2008-2009 Yearbook

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					2008-2009 Yearbook

International Volunteer Exchange Program

                     For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
              And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ…
In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.
    Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.
                       Galatians 3:26-29 (New Living Translation & The Message)

      t takes a leap of faith to trust God enough to put ourselves in situations that require us to lean on and

I     experience for ourselves the “oneness” of God’s body as described in Galatians. A year of service in an
      unknown language, land and way of life is a good start. The leap gets even larger as the honeymoon of
      exhilarating new experiences and epiphanies turns to culture shock or depression. And serving does not
render us exempt from major life detours—the loss of a loved one; a team member being diagnosed with a
critical illness. Even the blessings of new relationships and deepened perspectives can leave us with new ques-
tions or uncertainty. But, last August, when more than 100 strangers from 35 countries began this journey
God had already begun weaving story into story, linking a group of capable, courageous and daring young
believers to each other and to adoptive communities around the world.

These pages read like a litany of oneness—common themes, hopes, dreams, challenges, sorrows and discov-
eries articulated uniquely by each of you. Here is a “book of common prayer” for your next leg of the jour-
ney… carry it with you as a tool—to pray, laugh and cry through—to keep fresh in mind and heart the faith
and passion that pushed you to take a leap in the first place. When you lose sight of how God can move
mountains, or doubt your calling; when you face difficulties or challenges in the “newly unfamiliar” territory
of your own hometown… pick up this book to remember where you’ve been, how far the Lord has brought
you—and allow God’s peace to hover over and hold together all that is yet to be.

                                               Grace and Peace

                                               Beverly Wilson
                                     Global Service Learning Department
                                       Mennonite Central Committee
Name                       Pages              Name                           Pages

Florence Akello            3, 4, 9, 34, 35    Max Malinga                    3, 5, 21, 35, 36
Graciela Alba              3, 4, 9, 34        Gina Martinez                  3, 5
Ha-young An                3, 4, 9-10, 34     Mirna Maseeh                   3, 5, 21-22
Sugey Arce                 3, 4               Olesia Mikitina                3, 6, 34, 37
Daniel Armindo             3, 4, 10, 34       Adriel Muniz                   3, 6, 22, 36
Delia Baigorria            3, 4, 36           Alexandre Nader                3, 6, 22
Susan Birungi              3, 4, 10-11, 35    Nur Natalia                    3, 6, 22-23, 38
Violeta Castro             3, 4, 11, 34       Daniel Nugroho                 3, 6, 23, 36
Noutnaly Chansy            3, 4, 11, 35       Seung-Hwa Oh                   3, 6, 23-24, 34
Darapheakday Chhay         3, 4, 12, 36       Giselle Onischuk               3, 6, 24, 36
Chanrangsey Chheng         3, 4, 12-13        Manase Oure                    3, 6, 25, 36
Jose Luis Coca             3, 4, 13, 37       Viliya Pamungkas               3, 6, 25-26, 36
Menoria Cristo             3, 4, 13, 35, 37   Matias Payano                  3, 6, 26
Fabio Cruz                 3, 4, 13-14, 36    Nataly Petro                   3, 6, 37
Ling Dong                  3, 4, 14, 37       Soudaluck (Bee) Phanthamixay   3, 6, 26, 35
Martha (Carolina) Duarte   4, 14-15, 35       Nathalie Pissard               3, 6, 27, 37
Ingrid Ferst               3, 5, 15, 35, 37   Sophea Rith                    3, 6, 27-28, 37
Suzy Filly                 3, 5, 15-16        Corinne Röthlisberger          3, 6, 28
Mengistu Gebeyew           3, 5, 35, 37       Fransisca Rumbino              3, 6, 28-29, 37
Tigist Gelagle             3, 5, 16, 34, 37   Mony (Johny) Sek               3, 7, 29
Reham Hijazeen             3, 5               Margaryta Sergeieva            3, 7, 29-30
Niuniu (Joy) Jike          3, 5, 16, 35       Maria Thun                     3, 7, 30, 34
Eveerth Joumilena          3, 5, 17, 37       Edder Vargas                   3, 7, 30-31, 37
Ayman Kerols               3, 5, 17           Maikal Wally                   3, 7, 31
Latthaya Kho               3, 5, 18, 35       Elly Wiebe                     3, 7, 31-32, 34, 37
Joseph Kiranto             3, 5, 18, 35       Benard Yiga                    3, 7, 32, 35
Kristiana                  3, 5, 19, 36       Song Ju Yun                    3, 7, 32-33, 34, 37
Sophorn Lim                3, 5, 19-20, 34    Leslie (Solange) Zuther        3, 7, 33, 34, 37
Thokozani Malaza           3, 5, 20-21, 37

IVEP participants

                    IVEP Akron orientation

             IVEP Waterloo orientation


Florence Akello   Graciela Alba        Ha-young An                  Sugey Arce

Daniel Armindo    Delia Baigorria      Susan Birungi                Violeta Castro

Noutnaly Chansy   Darapheakday Chhay   Chanrangsey Chheng           Jose Luis Coca

Menoria Cristo    Fabio Cruz           Ling Dong                    Martha (Carolina) Duarte

4                                                      International Volunteer Exchange Program

Ingrid Ferst                 Suzy Filly          Mengistu Gebeyew    Tigist Gelagle

Reham Hijazeen               Niuniu (Joy) Jike   Eveerth Joumilena   Ayman Kerols

Latthaya Kho                 Joseph Kiranto      Kristiana           Sophorn Lim

Thokozani Malaza             Max Malinga         Gina Martinez       Mirna Maseeh

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                 5

Olesia Mikitina    Adriel Muniz    Alexandre Nader             Nur Natalia

Daniel Nugroho     Seung-Hwa Oh    Giselle Onischuk            Manase Oure

Viliya Pamungkas   Matias Payano   Nataly Petro                Soudaluck (Bee)

Nathalie Pissard   Sophea Rith     Corinne Röthlisberger       Fransisca Rumbino

6                                                 International Volunteer Exchange Program

Mony (Johny) Sek             Margaryta Sergeieva   Maria Thun    Edder Vargas

Maikal Wally                 Elly Wiebe            Benard Yiga   Song Ju Yun

Leslie (Solange) Zuther

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                           7
MCC Global Service and Learning Department Staff

GSL U.S. STAFF* (left to right): Eva Mazharenko, SALT Coordinator; Helen Yocum, Administrative Assis-
tant (IVEP/YAMEN! & travel); Chris Landes, GSL Director; Beverly Wilson, Administrative Assistant (SALT,
WAL/Learning Tours); Andrea Geiser, IVEP U.S./YAMEN! Coordinator

GSL CANADA STAFF**: Daniel Leonard, Seed Program and Internship Coordinator; Kathryn Deckert,
IVEP Canada Coordinator

*Based in Akron, Pennsylvania **Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Global Service Learning (GSL) Department’s purpose and mission is: to develop and resource short-
term, introductory service-learning opportunities within MCC’s International Program, with the aim of
facilitating increased understanding and relationships among communities worldwide. Current programs
include: SALT, IVEP, YAMEN! and Seed. GSL also resources Work and Learn Teams and Learning Tours.

8                                                                                        International Volunteer Exchange Program
Florence Akello (Uganda)                                        Memorable or Funny Experience: I love to go camping, I
Peace & Justice Program Assistant, MCC BC                       always went in my country and every time I went to the
Abbostford, British Columbia                                    jungle nothing happened to me. However, the first time I
                                                                went camping in the USA I had an allergic reaction for
                                                                three weeks. I didn’t know what it was until my host
First Impression: The warm welcome from MCC (i.e.               family explained that it was poison ivy, a plant that has
Andrea and Chris), who made us feel at home on our              a poison. It takes time to heal, so beware of poison ivy
first arrival to Canada. And the second when I arrived at       and poison oak.
my host and sponsor, they really showed me that heart
of love and care that made me more confident and com-           Relationship with God: During my time here I have had
fortable in Canada.                                             the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God
                                                                and I have also learned to see that God is good to me in
Differences: The general development, systematic opera-         the smallest details of my life.
tion of everything, the stability of the country, etc.
                                                                New Perspectives: I have more reason for continue serv-
Memorable or Funny Experience: first flight,           ing in my country and also in different parts of the world
and first experience of seeing and feeling snow and the         because I know that there are a lot of people around the
cold weather. And more so, being away from my home              world that have needs and I want to help them. I love
country for such a long time and living and adjusting to        the people from USA and I know that it is not easy to
a different culture. It was something incredible in my life.    have a comfortable life. Before I came here I thought
                                                                why are almost all people in USA rich? But now I under-
Relationship with God: God has done so many wonders             stand that if you want to be a rich person, you need to
in my life, first of all helping me go through all the strug-   work hard just like you do in my country.
gles of life, and with my education, and opening way for
me to come to Canada which was not an easy thing to             Future Plans: My job is waiting for me. I’m going to
do when it comes to issues of obtaining a passport and a        return to work at Talita Cumi Orphanage in my city.
visa, but through him everything turned out well. There-        The children and my friends at the home are all waiting
fore, I still believe that God is and will always be on my      for me because we are going to start a new project with
side through out my life. The Bible says: “If GOD is for        the children. I would like to continue serving to God in
us, who can be against us, if the spirit of God has set us      my country during the time that He leads me.
free.” “Happy are those who believe without seeing, for
they shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

New Perspectives: I have learnt that change begins with         Ha-young An (Korea)
a dream, shared passion and compassion. It’s through            House Assistant, L’Arche Tahoma Hope
shared and interactive ideas that development can be            Tacoma, Washington

Future Plans: Get a job and be a peace and reconciliation       First Impression: At the first, I arrived at Akron, PA. It
advocate while looking for ways on how to go back to            was a pretty and peaceful place. I didn’t need shoes.
school and do my masters. Of course not forgetting to           Roads were clean, every house had decorations. It was
form a family afterwards.                                       kind of a fantasy. After orientation, I moved to Seattle in
                                                                Washington State. And it took almost five hours. I
                                                                thought the US is a very big country. Seattle is called the
                                                                Emerald city. If you come here, you can see emerald
Graciela Alba (Bolivia)                                         green every where even in winter. I really liked these
Spanish Assistant, Eastern Mennonite University                 things. I was impressed.
Harrisonburg, Virginia
                                                                Differences: Actually our culture is very similar with
                                                                American culture, but the U.S. culture is more individual.
First Impression: The neatness, the signs on the road,          When I first came here I had to do a lot by myself. I
and of course the huge malls. And there are no walls            knew what was expected of me in Korea, but here I
around private property! I ask myself, perhaps there are        needed to ask what to do. In Korea, everyone is together
no burglars in the USA? These are some things that I            often, but some of my American friends usually need
have observed that are different and this is part of their      their own space, and they don’t want anyone to come
culture.                                                        into their space. It’s pretty different point.

Differences: All the culture! Food, language, weather,          Memorable or Funny Experience: I’ve been on vacation
greetings, etc...                                               with my friend who is from Canada. We went to Mt.

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                   9
Rainer. The mountain is very huge and it has marvelous         New Perspectives: My year in U.S has changed lots of
view. We really enjoyed that. And suddenly we saw the          things in my life. I learned many sorts of things that I
gate closed. We were stunned for a while. After a few          can use in my daily life. For instance to love people, to
minutes, a guy came to us, and told me “the weather is         build good relationships in society. In addition I also
cold so, we just chose to close this park.” But we really      learned that forgiveness is basic sort of love in the com-
wanted to go to peak of mountain. So we asked him              munity.
how we could get to the peak. Finally he let us know a
way to get there. We met a few foxes and elk family, and       Future Plans: A part of my future plans is continuing to
we saw a marvelous view at the point.                          study and teach.

Relationship with God: When I first came here, I had
struggle by myself. I don’t have a host family; I didn’t
know how to do a lot of things. I could complain about         Susan Birungi (Uganda)
almost everything. But God just wanted me to be                Support Worker, L’Arche Greater Vancouver
patient. As time went by, God solved the problems              Burnaby, British Columbia
instead of me. And he said to me “Don’t be afraid, I’ll be
with you.” And now I trust my God more sincerely.
                                                               First Impression: When I entered the airplane, when my
New Perspectives: I was a speech pathologist in my             host family welcomed me in their house, the love they
country. So I always thought that those who had a dis-         showed me the way they led me to my place of work I
ability couldn’t help me, just I can help them. And I had      felt so loved. God bless Don and Hilda Norton.
no doubt about that. But I realized that we’re friends
and they have grateful heart that I couldn’t imagine.          Differences: The dressing is a little bit different among
They taught me how to love, and understand one anoth-          women here. Most of them put on pants. Most of our
er. I’m still learning about them.                             food is got right from the garden, here you have to go to
                                                               a grocery store for everything. In Uganda we have two
Future Plans: After this year, I’m going to prepare to         seasons a year here there are four. There are jobs known
enter graduate school. I want to learn about speech            for men and jobs known for women. In Canada a
pathology. I want to help those who have speech or/and         woman can do everything (good idea). Men pay bride
language problems.                                             price to get a wife and they have an introduction cere-
                                                               mony before wedding while in Canada just it’s just
                                                               engagement and marriage (wonderful).

