Mission Statement and Fundraising Vision:
realizing global community through intercultural engagement
BikeMovementAsia (BMA) is a project born out of the momentum and vision of BMUSA 2006. While BMUSA strove to engage open conversations regarding young adult visions and perspectives for the church as they visited Mennonite churches across the USA, BMA seeks to realize the potential for global Anabaptist community-building through open and engaged immersion in the lives of our sisters and brothers in Southeast Asia.
From May 1 to July 1 2007, six young adult participants from Canada and the United States will ride their bicycles from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, through Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and will finish in Chengdu, China. Touring participants will connect with Anabaptist and other Christian congregations, as well as individuals and communities affiliated and working with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Church Canada Witness, and MCC International Visitor Exchange Program participants. By staying 3-5 days in each location, participants hope to begin this task of realizing global community, as they engage in the day to day realities of their hosts and begin to observe the joys and challenges faced by the churches of Southeast Asia at the local level.
Recognizing the limits which language barriers place on our communication, our hope is to orient our engagement towards experiential learning rather than conversation. As a generation serious about realizing a global Anabaptist community as we dream it, it is important that we enter into the work and life of the church, as well as the broader culture of these regions, which can help us better understand the contexts in which Southeast Asian Anabaptists both struggle and thrive. This will help us grasp more fully the dynamic issues being engaged by these communities, as well as the factors which shape their theology and mission. By entering into these stories of real people, we will gain more integrity as we strive to enter into meaningful relationships and partnerships with these particular members of our global family.
The issues BMA hopes to explore and the relationships which they strive to engage are also relevant to our sending communities. Questions of ‘Who are North American Mennonites in the context of global church community?’ and ‘Who/what is the Anabaptist church of Southeast Asia?’ and (with the help of translators) ‘What are Christians in our host countries saying [about church]?’ are integral to any conversation we might engage about our roles within a global Anabaptist partnership, conversations in which we must challenge ourselves, as North Americans, to realize that we are not the majority or the center. As young North American Anabaptists working within the conversation of AMIGOS' vision for a global network, we have a particular interest in the experience of young Asian Anabaptists.
Consequently, BMA participants are committed to recording and creatively reporting on their experiences as they tour Southeast Asia. En route, an interactive website will host a variety of travel information and photographs, personal reflections, and interviews with local people. Upon return to North America, participants will continue the task of reporting and disseminating the learning gained through their experiences. This will be done through the writing of articles and reports for various Anabaptist-affiliated publications as well as through interactive presentations at San Jose 2007, Abbotsford 2007, in congregations and at a variety of other conferences and gatherings.
And as we seek to realize global Anabaptist community through experiential engagement and subsequent storytelling back into our particular sending communities, it is essential that we address issues of structural inequality which make such global opportunities available to some and not others. BMA will extend the central fundraising vision of BMUSA, which supported the fundraising project of Mennonite World Conference’s global young adult network, AMIGOS. AMIGOS is committed to raising $100 000 before the next MWC Assembly in Paraguay 2009 so that more young adults from the global south, where the majority of the Anabaptist church is located, are able to attend. Everyone brings an important voice to these assemblies and for these gatherings to be effective representation must reflect the church’s population. As affluent North Americans we must work extra hard to burst through the economic inequalities which limit this representation. BMA is an innovative way of doing just that, as we seek to learn more about the global church, raise awareness surrounding these justice issues, and creatively raise funds to change these inequalities so that a representative global church can be more fully realized in Paraguay 2009. BMA's fundraising goal for AMIGOS is $30 000.
We invite you to contribute generously both to AMIGOS fundraising as well as operating costs as BMA participants embark on this task of realizing global community through intercultural engagement. As we recognize the structural inequalities which situate wealth in limited places, we hope that the value of this experiential learning tour will be recognized as not only an important tool for realizing global community, but also as a worthwhile investment in young adult leaders and the future of the global church. Thank you for your support!