service

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. 

Canadian Mennonite bids farewell to Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

Longtime Alberta correspondent Donita Wiebe-Neufeld is pictured with CD, her beloved horse. Over the years, she wrote around 385 stories, features and news briefs. (Photo by Melanie Cumin)

After more than 18 years of contributing to Canadian Mennonite as the Alberta correspondent, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, who has developed a fondness for horses over the years—especially CD—has resigned from her reporting position to take on an increased role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. 

Volunteers ‘go beyond’ in the community

Grade 9 Rockway students Thomas Klassen, left, and Haolin Li repair bicycles at the Working Centre’s Recycle Cycles shop in downtown Kitchener, Ont. (Rockway Mennonite Collegiate photo)

Our journey at Rockway focuses on students developing an ability to lead with compassion when classroom learning is extended so they can live out Christ-centred values, develop empathy and perspective, and serve the community locally and globally. This is the inspiration behind Rockway’s new Students Learning in Community (SLIC) partnerships. 

‘It was just helping people’

An updated photo shows Keith Wagler with his appliance repair van, in his early years. (Photo courtesy of the House of Friendship)

Keith Wagler in 2018, before he retired after 34 years on the job. (Photo courtesy of the House of Friendship)

For 34 years, Keith Wagler lived out his Christian faith by serving others through the Appliance Repair Program of the House of Friendship (HoF), a social service agency in the Waterloo Region of Ontario. His job involved servicing and repairing appliances for people living on a low income, who could not afford to pay for a regular service call or to replace their appliances.

An exciting opportunity

Manitoba native Annalee Giesbrecht is serving a three-year term with MCC in Haiti. (Photo by Elizabeth Peters)

A view of the Caribbean Sea outside the city of Jacmel on Haiti's southern coast. (Photo by Annalee Giesbrecht)

Jean Wesley blows bubbles at MCC partner Sakala, a community centre in the historically marginalized Cité Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince. At Sakala, kids learn about building peace through urban gardening and soccer. (Photo by Annalee Giesbrecht)

The sun rises over the mountains of Haiti's Artibonite Valley, where MCC has been working in reforestation, agriculture and community development since 1982. (Photo by Annalee Giesbrecht)

Members of an agricultural collective in Haiti's Central Plateau start a meeting with a song. This agricultural collective, orgwoupman, is supported by PDL (Partnership for Local Development by its initials in French), an MCC partner that provides training on conservation agriculture and community development. (Photo by Annalee Giesbrecht)

Annalee Giesbrecht is getting more than she bargained for when she agreed to serve with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

When she arrived in Haiti to work with the relief organization, she planned to be away from Canada for a year. A few months later, however, she was offered the opportunity to extend her term to three years.

MDS volunteers build second cabin at Shekinah

Volunteers raise the timbers of the second timber-frame cabin to be built this year at Shekinah Retreat Centre. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

From left to right, volunteers Ryan Siemens, Curtis Wiens and Gord Siemens cut a board to be used in the timber-frame cabin constructed during the MDS Family Project held at Shekinah in August. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

The families pictured here volunteered from Aug. 5 to 10, 2018, during Week 2 of the MDS Family Project at Shekinah Retreat Centre. They helped assemble wall units for the timber-frame cabin. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

These volunteers helped with construction of the second timber-frame cabin at Shekinah Retreat Centre from Aug. 12 to 17 during Week 3 of the MDS Family Project. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

MDS volunteers worked alongside Shekinah campers and counsellors to carry all the lumber to the building site during the MDS Family Project held at Shekinah Retreat Centre in August 2018. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

Ike and Priscilla Epp aren’t quite sure how many people volunteered to help build the second timber-frame cabin at Shekinah Retreat Centre, but they know there were many.

The project took place during the month of August at the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan-owned camp north of Waldheim, and was designated a Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Family Project.

Travel company and MCC collaborate for mutual benefit

In 2017, a group of North American travellers on a TourMagination tour of India joined the MCC team in Kolkata for morning devotions. Later in the day, the travellers visited several MCC projects. Whenever possible, TourMagination tour groups connect with MCC staff in countries they are touring. (TourMagination photo)

Recognizing shared values and an overlap between TourMagination travellers and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) donors, the for-profit business and non-profit organization recently signed a memorandum of understanding signaling their desire to collaborate more closely for mutual benefit. 

MCC celebrates 75 years of service work in India

MCC supports a community school program at a girls’ hostel run by Lee Memorial Mission in Kolkata, India. Pictured are students Priya Biswas, foreground left, and Srilekha Das. (MCC photo by Dave Klassen)

Maheshwar Pujari, pictured with his wife Shakuntala Pujari of Sinisingi village in India’s Orissa region, has seen an increase in rice yields now that he follows the system of rice intensification method of rice cultivation, and after a diversion-based irrigation system was installed in his village in 2013. (MCC photo by Pabitra Paramanya)

Children aged three to five attend an MCC-supported preschool in Andulgaria village, India, in a child-friendly environment to prepare them for primary school in the formal education system. (MCC photo by Dave Klassen)

Canadian Bert Lobe travelled to Kolkata to celebrate MCC’s 75 years in India. (MCC photo by Sanjib Khan)

This year, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is celebrating 75 years of relief, development and peace work in India, making it one of the oldest international aid organizations in the country.

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