July 30, 2013

A weekly communication for:
WDC Churches and Pastors
WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*Clarence’s Clarion Call
*Prayer Requests
*Coming Events
*Parish Paper
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Light to the Eyes

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

Do you treasure your Bible? Do you treasure it as the window to God, as the source of life, as the fountain of wisdom?

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

I saw that light in the eyes of one of the lost boys of Sudan featured on 60 Minutes on Sunday, April 21. Abraham Yei Nhial was orphaned by the Islamist-generated genocide of Christians in southern Sudan. Villages were burned, parents were killed, girls were captured to be sold as slaves, and boys age 5-11 were abandoned. The boys simply began walking across East Africa in what became a flood of humanity. Abraham was among the 12,000 who made it to Ethiopia. After four years, they were forced out of the country across the Gilo River where one to two thousand died by gunshot, crocodiles, or drowning. They again started walking south through desert and over mountains for over a thousand miles until they got to Kenya. The U.N. and aid agencies intervened by establishing a refugee camp with food, medical care, and education in 1992.

When Abraham was asked about the book he had carried for ten years over all those miles, he flashed a big grin and his eyes just lit up, “It’s my life. I have been called a lost boy. But I’m not lost from God. I’m lost from my parents.” That book was the Bible from which Abraham preached to his comrades in the refugee camp.

Abraham was one of 4,000 Sudanese resettled in the United States. He landed in Atlanta, persevered through Atlanta Christian College in biblical studies, and more recently was installed as an Episcopal bishop in Awell, South Sudan.

My tears flowed with sadness and compassion as I observed the walking mass of emaciated skeletons of twenty years ago. My tears flowed again with joy when Abraham flashed that mischievous grin, “It’s my life.”

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:9-11

I pray for a revitalizing engagement with Scripture at “The Year of the Bible Launch” and Assembly 2013 – “Shaped by God’s Story,” August 1-3 on the Bethel College campus in North Newton, Kansas.

I am treasuring this book of books, The Bible, more and more as the years roll along.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 19:8

The following books about the “Lost Boys” are available in the WDC Library:

1) War and faith in Sudan, by Gabriel Meyer.  An account of the devastating war that the world refuses to acknowledge in central Sudan.  962.8 Mey
2) Brothers in hope:  the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, by Mary Williams. (Children’s book) Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.  E Will
3) God grew tired of us (DVD).  Explores the indomitable spirit of three “Lost Boys” from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to civil war.  Documents their triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and relocation to America.  DVD 962 God
4) A long walk to water:  a novel, by Linda Sue Park.  (Junior fiction)  When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of a safe haven.  Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.  J Par
5) My great-grandmother’s gourd, by Cristina Kessler.  (Children’s book)  Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima’s grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree. J Kes
6) My name is Sangoel, by Khadra Mohammed.  (Children’s book) As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem. E Moh

Prayer Requests
Aug 4 – Praise God for the gift of Holy Scriptures that equip God’s people for every good work (II Timothy 3:17). Thank God for the inspirations and instructions of last week’s Year of the Bible Launch and Assembly 2013. Pray that we will not just hear God’s word but put it into action (James 1:22).

Aug 11 – Pray for Elizabeth Raid as she is licensed towards ordination at Bethel College Mennonite Church today. Pray God’s blessing on her ministry as chaplain at Mennonite Friendship Communities, Hutchinson, KS.

Aug 18 – Pray for Ron Flaming as he begins a coaching group for first-time pastors in Western District Conference. Pray that these pastors will flourish in fruitful ministry.

Aug 25 – Pray for Chin Emmanuel Church, our newest member church, as they undertake acquiring their first church building in Houston, TX. Pray that this church would continue to make new disciples and reach out to their community.

Coming Events

Aug 1-2 – WDC Year of the Bible Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Aug 2-3 – WDC Annual Assembly 2013, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
Aug 10 – Day on the Farm, Rural Hillsboro, KS
Aug 16-17 – Hispanic Pastors Retreat, Waxahachie, TX
Sept 6-8 – Women and Girls Retreat, Camp Mennoscah, KS
Sept 13-14 – Hispanic Women’s Ministry Gathering, Iglesia Luz del Evangelio, Dallas, TX
Sept 15 – The Art of Bible Storying with Michael Novelli, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct 26 – WDC Reference Council – The Church and Homosexuality:  A Conversation That Can Hold Us Together, Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, KS
Oct 31 – New Pastor Orientation, WDC Office, North Newton, KS
Nov 1 – Prevention of Pastoral Misconduct, Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, KS
Nov 21 – Pastors’ Day Apart
Parish Paper
The August issue of Parish paper, entitled “Clergy Groups:  Are They Worth the Investment?” can be viewed at: : https://mennowdc.org/resources/publications/parish-paper/
WDC Announcements
1.  It’s gonna be a big weekend – WDC’s Year of the Bible Launch (Aug 1-2) and Annual Assembly (Aug 2-3) are being held at Bethel College in North Newton, KS.  It will be a great time of learning, worshiping, and fellowshipping!  Evening worship services (7 pm,  Aug 1, 2, and 3) are open to all, even if you aren’t registered!

2.  Camp Mennoscah at Western District Conference Assembly!  For those of you attending WDC Assembly, August 2-3, stop by the Camp Mennoscah booth and check out our display.  Try to answer a trivia question or pick up one of our last remaining collapsible flying discs!

3.  Create Yourself Anew!  The Mental Health Spiritual Retreat at Camp Mennoscah is September 1-2, 2013, and we’re discovering new ways to look at ourselves.  There will be times for swimming, canoeing, fishing, a nature walk, and a hayrack ride!  Call us at 620-297-3290 for more information or find the registration form online at www.campmennoscah.org –it’s going to be a blast!

4.  Last Days!  Camp Mennoscah only has one more week with our beloved summer staffers!  (And then Olivia will actually have to clean toilets again–aargh.)  We have all been blessed this summer by the many gifts of Rachel, Jared, Ben, Melinda, Lizzie, John, Megan, and Patrick (random order).  They are amazing folks–as are all of our volunteers–and we wish them so many blessings in whatever they tackle next.

Mennonite Church USA Announcements

1.  Attached are the prayer requests from the member schools of Mennonite Schools Council, and the colleges, universities, seminaries and educational programs of Mennonite Church USA for August. MEA also posts these prayer requests on its website. The prayer request of the day is displayed on our home page and the document is available at www.MennoniteEducation.org/PRAYERS.

2.  MEDA Convention: “Cultivating Solutions: Harvesting Hope” Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) serves the working poor around the world, bringing dignity and joy by helping them grow sustainable, locally owned small businesses that are not dependent on charity for survival.  Join MEDA for 4 days of inspiration, information and networking in Wichita during November 7-10, 2013. Plenary sessions feature topics on global food issues, the importance of networking and collaboration and overcoming barriers to hope. Go to www.medaconvention.org for full descriptions of the plenary sessions, seminars, tours and on-line registration, or call 1 (800) 665-7026 for more information.

3. Mennonite Women USA is proud to announce a completely redesigned website that features the following:

  • Easier navigation around the site
  • Newly launched blog Mennonite Women Voices
  • Beautiful images
  • Stronger focus on the organization’s logo 
  • A site search 
  • Much, much more!

Visit our new site today! mwusa.org

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org

Website:  www.mennowdc.org