In 2020, MCC marks 100 years of sharing God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ. Your gifts, prayers and partnership have brought warmth, hope and comfort to Valentina Inskirveliy (pictured in 2016) in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, and so many others. Clickhereor contact your nearest MCC office to explore how you can take part in MCC's centennial. Engage through centennial giving, share stories, attend local events or join The Great Winter Warm-up, a Jan. 18 effort to collect thousands of comforters for people in need around the world.MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..."
- Matthew 25:35 NRSV
For 100 years, volunteers have provided comfort through millions of stitches for MCC, from sewing clothing or other relief items in early years to making comforters such as this one, which was received by a Japanese family (names unknown) sometime around 1950. Read more about sewing and the MCC story.Chinese newspaper photo
Arriving by horse or camel, hundreds of people from surrounding areas flock to Teriturenne, a village in central Chad (pictured in 2016), to celebrate a new well that MCC helped to build. Through the decades, thousands of gatherings like this have marked the gains that communities have made through partnering with MCC. As MCC workers join their lives with the people and churches where they serve, this is one of many ways they rejoice in the triumphs of new neighbours, or weep alongside them. This is our goal — to live in harmony with all, as Romans 12 invites us to do.MCC photo by Jon Austin
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
- Romans 12:15, NRSV
In 1993, MCC worker Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi harvests squash seeds with members of a farmer's group in Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo). Agriculture was the main focus of MCC's efforts in Zaire at this time, as political and economic instability brought uncontrolled inflation, pushing basic necessities like food and medicine out of reach for many people.MCC photo byDan Jantzi
Over time, MCC has worked to honour the skills, traditions and strengths of local communities. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler, with her husband Joe on an MCC trip, saw the beauty of needlework Puerto Rican women made but had no place to sell. She took action. The simple act of bringing pieces home to sell to friends and neighbours in Akron, Pennsylvania, sparked a pioneering fair trade enterprise. It grew into Ten Thousand Villages, providing access to sustainable income and life-changing opportunities to artisans in dozens of countries, including Pedro Torres (pictured in 1999) in Walata Grande, Bolivia.MCC photo by Tony Siemens
"Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received."
- 1 Peter 4:10, NRSV
In this 1974 photo, women create products from jute fibre, which can be twisted into a tough, coarse yarn and woven into doilies, coasters, placemats, purses, belts, hats and floor coverings. Jute was a key part of MCC's job creation program in Bangladesh for decades, and jute products from Bangladeshi artisans, including bags and baskets, continue to be sold through Ten Thousand Villages. MCC photo by Burton Buller
Around the world, MCC partners with churches to answer Christ's call to welcome the newcomer. MCC reached out to people fleeing war in Southeast Asia in the late 1970s and conflicts in Central America in the 1980s. Today, MCC has helped settle more than 12,500 newcomers to Canada after negotiating an agreement with the government in 1979 for the private sponsorship of refugees. In 2015, two Mennonite churches organized a wedding celebration for newcomers Brian Darweesh and Reem Younes (pictured) after they arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from Syria. MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky
"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8, NIV
In response to the refugee crisis following the end of the Vietnam War in 1979, MCC was the first agency to sign a private sponsorship agreement with the Government of Canada, leading hundreds of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in Canada to sponsor and resettle thousands of refugees across the country. Victor Neumann, MCC representative in Songkhla, Thailand, stands with the Vietnamese Boat People. Mothers of the children in this picture were abducted by pirates.MCC photo
From the beginning, MCC has invested in the big picture of what families and communities need to thrive — not just for now but for decades and even generations to come. In Bangladesh in the 1970s, when families relied on rice and could afford little else, MCC introduced new, nutritious and sustainable crops and supported job creation programs. Currently, in Indigenous communities where dropout rates are high, MCC supports preschools so that Megha Baski, Prity Murmu and others (pictured in 2017) can begin learning in their own language, helping them to better succeed in school and build a brighter future.MCC photo by Dave Klassen
"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me..."
