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  • USMB
    the leadership of assistant pastor Rene Quintanilla the church becomes a gathering place on Saturday mornings as people pick up their bread and often stay for coffee and conversation with others in the neighborhood According to Quintanilla it is a way for the church to let them know they have a place they can come to when they have problems and issues Resourcing women in the community Even prior to the community survey the church had responded to the economic downturn with a ministry to unemployed women in the community My Sister s Closet is a resource for women as they seek and prepare for employment A classroom at the church is fully stocked with quality used clothing suitable for interviews and office jobs thanks to partnerships with women from churches and professional organizations around the city Twice a year My Sister s Closet hosts a training day for job seekers with workshops on job search techniques interview skills and resume writing Led by women who have become businessowners and professionals themselves the trainings offer inspiration as well as practical help At the end of the training participants go home with three clothing outfits along with shoes and accessories ready to look the part for their next job interview Yammilette acknowledges that with so much energy going to community needs the church doesn t have some of the programs other churches offer Our mission is to really serve the neighborhood and it s folks who want to serve others who come to join us she says Neighborhood people as well as city and service agencies throughout Fresno and beyond have become partners with United Faith to work toward a safe and healthy community It takes many groups coming together for the same purpose says Jim Rodriguez At the end of the day we all want safe neighborhoods Note To see the SENT Team s video go to http youtu be PpVFuL iifk Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments United for a safe community Thursday Jan 1 2015 Small Fresno congregation impacts community beyond its size by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest The Goliath they face in their southeast Fresno Calif neighborhood is huge gang violence unemployment drug and alcohol abuse and more but just like David in the biblical story the small Mennonite Brethren congregation of United Faith Christian Fellowship is boldly stepping up to the challenge The violence hit home with force a couple of years ago when a neighborhood house was hit by gunfire in a gang altercation part of a weekend cluster of violent incidents in the community The home belonged to the parents of a young woman in their church family and shook up the congregation Under the leadership of co pastors Jim and Yammilette Rodriguez the church responded by holding a press conference to protest the violence and embark on a campaign for peace and justice in their community Their Fresno city council member the chief of police and other local officials joined

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/United-for-a-safer-community.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    by seeing the children s faces of happiness One of the early recipients of the envelope says her first response was excitement How can I use this What can I do for somebody For her finding someone was relatively easy and giving was clearly a joy I think God calls us to be givers she says That s kind of a no brainer That s what he s done for us and to whom much is given I think much is required Another couple who has participated says their first response was Oh my it s our turn They didn t take the responsibility lightly but prayed and discussed several possibilities before deciding where to give the envelope money They say that part of the benefit of Pass It Forward for them was practice in seeking God s direction as they discerned where to give and how much to put back in the envelope In their case they gave part of the money anonymously and part of it in person One unexpected result is that this simple sharing of Christ s love has sparked an ongoing relationship with one recipient who now knows we care The wife of the couple says the experience has opened her eyes to needs around her and inspired her to act rather than just passing by I m more aware of the opportunities and situations where I could ve stepped up she says I m more alert to that now Salem s Pass It Forward will continue until each of the approximately 30 families in the congregation has had a chance to participate a little over two years in total Only God knows what seeds have been planted says Petts If we reach one family if we make a difference in one family to draw them to Christ or to give them encouragement and let them know that someone cares then the whole procedure is worth it Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments SD congregation practices generosity Thursday Jan 1 2015 Pass It Forward encourages Salem congregation to serve others by Myra Holmes Salem MB Church Bridgewater SD has a history as a giving church The church and its members faithfully give to district educational national global and local ministries But since January 2014 the congregation has been kicking the giving up a notch with Pass It Forward which challenges attendees to give in a new way The idea for Pass It Forward began with a sermon and a local Christian radio station In December 2013 Pastor Mike Petts preached a sermon on Jesus as the way truth life light and new covenant His wife Diane picked up on the light portion and began to pray about how their congregation could be a light in their community Meanwhile the local Christian radio station was encouraging listeners to pay it forward to show the love of Christ to a stranger by say paying for the meal of the next person in the

