Editor’s Note: One year ago we asked missionaries what Christmas looks like in their country of service—here are a few of their answers.
Jeremy and Adrienne Penner, EMC Workers with Multiply in Thailand
It’s the busiest ministry time of the year! Myanmar migrant workers rarely have time off—so when it comes there’s a big outreach focus. No one here knows anything about why Christmas is a thing, but everyone likes a party! Each church holds Christmas party outreach events all over their area, sharing about Jesus coming to save us, singing songs, performing dramas, and eating delicious Burmese food and Christmas cookies. In 2020, we and our team planned 19 outreaches! Between baking, preparing, and running events it’s a busy month; and afterwards, there isn’t time to sit around because January is when follow-up starts! Continue reading A Cross-Cultural Christmas→
While we are tired of online events, they continue to hold new opportunities to gather in ways we wouldn’t have previously imagined. This spring the Board of Missions (BOM) tried something new—an online gathering for missionary sharing and prayer. Continue reading New Opportunities to Gather for Prayer→
Proclaiming Jesus in word and deed: Opposing human trafficking. Assisting refugees. Counselling couples. Providing food. Aiding families living on a garbage dump. Building houses. Helping abused women. Praying. Digging wells. Supporting pregnant teens. Teaching children. Washing clothes. Flipping pancakes. Helping people with HIV/AIDS. Bible translation. Growing food. Gathering in worship. Evangelism. Flying patients and workers. Promoting mental health. Training leaders. Camping with children. Seeking justice. Planting churches. Educating members. Assisting the elderly. Striving for peace. Encouraging youth. In many countries. On six continents.
What do EMCers do? This is part of it!
The EMC has 98 cross-cultural workers in 24 countries serving 115 people groups, according to info provided to Diana Peters. That’s a wide ministry and a fairly high ratio of workers to members. This workforce, serving on our behalf, takes most of our $1.9 million national and international budget. It’s worth it.
In fact, EMCers value cross-cultural work so much that some of us likely give to the same workers in three ways: through the international and national budget, within a local church budget, and by directly giving to workers. And beyond the EMC Board of Missions, churches and individuals support many other workers.
We have, of course, four other boards. These seek to guide the EMC, be responsible stewards, develop and assist our leaders, educate in the faith, and preserve the testimony of past generations. All churches benefit.
EMCers do much. We have many workers—thousands. Missionaries and pastors form only a fraction of them. For instance, what keeps you busy?
We are busy because of Jesus. We exist because the One who is our peace makes us one (Eph. 2:14). Our unity is in Christ: “just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in and all” (Eph. 4:4-6). This is basic and wonderful.
From this unity in Christ we work together and respond to many needs. Jesus came among us, healed, taught, was killed, buried, raised, and will return. Why? For our healing, reconciliation, wholeness, and safety both individually and together. And not ours only (1 Tim. 2:1-7, 4:9-10; 2 Pet. 3:9).
Yes, we face challenges. The EMC has grown little in membership in 17 years and our budget faces stress. When our membership does not increase and our budget is reduced, our ministries are affected and some people are not helped. In Canada, some of our churches are hurting and more churches are needed.
What does the Great Commission include? We’re to go, make disciples, baptize (Matt. 28:18-20)—and what else? Teach believers to “obey everything” Jesus has commanded. Our Lord’s words and example reveal that our calling as Christians is many-sided (Luke 4:17-19, Matt. 23:13-25).
The good news is many-sided. We are called to faith in Christ shown in discipleship, community, evangelism, charity, justice, peace, stewardship, creation care, and much more. Body and soul, individual and community, “spiritual” and social—we are not, ultimately, called to choose between them for ourselves or others (Micah 6:8; Luke 4:16-21; John 1:14; James 2:5-7, 14-17; James 5:1-6).
As Christians we have a many-sided calling as local as next door and as wide as the world. We serve one Lord, respond to many needs, and Every Ministry Counts (EMC).
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference