Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Way To Spell Relief -MCC

I'm astounded by the hundreds of millions of dollars that have so quickly been raised for the disaster in Haiti. I love it that so many people gave through text messages but I didn't, since I'm one of about 7 people in the US of A who doesn't actually text.

My relief agency of choice is MCC - Mennonite Central Committee.

MCC began in 1920 when Mennonites in North America wanted to bring relief to their religious cousins suffering starvation and persecution during the Russian Civil War.

They selected 3 young men to visit Mennonites in Russia, to discover the needs and make arrangements for shipments of food.

While on that initial mission, one of the men, Clayton Kratz, a talented college student with a fiance and a bright future was arrested when the village he was staying in was captured by one of the warring factions. He was last seen being hauled away in a cattle cart with other prisoners.

Clayton Kratz (circa 1920)

You can read more about the Clayton Kratz mystery here.

Kratz' disappearance was a troubling beginning to a compassion organization which, wounded, but not defeated, went on to provide comfort, relief, and hope to millions of people over the next 9 decades.

Today, Mennonite Central Committee works in more than 50 countries. They provide disaster relief, community development, and peace-building in the name of Christ. They work at connecting people and ideas across cultures, political persuasions, and economic realities.

MCC has been in Haiti since the 1950's and will be there for the long haul. Several of its workers there experienced the recent earthquake.

MCC's website has multiple links to the kinds of relief they are bringing there, first-hand accounts of the earthquake, and stories of compassion by the Haitian people.

When that first 1920 mission to Russia took such a sad turn, MCC could have given up, deciding that relief work was too dangerous. But they did not. I know that many people in Haiti are grateful.

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