MB Herald Digest | January 2022

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JANUARY 2022 MBHERALD.COM

Digest

VO LU M E 61 , N O. 1 2 0 2 2 W E E K O F P R AY E R

More than sixty years of sharing the life & story of the Mennonite Brethren in Canada


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Mennonite Brethren Herald Digest is digitally published monthly by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, primarily for the use of its members, to build a Canadian MB community of faith. We seek to 1) share the life and story of the church by nurturing relationships among members and engaging in dialogue and reflection; 2) teach and equip for ministry by reflecting MB theology, values, and heritage, and by sharing the good news; 3) enable communication by serving conference ministries and informing our members about the church and the world. However, the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the church as a whole.

Digest JA N UA RY 202 2 | VO LU M E 61 , N O. 1 Elda Antonio Garcia and Beatriz Guaza Sandoval (pictured) from Colombia are two

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of 20 young people from around the world serving in a country and church that is different from their own. Both are serving with Mennonite social agency Comisión de Acción Social Menonita in Honduras in 2021/2022. Because of the pandemic, Beatriz Guaza Sandoval choose to wait a year instead of

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taking an opportunity to serve in Colombia. She is grateful for the gift of extra time

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she had with her family, especially around holidays, before leaving for a year.

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“God was preparing me,” she says. “God’s time was perfect.”

The Mennonite Brethren Herald is a publication of

Read the full story on the Mennonite World Conference website.

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PRAY AS YOU CAN Andrew Dyck

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2022 WEEK OF PRAYER: BLESS THE LORD!

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BOLDLY ADVANCING THE GOSPEL FROM OUR KNEES Rev. Philip A. Gunther

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TIBETANS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Mark J.H. Klassen and Eric Geddes

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From the editor ne often approaches January with optimism and visions of a bright and prosperous new year. If you’re at all like me, that’s probably not how you’re feeling about 2022. In December alone, we have gone from near-manageable COVID-19 cases to record numbers of positive coronavirus test results. As I write this editorial, the Omicron variant continues to spread like wildfire, tightening its grip on an exhausted healthcare system. A friend asked me if I thought this new variant was the end of the pandemic. Supposing Omicron’s less severe symptoms and lower death rate (over 50% lower than that of the previous Delta variant) signified a taming of the coronavirus. The only response I could give was that I hoped and prayed that this was the case. I do have hope. And I have experienced the power of prayer and have seen prayers answered time and time again. Despite the dark days we share in January, I know that better days are ahead. God’s blessings are abundant. January 16-22, 2022, is our annual Week of Prayer. This year the National Faith and Life Team brings us prayers of blessings. We bless the LORD, continuously praising him,

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but what does it look like to bless our Church, our neighbourhood, even our enemies? Can we as a family come together in prayer this month? Please use the prayer guide on pages 12-18 in your online groups, as a congregation, and as an MB family. The Week of Prayer readings are also available online here. Before I close, I want to point out a few things to be grateful for, something I hope will turn my mind away from the negative towards the positive: MB Herald Digest enters its 61st year as a pub˚ The lication. Very few magazines can make that claim! a two-year hiatus, the MB family held its ˚ After first Pastors Credentialing Orientation in 2021 (continuing through 2022 in BC). We look forward to the credentialing of new pastors in the future. MBs from across Canada continue to meet online ˚ in great numbers for EQUIP Mini, National Assembly, Multiply’s House of Prayer, MB Seminary’s Navigate events and CCMBC’s Town Hall Meetings. These opportunities not only keep us connected, but they contribute to the health and development of the denomination. There’s more of this to come! Hope and pray every day.

Carson

CARSON SAMSON

Communications director

Letters to the editor MB Herald Digest welcomes your letter on issues relevant to the Mennonite Brethren church, especially in response to material published in the magazine. Please include name, address and TOWN HALL MEETING January 20, 2022 6-8pm Central Click here to join the conversation on vaccine mandates and Bill C-4

phone number, and keep your letters concise, courteous, and about one subject only. We may edit letters for length and clarity. We will not publish letters sent anonymously, although we may withhold names from publication at the letter writer’s request and at our discretion. Letters may also appear online or be published in the Digest from an online source, such as comments on articles posted to mbherald.com or on our social media platforms. In these circumstances, letter writers will be contacted by the editor to obtain permission. Because the letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the MB Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church. Send letters to MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6, or by email: mbherald@mbchurches.ca.

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PRAY AS YOU CAN any of us who follow Jesus struggle to pray. “I don’t pray enough. I can’t find time to be silent. I can’t concentrate. My prayers don’t go past the ceiling.” New Testament instructions like “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NRSV) and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18a NIV) don’t necessarily help when we are stuck. On top of that, churches sometimes communicate that only a certain form of prayer really matters—whether that’s listening prayer, praying alone in silence, praying aloud and extemporaneously in a group, or something else. If you find it hard to pray, I suggest that you experiment with different kinds of praying to see what comes most naturally to you. Years ago, I came upon the book Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types (Charlottesville: The Open Door, 1991). Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey describe four ways of praying. Our differences in personality mean that we likely gravitate to certain forms of prayer more than to others. The four forms of prayer are named after four great leaders from church history: Ignatius of Loyola (Spain), Augustine of Hippo (N. Africa), Francis of Assisi (Italy), and Thomas of Aquino (Italy). Ignatian prayer comes most naturally to those of us who are doers, valuing tradition and working hard for the good of others . In this kind of prayer, we imagine ourselves in the stories of scripture—with all our senses—so that we can meet Jesus. Augustinian prayer suits those of us who are creative and optimistic, and who connect well with people. In this prayer, we imagine having a genuine dialogue with God. We hear him speak to us through Scripture; and we tell God our feelings. This prayer requires considerable ‘quiet time.’ Franciscan prayer is especially for those of us who are impulsive, dislike rules, get bored with inaction, and are energized by crises. With this prayer, we meet God everywhere and in everything—especially nature. We pray in a free-flowing non-formal way throughout all the work and activities of our day. We love to celebrate God. Thomistic prayer fits those of us who approach life logically—often competitively—looking for truth and for challenges that we can master. This prayer begins with our mind and will. What we read in scripture and in Christian writings easily becomes meaningful prayer. Much more could be said about these four prayers and groups of people; and there are certainly many other ways to pray. However, if you struggle to pray, I encourage you to experiment with different forms of prayer, and then to pray in the way that comes naturally to you—especially during times of stress and difficulty. On the other hand, when you have the capacity to grow and deepen your life with God, you can learn to pray in ways that do not come naturally to you. As a much-loved mentor of mine once said: “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.”

M

A N D R E W DYC K ,

Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at Canadian Mennonite University, teaches primarily in CMU’s seminary programs. He and Martha belong to Westwood Community Church and the Winnipeg Imago Dei group.

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HOMEPAGE

Robert Dagenais pasteur de l’église de Sainte-Thérèse prend sa retraite Le dimanche 24 octobre dernier, prenant sa retraite dans 2 mois, Robert Dagenais donnait son dernier message à l’Église chrétienne de Sainte-Thérèse en tant que pasteur principal. Le titre de son message était « Des mots pour le dire… ». À travers son message, il a loué Dieu; Son Dieu, pour sa fidélité et sa bonté envers lui et Rita Dagenais (son épouse) pour leurs 50 ans de pastorat (dont les trente dernières années à Sainte-Thérèse). Un moment de reconnaissance a eu lieu après la célébration. Plusieurs en ont profité, en présentiel et en virtuel, pour se remémorer et raconter des souvenirs ainsi que pour remercier Robert et Rita pour leur service au sein de notre communauté.

