Number 2

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Take on a demon

Whom are you battling? Can you picture them or it? Everyone is at war, some on numerous fronts. “Be kind,” wrote Philo of Alexandria. “Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

This is an important point. To remember that every irritating person is human like I am, confronted daily by battles, would certainly make the world a better place.

‘Walk alongside’

Twitter informed me this morning that Bethany College in Hepburn, Sask., is closing in 2015 after 87 years of teaching. Ron Toews, director of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches’ leadership development arm, says, “The closure of Bethany doesn’t change the reality that we need to continue walking alongside young women and men as they think about the foundation of their lives.

Holy recklessness

I recall saying in my youth that “Christianity does not come equipped with standard airbags and anti-lock brakes,” features commonly advertised for cars at the time. I felt society’s fixation on safety and security should not be adopted by Christians. Faith is risky.

I was young and idealistic then. Some older folks said I’d get over it.

Reclaiming Ethiopia

A way of life is being dramatically changed as the pastoralist people learn to grow crops. The Foodgrains Bank and Canadian World Lutheran Relief are working through the Support for Sustainable Development organization on food-for-work projects that build irrigation systems. They provide training on how to grow and market crops. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Ethiopia is a country undergoing transformation. Stu Clark, senior policy advisor for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, writes, ‘The challenge now is to ensure that rural Ethiopians enjoy the same rapid growth as those in Addis Ababa [pictured]. While food aid expenditures have declined, Foodgrains Bank expenditures for agricultural development in Ethiopia have increased over the past decade to about $1 million a year.’ (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Ginjo struggles to support his family of 10 on a hectare of land. But by adopting new conservation methods of farming this past growing season he was able to dramatically increase the yield of his maize crop, which he harvested from the field in the foreground. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Mogite is a widow, but being part of one of the self-help groups that the Terepeza Development Association and the Foodgrains Bank have supported, she is able to support herself and her family. The women have established a cooperative garden on her property, where vegetables and seedlings are grown for their families and the surplus is marketed. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

MCC Ethiopia and Meserete Kristos Church have partnered with the Foodgrains Bank in the Boricha District, where farmers are being paid to work on soil- and water-conservation activities, building terraces and check-dams to catch the rain, and planting trees to stabilize the soil. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Elias Tola has been part of the food-for-work and cash-for-work programs that have helped to restore his farmland and bring roads into the Boricha District. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Ahimed, head of the water user association in his community, stands near the channel that diverts water from the river and brings life to his community. He speaks with pride about the difference this six-kilometre channel has made to their lives, bringing not only water, but food security, a school, a clinic and dignity. (Credit: Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Manitoba correspondent Evelyn Rempel Petkau journeyed to Ethiopia last fall as part of a Canadian Foodgrains Bank-sponsored learning tour and reports her findings of the NGO’s work with Mennonite Central Committee, Meserete Kristos Church, and other relief and development agencies

Normal people doing normal things

The Rosco boys, from left to right: Trevor Hunsberger, producer; Ken Ogasawara, writer/actor; and Jonathan Steckley, writer/director. (Photo courtesy of Rosco Films)

Ken Ogasawara, right, hangs out with a friend in The Volunteer, exchanging stories and working through bad relationships. (Photo courtesy of Rosco Films)

When filmmakers get around to showing their work to their family and community, it is usually a past project for them.

Such was the case for Rosco Films, whose principals—Jon Steckley, Ken Ogasawara and Trevor Hunsburger—grew up at Shantz Mennonite Church, Baden, Ont.

40 years of canoe tripping

Saskatchewan guide Ric Driediger helps people meet God in the wilderness. (Photo by Churchill River Canoe Outfitters)

Ric Driediger loves telling stories about his life as a canoeing guide. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The trickling of an indoor waterfall in the room where Ric Driediger sits evokes images of a northern stream while he reflects on 40 years on the waterways of northern Saskatchewan as a canoeing guide. 

Crossing the (pipe) line

Clouds hang over the Haisla community of Kitamaat Village, just across Douglas Channel from the proposed site of the Northern Gateway supertanker terminal. (Photo by Will Braun)

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (Photo by Will Braun)

A second Enbridge pipeline through the Hermitage woods, 2000. (Photo by Will Braun)

A trail through a part of the Hermitage woods that will soon be home to Enbridge Line 6B. (Photo by Will Braun)

I never expected that Enbridge—the Calgary-based pipeline company best known for its contentious Northern Gateway proposal and a nasty spill from one of its U.S. lines in 2010—would push its way so far into my life.

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