God at work in the World

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Strengthening faith and soccer skills

Teammates Stiven Castro and Jose David Lopez Herrara face off during soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. Offering soccer camp for youth who want to be professionals provides an opportunity to share Christ and to give purpose to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Teammates Johan Esteban Carvajal Motoa, Duvan Rodriguez and Stiven Castro hone their skills after a soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. They are part of an MCC-supported soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Soccer player Stiven Castro, 16, meets with instructor Sigifredo Godoy after a practice in Cali, Colombia. MCC supports the work of Godoy, a former professional soccer player, who runs a soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Goalkeeper Duvan Rodriguez, 18, reaches to grab a field marker used to teach specific skills during soccer practice. Rodriguez says that being part of the soccer school, at which players are also taught how to manage their anger, has helped him resolve conflicts with words instead of violence. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

When Sigifredo Godoy talks about living out his faith, he’s talking sweat and strategy—the commitment, knowledge and skills that shaped him as a professional soccer player. That’s what he’s now passing on to young men from some of the most violent areas of his home city, Cali, Colombia.

‘Let no walls divide’

Seminar participants and Mennonite Central Committee staff gather in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. (Photo by Nadia García)

Students enjoy their time together at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ottawa Office seminar. Pictured from left to right: Ennet Bera, Cooper William, Marnie Klassen and Rizwan Shoukat. In the back: Esther Epp-Tiessen, MCC’s public engagement coordinator. (Photo by Nadia García)

Right before winter reading break, 30 university students from across Canada gathered in Ottawa to learn about the current conflict in Palestine and Israel at a seminar hosted by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada Ottawa Office. From Feb. 15–17, students attending “Palestine and Israel: Let no walls divide” explored issues of advocacy, peace and justice.

What if you were ‘forced to flee’?

A Forced to Flee game card presents players the same options refugees face on a daily basis, with the goal of creating empathy and countering the idea of ‘illegal’ border crossings. (Photo by Amanda Thorsteinsson)

People in your country are angry at the government. They gather to protest peacefully, and the government responds by opening fire on the protesters. The occasional bomb goes off and people are fighting in the streets. Soon, it’s not safe for you to leave the house and go to work. When food is available, it’s very expensive. You have the option to pay smugglers to get you out of the country.

Seeking reconciliation through jubilee

Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-settler relations for Mennonite Church Canada, presents a workshop at Rosthern (Sask.) Mennonite Church entitled ‘Unsettling discipleship: The cost of colonialism, the joy of jubilee.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Steve Heinrichs, left, invites workshop participants to stand on an imaginary spectrum identifying their views on reconciliation, ranging from advocates for land reparation to those advocating education and friendship. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

What does the ancient Levitical concept of jubilee have to do with reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and their settler neighbours? Plenty, according to Steve Heinrichs.

Farmers, thinkers, eaters

Field day at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Harvesting grain as part of a long-term organic crop rotation study at the University of Manitoba's Glenlea research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Laura, the sheep, participating in an organic cover crop grazing study at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Agriculture is changing. Perhaps it always has been. Markets realign. Tastes shift. Ideas evolve. Climatic conditions rearrange.

Mennonites are part of the change—as farmers, thinkers and eaters. 

Myanmar on the Move

Ashlyn Shantz of Heidelberg, Ont., right, shares a meal together with a local in the village of Win Poat, Myanmar. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

The Myanmar on the Move team stops for a water break and photo. The scenery throughout Kayin State is stunning. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

The 20 cyclists on last fall’s Myanmar on the Move fundraising tour stop at a craft village along the way, meeting the artisans who build these products from teak wood. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

Two men at work in one of many rice paddies in Myanmar’s Kayin State that the MEDA group cycled past during its fundraising trip. Farmers and villagers often wave and shout ‘thank you’ even though they have no idea why we are there. The people in Myanmar are extremely friendly and welcoming. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

On a cultural stop along the way, Peter Dueck, in the green vest, stands outside the Saddan Cave in front of a white ‘royal elephant’ waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Inside the cave are dozens of Buddha statues and pagodas. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

Ken Frey, from the Drayton, Ont., area, in the Canada shirt, and Dean Shoemaker, ahead of him in black, pedal past Buddhist monks during a MEDA-sponsored ‘Myanmar on the move’ fundraising tour last November. Read Byron Shantz’s reflection of the tour and see more photos beginning on page 16. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

When I originally told friends and family of my intention to travel with my family to Myanmar, I was challenged with the idea of a known global-crisis country as a travel destination. However, we were completely removed from any threat of the Rohingya genocide crisis in the northwest of the country.

