Joe Haines (from West Milton, Ohio, Pleasant Hill Brethren in Christ Church); Rebecca Janzen (from Edmonton, Alberta, First Mennonite Church)


Through MCC’s Pax program, which ended in 1976, Haines (JH) served in an orphanage and school in Hebron, West Bank (then Jordan, now Palestine) in 1959-1961. Through MCC’s Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program, Janzen (RJ) worked with Jesuit Refugee Services in Amman, Jordan, in 2018-2019.

In this1960 photo, Pax worker Joe Haines supervises some of the older boys at the Hebron Orphanage and school in Hebron, West Bank, who are working with wooden handcrafts. MCC photo

Typical days

JH: Played trombone to wake boys, bought provisions in the market (a good chance to practice Arabic), did other chores as needed, led woodworking activities, organized hikes.

RJ: Started with rounds of greetings to staff and students and Turkish coffee with my supervisor to plan the day, then helped adult refugees apply for scholarships, planned for English learning activities, joined classes and led exercises to help students practice speaking or listening to a native English speaker.


JH: Just relating to the boys and getting to know them and staff, exploring the land of the Bible — it was like a living classroom.

RJ: Connecting with students. Because I was learning Arabic and they were learning English, we could relate about how to memorize words or study strategies.

Be ready for an adventure — and be ready to be changed"

- Joe Haines, MCC PAX program 1959-1961

Because of Pax/SALT

JH: By 1965, I was serving with MCC in the Middle East again, this time with my wife Elaine. I was ready to get back to that part of the world. I had really fallen in love with the Arabic language and felt it could end up being kind of a mission for me.

RJ: I have an understanding of what it’s like to move somewhere new and start fresh. I feel like I built up a set of tools and information that helps me try and make Canada better for newcomers — and for everyone. I’m continuing to study Arabic and share about the experiences of the refugees I met.

“The refugee crisis is so close to home now. These are my friends. I want to make Canada a better place for them.”

- Rebecca Janzen, MCC SALT program 2018-2019

If you’re considering MCC

JH: Talk with family, friends and teachers and prayerfully reflect. Be ready for an adventure — and be ready to be changed.

RJ: Know that you’re going to be stretched and pushed. Know that there are going to be so many good moments and that it’s going to be beautiful.

Rebecca Janzen, working at Jesuit Refugee Services in Amman, Jordan, from 2018-2019. As a SALT participant, she helps refugees with English learning activities.MCC photo

Find your place

Through MCC’s one-year Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program, young adults from Canada and the U.S. serve around the world. Learn more and apply on the SALT page.

Find other MCC service opportunities, on our LinkedIn page or by contacting your nearest MCC office.