This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Devotion in action

“I participated . . . and it made me think,” says Minyoung Jung of South Korea, writing of her work with a food-distribution program in Kenya by a Mennonite Central Committee partner. Her article on page 6 shows the impact of personal involvement in caring for others’ needs. “When I return to South Korea, I want to discuss the poverty I saw in Kenya with my friends and talk about what we should do about this,” she writes.

That’s the MCC way. See for yourself, do it yourself. Grow in faith while helping others.

Jung saw hunger in Kenya firsthand thanks to MCC and Mennonite World Conference. Her testimony affirms the vital place these organizations hold in our global Anabaptist fellowship.

MCC and MWC remove barriers. Within the church, they cross the divisions that separate us from fellow believers. Beyond the church walls, they tear down the obstacles of wealth and privilege that insulate us from the world’s needs.

To get and to share these benefits, we have to participate. For Jung, participation meant going to Kenya through the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network. For most of us, it means joining the opportunities close to home. MCC meets us right where we are, providing ways to extend a helping hand far beyond our individual reach.

On May 3 in Leamington, Ont., MCC’s mobile meat canner completed its annual journey to 34 locations across the United States and Canada. If the 2017-18 canning season matched previous ones, more than 30,000 people volunteered to fill, weigh, wash and label the cans. Last year MCC shipped 774,067 pounds of canned meat to people in need around the world, including North Korea, Haiti, Ukraine and Zambia.

If canning isn’t one’s calling, MCC supporters have plenty of other options: packing school kits, knotting comforters, volunteering at a thrift shop, bidding on a quilt at a relief sale. There’s so much more to do than write a check. Packing a notebook or sealing a can, belief becomes action. Isaiah 58:6-7 says God wants active devotion: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter?”

The command to shelter the wanderer resonates with urgency today. Globally, more than 65 million people are displaced from their homes, the most ever. A story on page 11 tells how MCC supports uprooted people, from Bangladesh to the U.S.-Mexico border.

While the ranks of the displaced grow larger, there’s good news on other fronts, including hunger and poverty, two of MCC’s signature causes. In 2015, the United Nations reported global malnutrition had declined to the lowest level in history. Since 1990, the percentage of the world’s population living in poverty has fallen from one-third to 10 percent. Also since 1990, the number of children who die before the age of 5 has been cut in half. MCC has played its part in these positive trends. Many of us have too, spurred by MCC’s culture of participation.

Find MCC stories in the May 21, 2018 print or digital edition of Mennonite World Review.

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