Praying through the decades

Erla Buehler, photo supplied

A Sunday school assignment in the 1940s to exchange letters with a missionary began a Canadian woman’s a lifelong investment in prayer for India.

A Sunday school teacher at Elmira Mennonite Church assigned teenaged Erla Buehler to write to Lena Graber, a registered nurse from Iowa, USA, who was serving with what is now called Mennonite Mission Network at Dhamtari Christian Hospital in India.

“Thus began my interest in India,” Erla Buehler writes in a letter to MWC.

“That spark continued to grow into a flame,” Buehler writes. At Ontario Mennonite Bible School in the 1950s, it grew as she learned about William Carey and the missionary movement.

Her dream to visit India came true in 1997 when her niece’s Indian-born husband led a tour to the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Kolkata. Listening to speakers on the theme “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches” was “inspiring, uplifting, wonderful.”

Lena Graber, photo supplied

“Assembly Scattered in addition to Gathered was also eye-opening,” Erla Buehler writes. The group visited the Mennonite Central Committee centre and an orphanage project.

“We were also privileged to be billeted in private homes,” she writes. “It still amazes me how the Holy Spirit was active in putting this all together.”

When she returned home, Erla Buehler tracked down Lena Graber and resumed correspondence. She praised God to learn of Lena Graber’s work starting nursing schools in India and Nepal where she was one of the first Mennonite Board of Missions workers.

Today, Erla Buehler learns of the church’s work through the MWC Prayer Network email. By special request, she receives it every two months mailed to her in hard copy.

“All these years and still there is a marvellous network of faithful praying believers building the kingdom of God.” This 88 year-old continues to be part of it.

—A Mennonite World Conference release by Karla Braun

11 Apr 2019 - 11:33am