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Spring 1989 · Vol. 18 No. 1 · pp. 89–90 

Book Review

What God Has Done: The Story of the Latin American Mennonite Brethren Conference

Anna Hiebert Esau. Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro, KS: Kindred, 1987. 191 pages.

Reviewed by Lynford J. Becker

“What God Has Done” is about vision, prayer, discipline, dedication, and excitement as it reviews God’s blessing upon the work of Mennonite Brethren among Mexican Americans in South Texas from the year 1936 until 1987. The author gives a detailed one hundred eleven page account of events supported by nearly seventy pages of pictorial illustrations.

While the author was not a polished writer, it is apparent that she was a sensitive, humble, and faithful servant of the Lord and his church, deeply committed to the people among {90} whom she worked. The book will serve a significant purpose as a historical reference and a testimony of God at work.

The cultural traditions of the Mexican American people in South Texas are reviewed as are their religious practices and superstitious fears. This serves as a valuable backdrop for understanding the difficulties involved in communicating the Gospel with clarity and credibility.

Esau examines the work of each church in the Conference and the many years of educational ministry at El Faro School. This ministry was characterized by faithful proclamation, unwavering commitment, patience, compassionate caring, and the blessing of God in lives touched by His grace.

I gained the following impressions from my reading of the book:

  1. the work’s beginning can be traced to the prayers of a faithful few whom God had given a special concern and love for the Mexican Americans,
  2. the faithful, determined, unselfish service of the early missionaries amid personal hardship, with minimal and primitive tools, represents a willingness to be inconvenienced for the sake of effective ministry,
  3. the mission activity had a broad scope,
  4. God was at work, as evidenced by the testimonies of salvation, conviction as to the power of God’s word, and enthusiasm for evangelizing their neighbors even amid ridicule and opposition, and
  5. the significance of compassionate caring as a convincing tool of the power of God’s love.

The book will be of particular interest to those having an acquaintance with the Latin American Conference and the early missionaries and to anyone with a heart for missions.

Lynford J. Becker, Conference Minister, United States Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Hillsboro, Kansas.

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