Edwin Hiebert, the pastor of a small Mennonite church in Loma Plata of the El Chaco area of Paraguay, partners with OM in Paraguay. He is also the general director of 13 churches in the Colonia Menno district and partners with OM in Paraguay. He shares his thoughts below on the importance of missional living from a pastor's point of view.
Our immigrant forefathers had no interest in foreign missions; they wanted to start a new life and be left in peace. But a reformation began in 1950, bringing with it a new vision and understanding for missions, initially among our indigenous neighbours, but then spreading across the country. We came to accept Christ’s command in Matthew 28 to go to the whole world, and in recent years, many have been sent out through OM and other missions. As we continue to do this, God increases our ability and resources for the task.
There are numerous ways that pastors and leaders can keep mission vision alive, whether by inviting OM (and other groups) to present global opportunities or by supporting church members who feel called to a particular field or ministry to connect with missions that have experience in that area to learn and prepare more.
The church that I pastor is the smallest in our association, with about 100 members, but size need not be a barrier or excuse for full participation in global missions. Christ’s command stands for all His followers. We have seen that seeking together to obey this command spares us from other problems that come by being self-centred: jealousy, cliques, gossip and more. And there are so many options available today for any church to be missional—there is no excuse!
OM serves local churches in their mission vision. We are happy that OM has just opened a missions base in our community where anyone—especially younger people—can find encouragement and knowledge about their call to or interest in missions. OM has been a blessing that we experience whenever people return home, their testimony encourages us to trust God for greater things ahead. So we say thank you.
My dream is to give people the means to become more like Jesus in every way, and that includes being more missional personally and as a body. I want to see people embracing mission with passion rather than out of duty.
Pray for the churches in Paraguay and Latin America to develop a great passion for missions and send many missionaries into the field to the least reached, who have not yet heard the good news!