other?" Presenters: Patrick Franklin and Layton Friesen. Layton Friesen, PhD, is the director of this new program. Courses on Anabaptism are open to all students, not just those in the Track. Adaptation for undergraduate study is also possible.

16  The Messenger • November 2017

For information contact: Gayle Penner at 204-433-7488 Layton Friesen at lfriesen@emconference.ca.


Column • Further In and Higher Up

Racist Pigs

P

by Layton Friesen Conference Pastor

ISTOCK

igs on our farm in Mennville, Man., in my childhood showed me how racism works. My dad would occasionally put a new pig into a pen of pigs that had been together for a while. The new pig smelled different and the difference was grounds for torture. He was hounded and chewed. His only hope was that in all the persecution he might quickly take on the odour of his oppressors and be ignored on time to save his life. My dad’s solution to this was to douse the whole pen in old motor oil—now all of them smelled the same and peace ensued. We are hearing a lot about racism today. The troubles the U.S. has in this regard are wellknown, but Canada has a long and sordid past of racism against Indigenous peoples, Jews, Chinese, and others. It seems to me that as Christians we might have a deeper perspective on this than the instinctive tics I see coming from the left- and right-wing. The right tends to downplay or minimize the concerns. On the left we hear solutions to racism that amount to little more than language games and gestures. As Christians who have personally wrestled long and hard with the difficulty of being holy, and who know how is unrelenting the “flesh”— even with all the strength we get from Scripture, church, prayer, and the sacraments—we are not upbeat about sin. We know how deep its teeth have bit into our souls. When it becomes obvious that I too harbour racist attitudes and beliefs, I cannot be surprised or defensive. Nor should I quickly make announcements that “that’s not the kind of guy I am.” There is within many of us fallen humans a bone-deep hatred of people around us. Humans have a bad allergy to difference. We tend to assume difference means fault in the other person. Some people have learned enough manners, language games, and gestures to convince themselves and possibly others that they are not racist. But, as Christians, we have no need to play the game of denial. If we accept that racism is a much deeper toxin in our hearts than our accusers even

realize, we can also stopping tsk, tsking when others around us don’t manage to have the correct cultural gestures to hide the racism we share with them. I hear too many people jumping up to denounce the most recently anointed racist as though their loud cries of “Crucify him!” will convince at least themselves that they do not belong to those unwashed sinners. Do I think we can be cured of racism? Could I become the kind of person that showed love and respect even when I am upset or suddenly frightened? Over-time, and with a long discipline, with a long purging brought on by the pressure of the Spirit in my life, yes, I do. But what we are after as Christians is not cosmetic changes. We ask, rather, what is the moral gist of your soul? Who are you? We can do better than pigs. Yes, we can. But pigs are our fellow creatures. They show us who we might actually be when all our disguises are torn away.

Too many people jump up to denounce the most recently anointed racist as though their loud cries of “Crucify him!” will convince themselves that they do not belong to those unwashed sinners.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 17


Column • Poetry

Gratitude at Christmas We praise You, Heavenly Father, As Christmas comes again For Your great love and mercy For this world of sinful men, That You gave Your only begotten Son To pay for all our sin So we could have eternal life If we put our faith in Him. What agony You must have felt As He suffered, bled and died! But what joy when He arose to life And was seated at Your side. We thank You, Jesus, Savior, For Your unfailing love That brought You to our sinful world From Your splendid home above To die in disgrace in all sinners’ place To reconcile us to God, Secure our forgiveness and saving grace With the shedding of Your blood. What anguish and pain You suffered that day All because You loved us so! But with joy You arose, conquered Your foes That salvation we can know. This Christmas, Lord, may many souls Repent and believe in You, And Your gracious gift of eternal life Receive with gratitude.

ISTOCK

18  The Messenger • November 2017

– L. Marie Enns La Crete, Alta.


With Our Missionaries

Sharing Answers to Prayer

BOM

PARAGUAY

Often when we send in prayer requests we concentrate on the negative or all the things we’d like God to change in people or certain situations, and then rarely share the results of answered prayer. However, I’d like to make a list of positive things that we see happening here in our church plant. 1. Two men made a decision to follow the Lord in my last Bible study with the women. They have both agreed to join the women in a discipleship study. 2. A couple who went through the marriage course finally decided to go through with their marriage. After the wedding they plan to be baptized. 3. Two couples started the SEAN TEE course and have experienced God’s work in their lives. We have seen changes in the attitudes of one couple who now arrives early for Sunday services and attends other services more regularly. The other couple is experiencing new trials in their work and family that seem to point to the Lord doing a refining work in their lives. 4. We are seeing a rising up of the youth in our church. One young man got baptized not long ago and others are showing more interest in the things of the Lord after having the opportunity for the first time in their lives to attend youth camp. 5. The over-all attendance in our church services seems to be up somewhat, although it varies depending on the weather, holidays, work schedules, and health issues. 6. We are “expanding” our church facilities by adding a roofed area with a cement floor in the back of our church lot. This will help give shade and protection from rain when we divide for Sunday School as well as when we have special activities like weddings, VBS, and Easter and Christmas programs. 7. We are seeing a gradual improvement in the participation of our members in the activities of the church (teaching Sunday School, involvement in VBS, sharing and praying, regular attendance in weekly services). 8. Personally, my health issues have regulated themselves after my post-op depression and other minor physical complications. 9. In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to share the gospel with various new contacts. The Lord is gradually bringing more people to us to get to know and draw to Himself. Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily business of life and one crisis after another that we forget to look at the

big picture and see how God has been working slowly but surely to grow his kingdom before our very eyes. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches” (Matt. 13:32-32). As we continue to sow the seed of God’s Word, we trust that God is causing it to fall on fertile ground, bear fruit and grow so that the whole community of Guavira Poty will not only see the power of God in the lives of those who accept and follow him, but also expeCanada rience an overflow of that power and February 18 goodness into their EMC Day of Prayer own homes, and give glory to God. – Joanne Martens Alberta

Calendar

Joanne Martens (Kola) serves in Guavira Poty, a neighbourhood in Minga Gauzú, a city in Paraguay located near its border with Brazil.

March 2-4 Young Adult Retreat

Manitoba March 9-11 Young Adult Retreat

December 4 Project Builders AGM

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 19


With Our Missionaries

Sunday, an Orphan and a Bishop SOUTH SUDAN

GORDON SKOPNIK

Sunday is not just a day. This story is about Sunday the man. Sunday grew up in refugee camps as a Sudanese orphan. Camp life was very difficult and as an orphan, and especially a Sudanese orphan, he had to figure out how to support himself in another country. The culture and language were different and people often never thought of others and were consumed with trying to survive. Sunday felt like he was the scum of the earth, and that is how he thought about himself. When he was a bit older, maybe 13, he left camp life that was too difficult only to find that city life was sometimes even worse. A pastor in Kampala City in Uganda found him destitute and offered him a helping hand and counsel. It was not much, but Sunday was given some food, counsel and provided some education. Sunday believed he would never become anybody significant because he believed he was nobody significant. The pastor taught him that he could have a position in Christ. He could be a child of God and learn and have a new identity. Sunday could not believe that could ever happen to him. But as he grew in relationship with his new community and the pastor reinforced that Sunday had potential, he went along for the ride. It was time for him to move back to his own country, South Sudan, and the pastor bought Sunday a ticket to fly back with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Sunday had only seen these planes in the sky, and so, when he went up into the sky himself, he was terrified that he would fall out of the sky. This experienced changed his life though and God used it to move him forward in faith. He realized that if he could fly in the sky, he could do anything and be anybody

Bishop Sunday with his wife and child.

that God wanted him to be. He finally grasped his identity in Christ as a child of God and brother of Christ and all its benefits, and he shared them freely with others. It was difficult in South Sudan for Sunday but he, as a humble servant of Christ, he just helped people and orphans; and the community noticed that Sunday was a spiritual leader. Sunday is now a bishop and serves thousands of people. There are many more details to Sunday’s story that I did not share as they were too disturbing and too graphic. In an interview with Sunday, the last time I met him, he was living in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda because his home in South Sudan is destroyed and he is not able to go back. He said, “I was born in war. I married in war. I have had children in war, and now I may die in war.” This may sound devastatingly negative, but Sunday serves beside Avant Ministries. He serves South Sudan within the context of Short Cycle Church Planting in the refugee camps promoting health, peace, and spiritual vitality. – Gordon Skopnik

BOM

Gordon and Sharon Skopnik (Wymark) serve with Avant Ministries. Sunday’s story is told with his permission. Sharon and Gordon Skopnik with their family

20  The Messenger • November 2017


With Our Missionaries

We Need to Free Ourselves from Facades

DWAYNE KLASSEN

On a recent five-week trip to Brazil to assist our field missionaries with the construction of the first building on our camp, God spoke to me during one of our team’s weekly Bible study. As we sat in our rented office space we read through and discussed a chapter of Beth Moore’s study entitled A Wo(Man)’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place. We came across the following passage: The scenario had changed significantly from the time of Adam and Eve. They had been surrounded by purity and splendor. They had been set for spiritual success and “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). Yet, in the midst of all the right circumstances, they made the wrong choices. Enter Noah who lived is a society of rampant wickedness. Sin ruled. Perversion prevailed. Righteousness was as rare as a perfect gem. People followed every evil inclination without restraint. The only absolute was absolute depravity. In the midst of all the wrong circumstances, Noah made right choices. How? Noah walked with God. Surrounded by a perverse generation, Noah knew that righteousness could not be attained and could not persist on the basis of a one-time commitment. Scripture does not even say that Noah religiously renewed his commitment every Sunday. He walked with God. He was in a constant state of habitual fellowship—day by day, hour by hour (Italics added). As I sat there listening to these words being read, I looked out of the front window and saw an image God burned into my mind. What I saw was a typical rough looking brick wall of which the portion visible to the street had been covered with concrete, smoothed out and painted to look appealing to passers-by. What God showed me was how this is how many churchgoers present themselves. From the outside, they

BOM

BRAZIL/CANADA

Shannon and Dwayne Klassen with their family

appear to be spiritually beautiful, saying the right things, singing the right songs and looking the right way. Their relationship with Jesus Christ appears to be on track, living out His commands and their obedience to His call on their lives all appear to be well. However, the appearance they portray is only a thin layer of deceit, “smoothed out and painted,” covering up lives devoted to status and self. People create an appealing facade to hide their true selves and show a false reality they believe will be appealing to others. Then God impressed this on my heart. To live free and as God created and desires us to, we must have a constant and continuous, living relationship with Him. It must be our life, not only a part of our lives. It must be decided concretely and not an option in life. It must be who we are and not something we do. Just as Adam and Eve who were surrounded by purity and splendor and still made a choice to disobey or Noah living in a time or rampant wickedness and perversion made a choice to obey, our choices are our responsibility. We cannot put the blame of our choices and consequences of them, on our circumstances. Our choices are a direct reflection of our true heart and relationship with Jesus Christ. Our walk with God. We need to free ourselves from the facades we hide behind and instead live out God’s vision for our lives. Dwayne and Shannon Klassen (CBF, Swan River) serve in camp ministry in Brazil with Teach Beyond.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 21