Un remerciement sincère

C’est pourquoi, dans un élan du cœur, joignons-nous tous ensemble pour remercier Robert et Rita de tout leur travail, au cours de ces nombreuses années, au sein de nos églises de Saint-Eustache, de Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, de Sainte-Thérèse et de notre association des frères mennonites du Québec. En écoutant les témoignages des derniers mois issus de son église actuelle, des églises antérieures et des membres des divers comités dont ils ont fait partie, les mots que nous retenons en pensant à Robert et Rita sont accueil,

amitié, honnêteté et respect. Pour Robert, le profond désir de voir l’église grandir de façon équilibrée, dans le respect des uns et des autres est tout à son honneur. C’est là une caractéristique importante qui fait que les membres des églises où Robert et Rita ont exercé leur ministère ont toujours été fiers de leur église. La rigueur de Robert dans l’interprétation des écritures et la détermination qu’il met à ce que chacun considère les textes bibliques dans leur juste contexte nous indiquent qu’il aspire avoir des adultes dans la foi au sein de l’église. Voilà un objectif noble qui démontre le respect qu’il a toujours eu envers ceux que le Seigneur lui a confiés. De son côté, Rita, désirant vivement bien comprendre les écritures, s’est expropriée plus d’une année pour aller étudier en Suisse Romande à l’Institut Biblique et Missionnaire Emmaüs. Partout où elle a été, elle a joué un grand rôle dans les ministères destinés aux enfants et à l’accueil. Nous rendons grâce à Dieu de nous avoir donné un couple comme Robert et Rita pour exercer ce ministère pastoral durant toutes ces années. Nous les remercions tous les deux pour leur bonne humeur, leur accessibilité, leur fidélité et leur amitié. Puisse le Seigneur vous accorder Robert et Rita la grâce de poursuivre votre route encore longtemps avec nous tout en gardant vos cœurs dans la joie et la sérénité. Avec toute notre reconnaissance, nous vous disons bonne retraite… NORMAND TOUPIN ET DANIELLE L A J EUNESSE

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On Sunday, October 24th, Robert Dagenais gave his last message to the Sainte-Thérèse Christian Church as Senior Pastor. The title of his message was “Words to say…”. Through his message, he praised God; His God, for His faithfulness and goodness to him and Rita Dagenais (his wife) for their 50 years of pastorate (including the last 30 years at Sainte-Thérèse). A moment of gratitude took place after the celebration. Many took the opportunity, both in person and virtually, to reminisce and recount memories and to thank Robert and Rita for their service to our community.

A sincere thank you

Therefore, in a heartfelt gesture, let us all join together to thank Robert and Rita for all their work, during these many years, within our churches of Saint-Eustache, Sainte-Anne-desPlaines, Sainte-Thérèse and of our Mennonite Brethren Association of Quebec. As we listen to the testimonies of the last few months from his current church, previous churches and the members of the various committees of which they were part, the words we remember when thinking of Robert and Rita are welcome, friendship, honesty and respect.

Robert’s deep desire to see the church grow in a balanced way, respecting each other, is a credit to him. This is an important characteristic that has made the members of the churches where Robert and Rita have ministered always proud of their church. Robert’s thoroughness in interpreting the scriptures and his determination to have everyone considers the biblical texts in their proper context tells us that he aspires to have adults in the faith within the church. This is a noble goal that demonstrates the respect he has always had for those whom the Lord has entrusted to him. On her side, Rita, eager to understand the scriptures, expatriated herself more than a year to study in French-speaking Switzerland at the Emmaus Bible and Missionary Institute. Wherever she went, she played a great role in the children’s and hospitality ministries. We thank God for having given us a couple like Robert and Rita to carry out this pastoral ministry during all these years. We thank them both for their good humour, accessibility, faithfulness and friendship. May the Lord grant you Robert and Rita the grace to continue your journey with us for a long time to come while keeping your hearts in joy and serenity. With all our gratitude, we wish you a happy retirement.

HOMEPAGE

Robert Dagenais, pastor of the Sainte-Thérèse church, is retiring

NORMAND TOUPIN AND DANIELLE L AJEUNESSE

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“ P R AY E R D O E S N O T F I T U S F O R G R E AT E R W O R K ; P R AY E R I S T H E G R E AT E R W O R K .” OS WA L D C H A M B ERS

recently attended the remembrance celebration of a godly saint who was a cherished prayer warrior in the church I once pastored. Let’s call her Hailey. Hailey’s family recounted what everyone who knew her could affirm, she prayed for the gospel to be advanced in the city where she lived and around the world, especially among unreached peoples. Her first request of me as I started my pastorate was if I would support advancing the gospel amongst a specific unreached people in Burkina Faso. I said that I was all in! Seventeen plus years later, as I concluded my ministry, several growing indigenous churches had been planted in Burkina Faso by workers we supported, the gospel was being proclaimed daily, people were being baptized, and disciples trained. How is the gospel advanced? By passionate and capable ambassadors of Christ? Yes. Through a clear proclamation of the gospel? Yes. By demonstrations of love and miracles? Yes. With good strategy and robust financial resources? Yes. But how is the gospel best advanced? Hailey, this devoted and humble saint from the church I once pastored, claimed it was upon our knees, praying. The place of prayer in the work of evangelism and missions is well documented. Consider, for example, the Haystack Prayer Meeting of 1806. Five Williams College students gathered in Sloan’s Meadow near the Hoosac River in Massachusetts to pray about the spiritual needs of unreached people in Asia. The story tells that a thunderstorm struck, and the group took shelter next to a haystack and, despite the inclement weather, continued to pray. This meeting was the genesis for a missionary movement among American protestants. It was said that after 150 years of operation, the organization the arose from this meeting, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, had sent out nearly 5000 missionaries.1 The great spiritual revivals of history also give testimony to the central place of prayer in gospel advancement. For example, Evan Roberts, the central character of the 1904 Welsh Revival is said to have prayed every day for thirteen years leading up to the event. The past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sam Storms, writes: “If it be asked why the fire of God fell on Wales, the answer is simple: Fire falls where it is likely to catch and spread. As one has said, ‘Wales provided the necessary

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tinder.’ Here were thousands of believers unknown to each other, in small towns and villages and great cities, crying to God day after day for the fire of God to fall. This was not merely a ‘little talk with Jesus,’ but daily, agonizing intercession....One thing is clear: the revival was not the product of someone’s personality or of another person’s preaching or of anyone’s planning, but of God’s gracious response to the prayers of his people!”2 One could also point to William J. Seymour, a Pentecostal preacher, who is said to have prayed seven hours a day for months leading up to the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (1906-1915). When it comes to prayer and advancing the gospel, consider the testimony of Scripture. Jesus, for example, instructed his disciples to pray to the Heavenly Father: “May your will be done on earth...” (Matthew 6:10b NLT). What is the Father’s will? The Apostle Paul gives us a clue: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT). Here we have the Father’s will revealed to us as being the gospel. And, we are to advance the gospel through fervent prayer for the Father’s will to be done. Later in his ministry we witness Jesus advancing the gospel of the kingdom in the following directive: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2 NLT). After Jesus’ disciples Peter and John were released from prison for proclaiming the good news of Jesus for salvation, they gathered the believers and prayed: “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word” (Acts 4:29 NLT).

