Showing posts from October, 2010

Give us your eyes and your heart

Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

October 2010
Harlan, Kentucky

Harlan County, Kentucky. Coal is still king here. And while coal still provides a lot of jobs in this community, the unemployment rate is more than 20%. More than one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. Just over half graduate from high school.

When I was in this town for the MCC Great Lakes board meeting, I got to meet with several homeowners that have been assisted by the SWAP program (Sharing With Appalachian People). During a typical summer, 1200 youth and adults spend a week working on dozens of home repair projects and learning to know the folks who live here and in three other communities.

Most of the homeowners are white, but coal has brought a rainbow of people of other colors into this community, too. Though some folks are critical of the current strip mining practices, they're also grateful for meaningful work and are quick to point out that almost…

Start with the churches

Make every effort to be fruitful and effective... (I Peter 1: 5 and 8)

The Gulf region
October 4-7

The week after Hurrican Katrina hit with a vengeance on the Gulf Coast, Mennonite Disaster Service director Kevin King remembers a call that came his way while he was on an exploratory trip in Alabama. A woman calling from Bayou La Batre south of Mobile in the Gulf said "the world has forgotten us."

So MDS, with the help of MCC canned meat, blankets and health kits, first began its Katrina response in this shrimper community. Its a response that has involved a dozen locations in the Gulf region and hundreds of volunteers to help rebuild homes and peoples' lives.

Kevin remembers asking local Mobile pastor JD Landis where to start and JD told him, "Start with the churches." From the beginning, Katrina response in this community has encouraged the Way of Life Mennnonite Fellowship's outreach to the Asian community.

Two states away and several hours s…

When our words fail us

I am the way, the truth and the life. - John 14:6

October 1-2, 2010
Winnipeg, Manitoba

We met in the material resources warehouse, a symbol of what we can do together. Because of the generosity of our people, health kits and blankets and much more are shipped from this place to people who need them all over the world.

When the binational and Canada MCC boards met in Winnipeg this weekend, we took time to meet with leaders of the Chortitzer and Sommerfelder Mennonite churches because they don't believe MCC is always clear and true to the Biblical faith we say we believe.

MCC Binational chair Herman Bontrager remembered when he was an MCCer in Latin America. A Lutheran bishop's life was in danger because he worked with the poor so the MCCers decided they would be a presence with him by staying with the bishop in his house.

MCC Canada chair Neil Janzen remembers being called to a life of service through MCC terms in the Teachers Abroad Program in Africa and in India.

MCC Manitoba chair …