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Showing posts from November, 2003
Interesting Stories Greetings from Barranca , Colombia Here are some interesting stories from the recent past. A few months ago a Paramilitary Commander came to our house in Barranca. We were very hesitant to let him in, for we feared he might want to hurt us is some way. However, after some conversation in which he said that he had come to tells us thanks for our work in the Opon, we let him in. He than proceeded to take over an hour to tell us that our talking to him and his soldiers had convinced them to reconsider their being a part of the Paramilitaries. He and a number of his paramilitary soldiers quit the Paramilitaries several months ago and have joined a local Protestant church. He remarked that he was glad to replace his guns with his new weapons of a Bible and some books as a part of his mission for others to seek the way of Jesus. It sounded almost like a direct quote from Ephesians 6. He was very glad for their new life with the Lord, despite the danger they f
A "Day Off" Greetings, I had a refreshing day off in the mountains of Bucaramango. I stayed in a Catholic religious community, a very quiet place which overlooked some huge mountains. Just watching the mountains does something good for my soul it seems. Big clouds rolled in over the mountains which brought rain in the night. The many different kinds of beautiful flowers which are cultivated here just delighted my being. Quiet service is a central theme of this lay community, exemplified in this saying I saw there, “One who does not live to serve, does not have a life worth living.” The mountains, the flowers, and the quiet service atmosphere renewed my spirit. While I was still home, I came across some literature in Spanish by and about the Peace Pilgrim, a woman who had spend 30 years walking across the USA sharing about peace. The pamphlet gives suggestions about seeking inner peace and global peace and talks about how they are related. I had asked a Colombian Christian
Embassy Visit Hello As part of my orientation I went with a delegation to visit Matthew (Mat) Johnson, the US Embassy Human Rights officer. To my surprise we were in agreement with him on many things he had to say. He wasn't the demon I unconsciously expected to encounter. Although I come from a position that generally distrusts anyone from the US government, I am grateful for the grace to be able to see the human being beneath the position. Here's some things Matthew shared, many of which I found we agreed upon. According Sindicato de Escuela Nacional de Laborales, a reputable national labor organization, there has been a 68% decrease in labor homicide under the Uribe government in the last year. He added this is a great improvement, but that there is still a long way to go, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Matthew said that Barranca is clearly controlled by the Paramilitaries, and that there are clear links between Paramilitaries and Colombian government forces. I was