In a very real sense, prayer opens the doors for the gospel, doors the powers of darkness are fighting to hold shut.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

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The church’s greatest evangelist, Paul, taught that prayer was absolutely vital for advancing the gospel because of who wanted it squelched: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). The ultimate enemies of the gospel are spiritual in nature. As such, our greatest weapon is prayer. In a very real sense, prayer opens the doors for the gospel, doors the powers of darkness are fighting to hold shut. Prayer advances the gospel to the gates of hell so that souls might be brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13-14). Singer and song writer, Phil Wickham’s work, Battle Belongs, proclaims: “So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees. With my hands lifted high. Oh God, the battle belongs to You.” We further see Paul counseling disciples about prayer as a means of advancing the gospel:“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains” (Colossians 4:2-3 NLT). “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1 NLT). “Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work,” wrote A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.”3 Jerry Conner, pastor of global outreach and church planting at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri wrote the following in an article titled 4 Reasons Churches Must Pray For Missions: “The mission of advancing the gospel is the great work of the church, and prayer is the engine that moves it. One of the greatest resources the church has for advancing the gospel is the ability to come before God in prayer and plead for what is already on his heart— the growth of his kingdom in the world.” E.M. Bounds, author of at least eight books on prayer writes, “The key [to] all missionary success is prayer.”4 Evangelist James Sidlow Baxter claimed that, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.”5 A key figure of the first great awakening revival in England One of the helpful ways I suggest disciples can pray to advance the gospel is by practicing a threefold missional approach to prayer – pray for three unreached people groups in the world, pray for three unchurched people in your circle of influence and finally, pray for three efforts of your church to reach people in your community who do not know Jesus.

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and the colonies, John Wesley, once said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”6 I have a friend and colleague who is a genuine prayer warrior. Let’s call him Alex. Alex’s ministry of prayer has become for me a significant example of the primacy of appealing to God for advancement of the gospel. He has experienced years of ministry in settings where persecution and battles with demonic forces were common. He has lived and served in refugee camps where situations were desperate. He is the most persuasive advocate I know for the power and impact of prayer in seeing people come to Christ. It is not uncommon for him to pray through the night for a single soul he is seeking to reach. Alex would testify that through prayer he was drawn into God’s amazing love for the world. The outcome of such an encounter transformed him, compelled him, emboldened him to make disciples. Prayer is the most powerful internal catalyst for advancing the gospel among the people of God. God’s Son was a missionary and the more we spend time with him in prayer, the more we want to become like him. There are countless well-intentioned voices in Canada describing the best way to reach our nation for Christ. Most are solid, biblical and have substantive merit. However, we advance the gospel best, not by human strategies, as necessary as they are, but on our knees appealing for the Father’s will to be done in us, and through us, on earth as it is in heaven.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

globalministries.org/the_history_of_the_haystack_ pray_10_10_2014_112/ samstorms.org/enjoying-god-blog/post/10-things-youshould-know-about-the-welsh-revival-of-1904-06 send.org/Blog/prayer-in-missions sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index. php?view=article&aid=1707 thelife.com/great-quotes-on-prayer truthlifelight.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/god-doesnothing-but-in-answer-to-prayer/

R E V. P H I L I P A G U N T H E R

is director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches


When God seems deaf

“ W H Y, G O D , D O YO U T U R N A D E A F E A R ? ” Psalm 88:13; Message Bible

There are times in all our lives as disciples of Jesus when we have asked, “God why won’t you answer my prayers?” At such times we must remind ourselves that are the beloved of God and He always has our best interests at heart. The following are some of the truths that have helped me navigate those times when I wonder if God is deaf to my prayers. God responds to prayer according to His will, not ours. God is not a divine Santa Claus or magical genie. Our God is sovereign in all matters and He has perfect purposes and plans which are not dependent upon, or bendable by, our earth-bound wishes. Our prayer requests must always conclude with “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10). In his book, When God Says No, Leith Anderson writes, “If God didn’t require prayers to be “according to his will” for him to answer yes, he would no longer be functioning as God. He would merely be the pawn of human prayers pushing the prayer button. The consequences would be far-reaching and disastrous…Prayer would couple the worst of human sinfulness with the unlimited power of God.” 1 God is not finite-sighted, we are. Sometimes even prayers made with the best of motives will not bring about the best result in the end. God knows the ultimate outcome of our prayer requests, we don’t. Again Anderson writes, “There are times when no is the best answer God can give. That doesn’t mean our prayers flow from shortsighted or evil motives. It’s just that God knows so much better.” 2 God doesn’t make mistakes, we do. Sometimes our prayers are simply destined to reap tears. We can and do make mistakes when we offer up our petitions. Again, God knows what is in our best interest even when we don’t. Sometimes we don’t realize that God wants us to be the answer to our own prayer. A story is told of young woman who traveled to India for her annual vacation. The more she saw 1 Anderson, Leith. When God Says No. Minneapolis: Bethany House Pub.; 1996, 96. 2 Ibid, 40.

the plight of the country the heavier her burden for the poor and sick with whom she came into contact. Feeling overwhelmed by despair, she cried out to God, “Lord, why won’t you send someone to help these people; they need someone to care for them.” The Lord whispered back, “My child, I did send someone. I sent you.” When our prayers are answered, sometimes we lack the eyes to see it. When we ask God for something, do we expect ‘Godsize’ answers? Do we limit how God should answer our petition? Do we believe God will unfold His “yes” to your prayer request in a nice and neat gift-wrapped box with a note saying, “Just the way you asked for it”? My experience has been that God’s “yes’ is most often better and bigger than my request. So much of our perception is earthbound. We look for our ‘answer’, but is it the same as God’s? God always answers the ‘knock’ of our prayers and His response is good. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Prayer barriers may be playing out in our life. Scripture does speak to barriers in the disciple’s life that can hinder one’s prayers (e.g. unconfessed sin, lack of humility). Sometimes God’s response to prayer is a mystery There are times when God’s response to our prayers remains a riddle. Sometimes we just don’t know why God deals with us as He does. Remember Paul’s words: “At present we are [people] looking at a puzzling reflection in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God has known me!” (1 Corinthians 13:12; J.B. Phillips) It is wise to remember that even in the midst of the mystery, “God hasn’t fallen asleep at the wheel….”3 Ours is the opportunity to exercise true faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. — Rev. Philip A. Gunther

3 Silvious, Jan. “Request Denied.” Moody. March/April 2000, 26-28.

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O Canada, A Prayer For You1 “… S E E K T H E P E A C E A N D P R O S P E R I T Y O F T H E C I T Y T O W H I C H I H AV E C A R R I E D YO U I N T O E X I L E . P R AY TO T H E L O R D F O R I T, B EC A U S E I F I T P R O S P E R S , YO U TO O W I L L P R O S P E R .” JEREMIAH 29:7 “ I U R G E , T H E N , F I R S T O F A L L , T H AT R E Q U E S T S A N D T H A N K S G I V I N G B E M A D E F O R E V E R YO N E – F O R K I N G S A N D A L L T H O S E I N A U T H O R I T Y, T H AT W E M AY L I V E P E A C E F U L A N D Q U I E T L I V E S I N A L L G O D L I N E S S AND HOLINESS.

