MB Biblical Seminary Attends Golden Jubilee Celebration in India

By Laura A. Thiessen

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy," Psalm 126:3. This passage was the theme for the 50 year Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Mennonite Brethren Women’s Conference in India. Five women from MB Biblical Seminary’s Fresno Campus braved the twenty-two hour flight to join the celebration, affirm the progress, celebrate the success, and support the work of this growing group of women in India. Led by Professor of Pastoral Counseling Delores Friesen, Christian Ministry student Wendi Mooney and Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling students Jennifer Brazil, Amy Janzen and Erin Bader committed to a week in India that demanded much from them, and gave so much more to them, than they had expected.

The Mennonite Brethren Church in India is the largest Mennonite Brethren Conference in the world with over 350 congregations and several thousand women took part in the Celebration. The Golden Jubilee Celebration took place January 10-13, 2008 in Jedcherla, Mahabubnagar. It began early each morning and often went late into the night. There was dancing, singing, reports, testimonies, and sermons on evangelism, church history and social action.

The entire conference was held in the Telugu language under a large multi-colored tent. This was a complete immersion in foreign language and culture for the five women of MB Biblical Seminary. Travel to and from the conference was conducted on busy, hectic highways full of pedestrians, buses, oxen, motorcycles and cars. On Sunday a very special communion was served by the Indian women, and a hymn familiar to the North Americans was sung. However, among all the differences, the representatives from MB Biblical Seminary found spiritual connections in the beautiful, friendly faces of the Indian women and the bonds of Christian sisterhood.

Erin Bader recalls the most humbling and precious moment of her trip being on a morning when several thousand Indian women gathered under the tent to have the North American visitors pray for them. “They put our hands on their heads to be prayed for, and they were so beautiful.”

The most important elements of these five women’s experiences in India were the relationships they built. During their short week in India, Delores, Wendi, Jennifer, Amy and Erin were able to visit with women at the conference, spend time in people’s homes, tour a local hospital and interact with Shamshabad Bible College students and faculty, which included leading in their chapel and sharing in counseling classes.

Upon their return to Fresno, California the group shared memories of their trip during a weekly Seminary chapel service. “We’re on a journey of faith together,” commented Delores Friesen. “Seeing the fruit of their hard work and dedication was a magnificent testament to their faith. Celebration strengthens faith and gives courage to continue the journey.”

Academic Dean Lynn Jost affirmed, “MB Biblical Seminary faculty have a rich relational international network for learning. With mission experience in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, we at the Seminary are expanding our curricular instruction to include global learning opportunities. We want to partner with academic institutions, particularly those with MB roots and connections, to enrich learning for all students.”

Posted: March 04, 2008