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MWC responds in solidarity to disasters

The MWC delegation with local members of the Mennonite Brethren church in Nuevo Horizonte, Peru: (back row, from left) Henk Stenvers (MWC Deacon), Pablo Stucky (MWC Regional Representative), Antony Sanchez (joint response coordinator), Jessica Preciado, Elisabeth Kunjam (MWC Deacon), Graciela Díaz, Yeisela Preciado, local pastor Sixto Chiroque Pazo and his family (children from left: Adriano, Reina Esther, and Isaí), and conference leader Antonio García Dominguez (right). Photo: Joanna Chapa
Release date: 
Friday, 15 December 2017

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – “Our hearts were left totally destroyed…but thanks to MWC, who have come to visit us and have given us this uplifting and encouraging word, a word of hope and love,” says Antonio García Dominguez, leader of Conferencia Peruana Hermanos Menonitas.

Mennonite World Conference and Mennonite organizations collaborated to live out faith with unified action in response to disasters that struck members of the global Anabaptist family this year.

Torrential flooding caused by El Niño in Peru devastated homes and livelihoods of more than a million Peruvians. Together, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), ICOMB (International Community of Mennonite Brethren), MB Mission and MWC facilitated the six-month appointment of Antony Sanchez to assess needs, coordinate response and training and equip the local churches to serve their communities.

“The brothers and sisters from Peru were very welcoming, open, and eager to learn and to help,” says Sanchez. “I have been able to affirm their dreams and, together with these organizations, respond to their needs, highlighting their capacities and skills, always remembering that we are members of a global family. We are in the hands of God as well as being God’s hands to bring his presence and blessings to others.”

MWC regional representative and trauma specialist Pablo Stucky visited in April and again with a Deacons Commission delegation (Henk Stenvers, Elisabeth Kunjam) in October.

In DR Congo, a conflict brewing between tribal and political factions broke out into widespread violence in the past year, compelling more than a million to flee their homes, sometimes after family or neighbours were killed in front of them. Thousands of members of Communauté Mennonite au Congo (one of three Mennonite national churches) are living in the forest or have fled to other parts of the country and across the border to Angola, to refugee camps or the hospitality of local Mennonites.

MWC is cooperating with MCC; Mennonite Mission Network; MB Mission; Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission; Caisse de Secours; Mennonite Church Canada Witness; Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz (Alttäufer), Conférence mennonite suisse (Anabaptiste); and ICOMB on the delivery of strategic, locally sourced humanitarian assistance through churches and partners in DR Congo to some 200 families. [Click here for a more detailed update from MCC in English.]

A Deacons Commission delegation is intended to visit Mennonite churches in DRC in December.

“The Deacons walk with the churches, listening to their stories, praying and showing that the global church is in solidarity with them,” says Deacons Commission secretary Henk Stenvers.

In August 2017, monsoon floods washed through Nepal and parts of India and Bangladesh, affecting millions and killing hundreds.

Anabaptist partners MCC and Brethren in Community Welfare Society are helping 323 families recover their livelihoods (fisheries, vegetable farms and kitchen gardens), and providing shelter materials and mosquito nets. In addition, the project will construct 15 boreholes and provide support to repairs to homes of seven local Brethren In Christ staff.

“These Mennonite organizations working together, unified in response, were a testimony of unity,” says Sanchez. Practically and spiritually, they release “a synergetic power. The Spirit working amid us creates more unity, and increases faith and confidence that God is our provider who takes care of us.”

—Mennonite World Conference release

 

Geographic representation: 
Latin America and Caribbean

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