Daniel Armindo (Mozambique)                                    Memorable or Funny Experience: One day I was on the
Teacher’s Aide, Freeman Academy                                skytrain when I reached Edmonds station I looked out-
Freeman, South Dakota                                          side I saw small thing coming from up I thought it was
                                                               smoke but it did not look like smoke and when I reached
                                                               Metrotown I got off and then I realized the size had
First Impression: I thought that, so far in the US, there is   increased. While walking everything was falling on me
not lots of challenges, everything seemed to be different.     and I had no umbrella but my eyes were blinking so
                                                               much because I thought that I was going to lose my eyes.
Differences: Well, I think that there are lots of differ-      When I arrived at work they told me that it was snow. I
ences, when I compare with my home country: In my              had to stand in the door to see it falling (I will never for-
home country I have a food that I’m use to it. I have my       get that day).
friends and I have lots of fun with all of them, but so far
I didn’t have an opportunity to have friends, but I made       Relationship with God: My relationship with God has
good use of my time with those that I had met. But also        been good however sometimes I forgot to pray in the
so far there are lots of things amazing, people full of        morning. But I have experienced God at work and God
love, lots of technology, that allows a psychological as       has really shown me wonderful things. I enjoyed my host
well as an intellectual development and many other things.     family’s church very much. Every time while at work I
                                                               felt a lot of JOY in my heart. What I can say is GOD
Memorable or Funny Experience: I had a good time in            BLESS the staff of Grace Point community church. Still
Canada with others IVEPers at the camp. To me, that            God is at work. At my place of work mostly every morn-
meeting still prevails in my mind; it’s unforgettable.         ing we had prayers and reading even the songs were led
                                                               by core members. One of the choir members had her
Relationship with God: So far I have seen the presence of      favorite song Jesus Loves Me, Bind Us Together With
God manifested through me, and I have increased my             Cords of Love that Cannot Be Broken. I felt God’s love
degree of understanding, in different levels. I have faced     (God bless L’Arche)!
many difficulties, but I always prayed in order to get

10                                                                             International Volunteer Exchange Program
New Perspectives: The stereotypes I had for white people       me. I’m sure I can do many things without fear always
disappeared completely. I now see that regardless the          with God’s help.
color, tribes, clans and regions we should work together
and we are one in Jesus Christ because we were all created     Future Plans: Return to my country, work in a university,
for connection. I learned that Canadians are honest and        newspaper, continue to work for MCC, and I’d like to be
loving people who work for peace with one another in           a missionary in another country
day to day life. I learned that I should work hard in guid-
ing young children to be all round they should study for
any job not that this is done for me and this is for women.
                                                               Noutnaly Chansy (Lao P.D.R.)
Future Plans: As a teacher by profession I am going to         Sales Clerk, Ten Thousand Villages
begin my diploma course in education in December 2009          Souderton, Pennsylvania
at Kyambogo University. As a youth leader for my
church and the entire Archdeaconry I want to make sure
that the youth are the peace builders of tomorrow’s            First Impression: The first time I got in the US I just felt
Uganda by setting up projects which will bring them            very excited about many things in this country. The love-
together to talk about peace interact with each other          ly memory at the work place—the first day I started
regardless tribes and everything that destructs peace in       working was my birthday which was August 21st and I
the name of Jesus Christ. Regarding mother’s union I           was 21 years old. I still remember all faces with big smile
would like to introduce quilting as a project for women        and warm welcoming helped sing happy birth day song
in my church only if they manage to raise money and get        for me.
sewing machines. This will help them share their talents
and talk more about Jesus Christ. I would like people to       Differences: The weather and the seasons are very differ-
know more about MCC and its work around the world.             ent from my home country, at home is hot and humid.
(I ask God to help me in these plans.)                         Transportation is very different, in my country people
                                                               use motorbikes a lot, but in the US people travel by cars
                                                               a lot, fewer motorbikes. The food, the sound, the smell,
                                                               the culture, the way people greet each other is different.
Violeta Castro (Nicaragua)
Spanish Teacher Assistant, Eastern Mennonite University        Memorable or Funny Experience: The first time saw
Harrisonburg, Virginia                                         snow, I got so excited about. It was the middle of Octo-
                                                               ber, the big snow storm came unexpectedly I remember
                                                               that day I have no socks, no big coat, no gloves, no
First Impression: I was very nervous because I did not         scarf, but of course I did enjoyed playing with snow for
know anyone and I was in another country very different        the first time of my life. It was very pretty and very
from mine. When they took us from the airport to               COLD!!
Akron, I was scared because for me the driver of the car
was driving too fast and thought it goes so fast. But then     Relationship with God: I always thank God for every
I knew that in here it’s normal driving in that way. The       thing that he has done for me, God has very special
next day I could not believe I was accompanied by many         plans for everybody. Through this year I feel so blessed
young people from different countries of the world.            from God that he gave me the opportunity to come to
                                                               the US to learn new things, new experiences. He opened
Differences: Three things for me are very different. The       my heart and my mind to see new views by living with
first the weather here is very cold, in Nicaragua is hot all   such great people here. I feel I’ve grown, I feel closer to
the time. The second religion in the church is normal for      God, I more understand his amazing love and his mercy.
us to clap, sing worship and hymns. Third the way to
said HELLO is normal for me to give a hug and kiss.            New Perspectives: Realizing that Life is very important
                                                               and very valuable. I felt more confident and more under-
Memorable or Funny Experience: I have this experience in       standing about other people by living and sharing with
my life that I never forget and I have new friends. Some-      them. Sometime it is hard to understand something but I
thing fun was playing in the snow for the first time — it      realized that we are just different but we have the same
was very exciting.                                             love. I try to enjoy every minute that God has given me
                                                               that I can do something for other people.
Relationship with God: Always read my Bible every day I
learn more about the scriptures. God is with me at all times   Future Plans: I will go back to University to finish my
who guides my steps and gives me strength each day.            final year economics degree. I would like to share with
                                                               other people what I have experienced from the US. It
New Perspectives: This experience changed my way of            could be my friends, my family and my community. And
think about myself and see differently the world around        do whatever that God wants me to do to serve him.

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                11
Darapheakdey Chhay (Cambodia)                                  God’s hand. He is so amazing that sometimes I wonder
Reception Assistant, MCC SK                                    how God put me here in this place. He had planned
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan                                        everything for me before I decided to come and live my
                                                               life one year in Canada. I love the way I feel and I have a
                                                               chance to come to Canada for exchanging culture and to
First Impression: When I first arrived in Akron, Pennsyl-      get to know new people. People in here are very nice,
vania I felt shock that summer time in here still bright up    caring and kind.
to 9 or 9:30 PM at night. In my country 5 to 6 o’clock,
the sun is already set (dark). Furthermore, many houses        Future Plans: I want to continue my Master Degree and
in Akron do not have to lock the door at night time. In        working toward to help and build my country way bet-
my country, if the house not lock, the morning when you        ter as a peacemaker. Help and strengthen people who
get up, your house would be empty or messy everywhere.         never have hope in their life become more hopeful in the
                                                               way of their living (People who live in poverty, struggle
Differences: Foods are the most different things and the       in the way of their living condition). Live their life in
weather is terrible dry cold than my country (humid            freedom in God’s way or places and help to build our
weather). My first weeks of North America foods, I can’t       community and churches in Cambodia.
stand with the smell (it is terrible bad smell). I could not
eat beside salad. In my country sometime we never eat
raw vegetable like, mushroom, green pepper, salty pickle
or sweetest pickle. Here, because of the weather I always      Chanrangsey Chheng (Cambodia)
dress many layer and cover my face. It is so dry that I        Refugee Worker/English Teacher, Jubilee Partners
got shock all the time whenever I touch something and          Comer, Georgia
nose bleeding every morning.

Memorable or Funny Experience: On the first day of             First Impression: Everything (buildings, houses, the malls
snow fall in Canada, I felt so excited and stand for near-     etc...) is so spread out. Georgia itself is so ‘cold’ to me
ly 15 to 20 minute to see snow flake falling down from         even in the late summer when I first arrived. Most of all,
the sky and taste it. It was so funny in here whenever the     you’ll never know if one is a true follower of Christ since
weather is terrible cold but people enjoy eating ice-          most people don’t seem to take being a Christian serious-
cream. I am really enjoying my first times skating and         ly or don’t even care about it.
skiing but it was so terrible pain on my back, legs, arms
and bum. I fell many times and slide down the bunny            Differences: Hospitality: It is so different how one wel-
hill nearly hit the bush. Once I forgot how to stop the        comes stranger, friends and family here. I’m not saying
skiing. It is dangerous for people who does not know           Americans don’t know how to host guests, but I don’t
how to ski or snowboard for their first time here in win-      think they have warm hospitality as much as my home
ter. It was funny when we walk with a heavy ski shoes. It      country does. Family: many young kids are ready to
looks like a Robot.                                            leave home in their young age. It sounds to me like they
                                                               are sick and tired of being ‘kept’ for seventeen or eight-
Relationship with God: I feel I have a freedom to worship      een years with parents, which is a sad thing. Diet: I’m
God more widely than in my country. I feel more                blown away by how much people love eating cheese and
encouragement from people at church and work place. I          never care about having rice in their diet.
feel stronger when I struggle in my life, that I could
reach toward God’s word. I know that God’s path is             Memorable or Funny Experience: Friends I have made
hard to reach but God still sends people to help us and        and visitors I have met here are gifts from God. I’m
build our spirit to be stronger. I don’t have any skill to     thankful for them being a part of my life. Hugging and
seek or understand God’s will. But I know that God is          cheese have nothing in common except for one thing: I
with us all the time. He always looks after us whenever        don’t like either of them. I’m pretty serious about this,
we fall down. We only pass the experience of struggle in       but most of my friends would laugh at me about it!
life but God is being with us to hold us to get through
those struggles and be faithful and trusty with God mis-       Relationship with God: Getting to know and seeking God
sion. Our God is wonderful and amazing God. We                 more in a new environment and culture is one of the
honor you God, without you we could do nothing.                keys to live here. However I found it hard to be in God’s
                                                               presence and follow His will in some part of my year
New Perspectives: Through out this experience, I feel          here. Yet love and guidance from above are always pro-
more confidence on myself, with relationship with peo-         vided in my journey with Jesus.
ple, good adventure and explore my life by myself in a
new place. Feel interactive and challenge some of the          New Perspectives: I’ve learned that I shouldn’t ask what
problem that I could not make before. It is indescribable      denomination people are from so that I won’t misjudge
to share but I am strong and at peace in the way of liv-       them. Faith and how we live it out is way more impor-
ing in new culture, new country and spiritually right in       tant than that. Building peace and serving others regard-

12                                                                             International Volunteer Exchange Program
less of what background they come from helps me see              Relationship with God: God has purpose for each one of
one’s life to be precious.                                       us. Sometimes I have tried to make the best of what I am
                                                                 and not to judge others. I don’t like to be judged and I
Future Plans: Looking for a job related to my skill will         have tried to use well the tools I have. What I am right
be my first task. Serving in a Christian center and my           now and where I am is God’s providential plan, I take
church where I could share about God and my experi-              courage and live wisely by looking at my disadvantages.
ence with Him in another country is what I could see             Sometimes I don’t see them after I realize ooh I have
myself doing back home.                                          done it wrongly. I look them in the face to see what can
                                                                 be done with them. Reflection of love, help me to keep
                                                                 my focus on the good gifts.

Jose Luis Coca (Bolivia)                                         New Perspectives: God has given me help to make the
Benefit Bank Assistant, Inter-Faith Ministries                   most of them. I still would like to learn more. To smile,
Wichita, Kansas                                                  to be friendly helps to realize life is easy to live so I do
                                                                 thank this program for all the opportunity and what you
                                                                 are going to do in your future.
First Impression: U.S. is a big country and has a lot of
technology.                                                      Future Plans: I am planning to do accounting and look for
                                                                 a better job so I can develop and after a year get married.
Differences: The food is different in the U.S., different
holidays and how it is celebrated.

Memorable or Funny Experience: Went to a big football            Fabio Cruz (Brazil)
game (Kansas State).                                             Youth Worker, Rainbow Youth Center
                                                                 Regina, Saskatchewan
Relationship with God: My relationship with God is
growing more this time.
                                                                 First Impression: The good economic situation and the
New Perspectives: When I go back home I will try to              safety of life were my first impressions of Canada. In
implement what I have learned in the U.S.                        other words people enjoy a better quality life and a more
                                                                 peaceful and secure life. People are more willing to help,
Future Plans: Finish college education and try to work in        to be honest and build a better country than in Brazil.
a non-profit organization.
                                                                 Differences: The first major difference is the weather. In
                                                                 Regina, Saskatchewan it is between 40C and -40C and
                                                                 in Curitiba, Brazil between 30C and 0C. Another big
Menoria Cristo (Mozambique)                                      cultural difference is in new relationships. People in
Sales & Accounting Assistant, MCC Thrift Store                   Canada are more closed than in my country.
Vancouver, British Columbia
                                                                 Memorable or Funny Experience: I made a trip to the city
                                                                 of Edmonton, capital of the province of Alberta. When I
First Impression: When I arrived in Canada the first thing       talked to my friends about traveling to Edmonton they
I saw was the beauty, what a lovely place and I get to meet      thought I was going to the mountains, because of my
people the same. Then I said to myself life is full of changes   accent it sounded like “edmountain” to them instead of
what happens today certain won’t happen tomorrow.                Edmonton. It was a long process explaining that I was
                                                                 traveling to Edmonton.
Differences: It is different here in Canada the weather its
cold and the transportation, this was like stemming from         Relationship with God: In Brazil I had a plan for deepen-
goodwill to see all the technology everything is machine         ing my relationship with God while here in Canada.
work (almost). So you put less work using your knowl-            Christ was the only person I knew when I first arrived.
edge and people help each other in all they can and there        I wanted to have more intimacy with God, spend more
is too much things as I can see.                                 time in prayer and read the whole Bible. The more I
                                                                 drilled down on my relationship with God I discovered
Memorable or Funny Experience: The first one was to              that it is much more to know. God has much to reveal
have a white Christmas and it is the first and last it was       to those who seek. I am accomplishing my plan of read-
so beautiful, and when I was in Whistler I saw the               ing. In July I expect to have completed my plan of read-
mountains and knowing that the Olympics are going to             ing the whole Bible. I have deepened in my relationship
be there so I feel it was already 2010. The funny experi-        with Christ and I know that there are still many steps
ence was when I saw snow for the first time I took it and        to take.
put in the fridge. I still have until now, it was like oooh.

