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Greetings from CPT Colombia,

A couple of days ago a disabled beggar was assassinated at noon in front of the restaurant where he has begged for years. His assailants were on bikes and without even any kind of masks. They got away on bicycles. The newspaper said all who saw it would not say who did it. It is supposed it was done out of the Nazi philosophy that those whom “the powers that be” think cannot contribute to society or who have the wrong philosophy should just be eliminated. This is known as social cleansing. This made me think that I need to watch that this kind of thinking does not take hold in me. Are there times when I think that way about others? How easily evil can sneak into our minds. Lord, help.

Here are some interesting things about our life:

Because this is mosquito season, when we go to the Opon we always take a swatter, a small towel or a shirt, with us. If the mosquitoes are bad we are continually swatting them while in conversation. It is just an acceptable thing to have happen while you talk. They often build a fire that just smolders and smokes alot to the keep the mosquitos away also.

I went to the bank to get money for the Team from the ATM machine and one of the bills did not come out of the slot. So I went into the bank to try to get my lost $3.00. After a half hour, including a call to Bogota, they concluded I would have to get it in Chicago. I then went to leave and the door was locked with a chain so I had to wait another ten minutes until they opened it. There are often long lines at the banks. When it gets full inside they lock the door for awhile. I guess they do this to control how many people enter, but it does try my patience at times.

I visited the Baptist church again this morning. Ebertes, a teacher who went to the Opon with us, said that 40% of the boys in her school will go into the armed forces upon graduation. She would like us to come to speak to her whole school about why we are here, what we are doing, and why we believe people should lay down their arms. This is another good fruit of our relationship with the Protestant churches.

Reading Biblical Pacifism by Dale Brown has made me think about the peace we are seeking here. I often think of it in terms of political peace, but it is a much greater thing we are after. We want Shalom, which means well-being, salvation, fearlessness, and closeness in the community. It is exemplified in what are known as the fruits of the spirit: love, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I used this in a recent worship. It is a real challenge for us to live this Shalom in our CPT Team life.

Shalom to you,

Jim

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