HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Vietnamese pastor Nguyen Quang Trung led a 40-year struggle to see the Vietnam Mennonite Church (VMC) legally recognized, finally succeeding in 2007. Now, after 51 years of service to the VMC and eight years as its first official president, Trung is stepping down. Entrusting its future to the next generation, the VMC elected Pastor Huynh Dinh Nghia as its new president on Dec. 2, 2016.
Coming home late, I can smell if he has already prayed. The beeswax candles leave a sweet warmth in the air for hours. It is always long after the children have been put to bed, with prayers and kisses and toddlers finding their second wind's second wind. It is in that decisive moment between reading one more chapter or laying the book down and heading to bed. We often wait too long, and we go sleepily to our prayer corner, yawning.
A prophetic word becomes worship music in South Asia. For several years, when people prayed for me, I heard this phrase often repeated, “You will write new songs ...” But it wasn't until we were living overseas, worshiping in a place that was longing for true praise of God to arrive, that I really began to see that promise come true.
SALUNGA, Pa. — On a Sunday morning this past July, four children from the U.S. entered a church in Bumangi, Tanzania, over 7,600 miles away from their hometowns. They were welcomed as family, embraced, and given gifts of intricately woven East African cloth. Then they heard stories of their great-grandparents from those who still remembered.
Manuel* has received a large bag of spicy corn chips, called “churros” here, and he grins from ear to ear holding up his prize. I am sure he will end up sharing the treat with others, but for now the thought of having an entire bag of chips to himself fills his mind. The other boys his age are passing around his box of Legos; ready to play with them, but knowing they have to wait for Manuel to open them.
What happens when accepting Christian beliefs means disrupting an ancient cultural practice? Before the news of Jesus was brought to the village of Catel, each newborn baby was always dedicated to the ancestors. These traditional celebrations are called “coming-out” ceremonies, for in this culture the new baby and mother remain indoors for one week. When they leave the house, there is a naming celebration that includes a sacrificial ceremony to idols.
My name is Nathanael Thorne. I am 24 years old and a full-time student and employee. I served on a YES team for a nine-month assignment to Guinea Bissau, West Africa.
SALUNGA, Pa. — Assemblies of God churches in Bangladesh have a profound commitment to peacemaking. Five Bangladeshi church districts welcomed Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) Global Consultant David W. Shenk, a widely recognized interfaith specialist, to visit, teach, and encourage their congregations to become even more deeply rooted in Jesus’ way of peace. From Aug. 29–Sept. 10, 2016, Assemblies of God church members across Bangladesh were encouraged to continue breaking down barriers between people by building bridges of dialogue and friendship.
When a little old lady caught my eye, I didn’t think much of it. I was praying for a mentor, someone to walk with me through the seasons of life. The tiny woman wouldn’t have appeared intimidating under any circumstances, but it’s awkward, a tad scary, to ask someone to journey with you in life. I only knew her name. I assumed she was a Christian (she seemed to pray before her meals ... or maybe she dozed off, I didn’t actually know). I figured God had helped me to notice her. What would it hurt to ask her?