Testimonies from Latin America
The Bible includes lots of books that were written before, during and after the coming of Jesus, but his story does not end there; God is still working and continues to impact people’s lives.
The ways in which God works are mysterious, and on many occasions, we must be patient to glimpse a small part of the great purpose that God has. In this sense, and although I still do not understand the magnitude of the Lord’s thought, I can testify to God’s grace and goodness in the midst of circumstances that seem to be negative, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been one of the events that has marked the history of humanity in recent years.
During the time of quarantine and mandatory social distancing, digital platforms were the means to strengthen relationships between faith communities. This was the case of the relationship between IMCOL (Mennonite church of Colombia) and AMG (association of Mennonite congregations in Germany), where through monthly Bible studies we reflected together on how the biblical texts spoke to each one of us as followers of Christ. From these online conversations, the AMG invited me to apply to participate as a Mennonite youth delegate at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Frankly, at first, I did not know what I could contribute to that Assembly, considering that the representation of Colombians was small and that of Mennonites even smaller. However, as the days went by, as I got to know more participants, I was able to see that the Mennonites represented a milestone in the history of the church, since we are recognized for the work we carry out in matters of justice, peace and reconciliation.
In this sense, I felt accepted and encouraged to continue participating as a Mennonite, understanding that I belong to a local and global church that seeks to build bridges for peace, amid a context marked by violence. I also had the possibility of actively participating in an ecumenical meeting, where despite being a young Latina woman who is not ordained, I was able to dialogue with bishops, reverends and theologians from different countries.
This experience opened my perspective, allowing me to understand the great wealth of opportunity that exists in interdenominational and international dialogue, the big picture of God at work in the world. Each individual person makes an essential contribution to building up the body of Christ, coming out of the social, cultural and political context in which each person is immersed. As a young Latina Mennonite woman from Colombia, I too had something to contribute.
|—Catalina Bonilla, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Teusaquillo, Bogotá, Colombia.