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                   13
New Perspectives: Today I know more about me, by              put myself in His plan. Once I got myself ready for His
being out of my culture and by the help of friends. Details   call, and left my own desires and worries behind, I felt
of my culture are clearer now that I know another culture.    He was talking to my heart and telling me to follow Him
Brazilians are more spontaneous and are more prepared to      with complete trust. And now, at the end of this unfor-
improvise, and do not follow very well specific plans.        gettable year, I am so sure He’s always been with me and
There is a saying in Portuguese that says “never ask a fish   watching over me, although I was not good enough to
how he is living in water, because he only lives there.”      obey Him at times. And I also believe that He has the
                                                              best plan for you as well.
Future Plans: When I go back to Brazil I will return to
University to finish my History and my Theology degree.       New Perspectives: After this year of whole-hearted serv-
My long term goal is to become a History professor and        ice, I’ve found out what kind of person I want to be, and
through this proclaim the kingdom of Christ to young          what the real treasure it is in my life. We are nothing
people. I will go back to work with the youth group in        without LOVE. The theme of life is “Love one another.”
church. I know that the cultural experience in Canada         I had Chinese-culture class with students at Manheim
will help me a lot to be more effective in these areas.       Christian Day School throughout the school year. They
                                                              were highly interested in it, which pushed me to wake up
                                                              all the knowledge I’d learned about my home country
                                                              and drown myself in the library to find more informa-
Ling Dong (China)                                             tion for my teaching. All these helped me know my
Teacher Assistant, Manheim Christian Day School               home country better after I left there. The more I know
Manheim, Pennsylvania                                         about it, the more I love it. It is not about good or bad,
                                                              just because it is the place God chose for me to be born,
                                                              it is something already been in my genes.
First Impression: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me
happy.” It was summer when I landed in Pennsylvania.          Future Plans: I love teaching and I love children very
The sun just lightened everything out beautifully. The        much, and God has shaped my heart as a very good
environment has been protected very well. Human and           teacher. I am ready to build my Christian family, and to
nature are living in peacefully harmony. Your eyes can        be a wife and mother; assisting my hometown church to
reach the end of your sight widely in the light of sunrise    organize Sunday school and youth group.
or sunset. People are so busy with their full schedules.
Almost everything is sorted by time.

Differences: There are lots of differences under the back-    Martha (Carolina) Duarte (Paraguay)
ground of different culture and living habits. We have        Store Clerk, Waterloo Generations MCC Thrift Shop
the same food, but with different ways of cooking and         Waterloo, Ontario
eating; we talk about the same things with different lan-
guages. In China, it is more crowded, but we enjoy sit-
ting with people and talking to each other. We also share     First Impression: When I arrived here I remember that
a lot of personal possessions with people when we are         for me it was cold (like 10C, summer season in Canada)
considered as a group. We don’t usually give our opin-        because my country it is very hot all the year, so for me
ions directly, especially negative ones. And here much        10C is very cold. I remember the people here were
more freedom gives people more chances to do as they          clothed very lightly and I needed my jacket and I could
like. Privacy is a big matter in the U.S.                     not understand why the people were not cold.

Memorable or Funny Experience: It is my first time to cel-    Differences: The bigger difference for me is that Canada
ebrate the Chinese New Year out of China. Right on that       is more arranged, and quiet. Other difference can be that
day, I went to work at school as usual. But my mind was       we are very informal, like with the times for church or
back in my hometown where the people were having a            work. It’s ok if you are a little late or if you don’t call to
long holiday and big celebration with whole families.         say, but here is very formal the times...and for me that is
When I got to school I was totally surprised by everyone      very good. Also the time for dinner at night, because in
wearing something red. Red is a traditional color for the     Paraguay we don’t have supper early like here, we have
New Year in China, which means fortune and happiness.         maybe after 9 at night, and it’s not very important, you
All the teaching staff and students greeted me with           can eat just some snacks... That was surprise for me.
“Happy Chinese New Year.” And the kids made Chinese
lanterns decorated with Chinese characters. … All they did    Memorable or Funny Experience: The first snowfall in
made me feel so beloved and respected. I am so thankful       Canada when I was going at work I FALL DOWN in
for such wonderful experience that God provided.              the street. It was so bad for me...

Relationship with God: Undoubtedly, “Be still…and know        Relationship with God: For me the church here was
that I am God” helped me to listen to His words after I       difficult because was very different, and I was sad.

14                                                                             International Volunteer Exchange Program
Then God change my heart and I understand that He             tries, other cultures and costumes. This year away from
is in everywhere and now I’m enjoying my church here          home brought me a sense of personal involvement, matu-
very much. So thanks to that experience now my                rity and responsibility. It changed lots of stereotypes and
relationship with God is better because now I know that       misconceptions that I had about other people and spe-
He is wonderful.                                              cially about Canada and Canadians.

New Perspectives: My new perspective now is that I can
be an instrument of peace from God because here I
learned a lot about PEACE in my year service.                 Suzy Filly (Egypt)
                                                              Teacher & Library Assistant, Western Mennonite School
Future Plans: I will finish my university and I want to       Salem, Oregon
work more IN THE NAME OF CHRIST and I will talk
about my experience here and the more important is that
everybody are ONE IN CHRIST.                                  First Impression: I wanted to go home, but next day
                                                              when we started the orientation and got to know the
                                                              other people from the different countries I got more excit-
                                                              ed about that and I wanted to go on in this trip to discern
Ingrid Ferst (Brazil)                                         and discover more and more about my new life here.
Teaching Assistant, Mennonite Educational Institute
(MEI)                                                         Differences: My home is really crowded and all the cars
Abbotsford, British Columbia                                  are honking every where any time, even in the places
                                                              that has NO honking sign, but here is very quiet, honk-
                                                              ing is considered rude behavior in the streets. It doesn’t
First Impression: The first impression, during the first      rain in August in Egypt. Churches are more crowded in
two weeks was a strange feeling that I was inside of a        my country. Feeding our guests is the most honorable
movie. You see the North American life style, that before     thing, but here no forcing, just help yourself.
was far away from you becoming something real. Now
you belong to it in some way, not totally, but partly. The    Memorable or Funny Experience: I will not forget that
first month was really fun; the fact that I didn’t speak      day when we said good bye to the other IVEP and the
proper English brought me a lot of awkward situations.        SALT participants, ready to go to the experience fields
At the moment that it happened it was embarrassing, but       each one to his/her placements. My other IVEP friend
now, I think it’s funny.                                      from Korea and I went together to the airport to fly to
                                                              the west coast. We arrived to the airport to find that our
Differences: The weather, the way that you talk with          flight had been canceled because of the weather, we were
other people (greetings, distances, etc...). The way that     stuck in the airport for 9 hours and we tried to use the
we celebrate Christmas, Easter, New Year, but the biggest     coin phone many times but all our efforts went in vain.
difference for me was the meals. The principal meal in        Finally we decided to use our Arabic Korean English to
Brazil is lunch, in Canada it is supper. In the first month   ask for help. The first one we asked didn’t know how to
it was really weird at lunch time because I was starving      use it but he surprised us by giving us his cell phone to
and not used to having the main meal at dinner time.          use it to make the contact with MCC. I left a message to
                                                              the person who was in charge to let her know what hap-
Memorable or Funny Experience: I had lots of funny            pened to us, then after a few hours we tried again with
experiences; it is hard to pick just one. I think the most    the same phone, but it didn’t work, another person in
common and funniest one is when I mixed-up words.             the airport was as generous as the previous one offered
English can be really tricky and it brought to me sort of     his cell phone to use, I called MCC office in Akron again
embarrassing and funny moments, doing crazy things or         to find that they received my message and they enabled
talking with friends and family.                              to contact with my friend’s host family to tell them that
                                                              her flight will be late a few hours, but they couldn’t con-
Relationship with God: I see that every day God has sus-      tact with my host family, I was freaked out and many
tained me; I can feel his presence in an incredible way,      questions were coming to my mind, whether I’ll find
especially when I feel homesick. I never felt so much         someone is waiting for me or not. But I arrived to Ore-
peace. My biggest challenge has been to trust and put         gon after a very long hectic day in the airports and a tur-
everything in the hands of the Lord, is to simply say that    bulent flight to find every thing is wonderful.
our Father will do what is best, but so hard to relax and
enjoy it. Day by day I see how wonderful God is, and          Relationship with God: It was up and down, but I real-
then I feel confident to follow him.                          ized that God is my father here he is walking by me
                                                              every day, any time and any where I lifted my eyes and
New Perspectives: I was impatient and anxious, now I          my heart to him I found he was listening to me, he is my
feel more secure and patient with people different than       family and my friends I left back in Egypt.
me. I learned to listen and understand about other coun-

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                               15
New Perspectives: About myself, I found that there is        Niuniu (Joy) Jike (China)
some stuff I assumed I can’t do, but the fact is I can do    Childcare Worker, New Holland Early Learning Center
it. About others I learned how to see the others as I want   New Holland, Pennsylvania
them to see me, no assumptions anymore. I appreciated
being born and raised in my country; I appreciated my
family and friends too.                                      First Impression: I felt myself fall into an English pot,
                                                             everyone speaks English, and I myself had to speak Eng-
Future Plans: I think I’ll continue teaching English, I      lish days and nights—I even dreamed that all my friends
found it an interesting field for me. I don’t know yet       spoke English to me though they can’t speak English in
what else I might do back home, all I know that this is a    reality! In all, I felt a little overwhelmed by English!
turning point in my life, so even if I do the same thing I
did before it will be with new way and perceptive.           Differences: There are too many differences between my
                                                             country China and America, such as food, people’s atti-
                                                             tude towards things.

Tigist Gelagle (Ethiopia)                                    Memorable or Funny Experience: During the orientation,
Intern, MCC United Nations Office                            we started to learn to eat American food, and whenever I
New York City, New York                                      ate raw vegetables, I felt like myself or others were like
                                                             cows—I really felt funny to eat raw vegetables!!

First Impression: I’m from a city and when I arrived in      Relationship with God: All this year round, God has
Akron, PA, I was so frustrated because it is so quiet. You   taught me a lot, like to humble myself to be a servant
hardly find people walking or chatting outside. Plus we      and love all kinds of people including the unlovable. I
had supper early at 5 PM but I used to eat at 10 PM.         truly want to thank God for His sufficient grace and
                                                             presence in my daily life in Pennsylvania. And one time, I
Differences: Mostly, life in my country is in a social       attended a funeral at my host church, which was a total-
way—having a social interaction, helping each other,         ly different one from that we have in my hometown.
more fellowship and having a chat after church service.      This one showed me how hopeful it is to trust in Jesus as
Here, people want to be by themselves unless they want       personal Savior. And by it, God told me to share His
to interact. It is more of individualistic life style.       love and salvation to many more who haven’t heard
                                                             about Him in my hometown, which gave me more pas-
Memorable or Funny Experience: When the daylight sav-        sion and strength to study Bible and about God!
ings ends (the one hour change), I know about it before
but was tricked three times that day and almost missed       New Perspectives: I think I’ve become more accepting of
my church service thinking that I was already late.          different things and thoughts than I used to be. And I
                                                             think no matter what countries and what colors people
Relationship with God: I feel like I’m closer to God than    are, they are created equally by God like me, so I feel
before. Whenever life goes the wrong way or things           more confident in myself and more respectful towards
become out of control, God was and is my help and a          others. As for my country, I love it more than before,
refuge to seek strength. God taught me to care for all       and I feel more hopeful for my country because I believe
human beings regardless of their background or any-          it’s in God’s hand!
thing. Human beings are the priority more than the
nature of animals to take care even than pets because all    Future Plans: Well, first, I think I’ll share with my family,
human beings are created in the image of God not ani-        relatives, friends and church brothers and sisters about
mals. The other thing is that, I learn that I have to be     all things I experienced and learned in North America, so
BOLD for the truth that I know, learn and believe. I         that they will learn and understand what the real life is
don’t have to compromise or resist or be passive, rather     like in North America. Then, I think I’ll carry on my
to be bold and confront evil, by saying evil is evil and     Sunday school teaching in my church, serving God with
wrong doing is wrong.                                        all that I learnt all my lifetime in China. And next, I
                                                             think I’ll continue to teach English as I believe my Eng-
New Perspectives: One thing that I got is that, I need       lish has improved a lot through this year, and I love
people; I can’t be full by myself and can’t make the body    teaching students and sharing God’s love with them. Last
of Christ whole. The church in Africa or the church in       but not the least, I hope to keep contact with MCC,
North America or any, by itself can’t make the whole         maybe I can invite more friends to participate in IVEP or
body full, we need each other. I need others and they        other programs.
need me in order to walk and live in the way of Christ.

Future Plans: Serving my community in whatever capaci-
ty that I have with the stewardship and way of Christ.

16                                                                           International Volunteer Exchange Program
Eveerth Joumilena (Indonesia)                                  Ayman Kerols (Egypt)
Assistant, MCC Great Lakes & MCC Thrift Shop                   Pastoral Intern, House of Friendship, First Mennonite
Goshen, Indiana                                                Church
                                                               Kitchener, Ontario

First Impression: It was very amazing and wonderful to
join in this program. When I arrived to the USA my Eng-        First Impression: So beautiful, so friendly, so much fun
lish was very poor but I believe can learn more in here in     we had in Akron. In Kitchener, Canada, streets are so
my experience. I felt very excited and happy to learn new      quite almost empty of people so I asked myself what am
experience, new culture and learn my challenges that I         I going to do if I get lost whom I going to ask where am
did not know before and learn about a lot of people            I? And I remember I asked my host family where is the
around the world especially all IVEPers from another           people are they all gone to somewhere?
                                                               Differences: Oh, it’s a great differences between Egypt
Differences: I think every thing is different as well as the   and Canada and USA but the most important difference
way of relationship with family, the church’s service, the     I found is, I had grown up in a world divided into two
food, development building and the weather. The culture        groups Christians and Muslims, so living in such a com-
is totally different.                                          munity having such a variety of religious which some I
                                                               have not hear about before and attending interfaith
Memorable or Funny Experience: I really enjoyed and            meetings with house of friendship. Helped me a lot to
liked when I with my first host family Mr. Ron Milne           see the world in different ways, ways including so many
and Sally Jo, we was traveling from Goshen, Indiana to         colors not just black and white which made me seeing
Phoenix, Arizona for four days by their car. I saw lots of     people and accept them exactly as they are it opens my
snow and made snow man and also shared about my                mind and taught me so many valuable principles.
work and my island West Papua. I will never forget my
first host family and second host (Paul Leichty and Twila      Memorable or Funny Experience: Everyday has its own
Charles Leichty) they both good family and always gave         beautiful experience and memory all the stuff I did with
spirit and motivation including teach me in English.           IVEPers, SALTers and YAMENers in Akron, and in mid
Something funny when I was working with all volunteers         and end of year conference. All the monthly activities I
old peoples in MCC Thrift Store always friendly and            did with Ontario IVEPers, activities with the great youth
made joking.                                                   at First Mennonite Church. Sharing and being a part of
                                                               this program it’s a great memory for me.
Relationship with God: I depend and pray to Jesus Christ,
I learned to put all my life in USA included my English        Relationship with God: God has been with me in every
to God, who helps me. My relationship with God is very         moment here I learned to see God in the details I am
close—I can feel whatever I do, wherever I am. God is          sure he has been always working and walking with me
my strength. So never stop praying and giving thanks to        even in the struggles that I had I am quite sure that he
Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.                has a reason for everything. To be in a foreign country
                                                               away from your home country it’s such a good opportu-
New Perspectives: I had many experiences and many              nity to learn how to trust in God.
things by different culture. God helped me change my
personal attitude to focus more on others, including my        New Perspectives: “While we can’t think ourselves into
English. During my stay in Goshen I met some people            new ways of living, we can live ourselves into new ways
and they really friendly and nice to understand each           of thinking.” Richard Rohrer. Before I was not sure
other people. I have learned to appreciate even more           about this sentence but now I do understand what it
what I have. God Bless Goshen.                                 means. Now I am pretty sure that there is a reason for
                                                               everything, I need that trust that there is a reason for the
Future Plans: My future plans when I return home, I will       things which happen. I have to believe that there is
be doing something with my previous job as a journalist        something good in it when I lose something, believe in
for Papua News Agency and lecturer political and gov-          that give you the power to light for own better life and
ernment in college or university in my hometown Jaya-          better world, and I have grown in my understanding of
pura. I love teaching students. But also I’d like to help      God and his plan for me in this life.
and join with MCC’s program in my paradise island
Papua and take more time to improve my English with            Future Plans: I will continue serving at my church as I
other people I know them by communicating by internet          did before I came here. Hoping to make differences, as
or anything else.                                              my lovely bishop, Bishop Thomas, did something out of
                                                               nothing in my community I hope I can do anything for
                                                               my beautiful Coptic church which I love so much.

