Steve Wiebe-Johnson's relationship with Janie and Neal Blough began when he was a student in Paris, France. Wiebe-Johnson became their colleague nine years later, when he began serving with a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network. He is now MMN's co-director for Africa and Europe.
Janie and Neal have been many things to me over the years. We first met in 1979, when I was in France for language study before heading to the French-speaking country of Chad.
They helped me pick up the pieces when war broke out in Chad and turned my plans inside-out.
They helped me find my place at Foyer Grebel, a home in Paris for African students.
They helped me find my direction, as I returned to college in the United States to study philosophy and international development.
They were mentors and friends. Then they became colleagues, when our family began to serve with Mennonite Board of Missions, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network, in 1988.
When I became an international director at Mission Network and a board member of Paris Mennonite Center, our relationship changed and grew, as we continued the collaboration in ministry. The Bloughs have modeled a ministry of presence, of incarnation, of integration into the ministry context. However — and most of all — they are cherished friends. I thank God for Janie and Neal and for the privilege it has been to share so much of our life journeys.