MHI becomes ministry of Virginia Mennonite Missions

Posted on December 20, 2013 by VMMissions Staff

Five years ago, Mennonite Hispanic Initiative (MHI) was formed for the purpose of developing Anabaptist Latino ministry within Virginia Conference.

In recent months MHI has become nested within Virginia Mennonite Missions, joining common goals of the two organizations into a single focus. VMM seeks to nurture a missional movement within the conference; MHI has sought to provide ministry settings for Hispanic leaders in Harrisonburg and surrounding areas.

Marvin LorenzanaMarvin Lorenzana, director of MHI since its inception, was a third-year student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary when he realized that not enough Latino leaders were being developed within VMC to serve the growing Hispanic community in the surrounding area.

As a result, MHI was established: to respond to the need for educated, mission-minded, and VMC-connected Latino leaders. EMS offered several scholarships to provide potential leaders with higher theological education from an Anabaptist perspective. At the same time, a local chapter of the Anabaptist Biblical Institute was established to offer a foundational theological education and ministerial training to Latino leaders.

Consequently, a core community of trained Latino church leaders has emerged, providing leadership for the churches associated with MHI. Since 2009, two Latino churches have been planted and another has joined the conference through connections with MHI.

Skip Tobin, USA Ministries Director for VMM, is excited about the new collaboration. “These folks are learning to live the mandate Jeremiah gave to the exiles of his time: ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,’” he notes, “and here they are, among us, ‘learning to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land!’”

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