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                 17
Latthaya Kho (Laos)                                          Joseph Kiranto (Kenya)
Day Program Assistant, Goldensun Ministry                    Generations at Risk Assistant, MCC AB & Pastoral
Glendale, Arizona                                            Intern, Foothills Mennonite Church
                                                             Calgary, Alberta

First Impression: We first met the IVEPers, SALTers and
YAMENers. Especially in the house that packed of             First Impression: First when I came it was very difficult
IVEPers from Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia. Moreover,         for me to converse with people because of the language.
there were some SALTers who were going to serve in           I always had difficulties with (English). It was very diffi-
Southeast Asia countries. The IVEPers did not go to bed      cult for me to connect and make friends. Everyone seemed
till late 2-3 am. We cooked, ate, played and chatted. And    unfriendly to me the first time because I never kept a
the SALTers joined us too because we were so noisy and       close eye contact which was partly because of my culture
annoying so the SALTers could not sleep too. We all had      and secondly because I was nervous with everyone.
a good time together.
                                                             Differences: I find almost everything different from my
Differences: I think almost everything is different. Exam-   home country. In driving we keep left and here I found
ple: In my hometown, people spend more time with out-        that the rule is keep right. People talk about weather
side activities, community interaction and house work.       every time while in my home country weather is not big
By the way, people in the States spend more time with        deal because it’s always the same. Mode dressing is the
telephone, TV, Internet and shopping.                        other difference, people bundle up in very heavy clothes
                                                             while in my home country people wear light clothes and
Funny experience: On a flight to San Fransisco, I sat next   in fact in some communities women don’t dress in pants.
to the window and there was a gentlemen sat next to          Almost everyone can access clean water and electricity
me. After the airplane took off for a while, I had to        while in my home country very few people can. The
need the rest room. Meanwhile, that gentleman was            Government offer free medical care while in my country
sleeping and snoring too. So I thought that if I wake him    this is not the case. The sun here can appear to be shin-
with a loud noise then he might shock, so I said “Excuse     ing bright but very cold while in my home country it’s
me” with very soft voice. And first time he didn’t hear      always hot when the sun is shinning.
me then I said again “Excuse me” with the soft voice
again. This time he got shock and yell out loud suddenly     Memorable or Funny Experience: Is my first day in MCC
and I was shocked, too. I asked him are you OK; at the       office in Calgary when we were having lunch with the
same time the flight attendant came and asked him too.       staff and a sauce was passed round and I was warned
Finally, he said my voice was so cool and it scared him.     that it was hot. My food was cold so I thought this sauce
So I was in puzzle!!!!!!                                     would heat the food so I added quite much. One of the
                                                             staff asked me, wow, do you like hot food? I said yes I
Relationship with God: Since the application process till    do. The food was burning spicy in the mouth and that’s
the year past, I have seen God’s guiding, encouraging,       when I realized that hot did not mean heated but spicy. I
comforting, strengthening and teaching. Not only             had to painfully throw away the food.
through myself but through all people around me. And
by these words that I mention above, I know you will         Relationship with God: I think I have grown strong in
understand how I know, have faith and rely on Him.           faith in Christ than even before I came. This is because
                                                             my involvement with the work of the pastor with the
New Perspectives: One Sunday service, the pastor said        Foothills Mennonite church has given me a very good
that “We should not thank God for his blessing if we do      experience in Bible teachings and interpretations. Diffi-
not share that blessing with other people.” This theme       cult not being with my family when there is a severe
inspired my personal attitude suddenly. And I would like     drought in Kenya especially within the pastoralist com-
to ask whoever has read my words that “Have you              munities whose cows are dying of the drought.
shared your blessing with other yet?”
                                                             New Perspectives: I feel really changed and that I can
Future Plans: After returning, I would like to share this    now manage my time in a better way than I was doing
one year lessons and experiences with my family, friends,    and even convince my friends and workmates back home
colleagues and people around me. Because it’s such a         to do the same. My new view of the whole world is
good program and I gain and learn a lot from this pro-       changed and I now feel I should in one time in my life go
gram. Moreover, I would like to set up a small volunteer-    serve in a different country for a longer period than one
ing project in my home town. This project will bring the     year and learn a new language a completely new culture.
young people to volunteer in the rural areas and let them
learn and gain the experiences, knowledge and attitude       Future Plans: When I get back home I plan to continue
through working for the poor communities.                    working with the church partner organization that I was
                                                             working before. I also plan to continue with studies in a
                                                             Bible college and to marry and make my own family.

18                                                                           International Volunteer Exchange Program
Kristiana (Indonesia)                                           who made me scared. I don’t know him, but I forgive
Child Care Assistant, Family Community Centre                   him already. When I remember what happened I just cry
Winnipeg, Manitoba                                              and say a prayer, thanking God for my life... I am safe :)

                                                                New Perspectives: I have learned to more respect and
First Impression: Wow... Winnipeg is a pretty cold city,        understanding other people with their culture. I think, all
even in the summer time. Before I came here, many peo-          things in the world are different but because of differences
ple said western people are not friendly but I found            everything look so wonderful and unique. Nothing wrong
many friendly people here :)                                    with differences if we want to learn understanding,
                                                                respecting, loving and making peace with each other :)
Differences: A lot of Differences: the language, the
weather, the people, the food, and the culture. But these       Future Plans: I hope I can go to school at university
things are really interesting to me. The people are really      when I return home. I want to learn about psychology or
independent here. For example, even when they are still         to be a teacher. And also I will share my experiences
single but they have their own house. In my country             with others. I really enjoy serving with Christian organi-
many single people still live with family. In my country        zation like MCC. So if I have to work, I hope I can find
we know and are close to our neighbor but I have not            these kinds of job after I return home.
found this here. It’s interesting to see how people live dif-

Memorable or Funny Experience: On the second day I              Sophorn Lim (Cambodia)
went to work, I got lost for a couple of hours. Actually, I     Teacher’s Aid, Shalom Christian Academy
got lost after my coordinator had already explained the         Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
way but I am so bad at remembering directions. So I just
followed the address that my coordinator gave me. But I
still could not find it! I was so confused! After that I        First Impression: I remembered when I first got here in
asked a man and showed him the address. We tried to             August the sun was still up. It was 9 p.m. I was having a
find it together. We found it, finally! But it was not my       jet lag. I wanted to get to sleep but I could not get to
work place?! We were so confused! So we decided to call         sleep at all. I had to wait until the sun set. I have heard
my coordinator. And, actually, the address I had was the        that America is full of multiple cultures and I was curi-
old address of my work place. That was why I did not            ous to know about a conservative tradition or Amish
find it. I found my right work place, finally :) During the     people. When I went to Virginia for MCC relief sale, I
third month I was here, it was a hard time for me. When         stayed with other IVEPers with the conservative host
I was walking from my work place to bus stop, suddenly          family.
a man came up behind me and grabbed me, covered my
mouth. I could not do anything. I said “God help me,            Differences: The US is so convenient—when you need
please” just in my heart. And suddenly I got strong, I          something, you go to one store and get all you need. In
rebelled and screamed. But it was funny because I               Cambodia you have to travel at least two or three store
screamed in my language, then I remembered “oh... I am          to get what you need. Mennonite people do not cook
in Canada now” and then I screamed automatically in             their supper on Sunday evening, instead they will eat a
English. Some people heard me and came over to help             big lunch then in the evening they will eat popcorn, ice
me. I was so shocked and scared. I remember still that          cream or finger food instead. I worked at Shalom Chris-
happened but anyway, one thing I know that happened             tian Academy and Shalom doesn’t allow their teachers to
makes me stronger and thankful for my life, I try to            wear pants to school, but I don’t like a long skirt. In
think positively.                                               Cambodia, the girls don’t shave their legs which are dif-
                                                                ferent from here.
Relationship with God: Having a relationship with God
has been really hard while living in a different country,       Memorable or Funny Experience: It was such a good time
away from my family, and with the bad experience I              to be together at the camp in Canada. It was a good
had. But these things make me closer to God and help            experience to walk on the frozen river. My Cambodians
me surrender more to him. He knows what I feel and              friends and I were talking about making a snowball as
what I need. When I had bad experience, I really needed         dessert. We want to make a snow ball then put some
family and some people with me. And He gave me a host           condensed milk and some syrup on the top. I remem-
family, friends and coordinator that care about me,             bered my first time to learn how to do square dance. It
always encourage and pray for me. These things are my           was so much fun and it was hilarious to see everyone get
strength to pass what happened. God really cares about          mixed up with the moves.
me and I believe He will never leave me alone! God is
with me, wherever I live in Winnipeg or in Indonesia.           Relationship with God: It is God blessing and God’s work
God is with me yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever, I        that I have the opportunity to come to North America. It
believe that! And also God taught me to forgive the man         is God timing that I could come to America. Sometimes I

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                 19
worried about my family (homesick) and I worried about        ized beautiful houses, quiet streets, well mowed lawns;
my English. I prayed for my family and friends, my Eng-       so many vehicles were the visible evidence. However, life
lish, and confidence not to worry. I talk to God all the      in the US is far more diverse than that.
time: at school and at home. I ask him to walk with me
and help me to start my day and I ask him give me each        Differences: Basically the difference between US and
day the confidence. I drew close to God this year. God is     Swaziland rest mainly on the fact that my home country
closer than I think. He became my best friend, he is my       is under developed compared to this economic giant. So
counsel and he is my provider. I talk to him every night      economically, here there are so many industries, huge
in my room.                                                   cities, good roads, wide variety of products hence so
                                                              many choices to be made. Culturally, Americans are
New Perspectives: When I was at Akron, it was over-           more task oriented compared to the relationship oriented
whelming to me. I met many nationalities at the orienta-      Swazis. Punctuality and emphasis on time is the order of
tion. I wondered how I could make a good friendship           the day. There are traditions and holidays we don’t have
with them. Then I had to live with a host family who I        in my country like Thanksgiving and Halloween. Almost
never knew before. I really wanted to make a good             every one owns a vehicle whereas in Swaziland we rely
friendship with my host family, too. I have to be opened      mostly on public transport. Here to my surprise, the con-
in order to make friend with other nationalities. I should    cept of choice extends even to the wide variety of religions.
not make assumptions about people from the way they
look. I should learn from Jesus how he becomes friend         Memorable or Funny Experience: An initial event was
with Samaritan woman. Therefore, I learned how to             fun, strange but exciting, and it portrayed a false picture.
work as a team with other IVEPers who have a different        However, it ironically had implications for how my expe-
culture—that also includes my host family. I learned how      riences here in North America would be. The very first
to humble myself, how to make peace with other people         day I arrived in my host family’s house from Akron, my
and to ask for forgiveness when I make mistake, not hid-      new siblings took me to a county fair on that Friday
ing or feeling embarrassing. Overall, I love to work with     evening. Coincidentally, there was a rodeo show in the
other cultures. I am happy that I could make peace with       small town, Millersburg. Man, there were so many peo-
my host family and my IVEPers friend through my year.         ple in spite of the chilly weather. My eyes and mouth
Hooray!!!! I made it through this year!!!                     wide open I watched with surprise as the cowboys were
                                                              chasing and hitching the neck and legs of lasso calves.
Future Plans: When I return to my home country, first         The craziest thing was the bull riding and the bunking
thing I have to do is I have to look for a job to support     broncos. Moreover, I enjoyed some rides like the merry
my living. It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is. Then I   go round or carousel and the Ferris wheel. So now
will find another job that is matched with my experi-         through it all I can concur with the saying “life is a Fer-
ence, my education and ability. My future plan is I want      ris wheel.” It can lift you up, put you down and even
to be a person who is used by God. I will share my life       toss you around.
experience and my knowledge that I have learned from
North America with Cambodian people. I also want to           Relationship with God: Trust in the Lord and do good;
be a school teacher. I will teach them how make a right       dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself
decision by following God Jesus Christ. I want Cambodi-       in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your
an children to stand up and share their thoughts with         heart. These words from the book of Psalms 37 are men-
other nationalities.                                          tal darts that remain in the target of my thinking. As a
                                                              devout servant of God I have no reason to walk by sight
                                                              but by faith on daily basis. I know God took me out of
                                                              my comfort zone to help me understand Him and my
Thokozani Malaza (The Kingdom of Eswatini—                    calling better. As I’m coping with cross cultural adjust-
Swaziland)                                                    ment, I developed a new personal devotional life, new
Assistant Manager, Save & Serve Thrift Shop                   prayer and new Bible study patterns which helped me
Millersburg, Ohio                                             realize a significant growth in my faith in God. I get
                                                              empowered through church fellowship, Bible study
                                                              groups and I use the abundantly available resources to
First Impression: As Alexandre, Fabio and I were trans-       nurture and enrich my spiritual life. Surely, the just shall
ported from Philadelphia to Akron Pa.; I could sense          live by faith.
feelings of ease and relief at the back of my mind as I
admired the green vegetation on the side of the well          New Perspectives: To be frank, I have grown up in many
paved broad roads. Wow, what a gorgeous place! Well           aspects of my life through this program. I have learned
then, I had made it through the long trip, the weird          to live independently and to be accountable for every
nerve wracking taking off and landing of small planes,        decision I make. I have learned to be a perceptive listener
and the hilarious fast concourse trains in the airports.      rather than being judgmental. I have learned to embrace
There was no doubt that life was going to be a bed of         and value diversity. We are so different but each one has
roses as we arrived at the Welcoming Place. Well organ-       worth it even if we don’t act like it. Now I know, to

