January 2019 Volume 42 Number 2
Upcoming Senior Trips
Mennonite seniors will be taking two trips again this year, 2019.
The second trip is being planned to Springfield, Illinois and Quad cities, Illinois and Iowa. We will be leaving Berne on Monday, September 16 and arriving back home on Friday, September 20. Highlights of this enjoyable week will include numerous Abraham Lincoln historical sites, including the presidential museum, old state capitol, current state capitol and Lincoln’s tomb. Visiting the Quad Cities will include a visit to a taste of Broadway; Circa’21 Dinner Playhouse for a performance of Singin’ in the Rain; a four-hour Mississippi River cruise with Celebration River Cruises with Classic Oldies music; and a visit to the John Deere Pavilion will provide insights into the man, company, and how agriculture feeds the world; shopping; great eating; and fellowship. The trip will again have two motor coaches and will include other Berne and area friends. More details will follow shortly by electronic mail. †
Update Will Have New Editor
Starting with the next issue, February 2019, the First Mennonite Update will have a new editor. Lana Shoaf will be taking over the Update for Jessica Lehman. †
Notes of Appreciation
To our church family,
First an update on Thom: he is doing great! Family is spoiling him. He currently has several job opportunities for him to choose from. Thanks for all the support and prayers for him.
Secondly: As for the rest of our family, we have been working hard with an immigration lawyer for the last year. Since there are no other options with the visa we have, our family has decided to move back to the Netherlands.
Lars will go back with us, while Cindy stays behind to finish college at Huntington. We don't know yet when this will happen, and we don't know why this is happening, but we strongly believe that God will open another door for us. This journey is different than we thought it would be, but we would do it all over again if we had the chance. There are absolutely no regrets! Our journey in this community is the best thing that has ever happened to us!
Thank you for all the support and prayers you've given us, we couldn't have made it this far without you all!
We want to close with this verse, John 13:7,
"You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Jack, Carola, Thom, Cindy and Lars In 't Groen
Thank you to FMC family for all your prayers, cards, prayer shawl and visits by Jim Schwartz and visitation team during my surgery, hospital stay as well as rehab at Swiss Village.
Elaine S. Liechty
Dear First Mennonite Church,
Thank you so much for your generous gifts and offerings over this past year which have enabled us to continue the work in Asia. From these current funds, Pat is empowered to train and equip women workers in the harvest to start businesses which will help them and their families to reach their focus peoples. This January I (Loren) will be pioneering a leadership training school in South Asia which empowers leaders to operate in the power of God. I also have plans for coaching and training leaders in Harvest Multiplication Training in several countries in Asia as well as a training in Florida in the near future.
Thanks again so much.
Loren and Patricia
Thank you for all the cards, prayers, calls, concerns and texts I got before my wisdom teeth surgery and after.
Another year has come and gone and we have seen the faithfulness of God and His people while serving with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We thank you all for the generous Mission Festival gift and prayers on our behalf as we continue to provide recorded Scripture to the people of PNG. Technology is a blessing, but sometimes it can be frustrating and needs technically minded people to work through the issues. Dan continues to expedite the use of technology in tracking, editing, producing and distributing Scripture recordings. He also trains Papua New Guineans in digital archiving and recording aspects of the work and helps a translation consultant with his prayer letters to partners.
Arlene's role as a teacher's assistant at the elementary school is much appreciated as she puts together class material, grades students’ work and assists in teaching certain lessons. All of this gives the
teacher(s) more time to prepare for each class. Your partnership in the work makes it possible for us to serve and encourage Papua New Guineans as God's word goes forth. "I thank my God every time I remember you."
- Philippians 1:3
Dan and Arlene Bauman
A big thank you to each member of the fall meal team. We appreciate the many people who were willing to help with cooking, serving and clean up. Approximately 1,817 meals were enjoyed this fall. This is a time when members and non-members alike can sit down in a casual setting and get to know each other better. We pray that this ministry of our church can continue on far into the future.
