Former director counts cost of mission

Mennonite Brethren in Global Mission: Observations and Reflections, 1966–2006
Harold Ens

Kindred Productions, 2010
190 pages, photographs included


In this study of the global mission work done by Mennonite Brethren in the last 40 years, the author provides an excellent perspective on the work of the MBs worldwide, but at the same time allows the reader to catch a glimpse of someone who has personally been involved. The author writes of his own participation with humility, honesty, tact, and passion.

Ens is well-qualified to write this historical account. From 1966 until 1992, he was involved in mission work in various parts of the world. In 1992, he was appointed general director of MB Missions and Services. He served in this capacity for 12 years, longer than all but one of the men who held this position before him.

Ens has organized his book into four sections. In the first, he briefly recounts the story of his own connection with MB mission over this period. Section II is a reflection on the changes of MB mission structure, strategy, and policies. Section III provides an overview of mission efforts in 78 countries on five continents during this period. The last section projects us into what MB missions might look like in the 21st century.

From my experience as a long-term missionary, I heartily agree with Ens’ observation that “short-term mission is really more exposure to mission than the practice of mission. Evangelism and church planting among the least-reached take a long-term commitment.” It is encouraging to see the 10-year commitment made by Team 2000.

“We must challenge this generation again to count the cost of mission,” Ens writes in closing. “To reach the least-reached will take a commitment to sacrifice and perseverance, both on the part of those who go and also for those who support them in prayer and finances.”

Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder and her husband Hardy were involved in Bible translation work in DR Congo (then Zaïre) from 1965–1984.

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