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The Mennonite Services is a network consisting of various groups of the Anabaptism churches that has been, over the years, volunteered to work together to help people who have been faced up by disasters. The program is based in Canada and the U.S and it was integrated in 1993 as a non profitable organization.
It uses various relief organizations and other service agencies to deliver assistance to those who need it. The organization’s main is focus is rebuilding and repairing of destroyed homes and cleaning up the society’s environment. This way, restoration of life to the people becomes very possible as the struck families are given hope in life. Besides Canada and the United States, the Mennonite committee has also been organizing responses to disasters in around the globe in the international setting.
Basically, much of this organization’s projects are supplements to the services offered by the Red Cross society. The year of the incorporation of the organization saw numerous occurrences of disasters including the hurricane Andrew and the floods that hit the Midwest. The recovery process by the MDS network saw many volunteer response to the same disasters from which the network’s growth was initiated.
What the organization does
Currently, the network has various programs that are all aimed at ensuring effective assistance to the needy people suffering from disasters.
For instance, the organization has a partnership home program that is aimed at increasing the organization’s ability to meet the needs of many families within the shortest time possible so that they can bring them all home. The main aim of this program is t link sponsors with the community as well as the organization itself. This way, families that lack services such as house insurance cover and funds to rebuild their homes have been assisted in building quality houses.
In order for the organization to effectively fulfill its objective of assisting the needy, it has developed disaster studies programs in conjunction with other service agencies, to train leaders to ensure proper management of all activities involved in disaster responses. This program has been of more help than anticipated as some colleges and universities have formed their own programs to help in recovering from disasters.
The organization also has a program for pastors who encourage them to give spiritual support and hope to the people who have been hit by any kind of a disaster. This move by made possible by the availability of financial support to the pastors such as transport expenses to the sites where the Mennonite disaster services are working. The organization believes that through working together with church representatives, God’s love will be expressed and this makes it easy for people to renew their hope and faith in God.
Besides these disaster response projects, the organization also has a youth project which is held every year at different locations. This project is not necessarily meant for responses to disaster but can also work on other projects for the betterment of the community. However, this project is not tied up to community projects because it works on disaster hit areas as well (DeHaan, 2010, p. 1).
Since the important players of the Mennonite disaster service are the volunteers, the organization has developed a volunteer training program which trains volunteers on how to relate well as they work together to represent the organization in the society. The MDS network also has a recreational vehicle program whose aim is to facilitate assistance to areas which lack fully warranted MDS projects.
This project is designed to attract retired volunteers who may want to work but for fewer hours than the normal working hours for volunteers. Such volunteers use their own vehicles and the provide most of their personal requirements although the organization assists in service provisions such as parking sites, electricity and water provision. Some of the responses by the MDS include cleanup activities in the hurricane Katrina which had left many families devastated and hopeless as their homes were destroyed.
Criticism facing the MDS network
However helpful the Mennonite disaster service may seem, it has been faced with various criticisms from other organizations or even individuals. The network has been criticized for not being certain on what and how it intends to achieve.
This has been related to poor organizational planning. Due to the support of the church, the MDS network has been criticized for not being able to fully represent the church and the organization’s objectives. The argument is that the organization, being a church based organization, excludes the church which should be the driving spirit for them and even for volunteers.
The Mennonite disaster committee has also been blamed for not paying enough attention to the faith aspect. This could be improved by involving members of the church in the boardroom as committee members. Another major criticism is the inappropriate use of power by those in authority as many members are more involved in the secular side of life than in the Christian life which is meant to mold them (Stoesz, 2011, p. 1).
The Mennonite Disaster Service has been over the years helping many families rebuild their homes after being destroyed by natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and storms. The organization is based on Christianity although many people feel that it is not completely incorporating its work with Christian faith. However the criticism it is facing, the organization has been a savior of many families without which they would have been homeless and in suffering.
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DeHaan, M. (2010). Modern Mennonite Relief Organizations and Service Agencies. Web.
Stoesz, E. (2011). Institutions are returning to the church. Retrieved from https://themennonite.org/