Volume 23 Issue 11

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Motivated by fear

'We were flying from Calgary to Toronto in March... He wasn’t actually asking for my help. He was testing my commitment as a Christian.' (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Two hours into a conversation that I deeply regretted starting, the man seated next to me said, “Most people on this airplane are probably not Christian. If this flight starts to crash, I will stand up, tell everyone to repent [of their sins], accept Jesus as Lord and be saved. Otherwise, they will spend eternity in hell. Will you help me?”

Who is my neighbour? 

A Mennonite church in Ontario recently finished a six-week adult and youth Sunday school series entitled “The opioid crisis: Understanding addiction as a disease.” The six sessions were packed. (Photo © istock.com/wildpixel)

The language is stark: crisis, epidemic, tragedy. The facts are startling. According to a Government of Canada website, opioid-related overdose has become the No. 1 cause of death for people under 50. In 2016, there were 3,017 such deaths in Canada; in 2017, there were 4,034; and in the first nine months of 2018, there were 3,286.

Nipawin streetscape

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives

Streetscape of Nipawin, Sask., in the 1920s. Mennonites first began moving to Lost River in the Rural Municipality of Nipawin in the early 1900s. By 1906, they were meeting in homes for worship. In 1913, Bishop Abraham Doerksen of the Manitoba Sommerfeld Mennonite Church travelled to the Nipawin area, where he baptized 42 people and ordained Aron Doerksen and Abram R. Bergen as pastors.

Pray for the city

'I did feel like an exile, and the verse did command me to pray for the city in which I’d landed. God knows a city needs prayers.' (Image by Korey Lowdon/Pixabay)

Nearly 20 years ago, my husband accepted a job offer in Winnipeg that resulted in our family’s move from Ontario, a place we had called home for 22 years.

The holy task of parenting

‘I need to nurture our relationship, whatever it might take. I need to show a deep and unfailing love to my son, and not let his antics get under my skin.’ (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

It was at the baseball diamond on my 36th birthday that I stumbled upon a breaking point. It came as a deep gut conviction, a weary heartfelt and tear-filled prayer, and a holy call from my Lord.

‘I am getting help now’

Guerres Lucien, outside her home in Lahoye, Haiti, is a participant in an MCC-supported community mental-health project with partner Zanmi Lasante, the Haitian branch of Partners in Health. (Photo by Paul Shetler Fast)

Noel Derenis, centre, who has major depression, stands outside her home in Lahoye, Haiti, with her team of community mental health workers Joseph Benissois, left, and Saint-Hilaire Olissaint, who have helped Derenis to regain energy to care for herself and her family. (Photo by Paul Shetler Fast)

“Close your eyes and imagine you are walking to your garden,” says Saint-Hilaire Olissaint, a community mental-health worker. His calm, soothing voice carries over the din of the nearby street market and the curious chatter of the children watching nearby.

Calgary church offers space for community events

The group Hymn performs at the Bright Lights Festival at Theatre 1308 in Calgary on Feb. 24. (Theatre 1308 photo)

Dale Taylor, Calgary Inter-Mennonite Church’s congregational chair, is pictured in the basement reception area of Theatre 1308. (Photo by John Longhurst)

“Light up the church.”

That’s what members of Calgary Inter-Mennonite decided they wanted to do when asked about ways to engage with their local community.

What that meant for the congregation of about 40 households was making their building, located in the northeast part of the city, available for use by others during the week—not only on Sunday mornings by congregants.

Tuesdays at Faith

Tuesday’s Book Club at Faith Mennonite Church includes, from left to right: Sonja Kuli, Joan Enns, Anne Reimer, Nancy Hogendyk and Rita Unrau.

Tuesday’s Book Club at Faith Mennonite Church includes, from left to right: Anne Reimer, Nancy Hogendyk, Rita Unrau and Linda Thiessen-Belch.

Rita Unrau shows off one of the many ‘encouragement cards’ that have been distributed in Faith Mennonite Church’s pews.

McKayla and her grandma, Marianne Dyck, pose for a shot while making vegetarian chili in Faith Mennonite Church’s kitchen.

Like at many Mennonite churches, the back of any given pew at Faith Mennonite in Leamington includes a blue hymnal, an offering envelope, and, for the lucky few, a small, colourful, hand-made encouragement card. These one-of-a-kind cards are something new and they point to a wily group of seniors who are helping to bring new energy into the life of the congregation.

Canadian faces of MDS in Texas

Brianna Wiebe of Austin, Man., helped paint doors in Bloomington, Texas. (Photos by John Longhurst)

What do you get when you put Mennonites from all over Canada, and from all sorts of different Mennonite conferences and churches—along with Christians from other denominations—in the same place? A Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) unit—that’s what.

In February, I visited volunteers in three communities in Texas hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017—La Grange, Bloomington and Wharton. 

What resilience looks like

Bethany Amstutz-Schrag, Joanna Loepp Thiessen and Krystal Porter jump for joy as they trek through the mountains of Nepal on an MCC learning tour. (Photo courtesy of Joanna Loepp Thiessen)

From dealing with disaster to mental health recovery, partners of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Nepal and their beneficiaries demonstrate resilience.

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