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Two countries, one mission on the Korean Peninsula

Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. executive director, right, attended a Korean Anabaptist Conference in Chuncheon, South Korea, along with three South Korean church leaders. Pictured from left to right: Bock Ki Kim, SeongHan Kim and SunJu Moon, all graduates of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. Byler travelled to South Korea in November 2018 to visit MCC program and partner organizations. (Mennonite Central Committee photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada executive director Rick Cober Bauman poses with one of the cooks at Sariwon Hospital, a pediatric hospital in North Korea. In 2018, MCC shipped nearly 49,000 kilograms of canned meat to North Korea. (Mennonite Central Committee photo)

It has been more than 60 years since the ceasefire that ended the Korean War, but to this day North Korea and South Korea do not have an official peace, and the divide remains great.

Once Round the Barn: Twang Edition

Another edition of ‘Once Round the Barn’: pigpen pundit Will Braun challenges you to get the feet a-stompin’ with some good old country music. See the video below.

Grab your cowboy hat and don’t mind the barn smell! Join Will Braun, Canadian Mennonite’s resident ranter, once around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard. This time he challenges you to cue up the country music twang.  (See the video below. Then scroll down and check out some more rants.)

Congolese army officer arrested in U.N. murders case

Michael J. Sharp addresses the UN Security Council in August 2016. He and a colleague were abducted and killed in 2017 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo courtesy of the Sharp family)

Michael J. Sharp and fellow U.N. sanctions monitor Zaida Catalán of Sweden were abducted and killed in 2017 in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo while monitoring sanctions violations and possible war crimes by the Congolese national army and various militias.

Ukrainians witness amid suffering, hope

Seven women ages 16–22 were baptized at a nearby pool the day the European leaders visited Mennonites in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

This former Mennonite school served 130 hearing- and speech-impaired children at Tiege in the Molotschna region. When the German army swept through Ukraine, soldiers took the students out to a field and shot them. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

In a region of Ukraine that thousands of Mennonites left generations ago, two dozen of today’s Mennonite leaders from across Europe gathered for three days of fellowship in October 2018. 

Canada announces funding to empower women and youth in Senegal

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) moved to a new office in Waterloo, Ont., in December. Taking part in the ribbon-cutting are, from left to right: Allan Sauder, outgoing MEDA president/CEO; Karen Redman, Region of Waterloo chair; Bardish Chagger, Waterloo MP; Dorothy Nyambi, incoming MEDA president/CEO ; Jenny Shantz, MEDA vice-chair; Jim Erb, Region of Waterloo councillor; and Dave Jaworsky, Waterloo mayor. (Photo courtesy of MEDA)

In December 2018, the federal government announced funding for a new five-year project with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) that will improve the economic resilience of women and youth farmers in Senegal. 

How steam wells work to relieve droughts in Ethiopia

MCC's first steam well, constructed in Bidu, Afar, in northern Ethiopia. (MCC photo by Rose Shenk)

Sisay Kasu, left, project manager for MCC Ethiopia, and Hussien Edris, project coordinator for Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), look at the sediment trap leading into a birkat, a traditional water catchment system that MCC and APDA have expanded and modernized as part of an emergency water project in northern Ethiopia. (MCC photo by Rose Shenk)

From where he is standing, MCC Ethiopia representative Bruce Buckwalter can feel warm air escaping from underground steam vents. Notice the dried grass that grows from moisture making its way to the surface from the underground steam. (MCC photo by Rose Shenk)

MCC Ethiopia representative Bruce Buckwalter, left, and Sisay Kasu, MCC project coordinator in Ethiopia, stand in 40-degree C heat next to a traditional Afari steam collection structure in the Afar Desert in northern Ethiopia. (MCC photo by Rose Shenk)

In parts of the world where the effects of climate change are severe and rains are dangerously infrequent, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is supporting innovative projects to improve access to water.

In the Afar region of Northern Ethiopia, MCC supported the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) to build and maintain a steam well benefitting 60 households.

MEDAx 2018: Creating pathways for future innovators

Pictured from left to right: CPA director Paul Heidebrecht, and SheCycle members Abby Loewen, Isaac Beech, Daniel Schuurman, Mykayla Turner, Anna Kuepfer and Leah Wouda. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Grebel University College)

A team of six students from Conrad Grebel University College participated in MEDAx, a conference that was part of the larger Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) conference, held in November 2018, in Indianapolis. 

Experiencing Christmas by lamplight

Oil lamps light the sanctuary of the little church as guests arrive to experience ‘Christmas by lamplight.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Guests arriving for ‘Christmas by lamplight’ at the Mennonite Heritage Museum’s church building in Rosthern, Sask. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Guests enjoy singing carols, listening to stories, drinking hot chocolate and eating peppernuts at the Mennonite Heritage Museum’s ‘Christmas by Lamplight.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Organist Barb Wolfe accompanies the carol singing on the church’s pump organ. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Old-fashioned oil lamps graced each windowsill in the tiny sanctuary, their steady flames bathing the room in warm light as people filed into the pews. The people came to experience “Christmas by lamplight.”

Once Round the Barn: Pat-on-the-back Edition

Video below: ‘Once Round the Barn’ rides again. Resident ranter Will Braun has some choice words about how Mennonites talk about their generosity.

He’s our resident ranter, our pigpen pundit. Canadian Mennonite writer Will Braun rants around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard. This time he’s got opinions on how Mennonites talk about their generosity. (See the video below. Then scroll down more and check out more rants.)

North Korean farmers visit Manitoba, build relationships

Jennifer Deibert, left, MCC North Korea program coordinator, and North Korean agricultural delegates An Hui Jun and Jon Bom Ho talk shop with Martin Entz, a professor in the plant science department at the University of Manitoba, at a research farm in Carman, Man. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Donna Rice, MCC representative for Northeast Asia, and Ambassador Ri Yong of the North Korean Mission to the United Nations, and others share a meal at the home of Charlotte and Ernie Wiens in La Salle, Man. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

In those first few minutes after arriving at Syl’s Restaurant in Carman, members of a delegation from North Korea sit at the edge of the outdoor eating area, where they see local resident Rene McFarlane at a picnic table with her son Lane. The visitors move toward McFarlane and, with the help of a translator, a conversation about families in both countries begins.

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