Over 700 people knacht zot at the Kanadiertreffen at Winkler Park in Winkler, MB on August 18. The day started off cloudy, but as the program progressed the sun came out causing people to seek out shade under the trees. Sunny Day provided a large sack of freshly roasted knack zot which was happily doled out by a group of eager children.
Over the sound of hundreds of people cracking seeds, the D’Friesens* lifted our spirits with their joyful songs and led us in singing some familiar tunes from the Evengaliums’ Leder. Diedrich Friesen talked about the blessings received and given as they shared their gift of music in Bolivia in January of this year. The afternoon program was full of speakers and full of encouragement and stories. Reverend John Wiebe of the Old Colony Mennonite Church brought us the Andacht. He told a story about God’s protection for someone bringing Bibles into a communist country, concluding with a call to the hearers to be thankful for freedom of religion.
Tina Fehr Kehler, Program Coordinator for MCC LGM Services in Winkler, spoke about changes in funding to offices, like the one in Winkler, who work with immigrants coming to Manitoba. MCC Manitoba’s Executive Director Ron Janzen reassured those in attendance that MCC is committed to working with LGMs, regardless of the funding changes. “It is through the churches,” he said, “and the members who generously support the work of MCC.”
Other MCC representatives spoke including the new interim Low German Mennonite Program Coordinator for MCC Canada James Schellenberg. James spoke of his time, 25 years ago, working in Germany with the Aumsiedler. As he went door to door, time and again a cool reception would turn to warmth as he spoke to the new immigrants to Germany in their native Low German. Dave and Margaret Penner briefly presently highlights of their 4 year term for MCC in Durango, Mexico. When they first started, they helped the community deal with the numerous kidnappings of colony members. Throughout the years, they operated a health clinic, organized various classes and supported colony initiatives. During the drought, they helped coordinate relief efforts. In October, they will give a longer presentation with pictures at Grace Mennonite Church in Winkler.
Al Friesen of Enrich Ministries in Winnipeg, MB has spoken in many Low German Mennonite communities in North and South America. He encouraged the attendees to create strong families. In one illustration, he said our lives are like an engine with 5 cylinders. Each cylinder represents a part of our lives: spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and relational. If one of the cylinders is not working, then our lives, like an engine, won’t work properly.
The last presenter was Frank Reimer, an employer of LGMs. He marveled at the ingenuity of LGMs and their ability to repair, invent and build almost anything. This, Frank said, is what makes the LGMs so desired as workers.
What would a Mennonite event be without food? To round off the event, we all shared faspa together.
Members of the MCC LGM Services Advisory Committee who organized the event include: John Giesbrecht, Dick Hildebrand, Carol Neisteter, Agnes Nickel, Peter Nickel, John Redekop and Tina Fehr Kehler, the Program Coordinator for the office.