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/SD-congregation-practices-generosity.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    sought I figured I d be a youth pastor for life he says That was where he felt called and gifted But when GVC went through a transition and needed a senior pastor the Lord began to place it in my heart to surrender to the call Ensz says God did change my perspective and my heart and he s equipping me he says It s been a process and it s still a process Of course when Ensz became senior pastor that left the youth pastor position open As a natural part of the search process church leaders put out feelers to several former GVC students who were pursuing ministry including Larson He said no In fact he said no three times The ministry in Leoti was going well He and his wife loved the church and the community and it didn t feel like the right time to make a change Then Larson called Ensz with a ministry question as he often did The conversation wandered to the open position at GVC and a 10 minute phone call turned into an hour as Larson says Before he knew it he and Jill were meeting with the GVC leadership trying to discern if returning to GVC might be God s plan for them There were questions Lots of questions Larson says the thought of trying to step into the role Ensz had filled for 22 years gave him pause Those were huge shoes to fill he says But he also knew that he loved the church and the town He appreciated that GVC supports their youth as a vital ministry And he knew that he d work side by side with Ensz The thing that sold me was the partnership with Steve he says So Larson was installed as youth pastor at GVC in August 2013 During the service Ensz passed a literal baton to Larson symbolizing the leadership transition It s been a dream come true Larson says although both men readily admit it hasn t been without challenges For Larson that fear of filling big shoes remains For Ensz it means letting go when Larson does it differently It takes a humble good man to let somebody take over Larson says commending Ensz for not interfering Not that I haven t felt like it Ensz interjects The two men now consider themselves partners in ministry They collaborate on teaching from time to time talk about Sunday morning preparations regularly and share ideas constantly They find their gifts complement one another Larson values Ensz s experience Ensz appreciates Larson s fresh perspective Usually we find that there s wisdom and creativity in putting our minds together Ensz says Still both chuckle with amazement when they think how their relationship has come full circle It s crazy to think I m back here but I love it Larson says He wonders aloud if Ensz prayed long ago that he would become a ministry leader I ll be honest I didn t pray that way Ensz says He simply prayed that Larson and other students would follow Christ Their current partnership is only by the grace of God he says It s exciting to be part of God s work As for Larson when he thinks back on his journey to ministry the lesson is pretty simple I have a real hard time telling kids they can t get on the bus Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Ministry comes full circle for Ensz Larson Thursday Jan 1 2015 Mentoring relationship grows changes as pastor student become peers By Myra Holmes When a teenaged Kevin Larson boarded a bus to Mexico to serve with the youth group of Garden Valley Church GVC Garden City Kan he had no idea that Steve Ensz was the youth pastor He thought I was the bus driver Ensz says It was a rather inauspicious beginning Neither would ve predicted that they would now minister side by side at GVC Bus driver Larson and his twin brother Kyle had been invited to be part of GVC s annual mission trip by a friend and admittedly weren t there with the best of motives The brothers just really wanted to go to Mexico Larson remembers They saw the trip as an adventure a chance to get away from home and an opportunity to meet pretty girls Ensz meanwhile had serious questions about letting the brothers join the trip After all they rarely attended youth group were known as characters and frankly wouldn t contribute much to the construction project at hand I was a little bit worried about that Ensz admits But Ensz knew the mission trip wasn t really about the construction project and he believed that no student came by coincidence He was right Larson says I didn t go to meet Jesus but I did meet Jesus He says he was welcomed into the tight knit group and saw his peers living for Christ and having fun at the same time Although he had grown up going to church it was the first time I realized that Christianity was not just going to church on Sundays He remembers talking with his brother after the experience We said to each other if this is what Jesus is about let s go From bus driver to mentor Shortly after both young men were baptized by Ensz Larson says he lived for youth group read his Bible voraciously participated in all youth group events and pretty much did whatever Steve told me to do He knew Ensz cared about him and was praying for him and he often sought Ensz s wisdom on the kinds of questions typical to teens I knew that his office was always open Larson says As Larson grew spiritually he and his brother made it their habit to bring new students to youth group especially those on the fringes Ensz says It was neat to see how