Nancy Sprunger, Vickie Beaman and Cheryl Liechty
Dear lovely friends at FMC,
Each year after Mission Festival, we are overwhelmed with your generosity to us. We see God’s kindness through you and how He allows you, His people, to take care of us. We’re grateful to serve the people of Kigali and others who are called here, thanks to you. You love us so well and we truly appreciate it.
Doug and Kerry Bryan
Dear friends at First Mennonite Church,
What a pleasure and a privilege to be partners together with you in ministry.
We want to thank you for yet again your generous contribution to Wycliffe Bible Translators that truly enables us to continue in the parts we play in the worldwide Bible translation task. Your commitment to the Lord and to His work in reaching the world is always such an encouragement to us!
It was such a joy to be with you as Mission Festival started. Thank you!
Love in Christ,
Chuck and Carole Fennig
Jerry and Bonnie Flueckiger thank you for your prayers, cards and interest in Jerry’s health. We are happy to report the latest PET scan shows some cancer is gone and there is very little new evidence of cancer. Treatments will resume on January 17 and we’ll be back in church soon. Thanks for being a caring family.
Thank you so much for the generous gift from Mission Festival for Berne Preschool. This money will be used for scholarships for families who are unable to pay the full tuition. Without this assistance, these children would not be able to attend. For more than 40 years our church has sponsored the ministry of the Berne Preschool, and we thank you for all the prayers, encouragement and financial support you have given us.
Berne Preschool †
Preach the Gospel
By Tom Fox
I was riding a morning L train into Chicago and the car was filled with about 30 junior high and high school age girls. It was obvious that from their comments and actions that this was their first time in Chicago. I observed them for about 20 minutes and I finally went up to a gentleman, who was with them who was obviously their leader (I knew enough that it would not be good for me to strike up a conversation with an 8th grade girl who I did not know in Chicago). I asked the guy, “Church youth group from Missouri?” He said, “Close, church youth group from Arkansas.”
Do we live our lives in such a way that when people see us out and about they think Christian? Or do they think just another group of people passing through this life?
Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” It is important that we have the right understanding of Scripture, but it is just as important that our lives reflect that we really believe it.
It will not make a difference in a person’s life if I tell them all the right things to do, but then live my life like a pagan. My oral witness is only as good as the example they see in my everyday life.
Much like what an ambassador does reflects on his country, what I choose to do reflects on how others view the kingdom of God. So wherever I am at, I should be looking for ways to further that kingdom.
That night I am guessing I was used as part of an illustration. The youth group was no doubt reminded that you never know who is watching and to always act accordingly. But I think it was also a chance for me to bless that group by encouraging them.
Sometimes we are called to display the fruits that the Lord has placed in us and other times we are called to provide the water of encouragement to reinforce God’s love in those we encounter. †
Frederick L. “Fritz” Amstutz, 91, a lifelong resident of Berne, passed away Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. at Swiss Village. Fritz was born December 25, 1926 in Adams County to Jacob and Laura (Baumgartner) Amstutz, who are both deceased. He was baptized and joined First Mennonite Church December 26, 1943. On December 7, 1945, he was united in marriage to Georgia Norr in Berne, Indiana and she survives.
An active member of the First Mennonite Church in Berne, Fritz taught Sunday school for many years. Fritz farmed for many years after working at Berne Lumber and Graber Plumbing in Berne. He also worked for many years at the Berne Hi Way Hatchery delivering feed. In later years, Fritz especially enjoyed providing transportation for many in Amish families in the community. Fritz was known for telling jokes and his stories. He never knew a stranger because after meeting someone they soon became his friend.