With Our Churches Heartland Community Church

LANDMARK, Man.—When Heartland’s musical men bridge the gap, that often widens when some of our elder church members move to Steinbach, something amazing happens. On Oct. 16, 2017, the band—Duane Froese (piano), Gary Toews (percussion), and Dave Andres (bass)—opened the first set with their musical rendition of Church in Wildwood and When the Roll is called. I settled in the back row of BridgePark Manor’s multipurpose room and tapped my toes to the jazzy gospel beat. Dayton Plett led the congregation, singing choruses of vic- Dayton Plett, Bernie Neufeld, Gary Toews, Julio Cesar, David Andres, tory and power and of longing and devotion toward God. Al Reimer, Reinhard Wiebe, Jake Froese, and Duane Froese served at The HCC quartet (Al Reimer, Bernie Neufeld, Dayton Plett, BridgePark Manor in Steinbach. and Reinhold Wiebe) added their voices to the throng. The chasm between affluence and poverty is wide, but Duane introduced us to a special guest, his friend Julio the Christian band, The Color, ambassadors for World Cesar, a Christian man he had met three weeks prior and Vision, have helped bridge that divide through the wellwho is trying to emigrate from Bolivia with his young family. Though Julio didn’t speak much English, he sang familiar known sponsorship program. The Band held a Saturday worship night and concert on Oct. 21 at HCC, which drew Christian tunes in his native tongue. And Rev. Jake Froese just over 200 people of various ages. Through the group’s expounded scripture and preached the good news in three effort, six first-time sponsors, signed up during the conshort sermon segments throughout the evening. cert. And during intermission, HCC social committee The hour flew by. The room was filled with the Spirit of served up sundaes at their ice-cream bar. God, in the people of God. And after the service, the men – Brigitte Toews visited with attenders. I am grateful for their willingness to serve.

••

Picture Butte Mennonite Church

Baptisms and Transfers

PBMC

PICTURE BUTTE, Alta.– Picture Butte MC rejoiced alongside these young folks who openly committed their lives to Jesus Christ on Sunday, May 28, 2017. Two transferred their memberships; the other six were baptized. Each one had their unique testimony. Pray that these young people will fearlessly be able to live out their faith as they continue in this walk in His grace. They are Pete Hiebert, Susy Fast, Christina Penner, Sarah Siemens, Lisa Penner, John Reimer, Willy Enns, and Lena Harder.  Pete Hiebert, Susy Fast, Christina Penner, Sarah Siemens, Lisa Penner, John – Helen Enns Reimer, Willy Enns, and Lena Harder

22  The Messenger • November 2017

HCC

Bridging the Gap


With Our Churches Hillside Christian Fellowship

Bible Study, VBS, and Breakfast

HCF

BUFFALO HEAD PRAIRIE, Alta.—Okay, now where do I start? I only have 500 words. Well, let’s see. I can give you a summary of the year so far. From September to the end of March we have Family Bible Study on Wednesday nights at 7:30 at the church. Everyone is welcome. We start off by praying and singing. Then we kids, ages three to 15 depending on the day (normally there are only five of us), head downstairs. From September to December we did it with Telita Janzen; then she passed away from cancer on Jan. 30 this year. So now we kids have our lesson time with Laural Ann Plett, Pastor Jeff Plett’s wife. We have a lesson downstairs while the adults do their Bible study upstairs. When Telita was here, we kids would tie bags for MCC school kits during our lesson time. Sunday School runs from September to June. We have five classes: a boy’s class with three boys, a girl’s youth class with about five girls, the nursery class with six kids, a mothers’ class, and an adult class. For Christmas 2016 the Sunday School classes practised songs or skits. The girls’ and mothers’ classes joined together and sang Star of The East in two-, almost three-, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY The GSTM is a special place that helped me—by its faculty who care and think, students from different traditions, and subject matter that stretched the soul— to serve in the Church. The bursary for EMC students helped a lot, too. David Kruse MA (Theological Studies), 2011grad

A bursary for graduate students from the Evangelical Mennonite Conference is available. For more information contact mkrohn@cmu.ca.

Gwyneth, a summer CEF worker, instructs during VBS.

part harmony. The boys’ class and the girls’ class, with some help from our dads, performed a skit on “Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace.” The nursery class also sang. From July 31 to Aug. 4 we had VBS. Two girls who worked with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) came up from Edmonton and led the lesson part. The VBS started at 7 p.m. Kids ages four to 12 sang, memorized Bible verses, and got to hear stories about missionaries and the story of Jesus. After the lesson time, the kids got to play games with Pastor Jeff or go downstairs and have crafts with Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Doerksen. After the crafts or the games, they had a snack before they were sent home hyper. We were blessed to have around 15 kids show up to learn about God. Year-round there is a men’s prayer breakfast every other Saturday. Some of the men from the church get together at 8 in the morning at the church. They take turns making breakfast, and then they pray and fellowship before starting their day. I don’t know much about this because I never go, but my Dad does and so it made it in here. – Jennifer Driedger

cmu.ca/gstm CANADIAN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 23


With Our Churches Gospel Light Fellowship

God at Work in Redcliff and Beyond

GLF

REDCLIFF, Alta.—Amazing, awesome, powerful are words to describe some of this summer’s events. The first was the May 28, 2017, chartering service of the Gospel Light Fellowship. With a larger meeting room rented, the exciting day began with as many as 120 attending, more than doubling our regular attendance. With singing in between the testimonies of those becoming members, the service went on and on. But nobody seemed to care. Finally, at 1 p.m., we had to break for our potluck feast—barbecued burgers and hotdogs, and salads galore. No one had room for the desserts, nor was there time. Those could wait until later (faspa, a light supper). At 2 p.m. we resumed the service for more testimonies. Specially there for the occasion was Charles Koop, church planting coordinator, from Calgary as an EMC representative to install Abe and Anna Bueckert as the pastoral couple. Abe Bueckert in turn welcomed 17 more into membership. Also present were John and Joyce Dyck from Manitoba who have been involved here from the beginning; John was the speaker at that very first Sunday morning service in November 2014. Several testimonies included the following verses: “All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are

Wili Koethler and Suzy Fehr were baptized.

