Learning to Embrace my Mennonite Heritage

Father God, I pray that this blog will reach the computer or phone screens of those who do not know you or have misconceptions about you. I pray also that the words, stories and experiences I share will encourage my Christian brothers and sisters who are having a not so good day. Mostly though I pray to You Father that above all else I glorify You, honor You and prove to be a good and faithful servant as I earnestly seek Your will and actively serve you. I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ, our saviour, amen.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Hebrews 12:11

I find myself lately feeling nostalgic while I reminisce about my heritage and where I come from. Perhaps it’s a nearing middle age thing, or a remember the good ol’ days thing, or maybe it’s just the memories brought on by listening to the old school country music I’ve been on lately. I don’t know exactly but as I try to put a finger on who I am as a Jesus follower I see that my upbringing as a Mennonite plays a huge part in it. 

Whenever I meet someone and tell them that I am Mennonite you can see the dots connecting in their heads as they try to figure out why I’m not working on a farm, or wearing the traditional garb seen on most other Mennonites.  You can tell that they want to ask a question but stop themselves before saying something that may sound offensive and then let it go. 

The truth is until recently I usually didn’t admit to being Mennonite for fear of being judged, and quite frankly because some of my fellow Mennonites have done some things that have shed a negative light on our faith. 

As I look back however I see that growing up Mennonite has had a good impact on who I am as a person. I was taught values and virtues that I cling to today, the same values and virtues I intend to pass on to my children. As a kid in school I was bullied for being different which as strange as it may sound has given me a unique perspective into what being different means for different people. 

Fast forward to today, after all the research I’ve done on what being a Mennonite means in the post modern world I see that around the world someone who is Mennonite is someone who loves the Lord, spreads His Word and wants nothing more than to help others see who Jesus really is! 

Mennonite missionaries may not look like what you’ll see if you simply Google the word. They come in all the colors God created and many of them originally come from other countries, this means that they have unique cultural perspectives in addition to the Mennonite point of view they adopted later on in life allowing them to evangelize in parts of the world previously unreachable to the typical Mennonite. 

My church, MB as we call it but to be more specific The Mennonite Brethren, is at the forefront of missions around the world. With Jesus as the focus and missions as that focus manifesting itself, people from around the world have had somebody with a Mennonite background influencing them to give it all to Jesus. 

I am a relatively new addition to MB and as an introvert most don’t know who I am or that I have this blog, that’s just a byproduct of being shy. But man, do I love my church! One of the only regrets I have in life thus far is that I hadn’t found it sooner. We may not have if it hadn’t been for a friend who found it first and obviously the Holy Spirit using that friend to bring us there! Because of this I know that God is in fact still in control. 

So you might be wondering what the point of this blog is other than my random musings on what it means to be a Mennonite. I would say that experiences vary from person to person, cultural influences play a part in who we become, our upbringing will determine what kind of man or woman we will be and that God in His sovereignty is always in control. 

My experiences, my Mennonite heritage, my childhood all played a huge part in who I am today, but the biggest influence in my life was that of the Holy Spirit always directing me towards the path that leads to Jesus. I didn’t know when I was a kid learning the value of hard work how that would come into play later on. I didn’t know that the countless verbal assaults I took from bullies how that would help me in my job today. I didn’t know that eventually my Mennonite background would land me at the church I call home. 

If you are a Jesus follower join me in thanking Him for always being there, even when at times we have pushed Him away. If you aren’t following Him, trust in Him today and although it may take a long time you will see how all the past experiences in your life have all led up to this one moment in time where you lay it all at His feet and from there a peace you have never known before. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about the Mennonite faith, just like there are about Jesus. If you have questions about anything you’ve read here today please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. 

Thanks so much for reading, Mother Teresa said “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”  

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