Family sits together and smiles near lake.
MCC photo/Victoria Callow

Elizabeth Miller and her husband Neil Richer visit a lake with daughters Laurel Richer, left, and Abigail Richer, right, in Fusagasugá Colombia, in October 2019.

Name: Elizabeth Miller and Neil Richer

Hometown: Goshen, Indiana (Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship)

Assignment: As MCC representatives, we are based in Bogotá and work with MCC partner organizations, Anabaptist churches and MCC staff and projects in Colombia and Ecuador.

Typical day: Filled with Zoom meetings and email (since the pandemic). Our team is placed in different regions in Colombia and Ecuador, so we are used to connecting remotely. We have frequent phone calls with partners and send voice messages, videos and photos back and forth on WhatsApp. We might receive photos of the most recent yucca harvest, or a feeding program of the Mennonite church in Riohacha.

Joys: Witnessing all the creative ways our team and MCC church partners have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the difficult circumstances, creativity abounds! Also, Bogotá is surrounded by green mountains; a joy this year is the view of them from our apartment.

Challenge: High levels of inequality and multigenerational households mean COVID-19 has been particularly devastating here and has exacerbated levels of domestic violence and armed conflict. At times it is difficult to know where and how to direct our energies, prayers and attention. In this we look to the Anabaptist churches for guidance and witness, both personally and programmatically.

On peace work: Colombian Anabaptists see peace holistically, integrated into everything they do. Jesus’ promise to bring life in abundance (John 10:10) frames their understanding of peace and their ministries. This shapes our work and our own spiritual practices.

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