20                                                                            International Volunteer Exchange Program
make this thing called life work, we have to learn and         rain some times, I almost never have seen rain in Cal-
support, relate and respond, confess and forgive, give         gary, is very dry. Canadian people are very respectful,
and take and reach out and embrace. I have the power           when I had to across the street, when I walked in a mall,
to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.            when I was shopping, even with ideas or opinions when
                                                               are different from mine.
Future Plans: To resume and further my college studies. I
also plan to put into practice, my acquired skills and         Memorable or Funny Experience: Many things come at
business acumen. Finally, I will pursue my calling to          this moment. I remember when I was with my friend
serve and help other people come to the Lord, Christ           from IVEP. We went for a walk in a big park close to my
Jesus our Savior.                                              home— it is REALLY big, so we walked for some hours.
                                                               When we decided to come home we didn’t find the street
                                                               that we needed. So we had to climb the fence in one of
                                                               the side of the park and got out from there. When we
Max Malinga (Uganda)                                           finally did it, we found a long avenue in front of us with-
Social Worker, Ranch Ehrlo Society                             out sidewalk, so we had to walk for half an hour on the
Regina, Saskatchewan                                           avenue until we found a special place to walk, all cars
                                                               were almost on us! Why in Canada you don’t have side-
                                                               walks? It’s obviously, because everyone has car, so you
First Impression: I was impressed with the warm wel-           don’t have to walk.
come my hosts’ friends offered me at the airport.
                                                               Relationship with God: Is some times very hard, because
Differences: The only difference is my hosts are older         when I have a problem or questions back home I can get
than my parents back in Uganda.                                some friends and talk about it, but here I don’t feel free
                                                               to do it, for my English, or I can’t get friends very easy
Memorable or Funny Experience: On my first day at              and be very open with them, so is hard those kind of
work the president of Ranch Ehrlo was surprised to hear        thing. For me some young people here don’t have a very
me speak clear English. He thought Africans don’t know         good relationship with God and that is something that I
English. I told him I am black British and he laughed at       miss back home. But also I have learned about God
that.                                                          through nature or seasons. It has been very special to me
                                                               to see each season and the big mountains and think: that
Relationship with God: I got a church where I teach Sun-       is a big gift from God to us. He is a wonderful God!!
day school class on Sundays, have prayer meetings every
Friday evening and outreach programs on weekends. It’s         New Perspectives: I want to share my time, my skills
reminding and challenging me to reach out to lost souls        even money if I’m able to do it in my country. I have
just as I did back home.                                       learned to share with people who have needs and I think
                                                               that sometimes is very common to see violence and poor
New Perspective: I always listen, learn and give ideas         people and those kinds of things back home, but I really
where needed when I am in a new place away from home.          want to have a part in those problems and practice
                                                               about Jesus teaching.
Future Plans: I want to continue working with trauma-
tized adults and youth and to keep up prison visitation.       Future Plans: I have to find a job. I want to continue my
                                                               studies, so I’m thinking to work half time and study half
                                                               time, but we’ll see what God wants.

Gina Martinez (Colombia)
Maintenance, MRC AB & Youth Sponsor,
Trinity Mennonite Church                                       Mirna Maseeh (Jordan)
Calgary, Alberta                                               Support Worker, Envision/ Martha Rempel Center
                                                               Steinbach, Manitoba

First Impression: I thought that Calgary was almost the
same size as Bogotá (capital of Colombia. 8,000 people).       First Impression: Flat and green everywhere there is no
When I arrive I saw Calgary. It was very flat and very         mountains in Manitoba. The people here are friendly,
small for me. I thought: Ohh!! It’s like a town. But then      lovely and most of them speak Low German that was
it was getting better and I could see very well the city, so   hard for me to understand.
I change my impression is not like a town but is smaller
than Bogotá for sure.                                          Differences: The biggest different I found it’s the weather
                                                               in Canada coldest than my home country and the snow
Differences: Of course the weather!! In home we have           stay all the winter here. In my home country there are
the same weather all the time, is like eternal spring and      mountains but in Manitoba everywhere is flat. The rules of

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                 21
the driving in Canada are followed more than Jordan. The       New Perspectives: I have learned much about the respect
shopping centers in my home country open till midnight.        for each other, respecting all differences between two or
                                                               more people who live in a community. I have respected
Memorable or Funny Experience: The first week for me in        people through this past year and also before I came; but
Steinbach I hurt my knee, wearing the cast and stay            nothing in my home country is like here, people from all
home for three weeks, then the first moment in Calgary I       over the world sharing their lives together. I love it!
hurt my head, then in Ottawa my knee back hurt again.
It’s freezing outside, the temperature is -25 C or more. I     Future Plans: For sure I will get back to my University
have no idea why the people tell me its “wonderful” out-       course then I might get a job going through the morning
side. The funny thing that’s not true it’s freezing and        to afternoon as my university is at night.
really cold and hard to breathe but still wonderful.

Relationship with God: I had a good relationship with
God before this year. It’s not perfect but I felt comfort-     Alexandre Nader (Brazil)
able with it, but this year I feel that relationship getting   International Community Development, Calgary
stronger and grow more. Like now I am more helpful.            Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
When I did something I do it for God only—not because          Calgary, Alberta
am waiting to be thanked or anything. I had good and
bad times this year and always God with me help me to
be strong and keep going.                                      First Impression: I remember when I saw Calgary from
                                                               the airplane ... it seemed a small city, but when I went in
New Perspectives: Actually this year change many thing         downtown ... wow! Much beautiful and bigger than I
in my life like now I have more responsibility to do           imagined.
everything by myself that I didn’t do it before. Good
experiences like how to be helpful and love others peo-        Differences: In the begining I did not understand why
ple, be strong in the hard time and enjoy my time, deal        everybody has to take the shoes off when at home. Well,
with different cultures and learn more about them.             when the winter and all the snow came, I finally under-
Future Plans: The first thing I missed my family and my
friends that mean I need to hang out with them little bit;     Memorable or Funny Experience: A good memorable time
after that I will be back to the normal life like find new     was spent three days skiing with two other Brazilian
job or maybe back to my old job.                               friends. We felt very cold but we had fun time. It was a
                                                               realized dream.

                                                               Relationship with God: I have been taking a time in my
Adriel Muniz (Brazil)                                          bedroom, alone and in silence just to pray. Far from the
Shop Assistant, Village Green Thrift Shop                      rush and noises, this moments have been very good. I still
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan                                        miss my church and friends who pray together with me.

                                                               New Perspectives: While I was living back home, I never
First Impression: Cold! I felt the cold air deep in my         pay attention enough to see how much we can be useful
spine. And it was just August! But I knew it would be          as volunteer. I hope be involved in some volunteer work
awesome!                                                       close to my community.

Differences: The main difference was food’s quantity. I        Future Plans: Finish my studies and be involved in some
used to eat lots of food back home. I really miss Brazil-      volunteer work in my community.
ian churrasco (barbeque).

Memorable or Funny Experience: When I started to work
at the store, I used to find out new words in my diction-      Nur Natalia (Indonesia)
ary. So one day I found out a new word, “mistress” then        Activity Assistant, Dock Woods Community
as I have lots of old ladies volunteering here I started to    Lansdale, Pennsylvania
call all volunteers “mistress” until my boss said “I’m not
a mistress!” And I said, “why not?” She said “I’m the
one wife, there’s no other one! I’m Mrs.!” Hee hee!            First Impression: Hmmm...tough question. Living in US
                                                               for me, means having new and lots of impressions every
Relationship with God: I can tell you. I have a much bet-      day. One of those is: where I was serving is not really far
ter relationship with God. And I’m so glad for it. God         from my home country I just felt like home when I was
has been wonderful to me and He has shown up every             serving in US. Most people are friendly and welcome
minute in my life.                                             newcomers, like me.

22                                                                             International Volunteer Exchange Program
Differences: The community where I was serving has            hang my stocking at the end of November. I’d never
been very successful in social work. My home country          check the stocking because my Canadian parents did not
still needs lots of improvement in social fields/works.       allow me to do that till December 25th in the morning.
FOOD & WEATHER, for sure! : ) it’s so blessed to              But, day by day I saw that stocking was getting bigger
experience four seasons.                                      and bigger. I had no idea how to describe the shape of
                                                              my stocking, so I said to them, “If you come down and
Memorable or Funny Experience: Some people asked,             see my stocking, you will see a pregnant stocking there!”
“Do you have cars in your country? Do you wear jeans          Then, when the right time had come to me to see my
every day? Do you have TV, do you … do you … etc …”           stocking, I put it down and checked it. My goodness... I
it was funny. It was so interesting to know how some          got some dry apricots, perfume, t-shirts, haircut gift cer-
people don’t have any idea at all about other countries. I    tificate, phone cards, some coins, nail clipper, noisy lady-
won’t forget who did ask those questions! (he he he).         bug toy, and many more!!

Relationship with God: Homesickness is normal for those       Relationship with God: One day, on the way home from
who are away from home. But, sometimes it was quite           Edmonton, Alberta with my host parents, we passed a
bothering me, because when I felt really homesick I wish      very, very straight road. When we were passing that
to go home real soon. The more I feel really homesick         road, God opened my mind and let me learn something.
the more I get myself nearer to God.                          My journey in this life is like the trip we’re making. I
                                                              could not see the end of the road. The decision to stop,
New Perspectives: I feel like, I understand people better     turn back or keep going is in my hand. But one thing for
than before and am more willing to accept people in           sure that I have to know, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME
their diversity. I learnt to respect other cultures when I    ALONE!
was serving. I hope my home country (especially the
young adults in my community) is being encouraged to          New Perspectives: I Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a
serve not only locally but also through cross culture serv-   child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I under-
ice, so there will be lots of open-minded young adults to     stood like a child. Now I am a man. I do not act like a
develop a better community.                                   child anymore!” This year would be the year of transfor-
                                                              mation for me. God let me learn along this year to leave
Future Plans: Look for a job, continue my life and serv-      my childish characters behind and take some steps ahead!
ice in my church, and I’m eager to share with young
adults about what I’ve got from this cross culture service.   Future Plans: I will start my university year this year. I
                                                              will take “English” as my subject to learn. Four years
                                                              after, I will finish the study and start my career as a
                                                              teacher; in Indonesia, or wherever God wants me to go!
Daniel Nugroho (Indonesia)
Activities Assistant, Mennonite Nursing Homes
Rosthern, Saskatchewan
                                                              Seung-Hwa Oh (South Korea)
                                                              Media Producer, Christian Peacemaker Teams
First Impression: I knew from the start that this experi-     Chicago, Illinois
ence would be an amazing experience for me. It was so
unbelievable to meet people from all around the world,
with some differences, like languages, the way they solve     Differences: My country consists of one race and one
problems and see something, the culture. And it was fun       tribe. But the U.S. is a country with various tribe, ethnic,
also how I could try to correct some misconception            race so on. In the U.S they do not recognize that I am
about my home country.                                        foreigner because of my appearance. Korean people have
                                                              strong feeling that we have a big family which has same
Differences: Indonesia has two seasons only, dry season       ancestors and history which is filled with persecution. So
and rainy season; Canada has four seasons, and the win-       we emphasis community and regard each individual per-
ter was really fun! Indonesians like to greet each other      son as a part of whole body. In my opinion, in U.S.A
with smile; Canadians like to ask “How are you?” The          there is a clear separation between one’s own family and
Christian in Indonesia celebrate Christmas as One Day         other people. In my country it is very important to show
Celebration; Canadians start to prepare and celebrate         respect to the old and give them authority but here
Christmas in the middle of November.                          young people seem like they can act freely towards elder-
                                                              ly and do not care for other people’s behavior.
Memorable or Funny Experience: For me, every Canadian
experience I had was always memorable. My Canadian            Memorable or Funny Experience: I never knew that U.S.A
parents told me about the traditions around Christmas         people can eat very well spicy food. All most the people
time. One of the traditions is hanging the Christmas          around me they love Kim chi (traditional Korean pickled
stocking. It was something new for me, so, I started to       cabbage dish). Kim chi has very strong smell as much as

