Mel West, engaging people to help people in Nicaragua

For decades while they were alive, my parents recounted story after story of their friend, mentor and “mission broker” Rev. Mel West, his wife Barbara, and their collaborative efforts to help “the least of these”. See Walking in John Wesley’s Footprints.

Mel is well known, and honored, for so much of his work engaging people to work together to help others. See Mel West’s honorary doctorate recognizes a lifetime of humanitarian service.

After Founders Keith and Karen Jaspers, Mel has done more than anyone with Rainbow Network in Nicaragua. In Why I continue to serve — I remember Nicaragua I have recounted how Mel got me involved starting in 2003.

Keith Jaspers and Mel West at Colonia La PazMel served multiple terms on the board of directors, traveling to Nicaragua many times to show Rainbow Network to others and engage them in our work. One larger effort has been The Container Project, using space provided by Mobility Worldwide (which Mel co-founded) to gather clothing, linen, medical supplied, etc. to go in shipping containers to our warehouse in Nicaragua. Working with Mobility Worldwide, a few years ago Mel and Rainbow Network made a special project to ensure that every person in our communities in need of a mobility device was provided with one, from canes to Mobility Carts to conventional wheelchairs.

In 2014 Mel was interviewed in Managua on a wide range of topics. At about 22:30 he talks about Keith starting Rainbow Network, and talks more about Rainbow Network later in the video. “I think Rainbow Network, without a doubt, is the best project that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot, of its nature.”

Approaching his second century, Mel has not stopped. Let us pray that we continue to do our best to follow his examples.

[Addendum August 24, 2022: My almost-100 years as a Methodist]

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