MEM Ministry Video Playlist
Low German Bolivia Ministry
EMMC’s initial vision in the 1960s of offering help to the Low German Mennonite people of Bolivia had mixed results. Now several decades later, with a growing number of colonies and a larger population, work among these Mennonite people is progressing. There are many needs.
EMMC works together with the Evangelical Bergthaler Mennonite Conference of La Crete Alberta as MEM, Misión Evangélica Menonita. The EMC Conference provides staffing and other support, and help is also coming from Paraguay and Mexico. MEM has as its goal to encourage those people who for one reason or another have disassociated themselves with the church system of the colonies. Primary efforts are in spiritual, academic and economic areas.
Ministry efforts are taking place in Villa Nueva, near Pailón, and in a more recent economic development project, Hacienda Verde, near San José de Chiquitos. The help offered comes in various forms.
Pastoral leadership is vital to establishing healthy churches. Bible studies and singing evenings provide spiritual encouragement. Personal counselling and mentoring help with specific needs.
Education plays a big part in helping an academically impoverished group. MEM’s work with the national Ministry of Education has resulted in schools it administers being recognized by the government. Currently, the Unidad Educativa school in Villa Nueva has around 170 students and the Unidad Educativa Brillante school in Hacienda Verde has around 65 students. In total over 300 children and young people, mostly from Low German Mennonite backgrounds are enrolled in government recognized schools. An adult learning program has resulted in several parents of students graduating with their high school equivalency. Already education is paying off as a number of formers students of the Villa Nueva school are on the teaching staff at these schools.
Spanish Bolivia Ministry
EMMC missions outreach into Bolivia began in the late 1960s. What started as a work among Low German Mennonite people migrated into a work that included outreach to Bolivian nationals. In the following decades that ministry to Spanish speakers has grown into what is today known as LIEAB, La Iglesia Evangélica Anabautista en Bolivia. LIEAB currently consists of over a dozen churches primarily in the Santa Cruz area of the country. It is mostly an autonomous conference with a deep and continuing appreciation for EMMC and the workers that have been a part of their spiritual journey.
(La Iglesia Evangélica Anabautista en Bolivia) strives to grow leadership from the inside having a number of youth and College and Career age leadership development programs that include youth from other Latin countries. LIEAB leadership is committed to an aggressive church growth program with a goal of planting churches in every Bolivian department (province) in the next few years.
La Fortaleza School in Santa Cruz Bolivia is administered by LIEAB. Annually over 700 students get the opportunity for a quality education that changes lives.
SETA (Seminario por Extensión Teológico a las Américas) is an arm of LIEAB distributing and administering S.E.A.N. materials in Spanish to train pastors and leaders in Bolivian churches. Annually several hundred students take part in this theological training by extension program, available even in remote regions.
Campamento Chorovi. This is where the EMMC work initially began in Bolivia. What was formerly a clinic and ministry centre is now being developed into a multi-use retreat facility run by LIEAB. The LIEAB vision for Chorovi is that it will be used by many organisations for teaching and training purposes.
RIMI or La Red de Iglesias Misioneras Internacionales, is another ministry connected with the LIEAB organisation. This international missions outreach program came about as the result of LIEAB sending one of their own leaders as a missionary to Mexico City some years ago. It involves an annual missions conference involving up to a dozen mostly Spanish speaking pastors and missionaries from various countries.
Tuition Support for MEM Schools | Give to this Project
Parents in the communities of Villa Nueva and Hacienda Verde in Bolivia are aware of the responsibility they have to provide their children with a good education. Yet, because of economic realities they struggle to pay the tuition. Leaders in both communities are putting in place long-term plans to assure that local funding is available. In the meantime, the MEM ministry is committed to supporting these parents with a portion of the costs to operate the schools. With that in mind MEM has opened a project to allow you to share in the help we provide. May we ask you to consider helping with a financial gift as these projects take shape?
MEM San Jose Radio Fund | Give to this Project
In their home in eastern Bolivia a family gathers around a radio to listen to messages that encourage and uplift. Programs, especially those in Low German, provide some relief from the day-to-day struggles. The Radio del Campo Boliviano station in the city of San Jose is operated by MEM ministry staff and broadcasts the message of God’s love and hope to a region that has an estimated 10,000 potential listeners in Mennonite colonies and additional thousands of mainly Spanish-speaking Bolivians in the area. Your gift to this fund will ensure Low German radio programming continues and lives will be changed, as the truth goes out.
Low German School Curriculum Project | Give to this Project
Several hundred students from Low German Mennonite families attend government registered schools which operate under the direction of MEM educators. These students study in Spanish, English, and Low German. MEM is providing funding to pay the salaries of two full-time linguists who are developing a Low German school curriculum. In time it is expected that this curriculum will be used not only in Bolivia, but in areas of Mexico, Belize and even Canada and the United States. Your donation will help cover the costs of salaries and supplies and printing of materials.
BENNY & ESTER FEHR
Benny and Ester Fehr and their family left for Bolivia just over 2 years ago to serve and support the Low German Colonies there through radio ministry. They served compassionately throughout the Covid pandemic and in mid-May both Benny and Ester contracted Covid. Ester recovered quickly, but Benny took a turn for the worse. On May 24, he was transferred to a hospital in Santa Cruz, where he remained on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma until his passing late in the evening of June 2, 2021. We grieve for Ester and their four children, Danae, Tyson, Isabella and Marcus.
Benny and Ester Fehr are from the Mount Salem Community Church (EMC) in Aylmer Ontario. Please continue to pray for Ester and the family as they consider decisions for their future. Pray too for the MEM team as Benny’s passing has had a profound impact on them as well.
RUBÉN & GUADALUPE MERCADO
Guadalupe lives in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Rubén Mercado – pastor, leader, friend, warrior for Christ passed away in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on June 9, 2021 as a result of COVID-19. Many people within EMMC have been impacted by Rubén’s ministry, and have had opportunity to get to know him personally. Rubén provided leadership to the LIEAB church conference in Bolivia.
STANLEY & HEIKE NEUFELD
Stanley and Heike live in Hacienda Verde with their young son.. Stanley is in charge of the administrative aspects of land management in this new community and Heike shares her teaching and musical gifts with the children and families. They are from the EMG Church in Sommerfeld Colony, East Paraguay.
HERBERT & ALWIERA TOEWS
Herbert and Alwiera are encouragers and helpers to the new families making Hacienda Verde their home. In charge of economic development for the community, and with energy and gifts of music they provide stability for these newcomers. They are from the Menno Colony in Paraguay’s Chaco.