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                23
its taste. One day my host family brought me to Korean        Giselle Onischuk (Argentina)
grocery market and bought a jar of Kim chi. I was very        Junior Assistant & Head Clerk, Care and Share Shop
glad that I could have Kim chi everyday as I did in           Stouffville, Ontario
Korea. At that time my host family just has a new puppy
called Maya and she was not trained to control her
bowel movements and sometimes she did poop every-             First Impression: I think my first thought was… Some-
where. So it made my host mother get frustrated. One          one, pinch me, Please! Is this real??... Am I in the USA?
day I could get the chance to eat myself and I was very       YAY!! I loved it! It was really amazing to meet and get to
exciting with my Kim chi. At that moment, my host             know all those countries and cultures represented in only
mother sat on the couch in the living room. As soon as I      one place, Akron; knowing that all of us were there with
opened the lid of Kim chi jar, my host mother started to      the same purpose, to dedicate a complete year of our
sniff, eager to find something. She told me. “Sorry, Maya     lives to serve our wonderful God!
has just pooped again, I can smell it.”
                                                              Differences: The most notable differences that I found
Relationship with God: With first term in Kansas I had        are… the white winter… Snow!! Some meals (lots of
very hard time with my host family. They were over-           vegetables!) and its schedules; the responsible and con-
whelmed with their two kids, job, and household. But          scious way “most” North Americans drive their cars; the
through this difficult time, it was a good chance to think    way people greet when they see each other; and of
about marriage and what kinds of family I would like to       course, that people take their shoes off when they go
have. During this time I could seek for God everyday          inside the house.
and ask sincerely his presence and help me to look at
myself rather than to be cynical of other people. During      Memorable or Funny Experience: I think that one of the
2nd semester in Chicago, I had a chance to live in a com-     funniest experiences that I had in Canada happened
munity which share their income and try to follow Jesus       when I visited a beach on Toronto’s Centre Island.
way with simply and uncomfortable life for others. It         Because I needed to return to the city by myself for a
was really gracious to see that there are some people live    concert, I took the Island’s map to check the way out. To
here with another way which is not controlled by money        my big surprise I realized that the place was an “Option-
but seek for God’s presence.                                  al Clothing Beach.” I think in that moment my face
                                                              turned red! So I decided to stay still, keep my eyes on
New Perspectives: U.S.A is really huge country and as         God’s creation (I’m talking about the sea!) and not turn
the people say, a ‘melting pot’. This is a good opportuni-    my head to any side trying to avoid anything disagree-
ty to see the other world and see their effort to make        able. But when it was time to leave, I had the displeasure
harmony with different people. Korean thinks important-       of seeing something that I believe will take sometime to
ly about keeping our own blood line and hesitates to          get out of my head! I will never forget the special
marry with different race to keep our identity and pre-       moments that I spent with my two host families and the
serve tradition of 5000 years of history. But nowadays        incredible time spent with the Ontario IVEPers and our
our life style and thought are busy to imitate the United     trips together!
States’ way, and so even we do not have national auton-
omy of our troops. Our economy is extremely relying on        Relationship with God: The way people express them-
the U.S. When I read Bible, I think more that we need to      selves in the majority of the churches in North America
follow God’s way rather than try to seek for an easy and      is different from my culture. Because of it, I sometimes
comfortable life. And also as an individual person of the     felt far from God. But He showed me that He created
World, I seriously shocked of unbalance of world econo-       the diversity, even in worshiping Him. I could see and
my and lack of young folks who are seriously concern          learn that to be a Christian is not based only on the way
about injustice economy and pollution. As long as I am        you worship inside your own four walls, but also “out-
living as a Christian I will work for the God’s justice and   side” with the needy people. And I saw clear examples of
try to preserve environment and encourage the people to       that.
think about it where ever I will go.
                                                              New Perspectives: I think my life has changed a lot. In
Future Plans: I am deeply think about my calling and          many areas of my life I’ve grown and I’m more mature.
mission as a Christian and Korean. I would like to share      Now I am independent, more responsible and capable.
my experience of one year living in U.S.A and tell the        I’m much more open to accept the differences of other
people “Be confident with our history and culture. And        and to resolve problems in more peaceful ways.
try to make Korea which is proud of unique and various
cultures and follow God’s way to respect other country.”      Future Plans: I have lots of plans! I want to study, gradu-
And I will study more about North Korea and try to pre-       ate, drive a car, to meet again my host families, work
pare unification of Korea. Also try hard to live with sav-    more at the local church and have a stronger commit-
ing energy and preserve environment.                          ment to God, do another volunteer service, and really
                                                              want to meet again with my IVEPers friends!

24                                                                            International Volunteer Exchange Program
Manase Oure (Kenya)                                            the praise, honor and glory for who He was to me with-
Pastoral Internship, Immanuel Community & Weaver-              in that place. The Lord has been working to transform
land Mennonite Churches                                        me and to make me grow spiritually. And I’ve tasted and
New York, New York & Lancaster, Pennsylvania                   known how good it is to remain under His direction. My
                                                               faith has been overwhelmingly challenged and has grown
                                                               throughout my stay within that city, and now here in the
First Impression: My first impression was with the air         Lancaster County countryside.
travel since this was my first time flying. I really enjoyed
flying for the first time. Beside me were two other            New Perspectives: My new perspectives take root in my
YAMEN! participants who were also traveling to the             experience over the last half year of my work here in the
same venue, Akron. We didn’t know each other until             States. The best part of my experience has been gaining
later. I kept looking through the computer trying to           vocational skills through practical on-the-job training
check out the exact time that we would be landing and          that began in New York City. I’ve been able to gain more
the distance that was still remaining. We were warmly          skills and tools that are beneficial for fruitful witnessing.
received by Brother Chris Landes, the director of the          I’ve experienced a lot of religious spiritual groups. I came
program. This time we were heading to Akron in Penn-           to know Flushing as one of the localities that birthed
sylvania where we were going to have our orientation at        religious freedom in the United States, for this reason
the Mennonite Central Committee headquarters. The              there are a number of faith groups and halls within a
seventeen hour journey ended at this point.                    number of streets around. As pertains to my home coun-
                                                               try I believe the same kind of experience I’ve had would
Differences: The weather is a major difference! For the        be meaningful to all if they could afford to acquire it. I’d
first time in the history of my life I saw snow fall. It’s     urge them to do it and return home to work to improve
also the first time I have walked on water without sink-       it based on their new acquisitions.
ing :) I’ve been able to experience the cold winter season
of the west.                                                   Future Plans: I plan to continue learning, taking part in
                                                               church planting and continuing to relate to non-Chris-
Memorable or Funny Experience: One of my most memo-            tian groups of people. I am open to however the Lord
rable and funny experiences was at an international cul-       wants to use me.
tural dance and song presentations at Trinity Mennonite
Church in Calgary city. After dinner, there was a huge
gathering of people within the church ready to enjoy
watching and listening to our cultural presentations. The      Viliya Pamungkas (Indonesia)
first group to perform was the Europe and Middle-east-         New Creation Preschool Assistant & Activity Assistant,
erners. Their song was sacred and very inspiring. The          Asbury Park Retirement Home
next group was the Latinos. The Latinos are comprised          Newton, Kansas
of different subcultures and so they performed uniquely
in accordance with their cultural differences. The dances
were impressive! The last Spanish gospel song they all         First Impression: Clean, organized, and sophisticated.
sang touched many including my own heart. The third
group was Asia. They were well organized. Their presen-        Differences: Well, there are many differences between
tations went in patterns and unique styles. And even           Indonesia and USA. These are only some differences that
though they vary according to cultural groups, they            I experienced. I live in a big crowded city in Indonesia
looked united and sang in unison. The African group            and here I live in a small town called Newton. There is
was last. I was in this category, and as usual we were         no public transportation here in Newton and it’s not so
expected to sing loudly and dance vigorously. In the sec-      crowded like my home city. I used to ride my motorbike
ond part of our presentation, each one portrayed his or        to go everywhere in Indonesia. It feels very different
her cultural dance show by appearing at the front and          when you depend on somebody to take you everywhere
dancing the best way possible. African sound and ‘sigala-      you need to go. There are only two seasons in Indonesia
gala’ (a culturally incorporated noise) rocked the air till    (hot and rainy season), no winter. Here in USA we have
the end... and God was laughing and being entertained          four seasons. It is very cold here in winter.
together with the audience.
                                                               Memorable or Funny Experience: Every moment is memo-
Relationship with God: While I was a part of the body of       rable for me. I will always remember how friendly people
Christ that experienced the highest level of spiritu-          here in Newton, especially Mennonite family. I will also
al oppression caused by the Island spirits in New York         remember how fun it is to play and spend time with the
metro city, I was greatly challenged to remain in constant     preschoolers here. I enjoy all my experiences here in
prayer against the enemy’s battle schemes. It’s also           States. In Christmas break, I and my host family went to
remarkable that God through his Spirit promised never          the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis. It was awesome to be in
to tempt us beyond our ability to withstand. I give Him        that tall monument. I always enjoy the sunset in Newton,

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                 25
Kansas. It is very beautiful. The most beautiful sunset I’ve    Soudaluck (Bee) Phanthamixay (Lao P.D.R.)
ever seen. I also like fall when the leaves turns yellow. And   Program Assistant, Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB)
I experienced my first snow in Newton, how fun!                 Winnipeg, Manitoba

Relationship with God: There are lows and highs in my
relationship with God. Sometimes it’s hard to have devo-        First Impression: MCC’s work is huge and can bring
tional time when we are busy to adjust in new place,            peace to people around the world like this program. I
doing new things, and trying to connect with many peo-          was asking my self, really? They can do this, and they
ple. But through all of this, I can see how amazing God’s       can do that to be active? Wow! Amazing! I agree that
work in my life and HE is always with me wherever I go.         while we are in North America, we are just like the small
When my father passed away in September 2008, I can             seed of peace, we might not know now that we will be
see and feel how much God loves me through all the              the big tree in the future.
support that my IVEPer friends have given me. I can see
God in people I meet here and in everything I have been         Differences: The good view of host country makes me
through here, even in the smallest thing like giving a ride     open my new sight seeing, to learn something bigger
to downtown. HIS work is amazing! I believe in HIM              than I used to know before. Time is just faster than my
whatever happens.                                               home country! I do not know why! It might because
                                                                there are many new things to do and to find out! Any-
New Perspectives: Hmm....hard to say. One thing I               way, I still missing home where I was born and all my
learned a lot in this program, I need to depend on God          family, my friends, the church.
and always ask HIM what to do.
                                                                Memorable or Funny Experience: The good memories
Future Plans: I will never give up teaching. I love teaching    through people at work with public engagement team is
children. I probably will teach again when I get back home.     the good learning for me. It took me out of the boxes
And also building peace through what I can do best.             that I used to be! I believe that all things had happen to
                                                                me for the reason and I have found how funny I am,
                                                                how talented, how sad when missing home, how serious
                                                                I often take with prayer, how many smile and give
Matias Payano (Dominican Republic)                              thanks to people who hosted me in every place that I vis-
Organic Gardener, Heartland Farms                               ited.
Pawnee Rock, Kansas
                                                                Relationship with God: Quiet time with God is very
                                                                important to me. I love to cry when I pray, when I do
Differences: Very different with different language, cul-       not cry it’s like I cannot understand what he really want
ture, ideas, food, etc.                                         to tell me. It is not the tear of bitter root but the tear of
                                                                thanksgiving and deeper understanding. He can work
Funny or memorable experience: Great fun if I could             well on me when I show him how empty power I have.
enjoy and learn different friends know different lifestyles     When I humble and let him working on me with truly
and different religions.                                        pure heart then I can face anything.

Relationship with God: The relationship with God was a          New Perspectives: When I think about changing some-
little difficult but as time passes all takes to improve        thing, I thought about waterfall, it try to shape the rock
Faith and commence to climb well.                               in beautiful way by its natural. It might take long time
                                                                by non-stop flowing and just like us not given up to
New Perspective: My opinion is that I like to know              love, care and patient. More than that just has strong
another country by example, culture, tradition, language.       believed than it will be!

Future Plans: I would serve my God and my country               Future Plans: I don’t know what exactly God’ plan for
with things I have learned from other countries. My             me in the future. All experience that he gave me would
experience in the US is very helpful that I could experi-       be the value lesson to use in the future. I would prefer to
ment with new things and learning new things. It is also        work with youth group, help my mom’s business and
a great experience for a challenge apart from his family        take a chance to study more.
and go to a place that he does not know it’s hard but if
you do for God that is easy to become accustomed to.

26                                                                               International Volunteer Exchange Program
Nathalie Pissard (France)                                      people in different countries; we should try to open our
Camp Assistant & Youth Worker, Winkler Bible Camp              vision of the world, about people living in other coun-
Winkler, Manitoba                                              tries and share together more than we do. I learnt a lot
                                                               by being with people from another environment and I
                                                               shared my ideas and together we can be more complete.
First Impression: I arrived in Winnipeg and we met our         I feel like I grew in different ways and it helps me to
coordinator, and I was wondering how I would spend             trust and believe in myself.
the first months because my English was so bad and it
was so difficult to understand. Just after, he drove me to     Future Plans: When I go back to France, I want to go to
my assignment. I was so surprised how the landscape            school to be a social worker. Besides, I really would like
was just flat and the roads were so straight!                  to go for a mission trip too.