T H I S I S G O O D, A N D P L E A S E S G O D O U R S AV I O R , W H O WA N T S A L L M E N TO B E S AV E D A N D TO COM E TO A KNOWLEDG E OF TH E TRUTH .” 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-3

Lord God Almighty, Thank you for our country, Canada. For its oceans, lakes, rivers and streams we praise you. For its mountains, knolls, prairies and meadows we exalt you. You created the ancient rain forests of Vancouver Island, the sea cliffs of Prince Edward Island, and everything in between. You brought into existence the tundra of the Northwest Territories, the boreal forests of the Yukon and the fjords of Nunavut. The glaciers of Ellesmere Island, the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia’s mighty Fraser River, and the Mingan Archipelago of Quebec proclaim your wonder. You show your majesty through the aurora borealis, your power through the falls of Niagara, and your steadfastness through the tides of the Bay of Fundy. We thank you for Canada’s wildlife like the moose, bear, wolf, beaver, eagle, whale, and salmon. We praise you for creations like the White Oak, the Black Maple, the Prairie Crocus, the Western Red Lily, and the Mountain Aven. The heavens and earth that make-up this magnificent country declare your glory. We are mindful of your hand of grace in our history; grace that shaped the lives of countless first peoples and immigrants. Remember our First Nations people like the Haida, Iroquois, Cree, Sioux, Micmac, Dene, and Inuit, all inhabitants of Kanata. Remember the new Canadians amongst us who have longed for the peace and prosperity we all know so well.

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O God, before Mount Logan was born from the depths or Lake Huron sprung into being from the deep, from everlasting to everlasting you are sovereign. Before our first peoples set foot on this vast expanse, before the first explorers charted its boundaries or before the first words of confederation were conceived, you walked the length and breadth of this creation. You are Canada’s Maker and Master. Lord, may we as Canadians be good neighbors to our fellow citizens as well as to our fellow nations. Embolden us to care for our poor, marginalized and sick, instill in us a compassion for all the hurting in our nation. Remind us to be merciful when embattled as a dominion, generous with our resources and wealth. May we honor the letter and spirit of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms but ultimately obey your Word. As citizens may we respect the rights of others enshrined in our laws but never forsake your statues and precepts. O God, save our noble queen, may she our freedoms guard, long may she reign. O God, bless our elected leaders, our mayors, premiers, and prime minister. We bring before you our village, town and city councils, our Members of the Legislative Assembly and our Members of Parliament. Grant them wisdom and discernment. move them to do what is right and good. Inspire our leaders to integrity, purity of heart, and a passion for justice and peacemaking. Heavenly Father, we believe you love Canada and have a plan for its future. Guard our hearts, guide our steps: shepherd our generation and those that follow into all righteousness. O Canada, worship the Lord, praise him all Canadians. For great is his love, and faithfulness toward us. Amen. R E V. P H I L I P A . G U N T H E R

1 Philip Gunther. Heartwork II – Grace Like Rain. 2012, p.48.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

JANUARY 2022

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D AY O N E

Bless e L d! Psalm 103:1 (ESV) “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” Psalm 34:1 (ESV) “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

REFLEC T As we begin our 2022 prayer week, we want to refocus on what new things lie ahead. As we hopefully return to some semblance of normal (viz., returning to the classroom and workplace, and re-engaging relationships with neighbours and friends), we want to pray for new vision and increasing passion for entering these spaces as image-bearers of Jesus. Our prayer theme this week is BLESS! The words “bless” and “blessed” are all over the Bible, showing up 427 times in the NIV. Blessing normally involves a verbal proclamation over someone that expresses a desire that God would intervene for their ultimate well-being. But blessing must also, when possible, involve actions that help bring about that well-being. Normally God blesses people, or priests and leaders bless people—but we begin our prayer week with the unusual biblical command to “Bless the LORD.” In this context, the word bless seems to mean “worship,” “praise,” or “extol.” We begin our prayer week with worship prayers to the one who gives us physical and spiritual life, salvation, community, meaning and purpose! We bless the Source of Life—the Bread of Life—the Living Water! We verbally speak and sing this blessing upward in the direction of Jesus. We bless the LORD as we sit, stand, kneel, and walk. We bless the LORD in our hearts and homes—and we bless the LORD as we gather together with other disciples of Jesus. We bless the LORD in sorrow and in joy; in suffering and in celebration; in the rain and in the sunshine; in solitude and while surrounded by the joyous community. To bless the LORD means we verbally express worship both on our own and also corporately (e.g., “I will declare [God’s] name to my people; in the assembly, I will praise you” [Ps 22:22]). To bless the LORD also means that we pursue actions that participate in God’s Kingdom mission in the world. To bless is both to speak and to act. So on day one our prayers are declarations of worship: “Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

CONSIDER What does it look like to “Bless the LORD” in my prayers? What does it look like to “Bless the LORD” in my actions today?

P R AY Pray words of blessing and praise to Jesus that Jesus would be worshiped in your ˚ words and actions “continually”; that Jesus’ Kingdom would come on earth as ˚ it is in heaven; that God would be blessed today by ˚ and hearing these prayers and the prayers of disciples of Jesus worldwide. Pray words of commitment to Jesus Jesus would strengthen you today to ˚ that participate in God’s Kingdom mission; that Jesus would pour out his Spirit on you ˚ so that you can love others and embody and act out God’s blessing to “all nations”; that “all that is within me” would “bless ˚ and his holy name.”

#cdnmbpray


D AY T WO

Bless r neighb rs Mark 12:28-31 (NIV) “One of the teachers of the law came and … asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important? ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’” Genesis 47:10 (NIV) “Then Joseph blessed Pharaoh.”

REFLEC T

CONSIDER

Our model for blessing others comes from a desire to be image bearers for our Triune God. God is a God of blessing who blessed the first humans (Gen 1:22, 28), blessed the Sabbath day (Gen 2:3), and promised that “all nations on earth” will be blessed through Abraham’s offspring (Gen 18:18). God’s heart is not to “condemn the world” (John 3:17) but to save the world through Jesus. God’s heart is to bless, not curse. If we are to reflect Jesus in our world, we must walk this same path. Blessing involves speaking gracious words that proclaim our desire for God to act for the other person’s ultimate well-being. Blessing also involves doing actions to help make these words of blessing a reality—as much as this is humanly possible. Blessing is what love of neighbour is all about. If we love, we will speak words of blessing. If we love, we will take action to help make these words a reality. Joseph verbally blessed Pharaoh but then participated in actions that helped make this blessing a reality (Gen 47:10-26). Jacob verbally blessed Joseph’s two sons but then took actions to ensure that they received twice the inheritance (Gen 48:8-22).); Naomi blessed Boaz (Ruth 2:19-20) and then took actions that ultimately would lead to Boaz being part of the family line of Jesus Christ (Ruth 3). So on day two, our prayers are about how to bless our neighbours as a practical application of God’s command to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31). To love our neighbours in 2022 means that we speak words of blessing over our neighbours and participate in actions that help bring these words into reality (as far as that is humanly possible). While we certainly want to focus this blessing on those living closest to us, we must not forget about our most vulnerable neighbours: neighbours. ˚ Indigenous Neighbours who have recently relocated here from all over the ˚ world. who live without proper housing. ˚ Neighbours Neighbours who struggle with addictions. ˚ Our definition of “neighbour” must include the most vulnerable (cf. Psalm 41:1; Proverbs 22:9).

