Posted: October 14, 2022
“MWC was a school for me. It really helped me to know Anabaptist doctrine and understand how the church operates,” says Francisca Ibanda.
Known around the world as “Maman Cisca”, Francisa Ibanda, along with Barbara Nkala, recently completed her service as regional representative for MWC. Prior to serving as regional representative for Central and Western Africa (2015-2022), she served as one of two Africa representatives on the Executive Committee (2009-2015).
“During my service at MWC as regional representative, I discovered my gifts and learned much about humility, communication and love of neighbour; in short, Christian values. I am proud to have served on the global level,” says Francisca Ibanda.
“Regional representatives are our eyes and ears,” says Arli Klassen. These volunteer servants are ambassadors for Mennonite World Conference in their region. They represent the work of MWC (through commissions, networks, the executive committee and production of worship resources and stories) to the MWC member churches in their region. And they share the concerns, questions, needs and celebrations of the MWC member churches with the rest of the global Anabaptist body.
“This task of serving MWC taught me many things, such as the development of my Christian faith, the improvement of my personal relationship with God and the love of the church,” says Francisca Ibanda. “It was also an opportunity to improve my English and open myself up to the world.”
Regional representatives also offer an invitation: when a national church is interested in joining MWC, the regional representative visits the church leaders. They introduce the applicant national church to MWC leadership and explain MWC to the applicant church.
“I would like people to know that my global Mennonite family is a structure that is rich in values and opportunities that each member brings to the table.”
“My experience at MWC helped me to understand that the global church is built on important values such as fellowship and it is in diversity that it forms the body of Christ.”
“In the next five years, MWC must become well known by its members so that they can better understand it and engage in the accomplishment of its vision,” says Francisca Ibanda.
“My prayer is that MWC will continue to assist its members to better understand its vision in order to truly experience fellowship at the local, regional and international level. My most fervent wish is that MWC will develop its communication with the churches of the Southern Hemisphere (Latin America, Africa and Asia).”
Francisca Ibanda will continue to serve her local church and to mentor women. She is now working to start an NGO to assist orphans and people with disabilities.
“We are so thankful for the work of these brothers and sisters who form essential connections among Anabaptist-Mennonite churches around the world,” says Arli Klassen. “We bid a fond farewell to Cisca and Barbara, and extend a warm welcome to Siaka Traoré and Danisa Ndlovu who are now filling these roles.”
Click here to read reflections from Barbara Nkala.