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Ministry-comes-full-circle-for-Larson-Ensz.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    Leader While computer viruses are not unusual up until late 2014 I had avoided the insidious invasion of viruses trojans and malware A common thread running through the feature articles in this issue is the importance of loving others to the same degree that we love ourselves Jan Johnson writes about this in terms of dying to self Lisa Keith as seeing the inherent value in another person and John Richardson as sacrificial love When it comes to choosing between my wants and the needs and wishes of others it s easy to prioritize the things that I desire Thanks to sin being selfish is our default mode Selfishness is the virus that often prevents us from loving others with the same focus and intensity that we love ourselves For example every so often my husband and I find our selves in a matrimonial funk something is off More than once we ve diagnosed the problem as selfishness We ve slipped into thinking first about ourselves instead of the other person We ve been infected Sometimes we can trace the origin of this selfishness to a specific event or decision Other times selfishness has wormed its way into our relationship without us even being aware of its progress Sin is what makes it so difficult to love my neighbor and my husband to the same degree that I love myself Sin demands the kind of aggressive intervention that comes with a computer virus Unlike a viral infection selfishness and other sins will not go away on their own Defeating sin requires the intervention of the Holy Spirit Lent the season of preparing for Resurrection Sunday that begins Feb 18 can be a time when we allow ourselves to be transformed from self centered to other centered people My prayer is that I can get out of the way and allow the Great Physician to change me I pray the same for you Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments The selfish virus Thursday Jan 1 2015 Selfishness keeps us from focusing on others by Connie Faber Jesus said You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind This is the first and greatest of the Laws The second is like it You must love your neighbor as you love yourself Matthew 22 37 39 NLV In his conversation with the Pharisees recorded in Matthew 22 Jesus commands his disciples to put the desires of others before their own interests A recent experience reminded me why following this commandment is easier said than done Two ordinary viruses disrupted the Faber household in early December The first was of the medical variety Our youngest daughter contracted mononucleosis a common illness that typically leaves one feeling tired and weak even after the virus is gone This was not welcome news during college finals The second was of the computer variety and it was also not good news given

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/The-selfish-virus.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    still a lot of apprehension I drove the truck and Janna followed behind in our car When we got to Kingman Ariz I still had a quarter tank of gas and I thought we could easily make it to Needles Calif Well two miles outside of Needles and with an eighth of a tank showing on the faulty gas gauge that big Ryder truck sputtered coughed and died out of gas The truck began to slow down and using our CB radios Janna loudly exclaimed from her car What are you doing I m coasting I said Why she asked Because I ran out of gas You what Now for those of you familiar with Needles you know that it lies in a depression So for two miles that truck coasted down the highway toward the desert city When I exited onto the off ramp I could see that the stoplight at the end of the ramp was red My two oldest kids were with me and their eyes were as big as saucers by this time We got down to the end of the ramp and the light turned green There was no one in front of us so I allowed the truck to keep coasting We slowly ambled across the four lane highway before us and up a shallow incline to a Texaco station The momentum of the truck barely kept us going until the truck died exactly at the pump And even though this is now a comical story to recall at that moment I sat there and cried I will even make a roadway in the wilderness a river in the desert God reminded me Those words were true thousands of years ago for the people of Israel They were true for us in 1988 at a gas station in Needles and they are true for us today Are you in a desert God will make a roadway Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments God will make a roadway Thursday Jan 1 2015 God is doing something new by Don Morris In 1988 we loaded all of our possessions into the biggest rental truck we could find and left the family farm near Ulysses Kan and headed for Fresno Calif and MB Biblical Seminary now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Janna and I thought we would live out our lives as farmers but God had other plans For four years I wrestled with God pertaining to his calling my wife Janna and me into full time ministry As I struggled with the decision to move to Fresno to obtain the necessary education God provided a verse that has since become my lifetime verse Isaiah 43 19 The translation I learned then says Behold I will do something new now it will spring forth will you not be made aware of it I will even make a roadway in the wilderness a river in the desert NASB That verse became the bedrock for building

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/God-will-make-a-way.html (2016-02-17)
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    9 Article 10 Article 11 Article 12 Article 13 Article 14 Article 15 Article 16 Article 17 Article 18 Confession of Faith Condensed Version Confession of Faith Spanish Version Artículo 1 Artículo 2 Artículo 3 Artículo 4 Artículo 5 Artículo 6 Artículo 7 Artículo 8 Artículo 9 Artículo 10 Artículo 11 Artículo 12 Artículo 13 Artículo 14 Artículo 15 Artículo 16 Artículo 17 Artículo 18 Anabaptism The 12 Principles of

