They shall hunger and thirst no more. (Rev. 7:16)
September 10-14, 2010
Oregon and British Columbia
"We know the economy of our country is not going to change," Susan Ban told us. "So we have to do things differently in smaller strategies that don't feel too huge and that can help our county be caring and compassionate."
Susan, the executive director of Shelter Care, a church-based ministry for responding to situational and chronic homelessness in Eugene, Oregon, told the West Coast MCC board that Shelter Care is finding creative ways for the church to partner with the public sector to respond to problems facing her community.
A day later, the West Coast MCC board and staff headed north of the border to Abbotsford, British Columbia to learn from the MCC programs there. They joined a Sunday celebration for the relief sale the day before that raised over $600,000 to help meet human needs and work for peace and justice all over the world.
Dan Wiens, water and agricultural coordinator for MCC, told the crowd that there are over one billion people in the world who live on less than a dollar a day and who suffer because of lack of food and water. He shared creative solutions like sand dams and conservation agriculture, ideas surfaced by the communities in need themselves that MCC is helping bring to fruition.
The following day, the MCC BC staff introduced us to an array of programs serving the people of Abbotsford, Vancouver and beyond. One innovative program is a for-profit landscaping business that employs 30 homeless people and youth at risk. Another program partners with a local credit union to help people save money (and get it matched) for downpayments on housing, starting small businesses or for education and training.
In an opening devotional, Rachelle Lyndacher Schlabach told the West Coast MCC board that Christians are called to hospitality, peacemaking and generosity rather than suspicion, selfishness and accumulation.
In visiting Eugene and Abbotsford the West Coast MCC board is modeling for us how to be a learning community. They are dreaming about a world in which people hunger and thirst no more.