All MCC workers sacrifice to serve either at home or around the world. Some sacrifice all.
In remembrance, we are sharing stories here of four MCC workers who died while in service during different time periods of MCC's history.
These accounts are from Bringing Hope from the Faith We Share, a booklet prepared by Frank Peachey, records and library manager for MCC U.S., and released in 2016. It introduces 47 people who died while in MCC service, from the very first in 1920 to 2013, arranged by the calendar year to encourage prayers for remembrance. We invite you to take time to explore all their stories and to remember the sacrifices made while working in the name of Christ.
Remembering Clayton Kratz
Disappeared while in MCC service in mid-November 1920
Clayton was a 24-year-old Goshen College student from Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, when he, Orie Miller and Arthur Slagel were sent by MCC to do relief work in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). They arrived there in September 1920, and Clayton was working in the Mennonite colony of Molotschna when the Red Army began advancing. He planned to leave the village of Halbstadt for the safety of the Crimea on October 29, but was arrested by the army the night before. Thanks to the efforts of local Mennonites, he was soon released, only to be arrested again about two weeks later. Clayton was last seen being taken from Molotschna northeast toward Kharkov, the Ukrainian capital at the time. Another unconfirmed report from 1922 states that he was accused of being a spy and shot in Alexandrovsk, now Zaporizhzhia. The details of his death may never be known.
Photo courtesy of Mennonite Library and Archives
Remembering Marie Fast
Died while in MCC service on May 1, 1945
Originally from Mountain Lake, Minnesota, Marie worked as a nurse with Yugoslav refugee children in Egypt. When she arrived, the camp was experiencing an epidemic of measles, and Marie was put in charge of an emergency ward with some 200 patients. Later, she and another nurse volunteered to go with a group of refugees who were returning to Yugoslavia. The two nurses were to care for 36 patients, as well as attend to the general health needs of the 1,700 people aboard the ship. The trip there went well, but during its return to Egypt, the ship struck a mine the night of May 1. In her attempt to board a life boat, Marie, age 44, fell into the water. Someone tossed her a life preserver, but she drifted away, and her body was never found.
Photo courtesy of Leora Gerber
Remembering Daniel Gerber
Captured while in MCC service on May 30, 1962
Daniel was born in 1940 in Dalton, Ohio, and had completed two years of college before applying to MCC. At age 21, he chose a three-year Pax program assignment in Vietnam, where he was a maintenance worker in the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) Leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot. On May 30, 1962, Daniel and two C&MA workers were captured by what were believed to be forces of a group later called the National Liberation Front (NLF). The general consensus is that they were killed shortly after being captured. In 2000, the U.S. Central Identification Lab in Hawaii reported that the U.S. government had acquired remains that could have been Dan’s, but a DNA sample from a female sibling was needed for comparison. MCC did not receive specific confirmation that the remains were in fact his. The Gerber family indicated they were satisfied that Daniel had been killed and was not a prisoner of war, and that they did not wish to pursue the matter further.
MCC photo by John Williamson
Remembering Glen Lapp
Died while in MCC service on August 6, 2010
Glen and nine other members of a medical team were killed in a shooting attack in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, while returning from a trip to conduct an eye camp in a rural area. All of the team members worked with an MCC partner organization. The team had been testing and treating people with eye diseases in Nuristan province for about two weeks at the invitation of communities there. Local police said robbery might have been a motive for the attack, but the exact circumstances of their deaths may never be known. Glen, 40, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, would have completed his MCC term in October 2010, and had recently written, “Where I was (Afghanistan), the main thing that expats can do is be a presence . . . . Treating people with respect and love and trying to be a little bit of Christ . . . .”
Explore Bringing Hope from the Faith We Share, a booklet introducing people who died while in MCC service, arranged by the calendar year to encourage prayers for remembrance.