Differences: I didn’t have a culture shock because it is
almost the same culture as in France, but winter is too
cold in Canada! The wind is very dry and freezing, the         Sophea Rith (Cambodia)
temperature can be -45C. At the beginning, it was very         Pastoral Intern, Peace Mennonite Church
strange for me to eat at 5:30p.m. instead of 7:00p.m., I       Richmond, British Columbia
remember that I was not hungry the first weeks for sup-
per because it was too early!
                                                               First Impression: When I first got in Canada, my heart
Memorable or Funny Experience: It was 2:30a.m. (so, it         told me that this is the place that God puts me in. I feel
was dark outside), I was ready to go to bed when me            peaceful though my Asian culture is totally different
and a friend had to bring another friend to her place. We      from here. I found out here that people are so helpful
left the camp, I was in my pajamas and barefoot - it was       and friendly. People like to volunteer. Though there are
-20C. We drove on a gravel road, listening to music and        some things that I don’t like but I learn a lot of positive
talking. Suddenly, BANG! We heard a big noise, some-           things from here. It opens my eyes to see, to learn new
thing hit the truck. We stopped and we turned around to        things and to think outside the box when I’m back
see what hit us... In the ditch was a deer. The deer tried     home. Being here helps me understand more how new
to run away but it couldn’t stand up. My friend pan-           comers, strangers and foreigners in a new culture and
icked and she said we should wake up her father so he          how local people can respond to their needs.
could take care of it. We went to her place and I and my
friend went back to the camp to sleep (it was 3:30a.m          Differences: There are a lot for example, food, titles and
when I could go to sleep). The day after, we heard that        hospitality. In my culture saying no does not mean no
the deer ran away just when my friend’s father went to         but just the way we show politeness so you have to keep
see it.                                                        asking 2-3 times if you want to offer esp. food. We never
                                                               shake hand or hug but we put our hands together, bow
Relationship with God: At the beginning, when I arrived,       down our head and say “Chom Reap Suor” (Hello).
I could see how God was so faithful with me everyday,
and how He took care of me, it was amazing how I               Memorable or Funny Experience: As you know I come
could notice that I was not alone in this new country.         from the warm country so seeing snow is very exciting to
But after six months, my relationship with God had             me. One day after cross country skiing I lay down for 15
some difficulties, especially because I spend a lots of time   –20 minutes in the public park in front of my house and
with my friends (until late in the evenings) and I didn’t      started to praise God, sing songs, pray quietly. Then I
take time to read my Bible or to pray. I was working all       heard a voice from the 2nd floor shout at me “what are
day and when I had free time I just wanted to have fun         you doing there?” And I told her that I just relaxed, had
with my friends... but later, I was not doing well and         fun & enjoyed myself but she said “It not make sense.
everything made me mad. But I am very thankful                 Get out of here or I call the police.” Indeed, I felt bad
because He is patient with me. I spoke with some of my         and wanted to tell her ok call the police, I’m still here
friends and they could pray for me, and I could see that       because I haven’t done anything wrong at all but I just
He is always listening to us and ready to help us if we        got out of there. I asked why God I’m just having a good
ask Him. I know He sent me to a good place for me and          time with you. Why I was chased out while I was wor-
even if it is not always easy to work as volunteer, I          shipping you. Aren’t Canadians friendly & polite? Any-
always remind myself that I took this year to serve my         way my idea that Canadians are friendly & helpful never
God and He is always with me and give me the strengths         changes so hope they keep their fame forever.
that I need.
                                                               Second is about Black berry. I like black berry fruit so
New Perspectives: We should open our eyes to the world         much because I’ve never had it in Cambodia. When I
and notice how we have to learn from others and from           came it was the black berry season so I picked it a few
                                                               times with my host. In Costco I saw a man asking if

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                  27
there was any black berry coming? Then I told my host           Memorable or Funny Experience: In the first week, that I
that “Oh! That man likes black berry too?” she said             took also the bus to work, I got really confused, because
“Sophea, do you know what a black berry is? I said yes,         the area just looked all the same! I couldn’t remember
I picked it a few times. Why you ask me such a strange          anymore, where I had to get off the bus. So finally I got
question? Then she said “black berry is kind of cell            off, and didn’t have a clue where I was, in other words: I
phone that is so popular nowadays.”                             was lost! So I began to walk and asked peoples on the
                                                                streets for directions. I asked about five different peoples,
Relationship with God: I thought I may struggle with            but nobody really knew where this Ten Thousand Vil-
worshipping God in different language and culture but I         lages Store is. I prayed and called the store and wanted
don’t. I actually feel part of the service and close to God     to tell them, that I will be late, but there was no reply.
more in worship. It’s my goal this year to know, see and        Then my hope felt on a woman, who just walked from
meet God more in my faith so I’m glad to be here at             her house to the car. I asked her how I will get to the
Peace Church. Sometimes if I have a chance to hear &            store, but she said that it is far away to walk, so she
worship in my own language it is good.                          drove me to work! I was SO THANKFULL! - And a half
                                                                an hour late for work.
New Perspectives: As I mentioned above not everything
is good but I just learn from what is positive that I can       Relationship with God: My personal relationship with
take back to my country. Each culture is unique. I can’t        God grew in this year. I began a Bible study from BSF
say that this culture is bad but mine is good because God       here in Denver, and learned there with lectures, small
puts us in different country to represent our own identi-       group and homework a lot about the history with God
ty. What I like about Canada is that most people so             but also useful things for my personal relationship with
friendly & helpful, like to volunteer, to give to others        God. I also could join the worship team in my Church in
especially. I like the idea of food bank, thrift stores,        Denver, and was so happy about that!! We all had an
church potluck, and church coffee break… This year I            awesome time with praising God, it was an amazing
get to know more people, building friendship no matter          experience!
we are black or white—in the eyes of God we are made
in his image. I see MCC respond to the needs of the             New Perspectives: I realized even more this year, how
world & how I can be part of it.                                good it is that every person is so different! I was interest-
                                                                ed in the different characters and got to know a lot of
Future Plans: I want to volunteer at church and work with       peoples. I learned from them! An amazing time also to
youth & kids to help them meet Jesus in their lives. To have    get to know so many IVEPers from around the world! It
dormitory for poor students, an orphanage for kids, a           was great to talk with each other, share our problems
training center for people with disabilities, and to have a     and differences between our countries, pray for and with
place that people come and play games, talk, make friends       each other and encourage one another—just become
and feel like home & community. I do not know how I             through all that friends!
will do this yet. I want to be a peacemaker for Indochina
esp Cambodia, Vietnam & Thailand. We are neighbors              Future Plans: First I want to apply again for a job in a
but we are like enemies. I really want to see peace, forgive-   pharmacy. I also think to join a school that I can go after
ness, love, and security happen in these countries.             a year or so to University. I would like to study some-
                                                                thing in the health or social section.

Corinne Röthlisberger (Switzerland)
Sales Associate, Ten Thousand Villages                          Fransisca Rumbino (Indonesia)
Denver, Colorado                                                Friesen Tokar Architect/ Winnipeg Harvest
                                                                Winnipeg, Manitoba

First Impression: I was so exited, as I finally arrived in
Denver to start my year in the U.S. My first impression         First Impression: Shock with life here. It is very fast and
was that the peoples were really welcoming and friendly         always on time, the food so different, we call people
and everything seemed to appear so big to me! Day by            older than us with their name which is impolite in my
day, there were new peoples to get to know, new things          culture.
to see and more adventures to jump in!
                                                                Differences: Winnipeg is very cold, but it’s not big deal
Differences: I didn’t really felt a big cultural difference.    for me, I can see that life is different here in North
But things that were different were; the climate was            America. They almost have a better system in everything.
much drier, the cars were bigger and were used a lot by         I’m so interested to learn from what I’ve been working
peoples but the biggest difference for me was that the          on and I will use this experience to share with my com-
distances between cities and states is so huge—(Nothing         munity back home
compare to Switzerland!)

28                                                                              International Volunteer Exchange Program
Memorable or Funny Experience: One day my boss asked            for the great opportunity to experience another culture
me to get the document ready for the meeting for the            and work with different people in the USA.
next half an hour, it was busy morning, and everyone
needs everything at the same time. I really need to finish      Differences: Here I feel I not having freedom because if I
this document soon, because our client was there and            want to do something or go somewhere, I need to have
waiting for it. So I try to finish it as fast as I can, and I   people take me and help me, but in my country I could
did it, and then my boss and the client was come to             do anything or go somewhere by myself. And also we
check with everything, we both surprised that I made            have different culture, food, weather. In my country we
mistake by punched the paper at the wrong side, some of         eat rice every day, but here not every day and my home
them was good, some of them was not straight and I was          is warm all the times, but here cold almost all the times.
so panic, don’t know what to do, and my boss he’s just
laugh and said that’s fine, they still have the copy of the     Memorable or Funny Experience: One day in the winter
document, I feel good to know that.                             time and I was so cold outside the house. I and my
                                                                friend had a good weekend together and on Friday night
Relationship with God: I was the person who never want          we were talking about the hot tub & decided to go in. It
to be open with anyone, I always had hard time to get           was his first time in the hot tub, he was kind of scared at
long with new people, and to be here in totally different       first but after he got in he realized the warm water was
Continent, different country, I really felt weird and           good for him and he enjoyed it. We had spent nearly one
uncomfortable. Everyday I asking God to give me a               and a half hours there and we put our heads deep into
courage to face everything here, new eyes to see, new           the warm water. When we got out I saw my friend pass
heart to feel, it’s not easy at first, bad time, good time,     out two times… each time I did my best to help wake
I’ve been trough all of it. I use my faith a lot more than I    him up. I brought him into the house and he was OK. It
used to, and He answer me, He form me in different              was scary, but also funny too.
way, beyond my mind, I feel blessed through this experi-
ence.                                                           Relationship with God: I know I am here in the US for a
                                                                reason. God has a plan for me to be in the USA, so that I
New Perspectives: This program has changed me a lot in          can share what I have learned from here with my people
a good way, now I have different way to see things, feel        and serve him in my country. Anyway, sometimes I feel
things, no more judge but more open to know why there           like I am lonely and so sad and ask God why I am here.
is different between people around the world.                   I think I am so busy with my work and I am so tired of
                                                                my work too. I can say that since I have been in the US,
Future Plans: I will share my experience with my com-           my relationship me and God seem so far away. I just
munity, in my home town we had teenager issue, it’s a           pray sometimes when I need help from him, but he
big problem that lots of them deal with alcohol, drugs,         always loves me and helps me. I don’t know why I am so
free sex, etc. so my big plan is build the place for the        lazy and tired of communication with God. But I always
teenager such as “drop in” or a place to share, make            put my trust in him and love him.
them feel safe. It would include Bible study instead of go
around and doing something bad.                                 New Perspective: I have learned so many things in the
                                                                US about people, foods, work, communication, and
                                                                their belief in God. I think through all these experiences
                                                                I will be able to share with my community when I get
Mony (Johny) Sek (Cambodia)                                     back home.
Construction Assistant, Sticks and Stones Construction
Mohnton, Pennsylvania                                           Future Plans: Working for the government and serving
                                                                people through the love of Jesus.

First Impression: When I first arrived in the US every-
thing was new for me: people, weather, foods, and lots
of things that I never experienced before. Now I wanted         Margaryta Sergeieva (Ukraine)
to tell you just one thing about my impression. I am            Sales & Floor Assistant, Plaza Thrift Shop (MCC)
from the warm country and I used to live and work in            Abbotsford, British Columbia
the place not too cold like this. My first time working in
the winter for Sticks and Stones Construction was so
hard for me working outside with the cold weather and           First Impression: The first month I was very exited to see
snow. I felt so cold then sometimes I thought I wanted to       and to live in a new country, new culture and new family.
give up but later on I had prayed to God to strengthen          I enjoyed views of nature in Canada. The most wonder-
me to overcome my problems. Then everything has been            ful things that I liked there were tiny cute squirrels and
OK. I work outside almost every day then my body gets           nice light green grass. It seemed to me as a fairy tale and
used to it. So I do not have any problems with the cold         everything was so different and hard to understand.
weather any more and just wanted to say, Thanks God

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                  29
Differences: There is difference in weather in BRITISH        Memorable or Funny Experience: To be a friend of a
COLUMBIA. Our summer is hot but this one is gentle            young Service Worker (Oli) means a lot of fun and good
and almost every day it’s raining. There are many             experiences. She has to drive the car a lot to pick up
churches in Abbotsford and not so much in my country.         some IVEPers from towns outside of Winnipeg. I always
People are more polite but not so open for other, they        enjoyed those at least 45 minute tours, because we had
seem as little bit frosty in my opinion. The inhabitants of   very good conversations about being a Volunteer in
Canada can wear what they want and nobody care                Canada and about life itself. The landscape was always
about that. In my country when people are out they            the same, FLAT! But to see it in different seasons just
dressed up all time. I remember when I saw a lady she         fascinates me and gives me a feeling of freedom. And I
was in Shop centre and was dressed in pajamas. There is       never will forget the stops at Tim Horton’s.
a difference in Christian comprehension in Canada and
sometimes I could not understand the difference between       Relationship with God: I learned to trust in God, that he
believers and unbelievers.                                    would provide everything for what I need. I could see
                                                              how He walked in front of me and made my way
Memorable or Funny Experience: My English has become          smooth. In this year he never let me fall down. Thanks
not as difficult as it was before. I always will remember     God! As I served, He also showed me that I can build an
excellent mountains and gorgeous waterfalls.                  altar to praise God with almost everything that is
                                                              around me.
Relationship with God: The next months were hard for
me. God helped me with all my struggles, sickness,            New Perspectives: The IVEP program opened my eyes in
homesickness, loneliness and sadness. I dedicated myself      many ways. I had a lot of new impressions about other
for this whole year. Thank you Lord: nothing is impossi-      cultures: that we can work together to make peace in the
ble with you.                                                 world and to love each other, no matter where we are
                                                              from. After the largeness and the young age of Canada, I
New Perspectives: I see that our cultures are different but   really love my old country with all the cultures and dif-
we have many things that are the same.                        ferences.

Future Plans: My plans are continue serving God.              Future Plans: I am happy to study pediatric nursing in

Maria Thun (Germany)
Day Care Worker, Knox Day Nursery                             Edder Vargas (Colombia)
Winnipeg, Manitoba                                            Spanish Assistant, Goshen College
                                                              Goshen, Indiana

First Impression: Hardy my Coordinator brought me a
very nice bicycle to use to get to work. At first moment I    First Impression: Wow! I am living in a small, flat town!
didn’t know where to put it, so I just left it unlocked in    Where are my precious buildings and mountains?
the open garage, and went to ask my host dad where I
can put it. Unfortunately he was not at home for a long       Differences: Geography and weather. Personal relation-
time and after I finally asked, the bicycle was stolen. It    ships.
was so foolish because I just got it, and in the next
moment it was gone. For Hardy it wasn’t a big deal,           Memorable or Funny Experience: There are many awe-
because this was the compensation for a stolen bike from      some times but as far as of March the most memorable
last year. “It happens all the time in Winnipeg”. For me      experience was when I preached for the first time in Eng-
it wasn’t that funny, but I realized that God gives and       lish. The topic was about MISERICORDIA a word in
takes away … very quick.                                      Spanish that means mercy, compassion and love.

Differences: In Winnipeg we have a lot of snow and it         Relationship with God: Probably, this was a year where I
doesn’t go away that fast. The same with the tempera-         found myself with more questions than I usually have.
ture, -20 Celsius is normal in the long wintertime.           Fortunately, I was surrounded by wise people of faith
Although it is so cold, the Canadians need a big freezer      who make my faith even much stronger.
to put almost every kind of food in there. I love the big
community of Mennonites in Manitoba. The way in               New Perspectives: Evidently, I have grown as a Chris-
which they live here together and being a big family just     tian, person and professional. The meaning of this year
amazed me. As I find out more about the Mennonites I          of service makes me feel prouder of me and gives me
also find about my heritage and myself.                       new responsibilities.