‘Choose something to do’

Jacqui Block, left, Peter Guenther and George Epp enjoy a light-hearted moment as they reflect on what they learned about Mennonite Central Committee’s disaster response. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Delegates at Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan’s encounter and annual general meeting listen as Bruce Guenther, right, describes the organization’s disaster response work around the world. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“There’s no such thing as a natural disaster,” according to Bruce Guenther. But Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada’s disaster response director wasn’t in denial. 

Congo crisis grinds on

Highlighted in grey is the conflict zone within the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country of Rwanda, to the east, is also affected by the conflict. (Canadian Mennonite map by Betty Avery)

Christine Ndaya, who is displaced from Mbuji-Mayi in the Kasai region, is holding a tarp that is part of supplies distributed in Kikwit District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is pregnant and has three children, who also are benefitting from food, which is also part of the supplies. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)

“As many as 250,000 children could starve in Kasai in the next few months unless enough nutritious food reaches them quickly,” says David Beasley, World Food Programme’s executive director, in an Oct. 30 release.

‘Our need for weed’

A police officer, rehabilitation counsellor, medical cannabis producer and Mennonite pastor present their thoughts on the implications of the Canadian government’s plan to legalize marijuana at ‘Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community,’ the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

It’s not often that you see the words Mennonite, church and university in the same sentence as marijuana. Yet, “Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community” was the title of the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Two friends, two faiths

Scholars Muhammad Ali Shomali, left, and Irma Fast Dueck enjoy a break at the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue in Edmonton during the last week of October. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

David Goa, formerly of the Chester Ronning Centre for the study of Religion and Public Life centre, moderates a dialogue between scholars Chris Huebner, left, and Muhammad Ali Shomali, right at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church on Oct. 29, during the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Nuura Mohamoud said of the Christian-Muslim dialogue, ‘An event like this changes my life!’ She was amazed at how much there is to learn about each other, even when, and perhaps especially when, people believe they have their life and faith all figured out. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

At a time when world news seems to set nations against each other, the chatter and laughter of an obviously diverse crowd can be inspiring.

Breaking bread together

While Palmer Becker, right, looks on, Maahin Khan and Aroob Asheaf from the Kitchener Masjid and Stephanie Janzen-Martin, from Waterloo North Mennonite Church exchange contact information at the end of Waterloo North Mennonite Church’s open house with the masjid on Oct. 22. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Ray Brubacher, left, Ahmed Kaawea, Mirsad Kaplani and David Neufeld visit over dessert at Waterloo North Mennonite Church’s open house with the Kitchener Masjid on Oct. 22. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Palmer Becker began to attend the Kitchener (Ont.) Masjid when he returned from teaching at Bethlehem Bible College in 2009. While in Bethlehem, he had heard the daily calls to prayer and had gone to pray at the mosque.

Raising peacemakers

Summer camp is a great experience for many children. For participants in Raise the Peace Camp, it is an opportunity to have fun while learning about peacebuilding.

Raise the Peace is a day camp for children between 9 and 13. It’s offered by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, and is primarily for children from Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood.

‘Colombia fever’

David Fehr, left, and Klaas Wall in the middle of a rice field not too far from Puerto Gaitán, Colombia. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

Seeding a field. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

The yellow pin shows the location of a new Mexican Mennonite colony in Colombia. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

A new road and hydro line in the Liviney Colony. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

Despite warnings from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Low German Mennonites from drought-prone regions of northern Mexico have bought over 20,000 hectares of land in Colombia.


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