- Mark 9:37, NRSV
School kits are distributed in Kampuchea (present-day Cambodia) circa 1983. The U.S. government had a ban on trade with Kampuchea and Vietnam and initially denied a request to send school kits. Mennonites throughout the U.S., including schoolchildren, wrote to government officials, asking them to allow the kits to be shipped. Permission was granted, and eventually more than 96,000 school kits were shipped.MCC photo
Across the globe, MCC strives to help communities reclaim the abundance that God has promised and provided through the gift of creation. In Desarmes, Haiti, where deforestation left mountain communities susceptible to devastating flooding and mudslides, MCC has helped to plant millions of trees and to teach people about their value. Here, in a mock "tree election” with hand-drawn campaign posters and speeches, students Elort Fodelet, Asline Jerome and Reveil Fequiere (pictured in 2007) describe the benefits of favourite trees and why classmates should vote for their choice.MCC photo by Melissa Engle
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
- John 10:10, NRSV
MCC provided olive tree seedlings to farmers in Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank (present-day Palestine) in 1979 and 1980, part of a larger response to meet urgent needs after conflict in the region. In addition to the loss of lives and homes, land and water resources were destroyed. Here, children help unload a truckload of olive tree seedlings being distributed by MCC in southern Lebanon in 1980. MCC provided 10,000 seedlings at a reduced cost to more than 300 farmers in nine villages, along with planting instructions and follow-up visits.MCC photo by Ralph Miller
For MCC, peace is more than a wish. Our commitment to actively building peace and caring for those suffering due to war runs through MCC’s history. MCC came to Vietnam to provide emergency relief and assistance in 1954. As civil war turned into international conflict, workers remained into 1976, living out their beliefs in peace and non-violence. MCC later focused its work on rural communities like this one in northern Vietnam (pictured in 2001). Agricultural efforts continue, and MCC also helps families still suffering the devastating effects of Agent Orange used by U.S. troops during the war.MCC photo by Jack Leonard
"Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action."
- 1 John 3:18, NRSV
This 1975 photo shows Max Ediger, James Klassen, Earl Martin and Yoshihiro Ichikawa, MCC workers serving in Vietnam during the war. Workers distributed food, blankets and clothing, taught English and established vocational training classes. Martin remembers how, during the Tet offensive that began on Jan. 31, 1968, friends asked for help at the local provincial hospital. "Several of our team nervously drove across town to help out. Our first assignment was to carry a number of bodies to the morgue. Then we held down seriously wounded patients who were getting deep sutures without anesthesia. All the while helicopter gunships were flying over the hospital firing rockets into the sugarcane field just behind the hospital." Read more.Photo courtesy of Earl Martin
By working with partners who are rooted in local communities, MCC harnesses the power of people who know the area deeply. In Iraq’s Ninewa plains, for instance, years of economic upheavals and conflict have reduced honey production. But MCC partners knew the quality and taste of honey produced there was once famous and that people were willing to pay a premium for it. After receiving beehives and training, Liza (pictured in 2015; last name not used for security reasons) and her husband Benyamin began producing honey that they could sell for five times the cost of imported honey.MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
- Lamentations 3:22-23, NRSV
Following the Korean War in the 1950s, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) was one of the poorest countries in the world. Food, fuel and electricity were scarce, and there was massive unemployment. In addition to MCC feeding programs, the Mennonite Vocational School, established by MCC relief volunteers near Daegu, trained hundreds of orphans in areas such as agriculture, metalwork, carpentry, printing and drafting. In 1959, a student feeds rabbits in the school's agriculture program. 40 rabbits were loaned by Church World Service and Heifer International to the school for their agricultural projects. The school returned one rabbit for each rabbit loaned as the project expanded. Read more about MCC's work in South Korea.MCC photo
