In Puerto Rico

News FlashMiriam W. Beachy picture and obituary.

A political note Sojourner Magazine notes Romans 12:2:Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will and urges voting in the direction of strengthening families and renewing culture:  One person, one vote, Get big money out of politics.  Families are fragile; strengthen them.Work for equal protection for gays an lesbians.Treat addictions’ don’t criminalize them.

Rachel in Puerto Rico

A note from Rachel:  In 1945 Mennonite Board of Missions began working in Puerto Rico and in 1947 a church was organized in the La Plata Valley, a esult of the work of Civilian Public Service men sent by the  Mennonite Central Committee as early as 1943. MBM also founded two schools and a hospital during those early years.

Last week I visited Puerto Rico along with Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Education Agency boards and executive teams. After two days of meetings at Academia Menonita at Summit Hills we spent Saturday learning about past and current work of the Puerto Rican Mennonite Church by visiting three churches—Betania, Aibonito, and La Plata, as well as Academia Betania near Aibonito.

We also visited the Hospital Menonita in Aibonito, one of the three large hospitals in what we were told is the largest health system in the Mennonite world. All of these—the churches, schools, and hospitals—are Puerto Rican led and administered.

The Puerto Rican church blessing and annointing Stanley Green, President of Mennonite Mission Network

Pastors were so pleased to be able to tell stories of the beginnings and describe the growth of their work. We expressed our appreciation for their hospitality by gathering around to pray blessings upon them and the ministries. They returned the blessing to us that evening as we each received anointing and prayer.

There were some who questioned the decision for the Mission Network and MEA boards to meet in Puerto Rico this fall. But as one who experienced it, I affirm the decision to give attention to the Puerto Rican Mennonite Church at this moment in time. Puerto Rico provided a unique location for these two boards to weave together common themes of mission and education.

Carlos Romero, executive director of MEA and the organizer and host of the meetings, was clearly an example of one who was nurtured in the Puerto Rican church setting who has become a key leader in Mennonite Church USA. It was a privilege to witness the love and pride placed in him. Of course, Carlos is only one of the leaders of Puerto Rican heritage. To name just one more: Elizabeth Soto, the moderator of Mennonite Church USA, is also Puerto Rican. The Puerto Rican Mennonite Church hopes to join the Mennonite Church USA as the 23rd area conference. I share their hope.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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