Tag: Mennonite Central Committee

Making chili for the Virginia Relief Sale: A Weavers Mennonite Church Project

Getting Started

Danny and Shirley Trobough started the original chili project in 2002, making 10 gallons of chili in their home. Their small group contributed ingredients, helped with the cooking and sold the chili at the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale (supporting the Mennonite Central Committee’s work in disaster and famine relief).  In 2003, the Troboughs asked David Alleman if the Weavers Food Pantry Garden could donate some peppers and tomatoes.  About year later, the Relief Sale folk required that all food must be cooked in certified kitchens.  The project was transferred to Weavers’ Shady Oak kitchen.  So, the twenty gallons of chili were cooked at Shady Oak and transported to the sale where hungry folk made quick work of the peppers, tomatoes, meat and beans combined according to Danny’s recipe.  While the Troboughs served in Jamaica in Voluntary Service, they entrusted the project to Joe Earlys and David Allemans.

In 2003 and several years following, chili tomatoes and peppers mostly came from the parsonage garden.  Jan Kauffman harvested many of the tomatoes and peppers and the Allemans froze them in preparation for the early Saturday morning cooking.  The hot sauce Shirley made to accompany that chili included seven kinds of hot peppers.  Preparation of the chili continued to be coordinated by David Alleman and his small group and the sale by Joe and Janel Early’s small group over the next several years.

Getting ingredients

Sources of ingredients have shifted.  The last several years Seasons Bounty (produce) Farm has been giving us onions in exchange pulling onions for them.  In 2017 the 6th grade Vacation Bible School class, plus friends helped pulled about 25 plus bags (bushels?) of onions and we took about one bushel. For several years many peppers and tomatoes came from seconds solicited from several produce stands around the area or at the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market.  Sometimes we got thirds from sellers at the Shen Valley Produce Auction.  For the past several years, all of the peppers & tomatoes have come from Weavers Church members or their friends.  More than a bushel of tomatoes in 2017 came from our fellow volunteers at Gift & Thrift.  Beans for the chili came from the Clayton Maust farm in Michigan 2013-2015.  One year he brought 50 pound bags of black, pinto and red beans and told us to take the rest to local food banks (we needed only about 20 pounds).  For 2017 volunteers purchased and contributed canned beans.

Getting help

One of the most important recent developments is the help of the young adults:  Wengers, Kings and Wheelers and several others they have brought with them.  Next to that has been the increase in the amount of chili made to 40 gallons.  We have made twice as much chili in nearly the same amount of time.   Several members of the SAMS small group found ways to make our work more efficient.   The younger workers made the chili go better.   We no longer raise our own garlic.  One year, a volunteer used a garlic crusher to crush all 120 cloves needed for the chili.  This required pulling the skins out of the crusher.  That evening she developed a rash which lasted several days.  Now she donates minced garlic in a jar.  Organizing ingredients Friday afternoon has also been important.  One year, during transport of the chili to the Fairgrounds, a bucket of chili tipped over. Never did hear whose vehicle had the chili flavored floor mats. That unfortunate occurrence led to another improvement.  I am sure the Jeep owner was glad Roger and Linda Nelson found us some buckets with lids.

Getting it right

Over the years there has been push and pull between those who like thick, full flavored chili and those who like bean soup.  There’s also the tug between those like to feel pepper burn and those who like to “taste all the ingredients”.  Our Anaheim peppers were plentiful in 2017 and a bit warmer than normal.  To test the wisdom of using up to half Anaheims (for the peppers) in the chili, the Allemans made a gallon batch.  Then they invited five men home from church for a Sunday dinner of chili.  Turned out just right.  Cornbread helped and no one asked for the hot sauce.   For the past several years Jewel Yoder has been making a scotch bonnet pepper-based hot sauce.  The hot sauce has been essential for the heat lovers to add to their chili.  She has made enough for Janel and Joe to sell at the end of the chili sales.  Chili making has been a community effort.  In 2017 more than 20 people contributed ingredients needed to make the chili.  There were 12-16 people involved in making the chili and 6 to 8 involved in selling.

Getting started again?

Chili making to raise funds for famine and disaster relief through the Mennonite Central Committee may have ended in 2017 after 15 years.  Will another group pick up this pain-in-my-back, joyful, good-fellowship, profitable for others, service project?




June Notes

Peace prayer for June/July

Pray for the peaceful reunification of North & South Korea. Pray that the food aid the Mennonite Central Committee provides North Korea may show the love of Jesus for all people. — Washington Memo Vol. XLIX, No. 2

Showing compassion is one way to promote reunification.  The Mennonite Central Committee has sent food to North Korea for nearly 20 years.  MCC has provided medical supplies and supported orphanages, also.

The above was taken from the Washington Memo Vol. XLIX, No. 2.  For more information, check out:

washington.mcc.org  or read the blog at washingtonmemo.org


Waiting for God

The Psalmist counsels us “wait on the Lord”! What do you think of or imagine yourself doing in response to this counsel? In what situations have you recalled passages from the Bible that include this phrase? In the passages below, what is the context of the word “wait” or “waiting”? In the past I have thought of “waiting” as suggesting prayer and meditation. Is this made explicit in the text?

For the subjects of the Psalm, what would be the alternative to “waiting”? What more than prayer in suggested by “waiting”? How often does the “waiting” command come in the context of violence? What is the significance of this?

Psalm 33:  16-22

16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Psalm 37:(5-9) 14-15, 32-34

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

(See below for a list of similar passages*)

In Psalm 33 use of the word “wait” is preceded by description of violence against the people of God. (“Whether the king is to use his great army or not is not clarified.) Action by God’s people is not needed. Waiting leads to affirmation of God’s presence and control of the situation. Note the words “help”, “trust”, “hope” as helper words for “wait”.

In Psalm 37 the situation is bleak. Not just the people of God are the target of the forces of evil, but specifically “the poor and needy”. Violence is what evil people do. In the end “the wicked [will be] cut off”. The people of God “wait” and “keep his way”. Keeping God’s way (v. 34) refers to covenant/Torah behavior. In Isaiah 40, the setting is a bit different. While in these Psalms there is the implication that God will overpower the enemy or the evil Hebrews, that is not as clear in Isa.40:28-31. Is the vindication of the “suffering servant” what one is to wait for?  (See my blog on Isa. 40, “Exodus to Exile”)

Waiting and then what?

Are these “wait” passages behind Paul’s instructions in Romans 12:19 and following? “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19 with Deut. 32:35)? How is Paul’s reminder related to the need to wait? The normal response to violence is vengeance.  Note surrounding the “vengeance” command we are encouraged to “love”, “seek peace”, and “feed” [your] enemy”. Here we have some of the things from the life and teachings of Jesus that are to the focus the people of God while waiting for God to act.

The “First” Testament basis for the peace understanding of Anabaptists needs further exploration. While there is much violence found in the first testament, the new testament affirms the contrasting thread lifted out here that calls for us to wait on God. From God comes protection and vengeance/justice.


*Similar passages are:  Psalm 25:1-5, Psalm 27: 11-14, Psalm 62:1-7 (See also, Psalm 40:1-3—no suggestion of violence in this passage), Psalm 130:1-6, Proverbs 20:22, Lamentations 3:13-26, Isaiah 30:15-18 (the word “rest” is used in this passage), Micah 7:2-3, 7; Isaiah 40:28-31 (God has just “rescued” Israel from Babylon), Isa. 64:1-4, Zephaniah 3:8

Related concept:

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).