24  The Messenger • November 2017

A chartering service was held on May 28, 2017.

actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (1 John 5:10-12 NLT). God is bringing a church, a body of believers together! In June we rejoiced at the baptism of Wili Koethler and Suzy Fehr down by the river. This certainly was another exciting day with visitors and a picnic to top it off. We finished the day with a communion service back at the church. A huge thank you goes to the EMC for their financial support of the fourth annual gospel music jamboree in July, which was another highlight. Hundreds came to listen to the wonderful music and the gospel presentation. One person said this was his favourite Jambouree of all the ones he had been to. Another attendee was going to come back next year with more friends. Then came the four-day VBS, not huge in numbers, but big in that mothers came to listen and one boy claimed this to be the best time of his life. Last of the summer events was a church camp-out, a good time to connect with those in our church fellowship. Softball, volleyball, games, lots of yummy food, and singing were among the weekend’s activities. We are indeed blessed. God be praised and given all the glory! – Verna Doerksen


With Our Churches Heartland Community Church

LANDMARK, Man.—What do babies, Maritime clam chowder, peace-loving photobombers, and Romania have in common? Answer: Emma Woodworth and her shortterm mission opportunity. Fall socializing and fundraising go hand in hand here at Heartland after the summer holidays. Friends and family of Emma Woodworth helped her host a savoury soup luncheon for her trip to Romania in December 2017. A variety of soups were served after the morning service on Sept. 24, but the main draw was Pastor Andy Woodworth’s authentic Maritime clam chowder, a culinary skill he had honed while living in PEI. Emma will be plugged in at the Rasa Family Centre, a mission of Gateway to Hope (Romania), where she’ll be a conduit of God’s love and compassion for needy infants. She will also be helping families who come there for support and care. Emma’s ministry connection was made after one of the founding couples of the mission was visiting family members who attend Heartland.

HCC

What do Babies, Chowder, Photobombers and Romania Have in Common?

Mission worker Emma Woodworth stands near her father, Pastor Andy Woodworth, and his authentic Maritime clam chowder.

Only five days later, on Sept. 29, we gathered once again to be “Heartlandish.” Connecting with our neighbours, both old and new, over a hot meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, and baked beans, as well as fresh local produce and an assortment of homemade pies, has become a treasured tradition. We served 325 people and raised close to $3,000, which will go toward the purchase of a new fryer for the Landmark Arena. A special thank-you to our Missions Committee and co-ordinators, Clara Sawatsky, Marilyn Plett, and Deb Reimer for another successful event. On the hottest Sunday in the month, on Sept. 10, our social committee hosted an old-fashioned wiener roast and bonfire at the Keating homestead. Though I could not attend, I heard it was enjoyable, and this type of evening may happen again next year. – Brigitte Toews

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 25


With Our Churches Pansy Chapel

Church Picnic, Baptisms, Website

PCEMC

PANSY, Man.—Summer has its specialties. In our church that includes things like the annual church picnic at the local park. This year’s event on June 11 seemed quite perfect. The weather, the attendance, the food, as well as the activities were all amazing, which we appreciated. (We were rained out last year.) One thing we tried differently this time: we had the service in the church first before moving over to the park. Haven’t heard the deciding vote on that yet; maybe we started a new trend. Another big summer highlight is the baptism service and, since our “tank” is down in the river, our best choice is Baptized at Pansy Chapel on June 18, 2017, were Denzel Derksen, Glenn Funk, Jared Falk, always a summer baptism. The service Gus Durksen, and Tanner Friesen. Pastor Dylan Barkman stands among them. we had on June 18 involved five men. Each of their lives is uniquely different as their stories so clearly portrayed. Yet each came to the same conclusion: It was time to commit fully to Christ and to make a public confession of that through baptism. May God richly bless and guide you all five. Our summer building project is well on the way. The new education wing is taking shape and the possibility of using it yet this fall is definitely rising. Another new thing this summer is Births our first ever website. Yes, it’s up and runHARDER— To Robert and Janice of ning. Thanks to Gus. Marchand, Man., a son, Liam Jasper, on You can now follow Jan. 9. us online, re-listen PLETT— To Curt and Lindsey of Blumenort Man., a son, Hudson Chase, on Jan. 20. to a message, and REIMER— To Cole and Arianne of check the schedules Blumenort, Man., a daughter, Coralie Grace, at www.pansychaon April 15. pel.com. I am excited DRIEDGER— To James and Desiree of about that. Steinbach, Man., a son, Jude Montgomery, on April 20. – Betty Barkman PENNER— To Tim and Bethany of Blumenort, Man., a daughter, Avery Joy, on May 19.

26  The Messenger • November 2017


With Our Churches MacGregor EMC

MACGREGOR

Russell and Shannon Doerksen are Commissioned MAGREGOR, Man.—Sunday, Sept. 11, 2017, was an important date in the life of the MacGregor EM Church. On this morning, a dedication service was held for three babies: Austyn Guenther, daughter of Linden and Dakotah Guenther; Noelle Doerksen, daughter of Russell and Shannon Doerksen; and Tyler Sae-Phan, son of Chai and Bo Sae-Phan. The parents committed to raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and the congregation committed to supporting them in that role. It was also A dedication service was held for three babies and their parents. an important date as we installed working for Providence University College and Seminary. Russell Doerksen as They attended Fort Gary EMC in Winnipeg. our new pastor and Conference pastor Layton Friesen brought the message commissioned him and conducted the installation. “We’re excited to be a part and Shannon in their of the community at MacGregor EMC and we’re looking roles of leadership forward to where that leads,” says Russell. in the church. RusAfter having been without a full-time pastor for a numsell and Shannon ber of years, it is heartening to embark on this new era. We were previously living wish the Lord’s richest blessings on Russell and Shannon as in Otterburn, Man., they carry out this important position. Russell and Shannon Doerksen with where Russell was – Donna Thiessen their daughter Noelle

Advancing Ministry Through Prayer EMC Missions invites you to come and discover the power of prayer and worship in a cross-cultural setting. Pray with our EMC missionaries and local believers as together we seek to strategically advance Christ’s Kingdom as God envisions it.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Minga Guazú, Paraguay

Ministry Details:

Participant Profile:

Dates: February 6-13, 2018 (6 days in-country) Registration Deadline: January 5, 2018 Cost: $1400 (approx.) You will spend time praying one-on-one for missionaries, national believers and non-believers as you worship the Lord together. You will pray for strongholds to be broken and the gates of heaven to open, flooding the light and love of Christ into the hearts of these beautiful people.

