One of the core values of the Anabaptist faith is that we are to be "ambassadors of reconciliation" in the world (Missio Dei #18, p. 17). Reconciliation is the joining of evangelism and peacebuilding. So, as Anabaptists, we know that peacebuilding is at the core of our beliefs. We are called to "fight" differently (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
We know that violence leads to more violence. Jesus teaches us to confront violence with nonviolence and correct the injustices that motivate it. As many of our alumni know, one of the ways that Mennonite Mission Network encourages the practice of peacebuilding is through what we call "learning components."
In late January, the Colorado Springs (Colorado) Service Adventure unit undertook a learning component with RAWtools. RAWtools is an organization that advocates for peace by forging guns into garden tools and providing nonviolence training, resources and more.
The unit spent the day in the RAWtools blacksmithing shop, hammering gun parts into things like spades, a mattock and "disarm hearts" — heart-shaped necklaces, named after part of RAWtools' mission statement: "Disarm hearts, forge peace, cultivate justice."
Shelby and Travis Clarke, the Colorado Springs unit leaders, had planned for a RAWtools learning component from the moment they started as unit leaders. The Clarkes are friends with Mike Martin, the founder of RAWtools, and his father, Fred Martin, who hosts the blacksmithing shop in his garage.
"It was really interesting to see the process," said Malia Bauman, a Service Adventure participant from Harrisonburg, Virginia, "How something that causes so much pain can be turned into something that can cause joy." She went on to say that she felt a rush when she deconstructed gun-metal into something that can cultivate life, like a garden tool.
Mission Network partners with a network of peacebuilders, teachers and cultivators, working across the globe to be ambassadors of Christ's peace and reconciliation. As a friend of Mission Network, you are part of that network. You understand the formative impact service can have — an impact that extends not just to us but to the people around us, as well. You know the peace that comes with a service experience, and now, we want your help to pass that peace along to others by donating to Mission Network.
Not only does your gift support future service participants in meaningful ways, but it also supports partner churches and organizations across the globe. With your help, we can ensure that more participants in our service programs experience the transformative power of service and become agents of God's peace and hope in their communities — just like you.
Whether you can give a little or a lot, your contribution will make a meaningful difference in the lives of our personnel and partners. Thank you for your continued support of Mission Network and for being part of this community — your community. Together, we can continue to pass along peace to future generations.
The Colorado Springs Service Adventure unit made hearts, spades and helped with a mattock. Here, Micah Wenger, Travis Clarke, Malia Bauman and Neeltje Sandersfeld learn about RAWtools. Photo by Shelby Clarke.
Fred Martin holds the hot metal, while Service Adventure participant Malia Bauman pounds it into shape. Photo by Shelby Clarke.