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Merry-Christmas.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    be able to reach more people with the Gospel So I suppose we really shouldn t be surprised that He blessed us so much Morris says that the e ntire USMB staff Lori Taylor Connie Faber Myra Holmes and Donna Sullivan worked hard and invested creativity to make the campaign a success He add s that the staff learned a lot for future such campaigns The success of the campaign indicates that Mennonite Brethren all across America are still very much invested in and passionate about planting new churches Morris says We now head into 2015 with good momentum to be integrally involved in assisting our existing churches in planting new churches and to walk alongside our district church planting boards as they do the same Mission USA typically contributes 15 000 toward a new church plant in its first year and Morris wanted to raise enough funds on Dec 2 to fund two of the six church plants Mission USA hopes to help initiate in 2015 I ll be able to reveal more in a few weeks but we already have two new USMB church plants unfolding for 2015 Morris says Be watching for news about them Morris feels optimistic that continued support will enable Mission USA to do even more Recently I heard rather clearly that although our USMB family enjoys seeing new churches planted the feeling is that we should be doing more than we have been If this kind of support continues hopefully we ll be able to do more planting and reach more people Morris says We re asking existing MB churches for hands on involvement to help fund guide resource and celebrate the birthing of new churches to do it together says Morris This approach is what we desire to creatively develop over the next year and following multiplying churches planting multiplying churches To read the most recent church planting news from Mission USA click here Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments What this means Monday Dec 15 2014 USMB joined the Giving T uesday movement Dec 2 with the goal of raising awareness of Mission USA s need for financial resources to plant churches Contributions to the USMB Giving Tuesday campaign totaled 54 799 21 exceeding the goal of 30 000 by almost 25 000 Thanks to the generosity of several anonymous donors the first 15 000 in contributions was matched I want to convey my utmost appreciation for the many donors that took our Giving Tuesday campaign beyond our expectations says Don Morris Mission USA director and USMB interim executive director As the actual day of giving on Dec 2 unfolded it was exciting to watch the amount given increase above and beyond what we hoped for in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday says Morris We prayed and prayed prior to that day asking God to show His favor on us so that we ll collectively be able to reach more people with the Gospel So

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/What-this-means.html (2016-02-17)
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    personal introspection and if married evaluation of one s marriage Church planter assessments go deep We want to make sure that a planter doesn t have any skeletons in the closet We want to make sure that he and his family not only have the right gifts but are also healthy overall Typically a certified psychologist is a part of the assessment team and conducts in depth interviews with the planter couple This professional will ask questions that others may be too timid or unqualified to ask Prospective planters are also placed into group interactions individual activities and interviews with other assessors Normally an assessment will have 10 18 trained assessors on hand to observe analyze interview and discern a candidate s readiness and giftedness for planting I ve often said that it doesn t matter who you are or how much ministry experience you have we will send you to assessment I ve had people complain about the process but most potential planters engaging in the assessment indicate that it s one of the best things they ve ever done to better know themselves and understand their acumen for ministry Quite often previously un detected marriage issues come to light and can then be properly attended to by the couple often with professional assistance So if you ve been wondering rest assured that Mission USA and the districts don t just allow anyone who wants to plant a USMB church to plant a church at least if it s to come under our support system A huge amount of processing takes place first and that s the way it should be Even with this process of evaluation mistakes are occasionally made But church planter assessment is one of the cogs in the wheel that has allowed us to have a higher than average success rate for church planting To read the most recent church planting news from Mission USA click here Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Intense assessment Monday Dec 15 2014 By Don Morris Being a church planter is not for the faint of heart It takes hard work prayer and grit Church planting is also not for those haven t been blessed with a certain mix of ministry gifts that are essential for successful planting These gifts are called knock out factors among church planters and church planting advisors In other words if you don t have these ministry gifts don t plan on being a church planter To ensure that those who aspire to be planters are indeed blessed with the right gifts make up personality physical health marital health and mental health Mission USA and our district church planting boards demand that potential planters embark on an intense church planter assessment Although various assessment centers have been used for this purpose the basics of what the planter and his wife will encounter in a typical three day assessment are similar Without revealing too much part of the assessment is for

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Intense-assessment.html (2016-02-17)
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