Dates: March 6-19, 2018 (12 days in-country) Registration Deadline: January 26, 2018 Cost: $2400 (approx.) If your heart is beating for intercession and you are ready to explore new places and ways of praying, this is definitely something for you. Experience is not as important as a heart willing to learn and serve. You must be at least 18 years old.

Call the EMC office at 204-326-6401 or email Diana (dpeters@emconference.ca) to request an application form.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 27


With Our Churches Taber EMC

TABER, Alta.—At the beginning of the year we began the search for new deacon couples. We spent time praying for God to reveal the right candidates to the members as we began the nomination process, and God answered our prayers. We elected two new deacon couples, Nick and Mary Enns and David and Agatha Reimer, into our ministerial team. The Deacon Commissioning service was held on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017. The church benches were full of family and friends that came out to support our new deacon couples. They shared their heartfelt testimonies and the church stood behind them in support of the ministry to which they have committed. Our Sunday School children blessed us with a special number during the service, followed by a Mother’s Day lunch for the congregation which is always well received. Our church life is always busy; some days we might even say it’s too busy. But it’s during these busy times that we experience the Lord’s blessings in many ways. Our Sunday School committee and teachers have been a

TEMC`

Deacons Commissioned on Mother’s Day

New deacon couples David and Agatha Reimer and Nick and Mary Enns are surrounded by representative supporters: (front) Eva Koethler, Margaret Sawatzky, Eva Klassen, and Margaret Loewen, (back) interim Conference Pastor Ralph Unger, Jake Koethler, George Sawatzky, Abe Klassen, and Pastor Dick Loewen.

blessing to our children and parents again this year. I’m sure they all look forward to our summer break to refresh and rejuvenate for the following school year. We are busy here at the Taber EMC, planning and preparing different activities to strengthen our fellowship and faith in our Almighty God so that we may be a blessing to our families and our community. – Tina Dyck

Join with Christ in shaping our

WORLD

Evangelical Mennonite Conference Board of Missions 204-326-6401 info@emconference.ca www.emconference.ca

28  The Messenger • November 2017


With Our Churches Aberdeen EMC

Teresa Zehr Appointed Ministry Coordinator

AEMC

WINNIPEG, Man.—On Sept. 24, 2017, Teresa Zehr was commissioned as Aberdeen EMC’s Ministry Coordinator. In this half-time role Teresa will minister to and among the congregation and coordinate the overall work of the church. Teresa and her husband, Jeremy Zehr, have been part of the Aberdeen congregation for the past four years. Prior to assuming this role Teresa served with Youth for Christ. – Marilyn Funk

Teresa Zehr

•• Crestview Fellowship

God is so Good!

CFEMC

WINNIPEG, Man.—On Sunday, Sept. 17, Flo Friesen shared how the Kleefeld EM Church had a vision for church planting and then proceeded to work diligently to bring this vision to reality. This year marks Crestview Fellowship’s 50th anniversary. We were privileged to have several former lead pastors, youth pastors, and youth leaders join us for the morning service and all had special memories to share. Many former members were also in attendance, and there was much reminiscing and laughter.

ARCHIVES

Invitations were distributed to the neighbouring community to come for a barbecue upper and enjoy some live music. There was also a huge bouncer for the children. It was a great turnout and lots of fun. We pray that the seeds that were planted will grow. God has been faithful and we know He will continue to be faithful. – Sharron Straub A bit of history: Henrietta and Pastor Ben Friesen, flanked by other leadership couples, served from 1974 -82 at Crestview Fellowship.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 29


With Our Churches Prairie Rose EMC

LANDMARK, Man.—Time travel at Prairie Rose? It sounds unbelievable, but ask any kid who attended Prairie Rose DVBS this summer and you will hear all about their adventurous journey to first-century Rome to visit the apostle Paul, meet new friends in a Roman marketplace, discover the Early Church, and learn about God’s love and the spread of the Gospel in the face of persecution. About 90 to 100 children from in and around the community arrived each day; and thanks to our hardworking planning committee and volunteers, every morning was full of games, snacks, crafts, and music. Some highlights included the weeklong skit, cooling off in the summer heat with water games, and learning creative new songs that related to each morning’s theme. Even the thunderstorm that rolled in one morning could not dampen the excitement and energy. As an added bonus this year, DVBS fun lasted all summer long with special skits and theme songs presented every Sunday during the worship service, reminding kids of lessons learned during the DVBS week. As summer turned to fall, programs also shifted at Prairie Rose. Sept. 10 was our “kick-off ” Sunday, marking the start of another Sunday School year. This was also our

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Time Travel at Prairie Rose?

2017 Cradle Roll graduates

annual Cradle Roll service, where six toddlers “graduated” from the church nursery into the Sunday School program. Each one displayed their own precious personality as they walked up to the stage with the help of a parent to receive their hat, diploma, and a candy. Other programs started this fall include junior and senior youth, mom’s morning out, and boys’ and girls’ clubs. – Jayelle Friesen

Living in God’s Kingdom: a practical study guide on the Christian life is an introduction to the Christian faith, suitable for baptism/ LIVING IN membership and other classes. Lessons include: God and revelation, Jesus Christ and salvation, Holy Spirit and discipleship, the kingdom and the future, church and mission, and Anabaptist history. A leader’s guide is available. ite Conference Christian Mennon h, MB R5G 0J1 478 Henry St, Steinbac www.cmconference.ca

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News

CFGB responding to Rohingya refugee crisis LANCASTER, Ont.—Canadian Foodgrains Bank members are responding to the needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, where over half a million people have fled extreme violence in Myanmar in search of safety and freedom. In addition, the Canadian government has approved $1 million to support this joint response that is being implemented through Foodgrains Bank members. The CFGB is grateful for the response of the Canadian government and many individual Canadians, says executive director Jim Cornelius. The projects will meet the food needs of over 25,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh. The Rohingya are descendants of Muslims who came to Myanmar generations ago. They speak a different language and are of a different religion than the majority of Myanmar’s citizens, who are Buddhist. The Myanmar government considers them stateless and places restrictions on their rights as citizens.

