In March, 2021, a Brazilian congregation, Igreja Evangélica Vida Nova (New Life) was awarded a JoinHands grant from Mennonite Men to aid construction of a new church building. Since acquiring the property, the congregation has been making improvements to the space, first meeting on the sidewalk bordering the property and then purchasing a spacious tent to house their services and other activities.
A storm in early 2021 destroyed their tent but the setback only sped up the building process. They constructed a much simpler tent as a temporary meeting space and decided it was time to begin building the permanent church structure. In June, the congregation held its first service on the pad of their new building.
Mennonite Men worked with Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) to identify Vida Nova along with Samogohiri Mennonite Church in Burkina Faso and Igreja Evangélica Menonita em Lago Azul in Brazil, as congregations that were working to construct a church building.
In addition to the international grants, Mennonite Men also granted funds to Eastside Church, a congregation of Virginia Mennonite Conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They are currently raising funds for a grant to assist Hmong Mennonite Church, a congregation of Mountain State Mennonite Conference in Westminster, Colorado that is made up of Hmong people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group.
JoinHands grants are dispersed when awarded grants are fully funded. We rely on the support of the Mennonite Men community to fill these grants and assist congregations with the building of their first meeting space. Since JoinHands began as Tenth Man in 1985, the program has distributed over $2 million helping churches in the United States, Canada, and in other countries to build or purchase their first building.
Applications for a JoinHands grant, along with details about supporting these projects, can be found at mennonitemen.org/joinhands.