July 30, 2020

Good afternoon,

This is the last of my devotionals highlighting the beginnings and the work of MCC. As I said earlier, I have worked for MCC for a total of eight years. I have lived and worked for MCC in France, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam and Ontario. All of the work I have participated in has been different. But, I think one of the themes that have been part of all my experiences with MCC, is the connection between our work and the work of our partners in ministry. In our promotional material, we will often tell you how many partners we have throughout the world. I do not think that we pay lip service to our partners. Whether it is a disaster, or a development project or a peace mandate, we will ask our partners what they need from us. “What do you need to be successful in your project ?” This helps MCC to use the resources that we are given, and to use them in the best ways. Hopefully, we are always asking questions, and learning from all of our experiences . Sometimes we have had to say no to partners. 

In April 1975, the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong moved throughout the south, and on the 30th it took over the whole country. The remaining US citizens and military left by helicopter, and the armies of the North took over the city of Saigon. MCC had worked in Vietnam since the 1950’s , mostly in health care, and so when the war was over four MCC volunteers stayed. They were Max Ediger, Earl Martin, James Klassen and Hiro Ichikawa. They were not arrested, and were allowed to stay in the MCC house in Saigon. MCC had worked for peace throughout its time there. Within the year, all four of them left Vietnam, and they left on good terms. MCC returned in the mid-1980’s to help in areas of development, health care and rebuilding the rural areas. At first, they were not allowed to have a representative live in the country, but MCC did their work from Thailand. In the early 1990’s , Vietnam 

finally allowed MCC to live in Hanoi, the capital of the country. 

MCC does not do it right all the time. They make mistakes. They don’t always listen well. They do not set out to be political, but sometimes the work they do is seen as political from both sides of an issue. It is hard to figure out sometimes. As with their experience in Vietnam, peace and development is never straightforward or easy. Jesus never said following the teachings given to his disciples would be easy. If it is not easy, maybe then we know we are being faithful. 

The apostle Paul said to the community in Galatia ,” Let us not become weary in doing good .” .  Galatians 3: 9


O Lord God,

Keep MCC strong,

in its actions, and its mission.

Keep them humble.

Keep them open,

Keep them prophetic,

Keep them safe.          AMEN.

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