Welcome MennoNerds

I sense that some of you think I am mocking you from the outside.  I had to defend my stance that I am a full blood Mennonite today – maybe not by beliefs but certainly from heritage.  Once I proved that I am truly a Mennonite the response was “oh, ok, that’s different.”  I guess I will need to post disclaimers on here every so often.

I did find a new blogging site today for you Mennonites that don’t read anything but Mennonite publications.  http://mennonerds.com

Take a look and let me know what you think.Image


Switching electric providers

“Hello, would you like to change electric providers and save money?”

“No . . .”

“But we can save you a lot of money.”

“We don’t have an electric provider.”

“Sir, everyone has an electric provider.  Who do you pay your electric bill to?”

“We don’t.”

“Sir is there anyone else in your house that can help with this?”

“I’m not in my house.  I’m in the barn.”

“Sir I’m offering to save you money on your electric bill.”

“We don’t use electric.”


“We’re Amish.”


A Public Reponse: Do I Really Hate Mennonites?

Trudy Metzger's Blog

I don’t prefer to write in response to accusations too often. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Menno Simons lately, and am starting to follow his example of writing publicly, in response to attacks… Whatever the inspiration, I’m actually ‘going there’.

canstockphoto5132753 b

In the past few months I have been accused numerous times of hating Mennonites, or despising my heritage, or some other absurd attack. These accusations come, predominantly, from leadership and some who have stories of their own to hide. Mostly these accusations are like water on a duck’s back. Little impact to actually penetrate. But it does leave me with a whole lot of ‘feel sorry’ for everyone else getting soaked.

I never thought I’d actually address this, publicly, because, quite frankly, I’d rather disregard it and not give it space in the world wide web. Still, the last few weeks, as the rumours and attacks escalate, it has…

View original post 1,764 more words

Mennonites in WWll

2013-09-01 ISSUE: The Mennonite

Lois Gunden: A righteous Gentile

Through her work at a home for children in France during World War II, Lois Gunden helped save many Jewish children.

by Mary Jean Gunden

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When Lois Gunden went to Vichy France at the request of the Menno­nite Central Committee (MCC) 72 years ago, she hoped to be able to improve the lives of child refugees. She could not have imagined that she would be in a position to save them from deportation and death at Auschwitz.

In 1941, MCC asked her to manage a children’s convalescent home, the Villa St. Christophe in Canet-Plage (now Canet-en-Roussillon), France, just 30 miles north of the Spanish border. She was also to oversee a food distribution program in several outlying villages.

Lois’ proficiency in French was likely her single most important qualification; she had already attained a master’s degree in French and had been a language instructor at Goshen (Ind.) College for two years.

Previous experience by MCC workers had shown that language was a significant barrier to effectiveness in assignments outside metropolitan areas of France, as few people spoke any English. She was also well-known to Mennonite decision-makers of the time, since she had graduated from the Academy and then Goshen College in 1936, after her family had moved to Goshen in 1930.

MCC had successfully collaborated with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to aid those affected by the Spanish Civil War from 1937 through 1940.

Lois Gunden (left) and Helen Penner aboard the S. S. Excambion in October 1941. Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives, Goshen, Ind.

Workers from both organizations then moved their efforts to aid Spanish refugees, following those who had fled to Southern France and were unable to return to Spain without reprisal.

With the hindsight of history, it seems difficult to imagine why church leaders would even consider sending a 26-year-old woman on such a mission. But at the time Lois left the United States in October 1941, it was generally perceived by the U.S. government and American popular opinion that the Vichy Regime was a legitimate state separate from Nazi Germany and German-occupied northern France.

Lois Gunden embarked on the ‘S. S. Excambion” at dock in New York harbor on Oct. 4, 1941. Her companions were Helen S. Penner (b. 1909, Nebraska) and Joseph N. Byler (b. 1895, Pennsylvania), both also traveling to southern France as MCC relief workers.
Although there were 99 passengers on the ship when it departed New York City, after a stop in Bermuda two days out, only about a dozen passengers continued on to Lisbon.