For decades, the generosity of people from the U.S., Canada and around the world has helped MCC bring learning within reach — making a difference for Gulab Begum (pictured in 2004) in Kolkata and thousands of other students in India and other countries. In the 1960s, MCC’s Teachers Abroad Program provided teachers, mainly from the U.S. or Canada, to help bolster education systems in newly independent African nations. Today the worldwide emphasis has shifted to empowering and supporting local communities, churches and schools in their efforts to provide creative, quality education.MCC photo by Matthew Lester
"Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
- James 1:17, NRSV
Through MCC's Teachers Abroad Program (TAP), which began in 1962, hundreds of MCC teachers were placed in church-run secondary and teacher training colleges in newly independent African countries including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe. Here participant Mary Yoder, right, works with students (names not known) at Mosoriot Teacher Training College in Mosoriot, Kenya, in 1967. "800 MCC teachers have gone to Africa to teach, and 800 have returned from three or more years as students of African culture," notes the book Hungry, Thirsty, a Stranger: The MCC Experience. "One TAP volunteer reflected, 'I went to Africa to tell Africans what they needed. I returned, Africans having taught me what I needed.'"MCC photo by Willard Claassen
Around the world, MCC projects bring people together — often in the aftermath of unimaginable violence. A commitment to peace and loving our enemies, a deep part of our Anabaptist faith, offers hope in places where cycles of violence have taken a tremendous toll. Some women in this peace group in Kigali, Rwanda, lost their husbands in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi; others had husbands in jail for genocide crimes. Yet over months, Eugenia Mukangarambe, Maria Bamurange and others (pictured in 2006) began sharing their lives with each other, forging a model for reconciliation.MCC photo by Melissa Engle
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..."
- 2 Corinthians 5:18, NIV
Decades after the end of a war, unexploded ordnance continues to pose an ongoing danger in places like Lao People's Democratic Republic. From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. military dropped more bombs on Laos than U.S. planes dropped on Germany in World War II. MCC spurred a large-scale ordnance clearance effort in Laos in 1994 with a British agency, Mines Advisory Group. In 1994, MCC worker Titus Peachey and national bomb removal project coordinator Mr. Boua La kneel with a collection of unexploded ordnance in Xieng Khouang Province.MCC photo by Titus Peachey
From Bangladesh to Bolivia to Burkina Faso, MCC has spent decades helping farmers grow more food and better support themselves and their families. In the 1920s in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine), along with relief efforts, MCC provided tractors to farming communities to grow food for the future. Today, MCC helps farmers not only grow more but also find new ways to market their crops, work together and care for their land — bringing new opportunities to farmers like Adama Kaboré (pictured in 2015), part of a conservation agriculture and seed-saving project in Kolghinguesse, Burkina Faso.MCC photo by James Souder
"May there be abundance of grain in the land; may it wave on the tops of the mountains…and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field."
- Psalm 72:16, NRSV
Even from its earliest days, MCC was helping people in need to grow more food. American tractors arrived in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine) in October 1922. MCC sent two shipments of 25 tractors to Mennonite settlements in 1922. See more stories on MCC's first work in this region.MCC photo
As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we lift to God the prayers of the families we encounter in our work. Milade Thalgieh (pictured in 2001) lights a candle in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity weeks after his brother Johnny, 17, who wanted to be a priest, was shot and killed while returning from afternoon prayers. In this region, MCC works with Palestinian and Israeli groups committed to nonviolence and justice, peace and reconciliation for all. Entering our second century of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ, we pray we grow in mirroring Christ’s compassion and reconciliation.MCC photo by Matthew Lester
"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
- Luke 2:7, NRSV
In 1946, MCC began gathering Christmas bundles, packages for children which generally contained clothing, hygiene supplies, school supplies, a small toy and often a New Testament, to ship to Europe and other locations. From 1946 to 1978, nearly 1 million Christmas bundles were given to children in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In 1958, Christmas bundles such as the one in this photo (names and exact location not known) were distributed at sites such as schools and churches in Jordan and the West Bank.MCC photo