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Showing posts from March, 2016

We need to support each other

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You are the salt of the earth . . . you are the light of the world. (Matt. 5:13-14)
“MCC envisions communities in right relationship with God, one another and creation.” I am speaking to a summit for MCC partners in the Ukraine, but I feel like an impostor after hearing “Vadim’s” story (not his real name) last night.
Vadim is a pastor in the eastern Ukraine conflict zone, the occupied territory where bombing is an everyday occurrence and many people have lost their homes.
Yesterday, Vadim spent eight hours waiting at the military checkpoint before he was permitted to drive to Zaporizhzhia for the MCC summit.
In his community, Vadim says the tanks are constantly going up and down the avenue. Young people are risking their lives while the shooting is going on to deliver food and blankets to people in need. He says people even need to be careful what they say to each other because if you are heard sounding sympathetic to Ukraine, you could be arrested.
The violence has brought the churches …

They welcomed us

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One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. (John 9:25)
She was addicted to drugs for 20 years. She was in prison and her family broke apart. Her child was in an orphanage and her husband died. Because of her substance abuse, she eventually lost her one arm below her elbow. She saw no way out. She had hit the very bottom.
When she came to know God, Natalia says everything changed. She found she had a deep desire to help people like herself and she discovered that her life experiences helped her understand others.
“I remember what God did in my life and I have hope that God can touch other peoples’ lives and give them new life, too,” Natalia tells me. In Nikopol, Ukraine, she and Olga and Valodya, both of whom have similar stories to tell of their own, began New Life Charitable Fund a half dozen years ago to help people in prison, or who have drug or alcohol addictions, are HIV positive, homeless or for some other reason need a helping hand.
Ukraine has one of the highest ra…

Will anyone help us?

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I would rather take refuge in you, God, than rely on people. (Psalm 118:8)
“If you cannot open your doors to my people, help my people stay here,” Father Douglas Bazi tells us.
Father Douglas provides oversight and leadership to Mar Elia, just one of the 14 refugee camps, or what he calls “centers,” in the Chaldean Catholic diocese of Erbil, Iraq. He says four Catholic and other church dioceses disappeared overnight when ISIS swept through the nearby Ninewah Plain in August 2014. Over 11,000 Christian families fled the Mosul region for Erbil and the surrounding area.
The Christians are a small part, perhaps about 10 per cent, of the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Christians and other minority religious groups who suddenly found themselves homeless because of the war in the northern Kurdish region of the country. 
The rise of ISIS is only the latest misery suffered by the people of Iraq in a long line of wars, economic sanctions and repression, and then, the American-led invasion. MCC evacuated …