50th Anniversary of the Convención Hermanos Menonitas del Paraguay (Mennonite Brethren Convention of Paraguay)
This year, the Paraguayan conference Convención Hermanos Menonitas del Paraguay celebrated its 50th anniversary. Pastor Dario Ramírez, president of the conference and ICOMB representative, expressed: “My heart is very happy and joyful. We see how God has been faithful with our convention and our churches, and how He accompanied this process for 50 years. Today, we are celebrating with more than 60 churches and 3,766 members, not counting children and teenagers. Counting these sectors, we had approximately 7,500 people attending our churches before the pandemic. It is a great privilege.”
Within the framework of the anniversary celebrations, the final celebration night was a highlight. With a lot of organization, and respecting the sanitary protocols, special guests, friends, pastors, and the pioneers of the Convention were present at the temple of the church El Refugio.
A musical segment of old choirs started the program, followed by a video documentary on the 50 years of the Convention. As a special recognition, the pioneers were gifted a special plaque. Among the honorees were Rodolfo and Hilda Plett, Alfredo and Ingrid Klassen, and the daughter of Alberto and Anna Enns on their behalf. Also recognized were the Convention presidents of all these years, among them Luis and Teresa Alum, Sixto and Cirila Mencia, Juan and Elfriede Veron, Maximo Abadie, Oscar and Doris Peralta, and Dario and Norma Ramirez. In addition, the families who support the work, the Walde, Rempel, and Siemens families, were thanked.
A brief reflection, a powerful prayer, and praises as gratitude to God were the final components for the night, where the goodness, faithfulness, and mercy of God for the beloved Convention was evidenced, recognized, and thanked. God motivates and blesses the Convention to continue being his visible hand.
“It was an honor to receive all these people to celebrate what God has done with the Convention in these 50 years; for us, it is an opportunity to show how good God has been. He has allowed us to go through mountains and valleys, but we continue walking. Today is a celebration of his faithfulness, and we project ourselves to many more years.”
—Pastor Edgar Klassen, CHMP Executive Committee member
"It was a spiritual celebration, and we feel gratitude, above all, for these 50 years, as we look back to see God's faithfulness and project ourselves towards what He has prepared. When we were talking with the Committee about how to celebrate the anniversary during a pandemic, it was a challenge; we would have liked to celebrate all together, with all the churches of the interior and the capital, but God wanted it this way. And the pandemic does not take away the value of what we are enjoying today; on the contrary, it is one more reason for gratitude, since we can still celebrate.”
—Pastor Efrain Mencia, CHMP Executive Committee member
50 years, 50 new churches
The challenge that God gave the leaders to fulfill His dream for the convention is to plant 50 new churches, as a gift for his faithfulness. The executive committee and pastors have assumed this commitment, and today, there are already 14 missionary points about to become churches, with people being baptized and people involved in ministry.
Goals for the coming years
“The goal of the Convention for the following years is to open 50 churches and a biblical institute. We also want a more constant and efficient training of pastors, since we need to be updated in terms of preparations and innovations. Another goal is to have a central headquarters for the Convention, to be able to celebrate together in one place, in our own house.”
—Pastor Darío Ramirez, CHMP president
The International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) is made up of 22 national churches in 19 countries with approximately 450,000 members. ICOMB exists to facilitate relationships and ministries to enhance the witness and discipleship of its member national churches – connecting, strengthening and expanding.