“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself  through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” — 2 Corinthians 5:18

 A colleague reminded me recently that hazard x vulnerability = disaster. He meant that hazards like a global pandemic truly become disasters when people are more vulnerable.   

When I heard that, I recalled the families I met in Syria in 2018. Families displaced not once, not twice but sometimes three times by a never-ending war. Without adequate food, health care, and often deeply traumatized, they continue to be vulnerable in the extreme.  

Enter the hazard called the coronavirus and these families are at high risk for a COVID-19 disaster. They simply do not have the supports in place to use the tools of isolation, frequent handwashing and social distancing that we employ in Canada.

But MCC is there. And we did not just arrive. We have been present through local partners for years. And only minutes before I wrote this column we approved a major project to provide food packages to 6,000 displaced Syrian households. I almost wept as I read village names like Deir Attieh and Saddad, remembering very specific partners and families that we met there only two years ago. 

That MCC can today be present to these uprooted households, that we can reduce the vulnerability of these 6,000 families to make it less likely that the hazard of COVID-19 becomes a disaster for them; that is profoundly hopeful!

And we only become agents of hope because of you. When you choose not to distance yourself from your neighbours in Syria, but instead to embrace their needs and faithfully share God’s love, the opportunity for mutual transformation is boundless!

Thank you for choosing to touch the needs of the world through Mennonite Central Committee, especially during this time of isolation and uncertainty.

One hundred years ago, MCC was formed by people of faith working together to help others facing a crisis. With your help, we have continued providing life-changing support to our neighbours all around the world. Today, in a world changed by COVID-19 we are working hard to live up to this legacy. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. Thanks be to God.

- Rick Cober Bauman


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