“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NRSV)
Cries of despair from people in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine) because of war and famine unleashed a tide of compassion and generosity from people in the U.S. In the words of MCC worker A.J. Miller, “It was Love reaching out its strong hands across the waters and the plains; across oceans and continents.”
As many as 25,000 people a day were fed at the height of the response. Shipments of food and clothing were followed by tractors. And that is how Christians from various churches in the U.S. and Canada came together 100 years ago to form MCC, which has continued to provide relief, development and peace in the name of Christ through these many years.
“Receiving generous hospitality inspired me to be generous and hospitable with what I have,” says Laura Litwiller of her service with MCC in Ethiopia in the late 1980s. Thirty years later, Thabiso Matsoso in Mozambique says his work with MCC is an opportunity to enlarge his Christian faith. These themes echo in the lives of so many MCC workers through the decades.
2020 was envisioned to be a year for MCC to celebrate 100 years of ministry, but a global pandemic has upended many of these celebrations. Perhaps instead, as we remember the needs that gave birth to MCC many years ago, we will continue to be reminded of people in need around the world today. Because of God’s strength and help, we are compelled to respond.
In my 10 years as executive director of MCC U.S., your compassion and generosity in supporting MCC’s ministries have compelled and motivated me, and they will continue to motivate incoming MCC U.S. executive director Ann Graber Hershberger. Please welcome her!
For 100 years your gifts and prayers have changed lives across the globe. God is indeed our strength and our help in times of trouble.
Grace and peace to you,
J Ron Byler
MCC U.S. Executive Director