GOT SKILLS AND TIME TO SHARE? Volunteer to be a leader — project directors, cooks, crew leaders, office managers needed

CFGB

Projects will help 25,000

Violence broke out in the northern Rakhine state in August when Rohingya militants attacked government forces. According to the United Nations, the Myanmar government responded against the Rohingya with disproportionate violence. Entire villages have been destroyed, and there has been widespread panic and flight. “The Rohingya people have experienced incredible trauma in recent weeks as they flee from Myanmar,” says Ken Kim, CFGB’s board chair. “The accounts of those interviewed are harrowing….They are exhausted, hungry and in desperate need of basic support.” “We are continuing to monitor the situation of the Rohingya refugees closely, to see if there is an additional response needed,” says Cornelius. To donate or to learn more, go to the CFGB’s website. –Amanda Thorsteinsson, CFGB

Inner City Youth Alive JOIN THE TEAM mds.mennonite.net/projectleaders 717-735-3536

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 31


News

Persecution past and present A high price is still being paid

MWC

AUGSBURG, Germany— took all worshippers away in Early Anabaptists in Augsburg, chains. Authorities expelled Germany, paid a high price those visiting from outfor meeting at the large white side Augsburg, and whipped house in this picture. locals. They tortured some, German Mennonite hisand executed the group torian, theologian, and peace leader who refused to recant. activist Wolfgang Krauss “Thankfully, Anabapretold the story to modern tists are not persecuted Anabaptists who toured histoday,” someone comtoric sites in Augsburg during mented—which drew an meetings of Mennonite World immediate reply from a man Conference executive comfrom another continent. mittee in February 2017. “Yes, we are!” he said. On Easter Sunday 1528, Conversation turned to 100 Anabaptists met secretly MWC executive members listen to Wolfgang Krause tell of persecu- costly choices Anabaptists in this house to celebrate tion of early Anabaptists who worshipped in the large white house. make today to follow Jesus in the resurrection of Jesus. countries where Christians Some escaped when they learned that the authorities were are a despised or marginalized minority. watching, but 88 remained. Police raided the building, and – J. Nelson Kraybill, MWC President

EMC Graduate

•• Check out the newest issue of

Did You Know?

Theodidaktos

• One in nine persons worldwide do not have enough food, and 70 percent of them are food producers?

Find it • Almost halfatof the developing world’s farmers are women, yet they receive only five percent of farmer education and your church, farm support? the national office,

Canadian Mennonite University Victor Engbrecht (Prairie Rose) Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies

32  The Messenger • November 2017

• Supporting women farmers in their access to land, seed, and oncould the increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 and credit percent, lifting 100 to 150 million people out of hunger? EMC website: – MCC Canada

www.emconference.ca


Shoulder Tapping With any applications for EMC church pastoral positions, candidates are expected to also register a Ministry Information Profile with the EMC Board of Leadership and Outreach, which can be obtained through Erica Fehr, BLO Administrative Assistant, at efehr@emconference.ca or 204-326-6401.

Additional EMC Openings Often there are more churches looking for senior, associate, youth, and interim pastors than are identified on this page. For information on additional openings, contact conference pastor Layton Friesen (lfriesen@emconference.ca); conference youth minister Gerald D. Reimer (greimer@emconference. ca); and church planting coordinator Charles Koop (ckoop@emconference.ca). The national office phone number is 204-326-6401. Talk with Erica Fehr, administrative assistant to the BLO, to request a cell number for a particular person.

EMC Positions* Evangelical Fellowship Church of Fort Frances, Ont., seeks a pastor to come alongside the congregation as we minister to each other and our community. We are open to the options of a part- or full-time pastor. We are a diverse congregation and this we see as a strength. If you have a heart for the lost, a clear understanding of God’s Word, leadership experience, and would enjoy working with our Church Board and Elders, contact us. Fort Frances is an area of great opportunity for “letting your light shine.” This may be where your next big adventure for God is waiting. Please send your resume to johanneslgerber@gmail. com or leave a message at 807-274-2328.

Other Positions An international school in a creative access country in Central Asia is looking for qualified teachers: Secondary English, Secondary Maths, Secondary Science, Principal. Our school is dedicated to transforming the lives of our students, the communities we’re part of, the country we serve. You’ll be able to apply your skills in an exciting and challenging environment that will transform you as you transform others! You’ll be supported by a friendly, vibrant team of committed colleagues. Parents are involved in many aspects of the school, giving it a unique family feel. You are welcome to serve for a year or longer. For information and an application, contact tdyck@emconference.ca Attention, Christ-centred high-school teachers, snowmobile and boat sales and service people, pastors, and police officers: Are you growing weary of feeling redundant? Are you tiring of working where you're replaceable? Are you beginning to long to be uniquely useful and to be somewhere where a Christian presence isn't, unless you are? Fort Chipewyan, in northern Alberta, may be the home of spiritual challenge and blessing for you! Call Arlyn van Enns at 780-697-3818. Steeprock Bay Bible Camp is seeking a seasonal director for 2018. SBBC is an evangelical interdenominational ministry located in the northern part of Manitoba`s parkland, near Sapatoweyak Cree Nation. SBBC has a vision “To see Canada’s Aboriginal people discover the love and saving power of Jesus Christ as we learn to live together in appreciation of God’s world.” We currently offer five weeks of junior

