A Young Anabaptist takes flight

Almost a year ago, a step onto a plane was the first into a whole new world of not only learning many new things, but meeting a bunch of inspiring people. In February 2016, my first year as a member of the Young Anabaptists (YABs) Committee started. A little nervous, a little apprehensive, but a whole lot excited, I stepped into the plane that would take me to Semarang, Indonesia where the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Executive Committee, staff, regional representatives, and of course, the YABs Committee would have their annual meeting.

In Indonesia, where I met all these people who will organize the next MWC Assembly, I encountered Anabaptists who live in a world where Christians form a minority, but still they build a church as big as a soccer arena where they can come and celebrate with thousands of people on Sunday. It was a bit overwhelming for a girl who is used to church gatherings of 30–50 people, but amazing to see.   

The MWC Young Anabaptists (YABs) Committee in 2016.
Photo: LIFE TV (Indonesia)

A second time I stepped into an airplane this year was to meet up with the European Mennonite national conference leaders. Again, I was a little nervous since I would be the only young person there, representing of course the YABs of Europe, but also the global family. I thought I would feel like the odd one out, but never before have I met so many adults who were so welcoming and interested in what I do. They inspire me to continue on the path I am following, to keep working in this great Anabaptist world-wide community.

While these were the big events I’ve joined, the work of a YABs committee member is mostly through skype, email, Facebook and Instagram. During this year, I met many people online whom I would love to meet in person one day. And who knows, we might. For example, at the MERC (the Mennonite European Regional Conference) in 2018, or at the first Renewal 2027 event in Augsburg this February, or even in Indonesia at the next Assembly in 2021.

This Renewal 2027 event, at which all the YABs committee members will participate by giving a short sermon on Matthew 28, will remember the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. During this day, there will not only be testimonies, but also music and singing from the international songbook and the possibility to meet Anabaptists from all over the world! We would love if you could join us in the celebrations: you can sign up here.

A year ago, I stepped into a plane with one thing in mind: wherever I would go, the Lord would always be with me... and he brought me further into this wonderful international Anabaptist community. I can’t wait to see where he will bring me the next few years.

Blessings, Jantine