How can you bless your neighbours today?

2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

How can you bless your most vulnerable neighbours? Which of your neighbours are particularly in need of blessing?

P R AY Pray words of blessing over your neighbours that no matter their ethnic, racial, reli˚ gious, sexual, or economic realities, all your neighbours would feel welcome in your neighbourhood that all your neighbours would sense God’s ˚ love and care for them today that your neighbours would hear and respond ˚ to Jesus’ invitation to salvation and true life Pray words of commitment to be a blessing that you would have the courage to get to ˚ know your neighbours in significant ways that you would show God’s love by helping ˚ neighbours in need—especially the most vulnerable that you would be willing, as God leads, to ˚ invite neighbours to consider the truthfulness of Jesus’ words and actions and respond to that truth, so they become redeemed children of God

#cdnmbpray


D AY T H R E E

Bless r enemies Luke 6:27-28 (NIV) “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Romans 12:14 (NIV) “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

CONSIDER Who are your enemies—those who stand in opposition to you?

REFLEC T

Stressful events can bring people together, but they can just as easily turn neighbours, friends, and family into “enemies.” We’ve seen this happen in the past pandemic years. Countries that have long been friends suddenly close their borders. Churches, families, and friendship groups unified around Jesus and his kingdom mission, now divided over masks, vaccines, and mandates. People have become separated along political and ideological lines. It is easy to “curse” our enemies—but Jesus tells us to bless. Paul says, “bless and do not curse.” Peter says, “Repay evil with blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). While it is next to impossible to avoid having enemies altogether, we want to be people who bless our enemies and “pray for those who mistreat [us].” Remember, the blessing involves speaking gracious words proclaiming our desire that God would act for other people’s ultimate well-being. It also includes doing actions to help make these words of blessing a reality—as much as this is humanly possible. So, if we want to bless our enemies, we need to speak words that reflect our honest desire for their ultimate well-being. We need to pursue actions that demonstrate our desire to bless rather than curse. There may be no more difficult prayers than this—to pray blessings over our enemies. But this is the way of Jesus and a much-needed path as we move into 2022. So on day three, our prayers are for the blessing of our enemies. 2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

How could you express blessing to them—and what actions could you do to express this blessing?

P R AY Pray words of blessing over our enemies they would experience God’s health and ˚ that protection at this moment if they are not worshipers of Jesus, that ˚ that they would hear and respond to Jesus’ invitation to salvation and true life Pray words of commitment to be a blessing to our enemies that you would be able to express to them ˚ God’s blessing over them that you would show God’s love by helping ˚ enemies in need that you would be willing, as God leads, to ˚ express an invitation to those enemies who are not worshipers of Jesus, to respond to Jesus who brings salvation and true life #cdnmbpray


D AY F O U R

Bless r Church Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV) “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: ‘”’ the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace’” “So they will put my name on the Israelites and I will bless them.”

REFLEC T A significant part of being an Old Testament priest was to bless the Israelites. Numbers 6:24-26 became the blessing pattern that continues to the present. Since the New Testament defines the church family today as a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), each of us carries the same responsibility to bless. Numbers 6:27 implies that somehow in the process of pronouncing a blessing over the people, God will “put [his] name on the Israelites” and “bless them.” Blessing is not just empty human words but something that has a spiritual and physical impact on the people of God. The blessing in Numbers 6 proclaims a desire that God will: “keep you”—which is another way of saying “protect,” “guard,” ˚ and “preserve.” his face shine upon you and be gracious to you,”—which ˚ “make means that God’s saving presence will be near you. his face toward you and give you peace [Shalom]”—which ˚ “turn means that God will give you his focus and attention for the purpose of ultimate wholeness and well-being. The Numbers 6 blessing is all about God protecting the people of God, about God’s presence dwelling among the people; and about God’s provision of ultimate wholeness and well-being. Our blessing over the Church must involve these same things—protection, divine presence, and divine provision. But in this blessing, we hope that God will “put his name on” us so that we can reflect his character, love, and mission in 2022 more than ever before. So day four involves prayers for the blessing of the Church.

CONSIDER What part of God’s “blessing” (protection, divine presence, or divine provision) is most needed by your local church today? What is most needed by our larger MB church family in Canada and worldwide? What does it look like for you to participate in blessing your local church and the blessing of our larger MB church family? 2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

P R AY Pray words of blessing over the Church that your local church and our larger MB ˚ church family would experience God’s spiritual and physical protection as it navigates our pandemic and post-pandemic world that God would bless your local church and ˚ our larger MB church family with the tangible presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit that God would shower his “peace” [Shalom] ˚ over our churches during times when conflict and disunity seem to be the order of the day that God would provide wisdom and grace ˚ for our MB leaders, locally and beyond, as they serve the church family Pray words of commitment to be a blessing over the Church that you would find the opportunity to ˚ express God’s blessing to your church family that you would know how you can be of help ˚ for those in need in your church family that you would have the opportunity to ˚ encourage church leaders during this season of incredible challenge for those in leadership #cdnmbpray


D AY F I V E

Bless r “families” Genesis 31:55 (NIV) “Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them.” Genesis 49:28 (NIV) “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.” REFLEC T As followers of Jesus, we want to nurture deep and loving relationships so that we walk through life not in isolation but in joyful community. Whether married or single, all of us need “families” of people who are in our closest network of relationships. Our prayers on this day are for a blessing over these people whom we consider “family,” whether or not they are biologically connected to us. We have a responsibility to bless our families. We are responsible for ensuring that we do no harm, abuse, or neglect to our families. Sometimes, it may even be easier to bless the LORD, bless our neighbours and enemies, and even bless the Church than to bless those we consider family. However, no relationship will experience more harm more quickly through the neglect of blessing than our family relationships. May 2022 be a year of blessing our families! Blessing is a much-needed part of being family. The righteous bless their parents while the unrighteous “curse” and/or refuse to bless their parents (cf. Pr 30:11). We read in the biblical story of parents like Laban and Jacob blessing their children. After bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, David went home “to bless his household” (2 Sam 6:20). Jesus blesses the little children (Mark 10:16) and then blesses the disciples (Luke 24:50-51). Jesus, though single, is creating a family—and blessing that family. We want to be people of blessing who pronounce blessings over our biological families and over those in family-like relationships with us. Our blessing pattern continues to be Numbers 6:24-26, where we declare a desire that God will: “guard,” and “preserve” those in our family. ˚ “protect,” be a gracious and redemptive presence and that our family will ˚ become faithful disciples of Jesus. his focus and attention so that our family can experience ulti˚ give mate wholeness and well-being. Blessing our family involves a desire and a responsibility to protect and guard those in our family. Blessing our family also involves encouragement to respond to God’s gracious invitation for relationship, salvation, and discipleship. Finally, blessing our family means we desire God’s ultimate wholeness and well-being for our family. We participate in making that a reality (as much as we can). So on day five, we pray prayers of blessing over our family. 2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

CONSIDER Write down the names of those who are in your “family”—both biologically and relationally. What does each of these “family” members most need in 2022—protection from harm, God’s gracious and redemptive presence, or an experience of God’s ultimate wholeness and well-being?