camp and one week of teen camp. For further information or to submit a resume, please contact us at info@steeprockministries.com or call the board chair Ferlin Abrahamson at 204-281-2879. The ideal candidate will be a strong team player who is passionate about serving God and has a heart for children and youth. Training or experience in cross cultural relationships, Bible camp ministry, team leadership, or children’s ministry would be valuable assets. Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church, located in Winkler, Man., is seeking an experienced, full-time lead pastor and a full- or part-time associate pastor. We hold to the Anabaptist theology and have accepted The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. We are currently not affiliated with a Conference. Currently we share our facility with another congregation. We invite applications from candidates with strong interpersonal skills; experience working in a church setting (preaching, teaching, and pastoral care); commitment to Anabaptist theology; an attitude of servant leadership; and post-secondary religious education. Our congregation consists primarily of seniors. Our congregation consists primarily of seniors. The associate position would focus on visitations (both home and hospital), preaching, and teaching (which includes Bible study and/or adult Sunday School class). Please submit resumes to Search Committee, WBMC, Box 1207, Winkler, MB R6W 4B2 or email to wbmc@mts.net.

Where are position ads to be sent? Please send all position ads, including pastoral search ads, to messenger@emconference.ca. All ads are to be 150 words or less. All ads can be edited. Please advise us when it is no longer needed.

Ministry in an Evangelical Anabaptist Setting The priesthood of all believers and the dignity of vocations (beyond priest, monk, and nun) are two biblical truths rediscovered during the Protestant Reformation. In an Evangelical Anabaptist understanding, all moral types of work can be Christ-honouring for believers. At the same time, most of our churches do set aside some individuals for special functions of spiritual leadership, teaching, and preaching. Not all settings are the same. Some of our churches elect ministers from within their midst. Others choose a minister from outside of the congregation. Some of our churches have full-time paid pastors, either solo or in a multi-staff setting. Others have a team of hired and selfsupporting ministers. Some pastors are bi-vocational. Our ministers reflect a variety of educational paths: most have Bible college and some have seminary; other training is also common.

When experienced pastors or new graduates from outside the EMC wish to pursue pastoral openings in our conference, it is wise to look at the EMC Constitution, including its Statement of Faith and Church Practices, and our Vision and Values. Copies of these can be found online. Familiarity with Anabaptist history and doctrine are assets or will need to be developed. To be commissioned or ordained with national recognition within the EMC requires an examination by and approval of the Ministerial Examination Committee, Board of Leadership and Outreach. Please contact Layton Friesen or Erica Fehr for details.

Pastoral Search Committees

There are resources available to assist you in your search and deliberations. Please contact Erica Fehr for resource materials. www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 33


Column • Here and Far Away

Scandalous

T The risks of following Jesus down scandalous paths are worth it because it’s these risks we take for His name that display to us His greatest glory.

34  The Messenger • November 2017

ISTOCK

by Jocelyn R. Plett www.writewhatyousee. wordpress.com

he Author of life writes scandalous stories. Human expectation of God—zeal for God’s name even!—is often turned it on its head, frequently to the deep consternation of His most fervent followers. It seems to me that, when God is leading, even 180-degree turns and paradigm shifts (perhaps more accurately, paradigm shatters!) are not only not abnormal, they should be expected! Think of a virgin bearing the Christ child (Matt. 1:23). A devout Jew eating unclean foods (Acts 10:1-23). A zealous-for-God Pharisee (Acts 22:3) switching from “breathing murderous threats about the followers of Jesus” (Acts 9:1) to becoming their most fervent leader. The King of the Universe dying a criminal’s death. These are stories of God doing things in a way that went against His own followers’ expectations. What is the implication for me within this realization? It’s the bothersome revelation that perhaps a comfortable life doing the good things is not what God has planned for me. I’m convicted that I might be following the expected and acceptable methods of doing His will and not actually following Him. Because, Church, what if Jesus asks me to do things I perceive are unwise, or not in keeping with being a good steward? What if Jesus leads me down a path that I feel is scandalous? Will I be willing to follow? I must look for Christ and trust that where He leads me, through new and uncomfortable reading of Scripture, being in tune with the Spirit within me, trusting He will bring me to revolutionary new places of His glory. Unless, of course, I prefer my comfortable “this is the way

we’ve always done it” theology. One thing I’ve learned in my term abroad is that the risks of following Jesus down scandalous paths are worth it because it’s these risks we take for His name that display to us His greatest glory. In our search for a new church here in Winnipeg we seem to have been led to one which does things in ways, I confess, I would previously have disdained. Yet we sense the Spirit saying to us, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Do I listen to what I believe is the Spirit, or to my old understanding of the way church “should” be done? I’ve been convicted to step out into new and disquieting territory and expect God to reveal Himself there in new and disquieting ways. Thrilling ways! We made our move from Madagascar with great petition for the Lord to reveal the place He wanted to plant us. I believe He has done this. It is at once unfathomably lovely and disturbingly different than what I expected! So, what exactly were my expectations built on? Lord, let me not be afraid to follow You rather than the methods and expectations I’ve become comfortable with. Give us the courage to listen to the Spirit of Truth within us, to steep in Your Word, and walk the path You call us to despite the perception of scandal.


Column • Stewardship Today

Contagious Generosity!

