It was a dark and rainy evening on Feb. 19, when a good number of brave Herold Mennonite folks came out to assemble hygiene kits. First, we enjoyed delicious finger goods so we would have the energy to work. There were several work stations: preparing the cords for the cloth bags, putting the cords in the bags, then filling the bags with the hygiene items. The children had enjoyed collecting bars of soap on Sunday mornings during the month before this event. Several children helped assemble the bags. When the fun evening came to an end, we had filled 166 kits to send to MCC.
Omot and Hanna Aganya and their children have been in Kansas City since July, 2016. They have learned to know and are working with many immigrants from Ethiopia and South Sudan. After having smaller group meetings in homes for some months, Omot is sensing that the Lord wants them to start having larger group worship services. He is working specifically with 8 lay leaders who feel called to start a more public witness in Kansas City, Missouri. They are looking and praying for the Lord’s leading in finding a meeting place that they can use. Please join them in praying that they will be able to locate a place where they can reach out to those who need to hear the Gospel in that area. It would be also helpful if they would be able to find a van with which they could haul particularly new refugees who do not yet have their own transportation to worship services. If you know of any possibility for such a vehicle, please contact Omot Aganya (612 703 1637) or James Wenger (620 217 9029).
TEACH ME TO FISH
Rey de Gloria Mennonite Church is located in the small southern town of Brownsville, Texas. Its beginnings date back to December of 1999. Made up of mostly immigrant persons, it has always been an active church and true to our Mennonite service oriented background. Every summer, for the whole summer, they run a free daycare for children of all backgrounds, but mostly of undocumented persons. It is a small congregation with little funds, so a church building seemed like a wish destined not to come true. However, in January of 2010 they were able to buy a small plot of land with the help of South Central Conference and a lot of “Mennonite Chicken” Plate Sales as fundraisers. By December of 2015 they had the foundation laid for a new 120ft X 33ft Sanctuary. Around this time a group of persons from the Hesston area had come to lay block but due to a hold-up with city regulations, this could not be done. They came anyway and changed plans, instead roofing the Fuente de Agua Viva Mennonite church, a new church plant in Los Fresnos, Texas.
Fast forward to January of 2017, when again a group of men from the Hesston and Yoder area journeyed to Texas to help lay block. Here I think it’s fitting that names are mentioned; Pastor Kurt Horst, Dean Leatherman, Roger Reimer, Dana Orpin, Bob Esau, and Ed (Boomer) Cherry from Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston, Kansas, were joined by Matt Yoder from the Journey@Yoder Church in Yoder, Kansas. The group arrived on the 7th of January and after attending services at local churches on Sunday, began work by laying the cornerstone for the Rey de Gloria building on the 9th of January.
Along with the workers from Kansas, men from Rey de Gloria were there to help. They knew nothing of how to lay block. They thought they were there simply to help in any way they could. These men were Adan Perez, David Lopez, Martin Hernandez, Rafael Lopez, and Raul Velasquez. The guys still remember Bob Saying “ It’s your church, let’s get to laying block,” and lay block they did! Throughout the week, the Kansas team taught the Rey de Gloria men how to lay block. This is the true mission of the Mennonite Church; Brothers and Sisters in Christ reaching out to others and teaching them. Not doing for them, but teaching them. These men are proud to announce that the laying of block is already done! We now have a group of proud “Menonitas” that can say that they had a part in building a House of Prayer for our Lord.
The congregation sends their most profound thanks to SCC and these wonderful brothers in Christ that came to help.
–Lupe Aguilar, RCM reporting
Pastor Omot and Hannah Aganya and the church planting leadership team of eight are ready to launch Eden Life Church in north Kansas City. They are diligently searching for a Sunday morning meeting space as the next step. Pastor Omot and three of the team members were joined by James Wenger and Clarence Rempel, Regional Conference Ministers, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, to look at possibilities: churches, schools, and commercial properties. The Omots have gathered 40 Ethiopian-background immigrants ready for the launch with extended family members and friends waiting in a larger circle. Depending on location they may need furnishings, musical instruments, and help with start up funding. They have been meeting in a nearby Vineyard Church on Saturday for all night prayer meetings in preparation for the launch. They have a huge vision that they trust God to undertake as they reach out to more Ethiopians. They are open to Omot working with other ethnic groups as well, but they are now focused on reaching the 10,000 Ethiopians living in the Kansas City area.