Serious misconceptionsby Elvina Martens, Goshen, Ind.
Regarding "Missions as a Form of Exoticism," November 2010): Leo Hartshorn's "cursory reading" about global missions has left him with some serious misconceptions, and I hope as he interacts with members of the Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) staff he will become better educated about both the past and the present situation.
From the beginning of the foreign mission endeavor of the Mennonite
church, the goal has always been to produce independent churches. That goal has been attained in all except the most recently started work. The Mennonite churches in Taiwan, Colombia and Congo have no long-term missionary presence. The involvement of MMN, Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM) in all countries is to support the local church in its program, whether by sending missionaries, money or some kind of expertise.
In some countries, MMN supports indigenous missionaries appointed and sent out by the local church. MMN also works with the Indonesian Mennonites to support workers in other countries. In southern Africa, there has been no attempt to begin a Mennonite church. But Mennonites have worked with other, mostly African-initiated churches. AIMM is a purely coordinating agency. One of its purposes is to promote fellowship between the churches in Africa and those in the United States and Canada.
The apostle Paul gave the best analogy of the Christian church: that of the human body. No part is dispensable, no part is more important except the head, which is Jesus Christ. A body is healthy when all parts work together, each performing its function.
Associated Issue: The beat of mission - November
Associated Article: Mission as a form of exoticism?
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