Prayer Update

September 2017
Dear Friends,

I’m back! Thanks to Rudi Plett for writing the August Update while I was away. I spent a lot of enjoyable time with my grandchildren.  


Stories & Prayer Requests

Peru Crisis Update
“Where is our church going to meet?” The pastor of Chato Chico, Peru Mennonite Brethren church pointed to the high-water mark of this year’s El Nino flooding. Chato Chico has been evacuated, and the government says people cannot live there.  In this event more than 1.7 million people were affected as the flood destroyed 28,000 homes. Now there are 44,000 cases of dengue fever. The Piura department, where most of our MB family resides, is the most affected.

ICOMB is partnering with Mennonite World Conference, MB Mission and MCC. An MCC agent is helping the Peru MB church set up a local Task Force to assess needs and set up a fair way to allocate resources. So far ICOMB members have raised almost $25,000. Join us in thanking God for resources, and pray that our church in Peru, led by Antonio García and Saúl Yovera (pastors), will grow in strength and witness.
Congo Crisis
A contact (who we can’t identify for security reasons) shared about a Congolese church worker who said: “I have talked with many people who have seen their loved ones hacked to death. They are now living with hunger, lack of medical care and a dullness of spirit that surely must be [psychological] protection against too much spiritual and emotional pain.” Armed conflict has displaced 1.4 million people including 8,000 Mennonites in Congo. People have fled, leaving fields and animals behind.

Our MB members are taking in refugees – also on the Angola side of the border. Please pray for Gerard Mambakila, president of CEFMC (MB conference), and for the Mennonite Church of Congo who have appointed key people to work on this crisis. Your prayers mean a lot! ICOMB is part of a larger Anabaptist response coordinated by MCC.

Read more about the crisis and MCC's response here.

Photo provided by MCC: In Kele village near Tshikapa in Kasai Province, DR Congo, internally displaced people answer questions posed by the assessment team providing input for a collaborative Anabaptist response. Photo/Joseph Nkongolo
Jean-Claude Ambeke was elected new President of the MB Church of Angola (IEIMA). In August he wrote “After several meetings, night vigils, and prayers; Brother Pedro Lutiniko Lando was elected Regional Secretary with Alberto Evangelista Regional Deputy. I am grateful to God for this choice. I left many guidelines. They will organize the team and work of the Luanda (capital city) region.”

Region by region, Jean-Claude is helping re-organize the MB church of Angola after several years of chaotic leadership. Jean-Claude is a man of proven integrity, personally sacrificing his own resources to rebuild his conference. ICOMB is working with him now to raise funds to help him with extra expenses, and to coach toward more local church support and involvement. Please pray for Jean-Claude and for wisdom as we appoint a joint ICOMB/MB Mission task force for this 3-year project.
Upcoming Travel/Meetings

September 7-28 – Rudi: Winnipeg and Abbotsford, Canada; Panama
September 10 - Rudi: North Kildonan church (German service), Winnipeg, Canada
September 11-12 – Rudi, David and Rebekah: Planning meetings
September 18-25 – David: California, USA. Reedley church (24)
October 1 – David: Manitou church, Canada
October 1-4 – David: MB Mission board meetings, Abbotsford, Canada
October 15 – David: McIvor church – Winnipeg, Canada
October 22-29 – David: Ebenfeld Kansas (22); Corn Oklahoma (29) visits in between
November 12 – David: Bielefeld church, Germany
November 13-17 – Rudi: Latin America Retreat/Consultation. David: BTG church visits
November 23-27 – David; Lithuania/Mennonite leaders annual meeting
November 27-30 – David: Fraternal Visits in Austria and Germany
December 2-3 – David: Neuwied church, Germany
December 17 – David: Fort Garry church– Winnipeg, Canada

Prayer for National Leaders

ICOMB encourages churches to pray publicly for our global leaders on the Sundays indicated.

3) Jean-Claude Ambeke – Angola: Pray that Jean Claude will have strength and resources for his campaign to renew his national church conference.

10) Steve Berg – Canada: Pray that Steve will have wisdom and patience for the restructuring and refinancing program for his national church conference.

17) Ismael Ramírez – Mexico: Pray that Ismael will have wisdom to make leadership decisions about several churches.

24) Heinrich Klassen – Germany BTG: Pray for God to bless a new church site located near the Bielefeld University.

David's Reflections

I had a great conversation with Sandra Báez in Bogota, Colombia in June over lunch. She joined her husband César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, and me for international meetings.

Sandra talked about her visit to a “rehabilitation” camp of 200 women who once were part of FARC, the anti-government guerilla group. FARC fought for rights of the people for decades. It was violent – one of our Mennonite Brethren pastors died in a bombing perhaps 20 years ago. 
FARC reached a peace agreement with the government recently. Sandra joined others to visit and train these women with restoration skills.

She met one woman who left her two children – aged 2 and 3 – about 13 years ago. She had not seen them again until recently, when one daughter, now aged 16, visited her in the camp. The woman told Sandra she has “no regrets” about her decision to join FARC and miss her daughters growing up!

The news media report that this peace accord is difficult. Many Colombians lost loved ones in the violence, and people are angry that the peace accord ignores the wrongs done by FARC. However, Christians know the pathway forward is not retribution (“an eye for an eye”) but taking time to learn to know people and their stories, forgive and restore. God bless Sandra and many others in church agencies who are contributing peace-making skills to heal their country. It’s a real-time testimony to Jesus’ command to “love your enemies.” Glory to God.

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