Testimonies from Latin America
The joy of belonging to the Anabaptist Christian family
The possibility of mutual exchange and opportunities to share with the mosaic of brothers and sisters from the big picture of various Anabaptist churches contributes to affirming and cementing my faith, spirituality and personal identity as an Anabaptist Christian. Through these interactions, I have the opportunity to enrich my understanding of faith and to experience the presence of God in diverse and profound ways.
A. Anabaptist theological perspectives:
I am exposed to a variety of theological perspectives and practical approaches to faith. This helps me broaden my understanding of the Bible, theology and the core values of Anabaptism. Through these interactions, I can deepen my faith and see it from new perspectives while challenging my assumptions or former ways of thinking.
From my spiritual childhood in Anabaptism, I have grown to develop a secure personal Anabaptist identity.
B. The community and shared testimony:
I appreciate the value of community and shared witness. Through the testimonies of others, I witness how different communities live their faith in unique and diverse ways, reflecting the “manifold grace of God” and the gifts and experiences that God has given to these believers, followers of Jesus.
This encourages me to value and celebrate “plurality” in the church and to understand that unity in following Jesus does not imply uniformity, but harmony in the midst of our differences.
C. Justice and reconciliation:
Through the diversity of experiences and perspectives, I am confronted with issues of justice and reconciliation.
By interacting with people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures and traditions, I am challenged to examine the power structures and injustices present in the world. This fuels my commitment to social justice and leads me to look for ways to build bridges and promote reconciliation amid our differences.
D. An identity that is open and rooted:
I learn to appreciate and embrace my own Anabaptist identity while opening myself to diversity and interconnectedness with other traditions and cultures. I discovered that my identity is not in competition with other identities but is enriched and strengthened through dialogue and relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
This openness broadens my horizon and allows me to grow as a person and as a follower of Christ.
The sharing and mutual exchange with a mosaic of people from our big world of diverse places, Anabaptist churches and communities are a blessing in my spiritual life. This broadens my understanding of faith, strengthens my personal identity and fosters a deeper commitment to justice and reconciliation. Through these shared experiences, I sense the presence of God more deeply, and am challenged to live my faith in a more authentic and committed way.
|—Carlos Avalos, pastor, Iglesia de los Hermanos en Cristo “Bellos Horizontes”, Managua, Nicaragua.