The girl in the back row is Ginette Drucker Kalish, whose story is told in the Yad Vashem press release (see page 16). Georges Koltein, center of second row, gave testimony to Yad Vashem. His older brother Jacques is on Ginette’s left (far right, back row). Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives, Goshen, Ind.

They had an enjoyable trip, the first such voyage for Lois and Helen. As they approached Lisbon, Lois wrote in a letter to her family on Oct. 14, “Oh yes, a German bomber came toward us this morning as we were on deck drinking bouillon. It circled over us a couple times and then flew on. That was our first sign of warring Europe.”

Their small party traveled through Portugal and Spain to France; Lois Gunden and Helen Penner began work at Villa St. Christophe on Oct. 22. Joseph Byler went on to Lyon, about 300 miles north, where he relieved Jesse Hoover as the director of the small MCC operation in France. Also working from the Lyon office was Henry Buller, who had already been serving for eight months.

The Villa St. Christophe was a 20-room summer home located on the Mediterranean beach. It was reasonably comfortable, although cold and drafty in the winter, and its sewage system was prone to backing-up. They cooked on a coal-fired stove and did laundry by hand. The home held 60 children, and at the time Lois arrived, the majority of them were Spanish refugees; almost all were brought to the home from the Rivesaltes refugee camp about 12 miles away.

The older girls prepare string beans for the cook. The girl farthest left is Ginette Drucker Kalish. Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives, Goshen, Ind.

Most of the children at the Villa had been treated in the camp infirmary or at the hospital for refugees in nearby Perpignan. Some were severely malnourished when they arrived, and all of them needed a good bath and delousing. Lois described her first visit to Rivesaltes on Nov. 18, 1941: “Outstanding and unforgettable memories of day—braveness of boys when they discovered they were leaving without parents; sight of bunks with people sitting hunchbacked on them; dirty and bare kitchen—provisions only for one day; eagerness with which children drank milk; possibility for terrible cold when wind blows.”

The camp at Rivesaltes truly was a horrific place housing 8,000 people without adequate food, water, shelter or sanitation; death by starvation or disease was a daily occurrence in the camp.

MCC wanted to expand its operation in France, and Lois was assigned to find other possible locations. When she was successful, Lois would organize and direct the new operation. While there were properties available to rent, unfortunately, furnishings were impossible to find. Mattresses, sheets and other textiles, kitchen supplies and utensils, tableware—all were in short supply. Lois continued to search for other locations throughout her stay but was never successful.

Helen Penner suffered a nervous breakdown in January 1942, only about two months after her arrival. Lois spent nights with Helen in the hospital, and the physician’s recommendation was a lengthy rest cure, after which Helen should return to the United States. Lois found a suitable place for Helen in the spa-town of Vernet-les-Bains, where she stayed until arrangements could be made for her return to the United States in mid-May. In working through that crisis together, Lois learned that she could count on her staff, who themselves were refugees.

Mary Elmes, a Quaker aid worker in nearby Perpignan, was Lois’ direct link to AFSC operations. Mary, from Ireland, had been a relief worker in Spain during the war and had moved into France with AFSC. Lois had great respect for Mary, and her friendship and mentoring offered a camaraderie that Lois very much appreciated.

MCC’s need for a French speaker was not only to be able to communicate while undertaking normal business but also to be able to work with French officials and bureaucrats. They required virtually all legitimate activities to be documented by various papers; identity cards, permission-to-travel cards, ration cards, permission for and documentation of the transfer of children, all required official signatures, stamps or periodic renewals.

While Lois was kept busy with a wide range of tasks, she found some time every day to spend with the children. They ranged from toddlers to age 16. They walked on the beach nearly every sunny day, and presented an interesting sight as they walked in pairs in line. The older children helped the staff with various chores, such as carrying water, bringing supplies from the tram to the Villa and helping prepare vegetables for cooking. It was from seeing them regain their health and return to some of the simple pleasures of childhood that Lois gained the most satisfaction. For her, they were the closest replacement to the family she so missed.