P R AY Pray words of blessing over your family that this very day your family would ˚ experience protection from harm; the gracious presence of Jesus; and God’s wholeness and peace Pray words of commitment to be a blessing to your family God would help you see how you might ˚ that protect your vulnerable family members from harm that God would help you embody and ˚ demonstrate the gracious presence of Jesus to your family so that they would become faithful disciples of Jesus that God would help you participate in ˚ bringing God’s wholeness and peace in the lives of your family #cdnmbpray


D AY S I X

Bless e ole w ld Genesis 12:3 (NIV) “I will bless those who bless you, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Revelation 7:9 (NIV) “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

REFLEC T We begin today with the foundational statement: “God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). Because God so loved the world, God wants “all peoples on earth” to be blessed. This blessing fulfills God’s Kingdom vision as described in Revelation 7:9 where a “great multitude” of the redeemed come from every nation, tribe, people, and language and worship Jesus before the throne. Our prayer today is for the nations. Once again, we want to follow the Numbers 6:24-26 model. model. A faithful blessing means that we desire that: would guard and protect those in our world; ˚ God God’s redemptive presence would be proclaimed and become a ˚ reality for those in our world; would bring his ultimate wholeness and well-being to our world. ˚ God Our blessing for the nations is for God’s protection as people around the world experience suffering: suffering resulting from the pandemic, suffering from violence, war, or political unrest, suffering from natural disasters, and suffering as a result of famine and economic disaster. Our blessing for the nations is also that God’s redemptive presence would be demonstrated and proclaimed around the world so that people from every nation would become redeemed worshipers of Jesus as described in Revelation 7:9. Finally, our blessing for the nations is that God’s peace or Shalom would spread across our earth—as we await the day when Jesus returns, and his kingdom comes to earth as it is in heaven. So on day six, our prayers are for God’s blessing over the nations.

CONSIDER Is there a particular nation that God has put on your heart to bless? Is there a particular ethnic group living in Canada that God has put in your heart to bless? 2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

P R AY Pray words of blessing over the nations that this very day people around the world ˚ would experience protection from harm and suffering; an authentic and loving presentation of God’s good news for the world; and a taste of God’s redemptive desire for wholeness and peace that God would bless our mission agen˚ cies (Multiply; MDS; MCC) as they seek to be the hands, feet, and voice of blessing to the nations in the name of Jesus that the particular nation or ethnic group ˚ God has put on your heart would experience God’s blessing Pray words of commitment to be a blessing over the nations that God would help you discern what you ˚ can do to support the work of blessing the nations in the name of Jesus that God would help you discern how you ˚ could bless an ethnic group living in your community in the name of Jesus #cdnmbpray


D AY S E V E N

Bless e Creator Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV) “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Revelation 4:11 (NIV) “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

REFLEC T While it would be tempting to label this final day “Bless the Creation!” the biblical record does not contain examples of people blessing inanimate objects. Jewish prayers almost always begin with the words: “Blessed are you, O Lord, King of the Universe.” While the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof suggests a blessing for the new sewing machine, the biblical pattern is to bless the creator rather than the creation. While we often ask people at mealtime to “bless the food,” the biblical pattern is to bless the ultimate giver of the food rather than the food itself. (Although many Bible translations of Matthew 26:26 imply that Jesus blessed “it” [the bread], the Greek only says that Jesus “blessed”—which in the Jewish tradition of his childhood would have meant that he almost certainly blessed God rather than the bread itself.) We have come to the end of our week of prayer. Once again, directing our attention to God—the one who is “worthy…to receive glory and honour and power” because he has “created all things.” We should bless the Triune Creator God for his physical creation, which sustains us, mystifies us, enthralls us, and gives us meaningful work. We should bless God for the beauty he paints across the evening sky, into each snow flake, across the rock cliff faces; and into every unusual and amazing creature of sky, sea, and land. But we also should bless God even when the physical creation terrifies us with its immense and destructive power manifest in floods, fires, storms, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Blessing the Creator God starts with going outside and truly opening our eyes. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem says: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” We need to walk slowly and notice the intricate beauty and immense power of God’s Creation. We need to turn away from our screens and look! We need to take out our earbuds and noise-cancelling headphones and listen! And with each new sight or sound, we need to verbalize a prayer of blessing to our Creator God! And after verbalizing these prayers, we must ask Jesus how we could act in ways that honour and preserve God’s good creation. So, we come to the end of our 2022 Prayer Week, praying prayers of blessing toward our Creator God. 2022 WEEK OF PRAYER

CONSIDER How can you verbally bless God for his amazing and terrifying creation? How can you guard and protect that which the Creator has made?

P R AY Pray words of blessing toward the Creator this very day you would find new words ˚ that to express gratitude and praise for God’s beautiful creation that you would have a greater appreciation ˚ for the power, goodness, and redemptive purposes of God by observing and reflecting on the creation Pray words of commitment to be a blessing to the Creator God God would reveal to you steps you could ˚ that take to appreciate God’s creation better God would reveal to you steps you could ˚ that take to better care for God’s creation #cdnmbpray


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Resilient Leadership PRAYING AGAINST BURNOUT Six factors contribute to burnout: autonomy, connection, reward, equity, workload, and values. Below are prayers for each of the six areas to remain or become healthy as leaders.

AUTONOMY This area, in particular, has been challenged throughout the pandemic. Constant change and loss of decision-making power can make people feel little control. Prayer: God, show me where I have autonomy and how to embrace it for full effectiveness. Reveal where I am grasping for control of something only you can control. Help me relinquish these areas to you. CONNECTION We are relational people who desire connection. The pandemic has dramatically decreased the amount of contact in our personal, professional, and spiritual lives. This decrease has caused a lot of mental health difficulties both in our own lives and those around us. Prayer: God, please show me where I need connection in my life and who to reach. Would you please show me how to reach out to those who are lonely and afraid? Please restore deep connections for me, my family, church, and community. REWARD Leaders have had to change how we communicate with those we lead, how we run programs, reach out to our communities, and change how we do just about everything. We need to feel our work has meaning, where the reward comes in. Prayer: God, you know the extra work and effort I have put in this year. You know the challenges and setbacks. Please let my identity be fully rooted in you even as I partner with you for your kingdom. Please show me how I can experience solace in your presence and reward in your rest.

