MCC photo/Josh Voth

Tristan Pries find fun in using the electric hoist to lift the container of cans into the pressure cooker. 

Tristan Pries from Loma Plata, Paraguay, writes about his first experience as a new member of Mennonite Central Committee’s meat canning crew. In that role, he is responsible for helping to operate the mobile cannery that safely preserves hundreds of thousands of cans of meat that MCC sends to people in need each year.

Our first stop went pretty well. We arrived in Kidron, Ohio, on Friday, the 19th of October. On the road I saw a lot of new, interesting things and the beautiful nature which reminded me of our Lord ‒ how almighty, creative and perfect his creation is. I also love traveling, and the canning operation fits well for that because we travel to a lot of different places in the U.S., and Canada, too.

The host family where we stayed were very inviting, and they opened their doors for us like we were their best friends or children. It really feels good, and kind of like home.

Saturday morning, we installed the canner and set everything up so that it was ready to start Monday morning. The rest of the weekend we could do what we preferred, like meeting new people, sleeping and participating in the activities of the host family.

MCC mobile cannery operator Tristan Pries, from Loma Plata, Paraguay, delivers a basket of sealed meat cans to volunteers who will wipe and label them, and pack them in boxes. MCC photo/Josh Voth

“Hey Tristan, you are doing a great job!” yelled John Hillegass, the canning manager, after the first rounds Monday morning. I had a lot of fun on my first day. Of course, I made some mistakes, but it went well, and that’s how we learn. I was impressed how fast I learned what to do. I thought it would be harder, but I realized it wasn’t.

There is a lot of very good food the whole time, and everyone was friendly. I met so many new people, I don’t even remember all their names. Some of them want to stay in contact, and they also invited me already for Christmas and other events.

I observed the volunteers during the canning, and I was impressed about how each one wanted to help and how much time they gave to help this service to work. They give some of their time because they know that the canned meat reaches people who are poor, orphans in different countries and many more. I imagine they are so happy and thankful for it.

I really felt the presence of our Lord there and I couldn’t hold myself back. I just began to sing and praise God because I was so filled with the Holy Spirit and thankful to be so blessed and actually experience such a beautiful way that people serve each other in the name of Christ.

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