About every two weeks, a group of three to seven children returned to the camp, and a similar number arrived at the Villa. By February 1942, many of the Spanish refugees were being freed from the camp, and children were leaving the Villa to join them. A few were able to leave France, but many of them were being released to join work details. The newcomers to the Villa from the camp included an increasing number of German, Polish and other Western European Jews. Many of these families had fled from persecution and took refuge in France for several years before becoming entangled in the anti-Jewish laws of Vichy France, which in many respects were even more repressive than those of Germany.

Lois recognized that most of these children were traumatized by their experiences. She
appreciated every opportunity to “add just another ray of love to the lives of these youngsters who have already experienced so much of the miseries of life.”

With 60 children of various ages, the Villa needed to operate on a consistent schedule, and the children had to be held to certain standards of behavior, or total chaos may have ensued. Lois’ approach in resolving conflict between the children was to talk with them and encourage them so they would find their stay at the Villa much more enjoyable if they changed their behavior. She prayed, “May I show the kindness and gentleness to the children they do not get from others.”

By early July 1942, the Vichy government agreed to deliver for deportation up to 50,000 Jews. Those already in camps in unoccupied Vichy France, such as Rivesaltes, were deported to Drancy, a transit camp in Occupied France. From Drancy, they were deported to Auschwitz.

Mary Elmes visited Lois at the Villa on Aug. 9, 1942. Lois wrote, “Mary informed me about return of Polish and German Jews to Poland, where death by starvation awaits them.”

In the deportations of August, September and early October 1942, if children under the age of 16 were not in the camps with a parent, they often weren’t searched out, particularly if French officials knew they could already meet their quota for the scheduled transports. Lois now understood the importance of moving as many Jewish children out of the camps and into the Villa as possible.

Relief agencies working with AFSC had been allowed to continue working in France as long as they remained neutral and followed French law. Individual workers like Lois and Mary Elmes had to make difficult decisions. To obviously flaunt the law would render them unable to help anyone. But to release these children in the absence of duress was something they both found unconscionable.

The OSE (Œuvre de Sécourse aux Enfants), a French Jewish child-welfare organization, was by this time operating clandestinely. They were able to move children out of the relief agencies’ homes and camps to OSE group homes, private homes and Catholic convents, monasteries and schools that would give them shelter. What evolved was an informal operation similar to the U.S. Underground Railroad, which helped runaway slaves reach freedom.

Workers like Mary Elmes and Lois Gunden were also effective advocates with local officials for individual children and more humane treatment generally. It was the responsibility of local French officials and police to carry out the roundups and deportations; many of these officials were the same people with whom Mary and Lois had already developed working relationships. In their Department (Pyrenées-Orientales), where enthusiasm for these responsibilities was sometimes lacking, the children sheltered by their groups were often overlooked.

Throughout the year Lois spent in France, she and other relief workers operated despite many uncertainties. From the time that the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, there were many occasions when they were advised to consider leaving France. Diplomatic relations between the United States and Vichy France were increasingly strained. Space available on passenger ships was limited, and Clipper service was not possible. Lois became inured to the issue, noting that “if God wants me to return, he will provide a way.”

The amount of food they could acquire, and thus their ability to operate at all, was never certain. All of Vichy France faced food shortages during the winter of 1941-42. While the summer offered fresh fruit and vegetables, the ongoing Allied blockade interrupted normal trade with North Africa; the onset of winter in 1942 was a fearful prospect.

Officials that had helped refugee relief organizations obtain food staples became far less cooperative. Some of the locals expressed dismay that their children had less access to food than did refugee children.

The Nov. 8, 1942, British-American attack on French North Africa ended U.S. diplomatic relations with Vichy France. On Nov. 11, Germany took control of southern France, and Americans became unwelcome. Lois had gone to Lyon to witness the wedding of Henry Buller and Beata Rosenthal, an assistant in the MCC Lyon office.

Unable to return to the Villa, Lois worked with Henry to provide an operating plan so that existing staff could continue to care for the children. The staff moved the children several months later, when German occupiers requisitioned the Villa.

