How the Shalom Fund Offered Help in Mexico
By Javier Márquez, Conference Communication Intern
There is a crisis happening in Mexico, due to COVID-19. Pastor Oscar Dominguez shared about the situation many people are facing today in Mexico and the work being done by Anabaptist churches to respond to the famine and economic insecurity that families are experiencing.
In Mexico, the public data regarding the pandemic is being underreported. Data from private, non-profit institutions are showing much higher numbers than data from the Mexican government. Knowing this, the brothers and sisters of the Conference of Evangelical Anabaptist Mennonite Churches of Mexico (CIEAMM) began to take measures of mutual collaboration with the aim of surviving the imminent period of scarcity that was approaching like a wave on their coast.
Pastor Oscar said, in addition to a time of challenges, it was a moment that allowed them to discover the talents of different people in the churches that are oriented to mutual care and service.
The first weeks of the pandemic were a period of transition for the churches in Mexico when each one needed to adapt to new technologies, utilize others’ resources, and face their limitations.
“If the virus didn’t kill them, hunger would kill them. It was important for the church to ask itself how to help and find ways to do it.” – Pastor Oscar Domínguez
Each church started looking for ways to help out by giving baskets of donated food, contacting food banks, and sharing leftover food with other families. In Pastor Oscar´s church, they coordinated monitoring situations among the members of the congregation to determine needs, as some lost jobs, others had more mouths to feed, and some were single parents.
“The important thing was to share with love, to take care of each other, but also to share
with those who have the least. People who are not even part of our churches but are part
of the community need help. We listen –without any type of religious proselytizing. It
has always been a matter of genuine generosity, an explicit action of love.” – Pastor Oscar
Pastor Oscar highlights that everything has been maintained, thanks to the generosity of church members and donations. Two of these donations, of great worth, were the donation of the Shalom Fund from Mosaic Mennonite Conference and the donation of food pantries by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Pastor Oscar told the story of Sister Adela, a senior citizen in a wheelchair, who upon receiving a food pantry, sent him a photo of herself with her grandchildren as a thank you.
“The eyes of those children when they received the bag full of food … how they looked at and contemplated every little thing in the basket… they said to the grandmother, “We are rich,’” reported Pastor Oscar, as he himself makes an effort not to cry.
Pastor Oscar also shared about a blind man for whom Sister Eloida, an elderly woman and widow, prepared a box of food with what little she had in her pantry. She asked the blind man to go collect the food, but on the way his cane broke. Faced with this new challenge, another act of generosity was awakened by the members of the church; they bought him a new cane.
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)