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personal opinion,” says Ben Reimer, ”of the whole experience is
more of a privilege and blessing than hardship. Because of many
different ways that others understood the Scriptures, we did some
real searching and studying of Scriptures.” [TTbP, 97]
Peter A. Unger writes that “I am convinced that God used this experience
for our good (Romans 8:28 ), where we let ourselves be molded by
His Spirit. Many church leaders and workers in our contemporary
churches come out of Alternative Service. This was my experience
and I praise Him for it.” [ASP, 196]
Hunsberger's time as a CO was one of maturing and making new friends.
Over all his experience was a good one.
Groening lists four ways in which he was personally transformed
by his experience as a CO.
“I was taken out of the comfort zone of home and
church. I had to face the hardships of life which ultimately helped
me mature and prepare for future service.
I was thrust into ministering to my peers in camp.
We had to help in the spiritual ministry in the camp where the
church could not do it. I found the opportunity to teach, preach,
counsel and help give leadership; all of these helped me in later
It taught me an appreciation for our Native people.
It prepared me to become a teacher and later a
pastor. It prepared me for future leadership in the church, conference
and work at Columbia Bible College.”
view these years as having been very useful for future ministry.
They enriched my life
and helped prepare me for my future.” [ASP, 99]
common theme in CO stories is the faithfulness of God. For the young
men who left their communities to be COs, it was an act of obedience
to God. This was Peter Neufeld's experience.
stand that we as COs took was a positive experience in our personal
lives and a testimony to our fellow Canadians. It prevented a
strong anti-Mennonite feeling by the general public.
looking back to the years 1939-1945, I am thankful for the Lord's
wonderful leading in my life. He sustained me then as a young
pacifist and guided me in my desire to be a peaceable person.
should strive to be peacemakers, not only in times of conflict
and war, but also in our daily walk with the people that we live
and work with.
is a duty and a privilege in time of war to build when others
destroy, to heal when others kill. There is no greater force in
all the world than the power of Christian love.” [ASM,
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