Natacha Kyendrebeogo of Burkina Faso is looking forward to seeing “one family with a lot of members, worshipping the same Father.”
She is one of four people serving through the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network on the team preparing for the Mennonite World Conference assembly July 5-10 in Indonesia.
YAMEN is a program of MWC and Mennonite Central Committee that expands the fellowship among Anabaptist churches and develops young leaders.
All four members of the team are working on MWC’s global gathering. Assembly happens once every six years, and the YAMEN members are looking forward to being part of the meeting of Anabaptist-Mennonites from around the world.
“The Global Church Village, the programs, the workshops: I have this whole picture of a crowd that is so joyful, doing things together,” said Loyce Twongirwe of Uganda. A filmmaker, she serves on the communications team.
Sunil Kadmaset of India said: “I am looking forward to creating lasting friendships, getting to know each country, how people live, how they are as a congregation.”
While waiting for visas for Indonesia, Kadmaset and Ananda Mohan Murmu began to get to know the wider Anabaptist family as they served with the Mennonite Christian Service Fellowship of India, or MCSFI.
Kadmaset (from the Brethren in Christ in Cuttack, Odisha) and Ananda Mohan Murmu (from a Bharatiya Jukta Christa Prachar Mandali congregation in Balarampur, West Bengal) lived among Mennonite Church India members in Chhattisgarh. They collaborated with Anabaptist-Mennonite organizations from eight national churches in India and Nepal.
Mohan Murmu was drawn to YAMEN after hearing from friends who participated in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program about how the program had an impact on their perspective. Alongside MCSFI director Benjamin Nand, he called on gardening and peace projects and visited churches with MWC regional representative Cynthia Peacock.
“We are from different states, different castes, yet we are still as brothers and sisters,” Kadmaset said.
With MCSFI, he met people who suffered from COVID-19, yet, with help from the Mennonite family and encouragement from the Spirit, they persevered.
Kyendrebeogo tasted the fellowship of the global family before she left home. After a military coup in Burkina Faso, “I received a lot of mail encouragement from those who don’t know me,” she said. “They pray for my country; they pray for this situation. I enjoy the love, the encouragement.”
The YAMENers are spurred on by their hopes for the assembly.
Loyce Twongirwe started her work from an office in Uganda and now is with the team in Indonesia.
“We are advancing videos: how to register, how to book hotels,” she said. “So, when they reach the event, they don’t feel lost, confused, left out. It’s a great responsibility to us to make sure it goes as perfect as we picture.”