There was only standing room left as supporters, co-workers, and family gathered to celebrate Abe Janzen’s 21 years of service as executive director for MCC Alberta. Well wishes from current and former MCC executive directors and chairpersons affirmed Abe’s skills as a learner, a mentor, an encourager, a passionate and energetic visionary, a source of wise counsel, and a friend. He was described as someone with a “can do” attitude, who is also humble and interruptible.
Storytelling has been integral to the way Abe has connected with MCC supporters in Alberta, so on this occasion, Abe told stories of some of the most memorable moments he recalled from his time with MCC. He spoke of people in Bolivia, Palestine, Nigeria, and Alberta.
He credited his father as the one who taught him that keeping peace with a neighbor was more important than holding fast to a belief, and he recalled a preacher in Nova Scotia who spoke about “looking to the galleries”, which led Abe to make efforts to inquire with the supporters of MCC when deciding how to best move the mission of MCC forward in Alberta.
As Abe showed the group photographs of some of the walls in the world he had visited in his years with MCC, he reminded those present that MCC should always be about tearing down walls, never building them.
Abe’s simple but profound closing words to the gathered group were to “Love God and love your neighbour… the rest is detail.”
Abe Janzen will complete his service as MCC Alberta Executive Director on November 30, after which time he will work part-time for MCC Alberta in donor and church relations.