by Javier Márquez
Editor’s Note: Mosaic Mennonite Conference anticipates welcoming eight Florida congregations (that were formerly part of Southeast Mennonite Conference) at this fall’s conference assembly. This is a profile of one of these congregations.
What is the call that God has placed on Iglesia Menonita Encuentro de Renovación (Encounter for Renewal Mennonite Church) in Miami, Florida?
For Pastor José Andrés Mendoza, this question has three clear answers:
- Taking care of the faith community
- Helping immigrants
- Providing hope and trust in God.
The church community began in 1998 in Miami, Florida by Brother Gamaliel Fallas. Brother Marco Güete, now a Leadership Minister in Mosaic Conference, contributed to the formation of the church by sharing his inspiration of having a Mennonite community in Miami.
Iglesia Menonita Encuentro de Renovación is an intercultural Hispanic community, with members coming from many different countries, such as Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the US.
The church is deeply and intensely committed to the social reality that surrounds them, expressing to others the love of God and their evangelical call to serve others. Members regularly visit prisons and hospitals to visit those imprisoned and sick. While there, they pray and share food and company with families, patients, and inmates.
The church, which meets every Sunday morning for worship, extends its service and contacts throughout the community directly by providing lodging and counseling to immigrants. The church has been organized in such a way that they can provide newly arrived immigrants with food and lodging for a period of two months.
The church also supplies food, school supplies, and grooming tools for immigrant children who are part of a support group called Casa Hogar. Providing hope in this context for immigrants who arrive, leaving behind their families and belongings for the promise of a better future, is an important task of the church.
In addition to the constant help and closeness between the brothers and sisters of the church, they also care for the broader community of faith. Bible studies in members’ homes or community lunches, where the cost of lunch is often assumed by one or two church members, demonstrates an expression of love towards each other and the church.
The modest church building could give the mistaken impression of being a community with limited reach. The truth is that this body of believers has a passion and dedication for the call of the Lord Jesus Christ which leads them to continually carry out activities of service, love, and peace throughout the city of Miami.
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)