March 1, 2016

From the president's heart: Our year in review

Written by  Nelson Okanya

This article appears in the March/April 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

“Jesus doesn't give an explanation for the pain and sorrow of the world. He comes where the pain is most acute and takes it upon himself. … He brings healing and hope. … He allows evil to do its worst to him. He exhausts it, drains its power, and emerges with new life.” — N. T. Wright

Multiple terrorist attacks worldwide, unstable economies and governments, natural disasters, polarizations and splits, the hottest year on record. One might have a pessimistic and hopeless view of the world in 2015. But God is at work in the world, and God tends to speak against data as Walter Brueggemann often reminds us.

Additionally, my great friend and EMM Global Consultant David Shenk reminded EMM staff in January that as a small Anabaptist community, we have a precious calling to be bearers of the good news that hope and healing are to be found in Christ. Indeed, Jesus is the healer of the nations and the One who breaks the cycle of violence that besets our world. Jesus is not only our salvation; He is the salvation of the nations. We are honored to be evangels of this good news!

Our focus and mandate at EMM remains the same as it has for over 100 years. We are centered on the saving work of Christ and of His command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). We call. We train. We send. We give. We go. We pray and incarnationally witness to the transforming power of the gospel.

We celebrate God’s faithfulness this past year. One hundred and twenty-five long-term workers, and 106 short-term workers (including mission interns) served in 36 countries around the globe, supported by 40 staff in Salunga, Pa. In this Annual Report you will read a summary of many, but not all, of our activities. Each ministry category provides a glimpse into our work in that area. You will see an interesting timeline that shows selected world events alongside EMM events in 2015. And finally, you will see our operating fund balance sheet and other pertinent financial numbers.

Our vision statement, although in updated language, remains the same vision that I believe John H. Mellinger and other visionaries had: “Serving together, we share God’s love, empower Christlike leaders, and nurture Spirit-inspired partnerships, to create transforming communities of worship among all peoples.”

Join me in praying that in this upcoming year “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

2016 holds its own challenges and, no doubt, blessings. May we all be found faithful.

Nelson Okanya serves as president of EMM.

This article appears in the March/April 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

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