Lois and the Bullers were escorted by police to Mont-Dore on Jan. 27, 1943, and held in a hotel for several weeks before their transfer to Baden-Baden, Germany, as part of the official North American Diplomatic Group. After complex negotiations for a prisoner exchange, they arrived in New York City on the Gripsholm on March 15, 1944. Lois resumed teaching French at Goshen College in the fall of 1944.

Mary Jean Gunden lives in Moraga, Calif., and is a member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind. She is a niece of Lois Gunden.


Lady Gaga at LMH

News update for LMH (see my post for 3 letter Mennonite words):

Lady Gaga has been dating LMH grad, Taylor Kinney and has made numerous visits to Lancaster County over the years.

The MennoniteMafia has heard rumors that Lady Gaga has been asked to lead worship during chapel at LMH.  Also with the possibility of living in Lancaster County, Gag could be considered as the choir director at LMH.

While MM believes that Gaga would fit into the increasingly liberal thoughts of LMH, we are not sure she would fit in spiritually.

MM is open to input.  Please leave comments on whether LMH should consider Ms. Gaga for worship at chapel and whether she would be a good choir director.  If you have any input on whether she would be a good overall fit, please let us know.

We do not want to continue to post false rumors or vicious slander.

Thank you,


Mexican Mennonite Drug Runners

This is sooooooooo interesting for a number of reasons.  How did they know they are Mennonites?  Was it tattooed on them? Why is this relevant to the story of drug running?  Was their intention to slam Mennonites in the process?  If they had been Muslim, would that have been published?  I’m assuming that they weren’t armed or showed any resistance since they are Mennonite?  I hope they are peace loving drug mules. . .

Mexican Mennonite Marijuana Mules Busted In Smuggling Case  Huffington Post

Posted: 09/11/2013 2:20 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/11/2013 2:32 pm EDT

mexican mennonites marijuana

WASHINGTON — Seven individuals, including several Mexican Mennonites, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Colorado last month for conspiracy to create a real-life drama that would fit right in on AMC.

At least, that could have been the charge. U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh and Barbara Roach of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday that the men had been charged with distributing over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Working with a Mexican drug cartel, the defendants allegedly hid the marijuana in the gas tanks of cars and inside large farm equipment. The marijuana came from Mexico and was brought to an auto-body repair shop in Colorado Springs, according to federal officials.

One defendant, Abraham Friesen-Remple, was arrested coming into New Mexico on Aug. 20, while the other six defendants — Eduardo Tellez-Ponce, Ulises Castillo-Meraz, Enrique Harms-Groening (aka “Chikis”), David Loewen, Juan Reimer and Pedro Dyke-Friesenare — are considered fugitives.

The conspiracy allegedly began around the beginning of 2010, and the federal grand jury’s indictment mentions several phone calls that took place in 2011. The case was put forward before Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced newrequirements for federal marijuana cases, but the charges likely would have been brought anyway given the connections to Mexican drug cartels and interstate smuggling.

“This case involves smuggling literally tons of marijuana into the United States from Mexico, with Mexican Cartel involvement,” Walsh said in a statement. “International trafficking of drugs, particularly with organized crime involvement, is a top priority of federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The fact that this case involves marijuana in no way reduces its status as a high priority matter, consistent with recent guidance from the Department of Justice on marijuana enforcement issues.”

Tellez-Ponce had been arrested back in 2010 for allegedly attempting to smuggle 151 lbs. of marijuana that had been welded inside of metal boxes concealed inside a gas tank. During a traffic stop, police found $17,500 in U.S. currency inside a plastic bag and seized $6,000 that Tellez had on his person. He later allegedly tried to get a cooperating informant to move a trailer to North Carolina for $2,000. Tellez had a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for February 2011, but it isn’t clear whether his case was ever resolved.


A Mennonite General and President?

Ok, what do YOU think?  Was he a general and president with Mennonite roots?  hmmm  From my research, it doesn’t sound definite.

From: “Dwight D. Eisenhower” article on Wikipedia.com website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_D._Eisenhower; viewed 1 December 2005):

Eisenhower’s family originally belonged to the local River Brethren sect of the Mennonites. However, when Ike was five years old, his parents became followers of the WatchTower Society, whose members later took the name Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local WatchTower meeting Hall from 1896 to 1915, when Eisenhower’s father stopped regularly associating due to the WatchTower’s failed prophesies that Armageddon would occur in October 1914 and 1915. Ike’s father received a WatchTower funeral when he died in the 1940s. Ike’s mother continued as an active Jehovah’s Witness until her death. Ike and his brothers also stopped associating regularly after 1915

Source: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D (Northwest State College, Ohio). “Why President Eisenhower Hid His Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing” in JW Research Journal, vol. 6, #2, July-Dec., 1999.
URL: http://www.premier1.net/~raines/eisenhower.html
See also:http://www.eisenhower.utexas.edu/listofholdingshtml/listofholdingsJ/jehovahwitnessesabilenecongregation.pdf

It is commonly reported even in authoritative works about President Eisenhower that he was raised as a River Brethren by parents that were active in the River Brethren church. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, a [group] commonly called Russellites or Bible Students until 1931. His mother was active in the [group] from 1895, when Dwight was five years old, until she died. Eisenhower’s father was also an active member, although after 1915 he eventually no longer considered himself a Witness.

Eisenhower’s mother was a strong pacifist, a position traditionally associated with a belief that she belonged the River Brethren. See:

From: Peter Roberts, “Dwight David Eisenhower” page in “God and Country” section of “Science Resources on the Net” website (http://www.geocities.com/peterroberts.geo/Relig-Politics/DDEisenhower.html; viewed 29 November 2005):

Dwight D. Eisenhower, official photo portrait, May 29, 1959.jpg

Mennonite Media

Mennonite USA is working on a new publication called Mennonite Swimsuit Edition.  Do you think this is a good idea?  I’m not so sure.  In the 1950’s they tried a Mennonite Miss America. I’ve seen tapes of this.  It was actually pretty good.  The talent portion got a little boring when every girl showed off her quilting skills for the talent.   It didn’t work because most Mennonites did not have TV’s yet so they couldn’t watch it.  The one program that did work for a couple years was the Mennonite Olympics.  Some of the sports that were played were Rook and buggy races.  They had to discontinue because of using the Olympics name.

Someone mentioned starting “Who wants to be a Mennonite Millionaire?” but they couldn’t find any contestants due to the fact that most Mennonites are millionaires.

Below are several of the contestants for the swimsuit edition.  I for one will not be buying it.

ImageMenno swimsuits

Urban Dictionary

We made it to the Urban Dictionary.  I had to edit inappropriate lines.  I didn’t think they were appropriate for anyone yet alone my Mennonite following:

1. mennonite

53 up85 down
A protestant faith. Major tenants of their beliefs consist of pacifism, believer’s baptism, and a penchant towards social justice and equality. Damn good people. Fascinated with lame board games and all around do gooding. Not to be confused with their terrorist cousins the Amish.
Delmar won’t fight you because he is a mennonite.
 Random Word
2. mennonite

18 up119 down
mennonite which is a person who is part of a religion that says they should be seperate from the world
Sally is a mennonite. She lives with her family up in the hills and they never see outsiders



Conformity and worldliness

We try to fit into our groups.  We dress alike. We don’t want to stand out.  Just stand on the boardwalk or in the mall and watch a bunch of girls walk by – they are usually dressed the same.  If one has shorts, they all have shorts.  If one is wearing a sweat shirt, they all have a sweat shirt.

Does that make us worldly?

Our group might not be trying to conform to the world but everyone in the group is trying to conform to each other.  Is that group better than the other groups?  One group walks the mall in shorts and flip flops and another wears long dresses and sneakers.  Which one is worldly?

Is a cell phone more worldly than a land line?  Is a house phone more worldly than a phone in the barn?  Is a red car more worldly than a black car?

What defines our conformity – who are we trying to be like?  Who are we comparing ourselves too?

What defines our worldliness?

2 Corinthians 10:12

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.