Showing posts from August, 2010

From being served to serving

August 2010

In 1958, Mennonite Central Committee reopened an office in Hong Kong to respond to the growing number of refugees there. In less than a year and a half, MCC distributed food and clothing worth almost $1.5 million.

Jeremiah Choi Wing Kau was a young child who benefitted from MCC's food distribution in Hong Kong during these years. He says he remembers going to a car park near his school for milk and biscuits several times each week.

Later on, after he joined the Lok Fu Mennonite Church in Hong Kong (now called Agape Mennonite Church), he found out it was MCC who gave these gifts and provided nourishment for him. Jeremiah is now the pastor of this congregation and has been a Mennonite pastor for more than 20 years.

I met Jeremiah recently at the executive committee meetings for Mennonite World Conference in Addis, Ababa. Jeremiah was representing the entire continent of Asia and helping to provide connection for the more than 1.5 million Anabaptists arou…

On a mission for God

"Who are you, Lord?" And the reply came, "I am Jesus." - Acts 9:5

Wednesday, August 18 Akron, PA We gathered in the Akron (PA) Mennonite Church to celebrate. More than a 100 young people from all over the world had completed their orientation for short-term service and would be headed soon to locations in North America and all over the world. Global Service Learning director Chris Landes told participants that we gather together to express our oneness in Christ. Later, he told the youth that he had heard alot about transformation during the week and he recalled the story of the Apostle Paul. Saul's world was turned upside down on the road to Damascus when Jesus met him on the way. Chris said it would be like that for these youth, too, on their journey. They will be transformed and will have opportunities to help transform others as they gain a fuller understanding of God's perspective of the world. Priscila from Brazil is going to Mozambique…

Serving others can be costly

" I do it all for the sake of the gospel." - I Corinthians 9:23

Sunday, August 8, 2010
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia is the largest body of Mennonites in the world. Years ago, when the former govenment restricted the Christian church, the church went underground and grew by leaps and bounds. Now, the government is more open and the church continues to grow.Sunday morning, I visited the largest Meserete Kristos church in Addis Ababa with about 50 others who were in the city for a service consultation. Arli Klassen, Mennonite Central Committee executive director, shared with the congregation of 2,000 that MCC service worker in Afghanistan Glen Lapp had been killed along with others who worked for International Assistance Missions (AIM). Even though we can't see, we have hope, the preacher told the congregation. Glen's faith in God gave him the courage to sacrifice himself for others. Faith is not denying things, the pastor told us, it is ab…

Woman of strength

"I will not give up!"

August 1, 2010
Mugumu, Tanzania

In the Imara health clinic in Mugumu Tanzania, there is a painting of the John 8 gospel story of the woman caught in adultery.

In this particular painting, all of the characters are African, and unlike my preconception, the woman's head is held high. She is a woman of strength, forgiven by Jesus.

There is another woman of strength in the Imara health clinic and her name is Mary Tumbo. Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the mid-90s, Mary was abandoned by her husband.

But sitting under a tree one way, Mary and two other women decided they could help other women in their community who were dying of HIV/AIDS. They began visiting with these women and doing what needed to be done to help them die with dignity.

Not too much later, both of Mary's friends also died of AIDS, but Mary was not deterred. "I will not give up," she said.

Today, the Imara health clinic serves more than 600 clients who are living with HIV/AIDS or who ar…