30                                                                           International Volunteer Exchange Program
Future Plans: Certainly, I expect to be more involved in     everything they want. I can forgive somebody when
my church and the Colombian society through social           she/he makes mistakes to me.
work. I also hope to run my own business in order to
create funds to support this peacemaking labor.              Future Plans: When I go back from here I will share and
                                                             give support to everybody who wants to come here—
                                                             especially my friends’ teachers and students are waiting
                                                             for me to share information. I will share to them about
Maikal Wally (Indonesia)                                     my experience one year here and teach them about
Teacher’s Assistant & Library Aide, Hinkletown               everything here. I believe them have a long time to need
Mennonite School                                             someone who is willing to share every information.
Ephrata, Pennsylvania

First Impression: First, I assumed before I came here that   Elly Wiebe (Paraguay)
everything is same such as cultures, weathers or other       Spanish Teacher Assistant, Central Christian School
things. Beginning, it was shocking by cultures and           Kidron, Ohio
weather It was cold and made me want to go back
home. I tried to overcome this problem through praise
and worship to God for asking help from HIM. Some            First Impression: I am at home. Even the language was
times cultures are making me stress and confuse. I am a      kind of a problem, but some how I was at home. I enjoy
person who doesn’t like asking and need help and I tried     the four seasons, how we always see them in a movie or
to ask and ask and asking for help to solve my problems.     in a book. Walking through the streets, you see peace.
Finally, it was great and going well till this day.          Cars are with open windows and key inside on the
                                                             street, other things are outside in the yard. No one has a
Differences: One thing it was done by me is lateness and     fence to protect from the neighbors. Almost every one is
discipline. I was in my school when teaching and learn-      very friendly.
ing process, I sometimes let few couple minutes passed
and sometimes late for my job. But, praise to the Lord,      Differences: The four seasons are different; at home we
He has been done every change in my life through fol-        don’t have the beauty of fall, or snow in the wintertime.
lowing the rules here with doing everything on time,         Every one has a car here in USA, at home we share the
entering rooms on time, have lunch on time, going to         cars. We are also more flexible with friends coming over;
church on time and have disciplines to do job, etc.          they don’t have to call before they come. Here the people
                                                             are more independent. USA is way more concern about
Memorable or Funny Experience: I have a great day and        MANY things, that they don’t even think about. There
amazing time with family here. We celebrated birthday        are soooo many rules what can you do, how to protect a
party where it never happened in my life before. They        child, etc., etc.!! I think if there could be a balance
made a beautiful chocolate cake and on it there were         between the countries about concerns that would be
thirty candles. I blew them out and felt like I couldn’t     great!!
breathe well anymore. It was witnessed by two other
host families. It was very exciting and I will ever and      Memorable or Funny Experience: Going to a Baseball
never forget those moments.                                  game; teaching in an Amish School; visiting different
                                                             places. One experience shocked me: One day I was
Relationship with God: I thought God has a neat plan         teaching Spanish and so I thought, well, let’s have some
and it’s perfect to me. It was long time I asked and He      cultures experiences. SO I bring my Máte, which is a
heard my sound. I feel like He is closer to me. I some-      typical drink from Paraguay, with me and the share it
times upset and uncomfortable but He comes to me and         with the students. Well, almost every one loved it, and so
helps me to feel comfortable, happy and fun even if I        I think good job, the students did great. I was impressed.
have a lot of problems. When I was feeling upset about       But then the other day, the principal comes to me and
my English He helps me to open my mind and think bet-        ask me NOT to do that any more, because parents had
ter. When I feel far away from family He comes close to      called him and shared their concern about sharing germs
me to console me.                                            and bacteria.

New Perspectives: I have made changes. I was impatient       Relationship with God: I had to learn again to more
and easy to angry but it was changed a little bit by cul-    depend on God, he is sometimes the only one who
tures and works. I have more patience and not easy to        understands my language; to trust in him, that he will
angry. I am valuable and confident. It was hard to stay      provide experiences to explore the country, because, you
calm if someone made mistakes but now I will handle          don’t have enough money to do a lot by yourself, you
myself to protect for believing every single person with     don’t have a car, so I learned, that if he wants me to
her/his competences and give chance to them to do            explore more, than he will provide. Which he did!! I’m

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                             31
so thankful for each ride I had. Reading the Bible in a
different language, gives you another perspective, how to     Relationship with God: My faith has grown in many
understand the Bible. I also struggled sometimes with the     areas since I have been in Canada. I have been involved
tolerance that I found in the American Churches. But          with a program called “Out of the Cold” which is run
after all, I know that was his purpose that I could have      by the Rouge Valley Mennonite Church. This program
this experience, and I’m VERY thankful for that!              brings homeless people in to the church for the night and
                                                              provides them with a hot meal, a bed to sleep on, a
New Perspectives: In many ways I’m more thankful for          hearty breakfast the next morning and clothes to help
South America, because, even not every thing is perfect       them get by. After a long day working at the school and
there, but I think we have a lot more freedom to live,        helping at Willowgrove I feel as though God calls me to
than here in USA. SO, I may teach a little bit more about     help with this program too—so I can walk with these
how to be careful at home, but I know that I will appre-      people and learn. When asked by my host family how I
ciate my freedom more. I will teach my future children,       wanted to celebrate my birthday—they suggested a meal
whether they are my own or children at school, I will         in a restaurant or something special. I thought for two
teach them more about other cultures, how to appreciate       weeks about what we could do—do I need a fancy meal
those and that each one of us IS equal!!                      to celebrate? All the money spent on just one hour of
                                                              one day? How could my birthday celebrate others at
Future Plans: I will teach in an after school care home       home? Instead I asked my host family to take the money
for the next four months.                                     they would spend on my birthday and use it for their
                                                              Orphan project they are working on in Uganda. These
                                                              are the areas that my faith has grown while in Canada.

Benard Yiga (Uganda)                                          New Perspectives: It is great being in Canada—it has
Teacher’s Assistant, Willowgrove Day Camp                     taught me that we are all people no matter where you
Stouffville, Ontario                                          live or what you do. I now know that I can work with
                                                              North Americans well and that I have the ability to leave
                                                              my home for a long period of time.
First Impression: It was a culture shock and a bit over-
whelming when I first arrived. I received a very warm         Future Plans: When I return home since I am a teacher I
welcome and I was given great hospitality. I thought that     will continue with my profession. I will bring back the
the property was very beautiful and I was very happy to       experiences to teach others in my school, and going back
chose an organization that has so many programs that I        for further studies. I hope to participate in the YAMEN!
could learn from and share with them too.                     program that will allow me to travel to another country
                                                              other than North America to learn.
Differences: In Stouffville it is considered rural but is
much more developed than home. Lots of roadways, cars,
and houses. People here speak English which is a first lan-
guage for me but the accents here in Canada make it dif-      Song Ju Yun (Korea)
ficult to understand one another. People here also look       Music Teacher Assistant, Central Christian School
similar and makes it hard to distinguish if I have met        Kidron, Ohio
them before. Over time it all became much easier. Holi-
days are celebrated in a very different way especially
Christmas. The way that people address one another is         First impression: I’ve already gotten used to America
different too. In Uganda we use the person’s title to greet   food, seen through Hollywood movies and restaurants.
them such as Pastor, or Headmaster or Director but here       It was strange that most of the restaurants are the same
in Canada they go by first name or Mr. and Mrs.               in Korea. But beautiful natural environments and I got a
                                                              warm welcome from MCC staff and IVEPers. I remem-
Memorable or Funny Experience: One of the most memo-          ber that I was excited on my first day of America.
rable experiences was when I saw snow for the first time
and how it came down from the sky and it was soft to          Differences: The Language! English is hard for a shy per-
touch. I enjoyed playing in the snow with the children. I     son. I took intense English classes for 6 months before I
got to go snowshoeing, skiing cross country and down-         came to America and my English teacher spoke so slowly
hill, skating and also on the snowmobile. These were all      that I understood. But people spoke to me so fast, so that
very memorable ways to spend winter in Canada. Work-          I couldn’t follow their conversation which made me feel
ing with kindergarten children allows for many funny          lonely and isolated. Because I worked at school I
experiences. I overheard a conversation between a little      observed different education system from Korea. They
boy in our class who is four years old talking to another     don’t need to go to any afterschool academies (for piano,
classmate who was five that he saw God playing volley-        computer or Taekwondo). After school is over they hang
ball the other day. This memory makes me laugh still to       out with friends, or have a lot of school activity such as a
this day.                                                     musical, a college trip, a career day, tennis club. Now I

32                                                                            International Volunteer Exchange Program
understand why a number of Korean students want to            interactions is not a high priority. Although differences
come to America to study. American’s feet are cars. I can’t   between home and host countries exist, I believe that I
go anywhere without a car even a little supermarket           can always learn, understand and enjoy them. Having
which means I hardly walked since I came to America.          this attitude towards such differences has made my cross
                                                              culture encounter easy to face and what is more, interest-
Memorable or Funny Experience: When I visited the             ing and enjoyable.
Bruderhof community in Pennsylvania, who live like
Amish. There are 200 people in town. They do laundry,         Memorable or Funny Experience: My whole teaching
work and eat meals together. And I worked with them           experience in the US constitutes a combination of enrich-
for four days. On last day, I asked one woman to take a       ing and unforgettable moments. I will particularly
picture of me in front of their house. Because she hadn’t     remember the smile on my elementary students every
ever seen a camera before I showed her which button to        time I step into their classrooms to teach Spanish and
push. But she failed to turn the camera the right way. So     share about my country. Their excitement and eagerness
she took a picture of her eye. But I couldn’t laugh.          to learn have made my work meaningful and rewarding.

Relationship with God: All my sickness is caused by           Relationship with God: During this year I have experi-
homesickness. Although people invited me to their             enced God’s faithfulness and unconditional love in a
house, and I attended Bible study every week. I couldn’t      deeper and more personal way. This year has helped me
get over being lonely. So I spent my time filled with         to refer to God not only as a caring Father but also as
insightful reading in Korean. One book was “Purpose           my provider, support, and friend. When one is far away
driven life” for 40 days. God was my comforter during         from family, friends and one’s culture, and when things
IVEPer year.                                                  around one look different you can prove that God still
                                                              remains the same, Almighty, faithful and merciful. I have
New Perspectives: This year gave me a chance to really        also learned how valuable and what a blessing is the
be part of another culture long enough. I lived in Ameri-     family of God. All the participants of the IVEP program,
ca as minor. When I return to Korea, I’d like to teach        although from diverse cultures, have become such a fam-
Korean to foreign workers. They can’t get a chance to         ily to me, providing support during difficult times and
learn Korean I would help their part of life. Now I could     sharing laughs during moments of joy.
understand how they feel, what they need.
                                                              New Perspectives: I believe that having an open mind, a
Future Plans: Hopefully my parents will take me out to        positive attitude and a spirit always willing to learn and
eat on my food list. I’ll return to my college (one more      discover new things is an advantage for those who
year left) and I’ll be able to use the many learning oppor-   decide to leave their home country to experience life in a
tunities this year to further my knowledge and focus on       different culture. During my year of service, I have
my studies!!!                                                 learned that I am capable to keep this attitude, adapt to
                                                              new situations, and try to enjoy as much as possible my
                                                              cross cultural experience. This has helped me to look at
                                                              the good things of my host country and people I have
Leslie (Solange) Zuther (Argentina)                           interacted with, and thus learn new things from them.
Spanish Teacher’s Assistant, Hinkletown Mennonite             Being far from my home country has also made me value
School                                                        the blessings from my home country that I used to take
Ephrata, Pennsylvania                                         for granted.

                                                              Future Plans: When I return to my country I’m going to
First Impression: Before coming to the US, I already          work as an English teacher either at schools or in Private
knew that being part of this cross-cultural service was       English institutes. Besides, I would like to learn more
going to be one of the most memorable experiences of          languages and prepare myself for future mission trips,
my life. As soon as I arrived in Akron, PA, where IVEP,       both within my country and overseas. This is what I am
SALT and YAMEN! participants had our orientation I            more passionate about regarding the Christian service
could confirm this. This was my first time being in con-      and I feel this is what God is calling me to do.
tact with people from so many diverse cultures. It was
great to learn that such wonderful people were going to
be my journey partners the year of service ahead. Shar-
ing time with them was an exciting way of beginning my
year of service!

Differences: Coming from Latin America, where cultures
are mainly relationship based and spontaneous, at times
it was difficult to adapt to the American culture where
life is more structured and the establishment of social

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                              33
                               Sophorn, Pennsylvania, learning to ride   Ha-young, Song Ju, Florence & Seung-Hwa at Mid-year conference in Calgary, AB
                                           the subway

Olesia, Solange, Tigist, Graciela, Elly & Maria at Mid-year conference       Violeta and Graciela, Virginia, tasting local cuisine at MCC relief sale

                                       Ha-young, Washington,                         Daniel, South Dakota, teaching at Freeman Academy
                                      with L’Arche core member

      34                                                                                            International Volunteer Exchange Program
       Susan, British Columbia, participating in live nativity scene                Latin American IVEPers at Mid-year conference

          Latthaya, Bee and Noutnaly at Mid-year conference            Carolina, Ontario, enjoying the mountains

            Ingrid, British Columbia, working the cross-walk!              Mengistu, Susan, Benard, Joy, Menoria, Florence, Joseph and Max
                                                                                         decked out for International Festival

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                            35
                                   Saskatchewan IVEPers             Kristiana, Manitoba, enjoying an office visitor

“Lia,” Pennsylvania, with residents at Dockwoods Community           Giselle, Ontario, Christmas at the thrift shop

       Manase, Pennsylvania, greeting the congregation       Viliya, Kansas, teaching preschoolers how to make ice cream
              at Weaverland Mennonite Church

  36                                                                           International Volunteer Exchange Program
             Jose, Nataly, Mengistu, Ingrid, Sophea and Olesia                     Nathalie, Manitoba, cleaning up at Winkler Bible Camp
                 small group time at Mid-year conference

           Tigist (Pennsylvania) visits Thokozani, Song Ju, Edder,               Menoria, British Columbia,
                       Elly and Eveerth (Great Lakes)                             packing MCC school kits

Ling and Solange (Pennsylvania), studying the globe with geography students   Fransisca, Manitoba, wiping down tables
                                                                                        at Winnipeg Harvest

International Volunteer Exchange Program                                                                                             37

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