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A PAX Adventure 1954 - 1956 cover

Book Details:
  • 168 pages
  • Standard Color
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
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  • 978-1-5255-0461-7 Hardcover
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  • 978-1-5255-0463-1 eBook

Mennonite Central Committee, Paraguay, Peru, South America, Infrastructure, International development, Charity work

A PAX Adventure 1954 - 1956
Looking Back by Philip A. Roth

BEFORE THE INCEPTION of charitable organizations for impoverished people globally, the Mennonite Central Committee was an early innovator for overseas development. Pax (Latin meaning peace) was one of its programs designed specifically for volunteer single men of draft age.

This is a story of one man’s journey as heavy equipment operator with training in Texas and Peru, then to Paraguay building roads. In a unit of five, he worked to connect Paraguay’s most isolated Caucasian settlements to the outside world. Along the way, he experienced high-flying adventures, met curious Paraguayan locals and learned some life lessons lost to many young men.

Part memoir and part history, this is an account about the power of faith, the virtue in productive work and the rewarding consequences of dedication to the ideal of serving humankind.

PAX is one of those “creative eruptions” a short one-act play whose actors appeared on the stage at a critical turning point in human history and with considerable drama at some points in the plot, acted out a practical and symbolic message of peace and reconciliation in the “name of Christ,” a drama that had occasionally been expressed earlier in other forms by a minority group – the Anabaptists. It has often been said that this minority group has had an impact out of proportion to its numerical strength.

But the danger of hubris causes us to wear this accolade lightly. Thus the players in this one act, PAX, want simply to be remembered with the many others who have served in other equally noble tasks in history.

Calvin W. Redekop, The PAX Story, Pandora Press, 2001, p 123

Philip A. Roth photo

Philip Roth completed his two-year I-W alternative service with the Mennonite Central Committee in the first unit of ten PAX men sent to Peru in 1954. A youthful enthusiasm for applied physics led to a life-long fascination with mechanical things, in particular airplanes – deemed the ultimate machine following World War II and his adolescent years. He acquired his pilot’s license at age 17. He flew with Northeast Airlines, now Delta Airlines, for several years before a career change to manage the family orchard operation. Retired, Phil and his wife reside in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, near his family farm and birthplace.


Philip A. Roth

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