Four of the 30 past recipients of scholarships awarded by the Swiss Mennonite Cultural and Historical Association spoke to the Annual meeting this month at the First Mennonite Church of Halstead.
Alan Stucky, pastor of the Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper KS, has led service youth groups to Bolivia. On a recent trip, he met Old Colony people who were white, Low Germans from Russia. He noted that they kept the culture but sadly lost the Anabaptist faith. His words were a warning that our challenge is to keep the faith and write the history in faithful ways.
Bernie Kaufman offered the perspective of walking in ministry as a woman. Her scholarship gave her opportunity to study at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. However, few ways were open in 1980 to a woman desiring to serve the Lord in ministry. As she struggled with her call, she asked herself, “Is this all there is for me?” Her experiences however opened to her a new awareness of the people on the periphery of society. Circles of McPherson gives her opportunity to walk now with people in need and Mennonite Women gives fulfilling interaction with other Christian women.
David Roth, pastor of the Kingman Mennonite Church, used the Scripture Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days” to show how God has lead him in remarkable ways. His scholarship opened possibilities for him to continue his studies and now he is working on his masters degree in counseling, a path that God has shown him.
Jim Ostlund calls himself a convinced Anabaptist. He found in relationships with Mennonites a place “to anchor.” He pastored at Eden Mennonite, Moundridge KS also taking courses at AMBS Great Plains part time. Because he felt a tug to church planting, he took courses at Fuller Theological Seminary. He could not put aside his gift of Apostle so searched how he might live that call. South Central Conference leaders and Jim worked together to initiate a multi-site church, and Journey at McPherson church launched January 27, 2013 with 60 core people. Their vision is “Sent” - all becoming missionaries, as Jesus is the Head of the Church.
All in attendance were blessed by the words of these church leaders who had received scholarships from the SMCHA organization. Young people who desire assistance as they take steps to answer God’s call are invited to send requests for scholarship to Alice Suderman at Box 526, North Newton KS 67117 before July 2014. Donations can also be made to the Swiss Mennonite Cultural and Historical Association, Box 93, Moundridge KS 67107 to increase the scholarship fund.