A photo of Ann Graber Hershberger sitting near a garden
MCC photo/Brenda Burkholder

Ann Graber-Hershberger, September 2020, MCC U.S., Akron, Pennsylvania.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’”

(John 21:15 NRSV)

During this season of Eastertide, between the resurrection and Pentecost, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” and followed up with, “Feed my lambs.”

“Feed my lambs.” This is love in action — the kind of love that propels Eleonora, who serves displaced Roma families in Ukraine, with a perseverance born of her own suffering.

Or take Rina Maria Garcia Rosa, a young adult who, in working with young Anabaptists in Guatemala, passes on her belief that faith is not only a thing that you have, but a thing that you do.

Recently, I was part of a reunion of Rosedale International voluntary service workers who served in Central and South America in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. As we shared stories, a recurring theme was that we were so young and there was so much that we did not know. Still, we were trusted and sent — as young and inexperienced as we were.

Later someone suggested that despite what we did not know how to do, we did know how to “be.” Our families and churches had taught us about community and engaging with others in humility. That made a difference. Lifelong cross-cultural relationships formed, communities changed, churches grew, and we were formed and called for further service.

Through MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP), Serving and Learning Together (SALT), Seed and the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN, a joint program of MCC and Mennonite World Conference), the church around the world sends youth to serve in the name of Christ. They form relationships and learn from and serve the communities where they are sent. In turn, they are called for further service.

As you read these stories and take in the images, look for and learn from young adults. May their stories inspire you, as they did me, renewing our energy to respond to Jesus’ call to love him above all else and to feed his lambs.

Ann Graber Hershberger

MCC U.S. Executive Director

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