Surviving along with his dear wife of more than 73 years, Georgia, are his daughter, Donna (Paul) Habegger of North Manchester, Indiana; son, Deryll (Janice) Amstutz of Hillsboro, Kansas; daughter, Sharon (James) Blackford of Phoenix, Arizona; son, Norman (Deborah) Amstutz of Berne, Indiana; and brother-in-law, Thomas Lehman of Wolcottville, Indiana. Also surviving are 13 grandchildren, Teresa (Matthew) Mize, Rebecca (Michael) Burke, Matthew (Christine) Habegger, Rachel (Aaron) Stuckey, Sarah (Diep) Le, Bethany (Tim) Schrag, Nathan (LaRinda) Amstutz, James Blackford Jr., Tonya (William) Kane, Lyska (Tim) Handshoe, Todd Blackford, Lee (Jennifer) Amstutz, and Joanne Amstutz; 22 great-grandchildren; and a great-great grandchild.
Fritz was preceded in death by two brothers, J. Levi and Noah Amstutz; nine sisters, Catherine Neuenshwander, Sarah Amstutz, Lena Norr, Anna Miller, Rachel Lehman, Bertha Franks, Martha Amstutz, Rosina Amstutz, and Edna Lehman; a foster brother, Joseph; and a great-grandchild.
A funeral service was held on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at First Mennonite Church in Berne with Pastor Jim Schwartz officiating. Burial followed in the MRE Cemetery in Berne. On Friday the Swiss Village Community friends and the staff members were received from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Swiss Village Chapel, followed by visitation of friends and family from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home, Yager - Kirchhofer Chapel in Berne, also visitation continued on Saturday one hour prior to the service at the church.
Carolyn Marie Steiner, 85, of Berne passed away Sunday, January 6, 2019 at Swiss Village Retirement Community in Berne. She was born on Monday, August 21, 1933 in Adams County, Indiana the daughter of the late George Bixler and the late Lucile (Kattmann) Bixler. She was married on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1954 to her sweetheart, Merlin Steiner. He preceded her in death on February 18, 1988.
She was a graduate of Berne French High School and was a farm wife and homemaker. Later in life she worked as a cook at Swiss Village. On August 1, 1999 she became a member of First Mennonite Church where she spent many hours quilting with the Women in Mission. She spent many years teaching children at the Cross United Church of Christ. She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, quilting, jigsaw puzzles, attending children's and grandchildren's sporting events, Purdue Basketball, and loved to watch the games and complete the NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket.
Survivors include two daughters, Sondra (Phil) Litwiller and Kathy (Ted) Liechty of Berne; daughter-in-law, Nancy (Ron) Stevens of Berne; son-in-law, Luke (Michelle) Becknell of Warsaw; brother, Rev. Roger (Emma Jane) Bixler of Berne; eight grandchildren Andrew (Deby) Steiner, Scott (Amber) Steiner, Brian (Nikie) Becknell, Craig (Val) Becknell, Eric (Corissa) Litwiller, Kyle (Kaitlin) Litwiller, Jaci (Heath) Moser, Jon (Meghan Manley) Liechty and 15 great-grandchildren.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, Rick Steiner; daughter, Deborah Becknell; grandson, Matthew Steiner and three sisters, Margaret Kwok, Janet Bixler, and Ruth Alice Bixler.
A Celebration of Life Service was held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Swiss Village Auditorium with Pastor Mike Wertenberger and Rev. Roger Bixler officiating. Interment followed in the M.R.E. Cemetery. Friends were received from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, January 9, 2019 in the Swiss Village Auditorium and one hour prior to service on Thursday at Swiss Village. †
Mennonite Choral Society
Singers are invited to join the Mennonite Choral Society on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019 at 7 p.m. as they begin rehearsals for the Choral Classics spring concert. The concert will include choruses from oratorios sung in the spring (Achieved is the Glorious Work-Creation), as well as other choruses. Rehearsals will continue weekly through Tuesday, April 30 with a final rehearsal on Saturday followed by the performance on Sunday, May 5 at 7 p.m. No tryouts; come join us. †