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JANUARY 2022

M B H E R A L D.C O M

EQUITY Equity speaks to the equality, or lack of equality, we experience. Equity can relate to race, gender, ability, and more. We have seen vital issues rise to the surface over the last two years substantially. Prayer: God, please show me where I have privilege and where I seek equity for myself and others. How can I be a voice and a change-maker for those who lack equity? Please open my eyes to those around me. WORKLOAD Leaders of all types have put in extra work throughout the pandemic. It is time to evaluate what is most important in light of our mission and vision and what we can let go of. Prayer: God, show me how to be productive and effective when working and shut off to restore when I am not. Please show me what is necessary and what is not. Please teach me when to take time off from work to rejuvenate. VALUES Conflicting values are a significant source of exhaustion for many leaders. Whether in the church or the marketplace, when we align our values with the values of the organization we work for, we have a better chance of thriving. Prayer: God, you know my heart. Please show me how to align my values with the values of my organization, and ultimately with your values. Please help me keep my eyes on the prize and remember why you have called me to this work.

B O N I TA E B Y

attends and is a former pastor at WMB Church in Waterloo, Ontario. She is a burnout prevention strategist, executive coach, and owner of Breakthrough Personal & Professional Development Inc., specializing in burnout prevention and wellness for organizations and individuals. Connect with Bonita at bonita@break-through.ca.


Finish lines

JOHN (HANS) PETERS

John was the fifth of seven siblings growing up in a loving Christian home. At 19, he became a Christian through the preaching of missionary Toews. That November, John was baptized. When the family moved in 1951 to Bagé in Rio Grande do Sul, he met his future wife Kaetie Braun. Their love spanned 65 years together. They immigrated to Canada in 1967, finding a home in Vancouver. John and Kaetie worshipped at Vancouver MB Church. When Culloden MB Church began, they became deeply involved. Their son Dieter was born in 1957 in Brazil, and Albert, in 1968 in Canada. Dieter died in a car accident in 1977. This devastated them. Albert and Lore adopted two boys, for whom John and Kaetie were so grateful. John worked in construction for others, then formed his own company in 1992. At 57, John had a kidney attack on vacation in Hawaii. He began chemotherapy for kidney cancer, and in April 1994, had a kidney removed. As a result of

the cancer, John had to terminate his company – his passion and joy. John then assisted his wife with light duty day work. He did most of the driving. They enjoyed working together. He also worked many years with Albert, milling wood. In 1998, John and Kaetie moved to Abbotsford and joined Clearbrook MB Church, where they volunteered joyfully on the food service committee. John was also part of the luncheon service at Garden Park Tower. When his health deteriorated, he moved to Mayfair Senior Living and Care Home. He was the last of his siblings (Gerhard, Mariechen, Liese, Leni, Jacob, Else). John was a hard worker who cared for everyone around him. He enjoyed good food with family and friends. He had a good sense of humour and liked to joke around. Birth: June 6, 1935 Birthplace: Alto Krauel, Santa Catarina, Brazil Death: October 26, 2021 Parents: Gerhard & Luise (Wiens) Peters Married: Katarina (Kaetie) Braun, Nov. 3, 1956 Family: Kaetie; sons Dieter [d. 1977], Albert (Lore Friesen); grandsons Charlie, Taylor Church: Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. Baptism: 1954

ANNIE BREATA KLASSEN Breata was the fourth of five children, the only girl. She accepted Jesus as Saviour at 8 and was later baptized into Aberdeen (Sask.) MB Church. Her education began near Aberdeen at New Steinbach Country School and the local high school. She attended teacher’s college and began her teaching career in Dalmeny, Sask. A noted soloist and ensemble member, Breata earned her bachelor of music from MB Bible College, Winnipeg. Here she met her future husband, Hank Klassen. Life soon led them to Calgary, where Breata spent the remainder of her teaching career with the Calgary Board of Education. She loved teaching and enjoyed working with her students and colleagues. After retirement, Breata and Hank contracted custom homes for friends and travelled across the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia. She enjoyed church life, including singing in the choir and participating in drama productions, working in the church kitchen and serving as Sunday school superintendent. In everything she did, Breata pointed people to God. She died after a brief journey with cancer. Birth: June 11, 1933 Birthplace: Aberdeen, Sask. Death: November 14, 2021 Parents: Peter & Annie (Sawatzky) Krahn Married: Heinrich (Hank) Klassen, 1963 Family: Hank; children Stephen (Fern Braun), Krista (Keith) Retzlaff; grandchildren Alysa Klassen, Tyler Klassen, Anne Retzlaff, Liesel Retzlaff Church: Aberdeen MB; Central MB, Saskatoon; Highland MB, Calgary; South Calgary MB; Dalhousie Church, Calgary Baptism: Aberdeen MB, 1945

ANNA ALI EPP During the post-war cleanup in Holland, Anna met Peter Epp, who was working with Mennonite Central Committee. They married Mar. 2, 1948, in Leiden, Netherlands. An only child, she left her parents, city, and country to follow Peter to Canada to farm—a challenge she accepted and conquered. They started in Chin, Alta., then a few years later moved to Vauxhall to continue farming and raising their family. Anna lived a life of service to her family and others. She was very active in her church and Bible study groups. She was predeceased by Peter, daughterin-law Marge Epp; grandson Garth Epp; great-granddaughter Clair Epp; great-great-grandson Brody Cartwright. Birth: December 14, 1926 Birthplace: Middleburg, The Netherlands Death: October 27, 2021 Parents: Nicolas & Tryntje van Gorkum Married: Peter Epp, Mar. 2, 1948 [d. July 8, 1978] Family: children Ronald (Val), Laurence (Peggy), Edward, Vergil (Joy), Evelyn (George) Culshaw, Carol (Harry) Wall, Loretta (Manuel) Kindt; 17 grandchildren; 28 greatgrandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren Church: Coaldale (Alta.) MB


VERNA JOYCE HEINRICHS Verna grew up on a dairy farm near Hepburn, Sask. She attended the one-room school at New Home. After high school in Hepburn, she attended Bethany College, where she met John. Verna and John married in the Hepburn MB Church in 1959. After a brief stay in Saskatoon, they moved to Winnipeg. Verna worked at Ogilvie Flour Mills while John attended college and university. In 1970, John and Verna and their seven children moved to Manitou, Man., where John taught high school. Verna was a stay-at-home mom, raising eight children (the eighth having been added in Manitou). When they were grown, she took a healthcare aide course and worked in a care home for 15 years. She was loved by those she served. Every summer Verna would grow a huge and beautiful flower garden – enjoying the compliments of passersby. John and Verna moved to Kelowna, B.C., in 2017, downsizing from a heritage house in Manitou to a 2-bedroom apartment. They soon had many new friends and enjoyed an active social life. Verna especially liked sewing blankets for Mennonite Central Committee with her sewing club at Willow Park Church. Verna was bubbly and joyful; she was a people person with an infectious laugh and a trusting smile. Her college yearbook described her as full of “vim, vigour, and vitality, with a grade A personality.” She loved talking to people personally; it was never enough to just post a “like” online – she needed to hear their voice. She made friends easily and had a way of bringing out the best in people. Birth: July 22, 1937 Birthplace: Saskatoon Death: December 17, 2021 Parents: Peter & Agatha Friesen Married: John Heinrichs, July 31, 1959 Family: John; children Garry (Darlene), Eldon (Verda), Glen (Barb), Joan (Erik), Carolyn (Terry), Brian (Jaclyn), Diane (Karl), and Kevin (Terri); 21 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; sibling Art Friesen Church: Kelowna Gospel Fellowship

