Mennonite pastor, sister and nieces killed in Mexico

Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico – Josefina (Chepina) Rempening Diaz, her sister and two nieces were found dead on December 14 as victims of violence. They were on their way to the funeral of a relative in Guauchochi, a village in the mountains southern of Chihuahua.

She pastored Ebenezer Mennonite Church with her husband, Walter Rempening, president of the Evangelical Missionary Conference of Mexico (CEMM) of Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua. Chepina was also a music teacher in the Mennonite elementary school Alvaro Obregon.

On Sunday December 16 a memorial service was held in Blumenau Mennonite Church, honouring the four women, although only Chepina was from the Mennonite church. Despite the large size of the church building, space was insufficient for the number of people present. The brother who led in prayer asked God to remove all feelings of anger from the hearts of those present.

Walter shared a memorial tribute of Chepina’s life, emphasizing her strong commitment to God, her efforts against the sin in her own life, and her ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness. He said: “She put herself in service; her joy was serving others, serving God, and being a blessing to others. This is how she overcame sin and took it out of her life.”

He talked a lot of about his wife’s love, noting, "Her love didn’t stay at home, she loved God above all else. I was always aware that I was in second place, and I loved it, because only the love of God flowing through Chepina was what enabled her to love so much.”

Walter's tribute ended with a message for men, encouraging them to love their wives deeply, saying, "we are wrong when we stop striving to love them, when do not honor them, when we do not serve them.”

Colleagues and friends, Victor Pedroza and Ofelia García commented, "She was a woman who served, a committed, strong Christian, her love for the Lord and his work was undeniable.

“Now we ask that love, faith and hope deepen within us and towards those who have no hope. From pain and deep indignation at such an atrocious and violent event, as Anabaptist Mennonites we declare ourselves for peace and nonviolence in the way Jesus taught us. We hope that in addition to expressing our condolences to the bereaved, we peacemakers reflect and are challenged to continue to build networks of support and action in this regard."

Representatives of CEMM participated in the assembly of IAMUM (United Anabaptist Mennonite Church of Mexico) in August with the theme, "Being and doing as churches working for justice and peace." For more information: and

From reports by Ofelia García of Mexico, a member of the Mission Commission of Mennonite World Conference.