It was a new day as 70 years of Communism came to an end. The new words sparked formation of a new ministry to answer that gospel hunger. Logos International formed in Germany in the 1985; visionary Johannes Reimer, a Mennonite emigrant from the USSR to Germany, brought the dream to Canada where it has flourished for 25 years.
It has been almost a century since the Russian revolution and civil war initiated a Mennonite diaspora, and nearly as long since Mennonite Central Committee organized to begin relief operations back to Russia. The setting of both much joy and great pain for Mennonites, the former Soviet Union has long been a destination for an intermediate generation of missionary
At 16, Henry H. Regehr saw his entire family killed before his eyes. He fled Ukraine, immigrating to Canada, where he became a pastor at Steinbach (Man.) MB Church. Despite that trauma, Regehr “chose the way of Jesus; the way of love and forgiveness,” says grandson Wes Janzen, a member of Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C. “His example continues to inspire me.”
“It’s a timeless piece,” says David Dueck, producer of And When They Shall Ask. “It’s not just a Mennonite story; it’s a human rights issue.” The feature-length docu-drama about Mennonites, which focuses particularly on the experience in Imperial and Soviet Russia, has been re-released on DVD in 2010 with 50 minutes of bonus features added.
The Kutuzovka Church is a small fellowship made up mostly of Ukrainians from Molochansk and Tokmak; friendly people who are accustomed to the visits of nostalgic Canadian Mennonites who talk about a relative who lived here, owned a mill there, who spoke German and planted trees. Imagine their surprise at seeing Moriki Hatakenaka, a Japanese man, stand in front of the church saying he was Mennonite.
Susanna Hildebrand’s husband disappeared in 1929. During the 1933 famine, she was arrested picking up corn cobs on the road. Sentenced to seven years jail, she died in prison. Paul, son of Helena Ens of Chortitza village, was home, recovering from an operation in 1937 when he was arrested at 3:00 a.m. Hustled onto a truck filled with arrested Mennonite men, he was never seen again.