In the September 2020 issue of The Messenger, Dr. Layton Friesen describes disruptions that COVID-19 has had on our traditions, especially in our churches. Many of the events that we as believers enjoyed in our places of worship have ceased or dramatically changed. Continue reading Earthly Disruptions or God-Given Opportunities→
We are very excited about our new school at Haciende Verde. Even though enrolment is down a bit from last year, we love that we now have four students in grade nine.
In need of more teachers, we have hired two young adults from Hacienda to fill in for Kindergarten, Plautdietsch classes, and Bible classes, and they are doing excellent work. This gives them an income and helps the families to realize that there are other ways to make a living besides milking cows.
My passion is still books and our bookstore at the Casa and I’m not giving up even though we have had very minimal Mennonite customers. We are excited that we have found a store in Santa Cruz that is willing to sell newly printed Low German material.
This distributor is in an area of Santa Cruz called Seis Agosto where Mennonites from all colonies congregate and shop. Author Irene Marsch has written a book called My Body is a Gift from God (Mien Kjarpa een Jeschenkj von Gott) that is a great tool to educate parents on how to teach their children about God’s design and purpose for the human body. It is so well done and we wanted to supply it, but we were unsure of the best way to advertise it and get it into Mennonite peoples’ hands.
Slowly, word was getting out and our pastors were using it in their marriage classes. Then something happened that only God could do. I was going to a women’s retreat where the theme of the event was I’m a Worthwhile Rose (Ekj – Wietvolle Roos).
I had ordered more copies of this book from Canada, and, without knowing if they would arrive on time for the weekend, I asked the organizers if I could possibly advertise these books at the retreat and they agreed. I had only five books on hand that I brought with me.
Well, miracle of miracles, the guest speaker was nurse Carla Wiens from Paraguay, and she was speaking on exactly the theme of this book. I got goosebumps all over when I heard her topics.
Two boxes of books came at the end of the retreat. The retreaters, Mennonite women from many different colonies in Bolivia, wanted them so badly that they waited almost an hour for them to arrive, and all 88 copies were taken. One pastor’s wife even asked if she could order 50 more copies to distribute at their Bible studies.
We praise God for answered prayer. Our prayer is that this book will be an instrument to educate families and protect girls at risk persons in many of our colonies.
Caroline and Henry Krahn (Picture Butte) serve in ministries of hospitality and literature.
At age seven I went to school every day, hoping my teacher would tell us how to get to heaven. I was obsessed with my need of forgiveness. I got some help at age 13. When I was 14, my uncle explained John 1:12. That was my turning point.
I have struggled with salvation and its teachings to children for almost a lifetime. I don’t want others to go through this the hard way or be oblivious to it altogether.
In 1972 I taught Religion Class in a school where I was teaching south of Winkler, Man. I remember the day I agonized before God, asking Him, “How can I get to the level of my Grade 2 to 4 students in order for them to understand my faith?”
The next morning I opened my Bible Story Book for our daily reading. It was the story of Jesus blessing the children and saying unless we have the faith of a little child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. I was hit so hard I could hardly read.
That left a permanent mark on my heart. I revised the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) content of what I was using in Religion Class. But I was still very oblivious to the “eternal security” position in it right till last year (2016) when I read Dr. Harvey Plett’s article on Children in the Church, which he sent me when I asked for help.
That is when my eyes were really opened. I agree that little children are in the Kingdom and should not be talked or scared into it. They are not lost, but safe in Jesus till the age of accountability, which differs from child to child.
I talked to a Grandma whose four-year-old grandson asked Jesus into his heart.Because of my new understanding, I could rejoice with her and warn her of the need for many commitments and re-commitments ahead.
From Oct. 19 to Dec. 8, 2016, I taught little children, mostly ages four to six, in a new outreach area of our church. Again, I needed the truths of that article in my lesson prep and teaching. I had a CEF flannelgraph that I used carefully.
I checked up in my home church as to what material the Sunday School teachers are using with the young children. I found out they use the CEF flannelgraph, much to my delight. I think it is important, though, for teachers to be informed of our theology on children and salvation. If they are not, is this not cause for deep concern?
A good teacher will repeat an important teaching and come at it from various angles and perspectives. I requested that Dr. Harvey Plett’s article on the spiritual status of children be reprinted. We need to hear it again.
Irene Kroeker (Rosenort EMC) has served as a missionary in Mexico and serves in various ways within her local church.
Note: Dr. Harvey Plett’s two-part series on the spiritual status of children appears in March and April.
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference