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For Abe Wiebe of Winkler, Manitoba, service with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) in Cape Breton was a way to honour his father.

“My dad was a servant of the Lord all his life,” he said of his father, also named Abe.

The senior Wiebe was a minister in the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church for 45 years and served on the Mennonite Central Committee Canada board.

“He instilled that same passion for service in me,” Wiebe said. “He showed us that is what we should be doing with our lives.”

His father died in 2019. “I’m doing this for him,” Wiebe said. “I want to carry on his legacy of service.”

Wiebe, 64, and his wife, Norma, 65, were in Cape Breton in August serving with MDS.

Abe and Norma Wiebe

“It feels good to help people,” said Norma, of the couple’s decision to do service in the region.

For Norma, it was the first time serving with MDS. It was Abe’s second time.

“We enjoyed the work—there was lots to do,” said Norma, adding she enjoyed meeting homeowners and other volunteers.

“It was so easy to connect with the other volunteers. We became friends right away,” she said.

Being away from home for the retired couple was a challenge. “We miss our kids and grandkids, but we think we’ll do it again,” said Abe. “Helping others is what the Lord is leading us to do.”


John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications


A total of 458 volunteers from across Canada provided over 32,000 hours of service for 272 families and community organizations in Cape Breton in response to Hurricane Fiona. This included repairs to 44 houses, 28 new roofs or roof repairs and 179 tree-cutting and clean up jobs. Read about the August 24 closing celebration.

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