Walking in peace through perplexing timesJanuary 2020GP0|#6c45e146-a54c-4766-8d77-e57ac1def274;L0|#06c45e146-a54c-4766-8d77-e57ac1def274|Beyond;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#a82c2124-212e-4f7a-b626-9a0c5a3534c2;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3cVol. 18, No. 1https://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/publications/beyond/580/Walking in peace through perplexing timesWalking in peace through perplexing timesMennonite Voluntary Service provides pathway for Christ-centered service for 75 years

 

 

<h2>The real deal   <br></h2><p><em>By Laurie Oswald Robinson</em></p><p>In 2008, I left six and a half years of communication work with Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Women USA for a life of freelancing. This past May, I returned to the offices on Main Street in Newton, Kansas, to serve as editor for Mennonite Mission Network.  </p><p>For the first month on the new job, I felt as if someone had plucked me up, froze me on ice, thawed me out, and put me back down in the same spot I had left 11 years prior. However, even though it was the same office, filled with some of the same people I had worked with before—I was not the same person.  </p><p>I had gained new eyes to see what I had blindly taken for granted before.  </p><p>During freelancing, I had experienced life in lots of different venues. I found meaningful work, but never the same deep commitment to service, the same close-knit community life, the same way of loving one's neighbor in humble deeds rather than hollow words.   </p><p>Throughout May and June, I wandered around in a semi-dazed, happy cloud of "I can't believes" regarding the office ethos: We care about our co-workers in genuine, practical and egalitarian ways.  </p><p>This hit close to home when my husband suffered a nine-week medical crisis from July through mid-September: two surgeries, two hospitals, and two close calls of nearly losing him. My supervisor and fellow writing team members buffeted my unraveled work life with bountiful flexibility; co-workers showered us with around-the-clock prayer and food, gift cards, and help with yard, house and cats; and countless conversations filled with compassion were gently shared at coffee breaks.  </p><p>Because of these practical demonstrations of love, what I thought may be just a mirage—only imagining this goodness because of having worked solitarily for so long—turned out to be real and solid.  </p><p>I cannot know for sure how recipients of 75 years of MVS ministry have experienced this same kind of gift for genuine caring in their human experience. I imagine many felt similarly: valued, seen, and nourished spiritually, emotionally and physically as mutual recipients of God's grace. </p><p>One central ideal of Anabaptism is that Jesus followers are encouraged to walk the talk of the gospel in practical, prayerful and respectful ways. That includes going the second mile in practicing peace and justice by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the imprisoned. </p><p>MVS and Mission Network's service programs have taken this to heart. The result? Taking a very long walk with Christ in the same direction, leaving footprints of peace in a perplexing world.  </p><p>I am grateful to be back on this journey with others who doggedly and devotedly follow the One who not only has created this path, but also leads the way on it. May we stay the course.   <br></p><p><br></p>

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Timeline of servicehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/beyond/Timeline-of-serviceTimeline of serviceBy Laurie Oswald Robinson
Directing the next stepshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/beyond/Directing-the-next-stepsDirecting the next stepsBy Laurie Oswald Robinson
Practical and profoundhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/beyond/Practical-and-profoundPractical and profoundBy Stanley W. Green
Walking in peace through perplexing timeshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/beyond/Walking-in-peace-through-perplexing-timesWalking in peace through perplexing timesBy Laurie Oswald Robinson