F

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or many years my wife and I raised our family in an older community with many beautiful boulevard trees, but very few young families. Despite our best efforts, our neighbours were aloof and at times confrontational, but we loved our little home and the family we were building there. Last summer, we made the big decision to move. Although it’s a short distance away from the old house, our new neighbourhood is completely different. The week we moved in, neighbours came out of their houses to welcome us to the community. People passing by stopped to chat. We found ourselves surrounded by families with children eager to welcome new kids into their games. It wasn’t just a surface friendliness that wore off once we got settled; over the past year, we have been blown away by the kindness and generosity of our neighbours. This football season, my son ran home from a playdate excited that our neighbours had offered us two tickets to the CFL game that evening. We love sports and the game was starting right away. My wife and I quickly discussed the logistics and sent my son back out to let the family know he and I would love to join them. Unfortunately, we had taken a bit too long and they were already driving away. My son broke into tears of disappointment. Reaching for my cell, I called them and they assured us the tickets were ours if we could get to the game. Meanwhile, the retired couple from across the street had noticed the commotion of us trying to flag down the departing vehicle and quickly offered to drive us to the stadium so we wouldn’t have to worry about parking. I was amazed! What a gift! My son and I enjoyed the game immensely thanks to the generosity of our neighbours. Thinking of my new neighbourhood, I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark’s Gospel “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12: 31). Our neighbourhood has become a practical model of

by Kevin Davidson this commandment for our children, and we have found the generosity around us is contagious. It fills me with joy when I see my children emulating the kindness they see around them. Shortly after we moved in, our nine-year-old announced he’d invited some neighbourhood kids over for dinner. My wife and I encouraged him to invite their parents as well, and we enjoyed a lovely dinner getting to know them. Another time, our son invited some of the neighbourhood boys over to play video games, and before we knew it we had a houseful of kids playing and sharing a meal together. We’ve had more neighbours over for brunch and dinner in the past year than we did in the previous ten years in our old neighbourhood. For a school fundraiser, we bought two cases of apples, and my wife made apple pies Kevin Davidson is a that the kids and I delivered to some of our Gift Planning Consultneighbours. In the winter, we shovel the ant with Abundance driveway for a single mom down the street Canada, serving generand help mow her lawn in the spring. It ous people in Calgary doesn’t feel like hard work, either. In fact, and across Alberta. there is an atmosphere of easy joy about it. Abundance Canada is I see this same joy when I am helping a 100% donor advised, clients plan their giving using Abundance faith-based organizaCanada services, and I feel so privileged to tion and the solution for assist in their generosity journeys. I have charitable giving in your always been delighted by the connection lifetime and with your I see between generous living and generestate. Visit www.abunous giving among my clients. Since our dance.ca to learn more family move, this connection has become about our services or call even clearer to me. Each day, my new 1.800.772.3357 today to neighbourhood teaches me that it really is arrange to meet with a “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts Gift Planning Consultant 20:35). And we have been blessed so richly. in your area.

It fills me with joy when I see my children emulating the kindness they see around them.

www.emcmessenger.ca • The Messenger 35


Column • Kids’ Corner

Are You Balanced?

Patterns are all around you!

36  The Messenger • November 2017

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W

hich is your favourite cookie? Oreos? Chocolate chip? Peanut butter? Would you eat only cookies if you could? All day? Every day? What would happen if you did? Your body would feel unbalanced. You would need something more. To be balanced means to have the right by Loreena amount of different things. Your body needs Thiessen a balance of different foods, fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy, like milk or yogurt. Together these foods have what your body needs to be healthy and grow. To be your best you need balance in everything you do. In one day you play some of the time. You stop to eat lunch and supper. You need time to clean up, to get dressed and walk to school. You need time to do your homework, and get your chores done, perhaps clear the supper dishes and load the dishwasher. You can’t do only one thing. To be your best you must balance your time and your activities. You can find balance all around you. Every morning the sun comes up, the sky gets brighter and birds begin to sing. And each evening the sun sets, the sky darkens and the birds grow silent. The balance of night and day is a pattern, day follows night and night follows day. Seasons Activity: Find pattern in nature. follow a pattern too. Cold Need: One head of broccoli, one blooming geraweather folnium plant, a pine tree. lows warm. Do: Remove one small part of the broccoli. Is its After sumshape similar to that of the whole head? mer there’s Look at the flower of the geranium. Do the fall, then tiny flowers, in shape and colour, imitate the large winter and bloom? spring, and Examine a pine branch. Is it similar to the shape once again of the whole tree? Does it look like a miniature pine the warm tree? summer. These are examples of patterns in nature where It’s easy to the parts imitate the whole thing. In science this is see pattern in called self-similar structure, or a fractal. flowers. Take

the daisy. Its white petals grow in a circle around a yellow centre. The petals of the sunflower circle a bed of seeds like the rays of the sun. The rosebud’s petals fold around each other to form a tight round ball. Take a look at the houses on your street. Do they have a tall pointed roof or a low roof? Do any have a chimney? Are their windows the same? How many have a garage? Are they attached or separate? Look at the cars driving on the street, or parked at the curb. Are they the same or different? Are they different colors or are they pretty much the same? There’s a pattern to how we connect with each other. When you say “Hi!” to someone, usually that person says “Hi!” right back. When you smile at someone they smile too. Numbers have patterns too. Count by tens and each number ends the same: 10, 20, 30; 13, 23, 33, and so on. Languages have patterns. In an English sentence the subject, the thing you are talking about, comes first, followed by the verb or the action. For example, a dog barks. A pattern is a repetition, something that happens in the same way again and again. Patterns are all around you. They make you feel balanced. It’s easier to go to bed at night when it’s dark outside. You know the sun will be back in the morning. You expect it. You feel there is order. You can predict it will happen again tomorrow. God created the earth to have order so we can live on it. He created the sun to give energy to all living things. He created food in the form of plants and animals for all living beings. And he created water for without water there is no life. Read Genesis 1:1-24 and Isaiah 45:18. The Messenger Evangelical Mennonite Conference 440 Main St., Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5 Publications Mail Agreement #40017362

The Messenger November 2017  

Featured Articles: Please Don't Make Me Read the Genealogies! page 6 Simeon's Wish List page 9 Letters to the Family: A Mother's Treasure...

The Messenger November 2017  

Featured Articles: Please Don't Make Me Read the Genealogies! page 6 Simeon's Wish List page 9 Letters to the Family: A Mother's Treasure...