The Spanish speaking churches of the Evangelischen Mennonitengemeinde (Evangelical Mennonite Church) named themselves Confraternidad Evangélica Menonita del Paraguay and began doing missionary work in 1966 among the Latin/Paraguayan population in the area surrounding Tres Palmas, Paraguay. The first missionaries were Ernest and Elsie Funk. In 1972 the focus of the work shifted to the Caaguazú area. By 2007 this work had resulted in the formation of 15 churches or congregations (anexos), mostly in the Caaguazú Department. Two of the churches were located near Asunción. All the churches are united in the Confraternidad Evangélica Menonita del Paraguay (CEMP). The churches included approximately 250 members. Most of the churches already had their own church buildings, but some were still cared for by the CEMP with the help of EMC missionaries.
In 2007 leaders of all the churches gathered in Caaguazú on the last weekend of each month for theological training, exchange and fellowship. In recent years a building had been erected in Caaguazu to house these meetings. The plan was for this facility to become a short-term Bible school for the inland area.
Working with biblical teaching in the city and surrounding area of Caaguazú led to the opening of Librería Ñe'e Porã in 1987. In 1992, the Mission of the Evangelical Mennonite Church (MEM) opened the radio work here under the name Buenas Nuevas Ministerio. On the main street of the city a corresponding property was acquired with buildings that provide space for the bookstore, Librería Ñe'e Porã, as well as a recording studio for radio programs and for other offices at the headquarters of the mission. After the official approval for the new radio station, Radio Mensajero FM, which was built at Tres Palmas, had been received, the radio mission and the Librería Ñe'e Porã in Caaguazú became one entity operated together with the Mennonite churches in Bergthal, Sommerfeld and Tres Palmas, as well as the MEM and the churches of the CEMP, and was officially recognized as the Ministerio Buenas Nuevas.
MEM opened a work in Asunción with HIV/AIDS patients under the name Asociación Ministerio Alto Refugio (AMAR). For this purpose, a new organization was founded with its own legal status. Next, the MEM began to develop a new project - development aid to rural areas. This was an attempt to unite the efforts of various Mennonite groups to encourage development (particularly in eastern Paraguay).
In 2007 the EMC's mission supported 14 missionaries in Paraguay working with Spanish-speaking Mennonite churches.
See also Convención de las Iglesias Evangelicas Unidas, Paraguay; Conservative Mennonites (DutchPrussian-Russian); Kleine Gemeinde (Mexico); Reimer, Klaas.
The above article, translated by Hugo Friesen, is based on the original German language article that was written for the http://www.menonitica.org/lexikon/index.php?C:Confraternidad_Evang%E9lica_Menonita_del_Paraguay.and has been made available to GAMEO with permission. The German version of this article is available at
Mennonite Encyclopedia Volume V ArticleEvangelical Mennonite Conference missions first took interest in Paraguay in the late 1950s, when Henry Toews, a missionary from Menno Colony in the Chaco region, attended Bible school in Manitoba. In 1962 he won support to purchase land adjacent to Menno Colony in order to settle a group of Sanapaná Indians. The settlement was called La Esperanza (Hope). The mission, supported in part by a Paraguay Missions Auxiliary (Evangelical Mennonite Conference) in Canada, is officially registered as the Misión Evangélica Menonita.
Mission workers from La Esperanza became involved in 1964 in East Paraguay, where members of a renewal movement in the Bergthal Colony had established a new settlement called Buena Vista. Together they established Bible studies, a youth program (Christian Endeavor), schools, a new congregation, a clinic, and evangelization among the neighboring Guarani Indians, 1964-1965.
At the same time the La Esperanza settlement in the Chaco grew. In 1961 the Mennonite mission program in the Chaco was reorganized (Chaco Mission), including the establishment of an Indian Settlement Board to supervise full scale settlement and development work. Nurses were to be supplied by the Evangelical Mennonite Conference, which also retained administration of the spiritual work. By 1973 there were approximately 350 Indians living at La Esperanza. A Bible institute for leadership training began in 1972 under the direction of Dietrich Lepp. It was later moved to Yalve Sanga. Other ministries included Radio ZP30's program of cultural, educational, and religious broadcasts in eight languages.
In 1970 the families and mission workers of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference church at Buena Vista moved to Tobati; in 1973 the community organized as the Tres Palmas Colony. Mission work which expanded to Paraguayan towns in the area around the colony included evangelism, Bible studies, correspondence courses, a film ministry, and a Christian bookstore in Caaguazú. Membership in the Tres Palmas congregation in 1984 was 200. -- Frank Kroeker, The Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 280, 1990.
BibliographyBarkman, S. Ever-Widening Circles: E.M.C. Missions Silver Jubilee (1953-1978). Steinbach, Evangelical Mennonite Conference, 1978.
Evangelical Mennonite Conference Yearbooks, 1958-1986.
Hertzler, Daniel From Germantown to Steinbach. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press,1981: 236-247.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 315-318.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement. Strasbourg, France, and Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1984: 52, 132.
Plett, Delbert. The Golden Years: The Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde in Russia (1812-1849). Steinbach: D.F.P. Publications, 1984.
Plett, Delbert. History and Events. Steinbach: D. F. Plett Farms Ltd., 1982.
Plett, Delbert. Storm and Triumph: The Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde (1850-1875). Steinbach: D.F.P. Publications, 1986.
Reimer, Margaret Loewen, ed. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 46.
|Bernhard (Benny) Goertzen|
Cite This Article
Ratzlaff, Gerhard and Bernhard (Benny) Goertzen. "Confraternidad Evangélica Menonita del Paraguay." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2007. Web. 25 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Confraternidad_Evang%C3%A9lica_Menonita_del_Paraguay&oldid=87426.
Ratzlaff, Gerhard and Bernhard (Benny) Goertzen. (2007). Confraternidad Evangélica Menonita del Paraguay. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Confraternidad_Evang%C3%A9lica_Menonita_del_Paraguay&oldid=87426.
Herald Press website.
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