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JACOB HENRY REIMER Jacob was born in Rueckenau, Russia, in 1924 and immigrated to Canada with his parents that year. He spent his childhood in Kitchener, Ont., as the eldest of 5 siblings. Jacob went on to postsecondary education in Winnipeg, Kansas, and Colorado, where he obtained a masters degree. Soon afterward, he moved to Yarrow, B.C., to begin his teaching career, and met his wife of 64 years, Catherine Epp. They were married in 1952 and settled in Vancouver, where Jacob taught history at Burnaby Central High School and they raised their five children. Jacob was a founding and active member of Killarney Park MB Church. Shortly after retirement, Jacob and Cathy relocated to a condo near Jericho Beach. They spent many happy years walking the beaches and their beloved Stanley Park as well as exploring many parts of Canada and the world. Jacob died peacefully at the Louis Brier Home in Vancouver. Birth: April 21, 1924 Birthplace: Rueckenau, Russia Death: December 23, 2021 Parents: Henry & Aganetha Reimer Married: Catherine Epp, 1952 [d. 2017] Family: children James (Marie), Mark (Jane), Lorraine (Glen) Yanchuk, Karl (Elinor), Julia (Tony Sellen); 10 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren, brother John (Mary) Church: Killarney Park MB, Vancouver

O B I T UA R I E S H AV E LO N G B E E N A VA LU E D PA R T O F T H E M B H ER A LD. FR O M T H E F U N E R A L B U L L E T I N S , EU LO G I E S , A N D N E WS PA P E R O B IT UA R I E S YO U S EN D, O U R ED ITO RS C R A F T LIFE STORIES OF OUR MEMBERS TO INSPIRE A N D E N C O U R A G E O U R R E A D E R S , C R E AT I N G A MEMORIAL OF MB SAINTS. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT AN OBITUARY


M U LT I P LY I N G C H U R C H E S

TIBETANS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD ora lives in a Tibetan neighborhood where she serves as a youth worker. It’s where she first encountered a Tibetan boy named Champo. They met when Champo was about twelve years old. “He was kind and friendly,” recalled Kora, “but he was also filled with self-loathing and convinced that no one liked him. He told us repeatedly, ‘Everyone hates me.’” Kora and her team of youth workers kept speaking truth over Champo and asked if they could pray for him. “One day he said yes,” she said. “We prayed over him, and he began to change. Over time, we noticed that he stopped talking about hating himself. Then he told us one day that he knew God was real because he felt his presence inside him.” When Kora asked him to share more about his newfound faith, Champo was hesitant. He was nervous about how his parents would respond. He thought they would likely perceive his relationship with Jesus as a rejection of Tibetan Buddhism and kick him out of their home. It was difficult for Kora and her teammates to know what to do. They understood that for most people within this immigrant community, to be Tibetan was to be Buddhist, even if they lived in North America. That’s right, Champo and his family don’t live in Asia—they live in one of North America’s largest cities, where there are, according to some estimates, as many as 10,000 Tibetan immigrants spread out across the city. “There are over 4000 Tibetans in my neighborhood alone,” said Kora, “all within just a few city blocks. To my knowledge, that’s the densest population anywhere outside of Asia.” Kora grew up in Southeast Asia as the daughter of Multiply global workers, but when she moved to North America, she began to learn about immigrants from all over the world living in the city where she settled. She was especially intrigued by the large Tibetan population and saw both the needs and the opportunities within this unique Buddhist community. “Of those ten thousand Tibetans in our city, we know of only ten that are followers of Jesus,” she said. “They make up a very small fellowship, but they are meeting together regularly.” According to Kora, only a handful of Christians in the neighborhood are reaching out to the Tibetans among them. With some disappointment, she said, “In the whole city, I know of only one church among hundreds that is actively engaged in outreach to their Tibetan neighbors here.” “Most churches in North America still have the mindset that cross-cultural ministry is overseas,” concluded Kora, “it’s somewhere else, and it’s something only a few people are called to.”

K

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

Names have been changed for privacy and security reasons.

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Kora hopes that this ministry among Tibetans will challenge churches in North America to embrace the idea that all believers are called to reach out to their neighbors, wherever those neighbors are from. “Because no matter where you live,” she continued, “most of us have neighbors now from other cultures. Maybe God brought them to our streets so they could hear the Gospel from us!” Kora is passionate about encouraging other believers to engage their neighbours who come from different cultures around the world. She hopes that they will be more adventurous in trying different foods and communicating across language barriers. “Ask your neighbors about their festivals,” she pleads, “and learn about their values, their worldview, so you can effectively communicate the Gospel in a language they will understand.” Kora and her teammates are not asking Champo to reject his Tibetan identity or heritage. They understand that his family is still very attached to their Buddhist traditions and practices. “Some of the youth that I work with tell me that their parents make them pray to the spirit shelf in their apartment every night before bed,” she explained. “When I go to some of their events here in the city, it’s like walking into a Buddhist temple in Asia. Their religion is still very much a part of their identity, even here in North America.” That’s why it was so significant when Kora introduced Champo to two other Tibetans in the city who had embraced following Jesus. “They shared their testimonies with him and prayed for him in a Tibetan dialect,” said Kora. “It was powerful. Champo was blown away, because he had never heard someone pray to Jesus in his own language before. He thought he was the only Tibetan in the whole world who was interested in following Jesus.” Since meeting those other Tibetan believers, Champo has continued to grow in his faith. “We’ve seen him become more confident, and at the same time more humble,” explained Kora. “He’s becoming a leader within his community.” Kora resolved to provide Champo with as much P R AY encouragement as possible and then waited patiently Please pray for Champo’s faith in for him to talk about his faith in Jesus with his peers Christ, that he would continue to and his family. “We don’t rush this process,” she said grow in strength and wisdom. Pray plainly, “because we know the cost is real and it has for other Tibetans like him who to be led by the Holy Spirit.” desire to follow Jesus. Pray also for Clearly, the Holy Spirit is at work in Champo’s Kora and her teammates as they life. This past summer, at a week-long camp for Tibetan work among Tibetans in North youth, Kora and her teammates watched in amazeAmerica. Pray that many more ment as the young Tibetan took the next step. “At the churches will begin to support this start of camp, in front of all the youth,” Kora shared, work and become involved in local “Champo stood up and prayed for the leaders and for cross-cultural outreach. the camp participants. He was obviously nervous, but it was so sweet. Some of the other youth were shocked, but Champo continued to declare his faith in Jesus throughout the week.” MARK J.H. KLASSEN AND ERIC GEDDES

are members of the Multiply media team.

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A moment in time

B E E C H Y, S A S K AT C H E WA N , 1 9 8 7

A prayer circle on stage during the installation of Mike Housek as pastor at Hillside Christian Fellowship Church in Beechy. Mike is standing in the back row, facing the camera, third from the right. Connie Housek is beside Mike, but hidden from view. Courtesy of the Mennonite Archival Information Database


S U B S C R I B E T O M B H E R A L D D I G E S T W W W. M B H E R A L D . C O M / S U B S C R I B E -V I A - E M A I L