An influential figure in Paraguay’s Mennonite community, Rudi Plett is used to leading from the front.
Until recently, he served as the pastor of the Iglesia Hermanos Mennonita Concordia in Paraguay’s capital city of Asunción, president of Asociación Hermanos Menonitas, and CEO of ICOMB (the International Community of Mennonite Brethren).
Rudi feels an empathy for the prisoners. He has even formed a friendship with an inmate who burgled his house.
“I grew up in a pastor’s family and rebelled. At 13, I decided to despise Christianity. At 19, I was fiscally and emotionally unhealthy, involved in drugs and occultism, and on the verge of suicide. I met Jesus in 1985, and a radical change took place. With this change came a call to serve God.”
Paraguay’s Mennonite community is robust and influential. Of German background, they now number nearly 29,000 adults and children, with a baptized membership of around 13,000. At least half of the baptized Mennonite community is either Indian or Latino – a testimony to the community’s commitment to missions under the leadership of early missionaries – among them, Rudi’s namesake, Rudolf Plett.
Rudi attended the Haggai Leader Experience in 2008.
“It definitely encouraged me to see in every Christian leader a potential evangelist. With their connections and the trust they inspire, they should be testifying. Haggai also taught me the importance of writing down visions, goals, experiences, and prayer.”
Missions, he says, is on his “regular agenda” far more than before. He now actively engages with other leaders, in Paraguay and worldwide. He will soon be traveling to India and Thailand.
2017 will bring a massive change to his responsibilities, as he steps up his international work as regional team leader for MB Mission and associate executive director of ICOMB.
“I want to see people working together, no matter what denomination or culture each one belongs to. It isn’t good enough for leaders to focus on increasing their status and income. I want to see them help each other set greater goals in reaching out to people.”
“I’m so thankful for my Haggai experience. It has not only sharpened my convictions about missions and faithful leadership, but it has also helped me build a healthier attitude towards other denominations and cultures.”
Rudi has a dream of writing his autobiography, and also a novel, showing both the realities of Christian life and the power of God to intervene. But for now, his mission of bringing life to an imprisoned world is far too urgent.
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