Skip to main content

Bogota and to Barranca

Hello, Friends,

In hushed voices, the Mennonites I was staying told this story, which had happened just the day before. A hunted man (we will call José), who has been on the paramilitary’s (paras) do-away-with list, was kidnapped here in Bogota. José had, by God’s grace, escaped when the car broke down. In running away he fell and cut his abdomen. Fortunately, no organs were damaged; the hospital refused to give him further treatment because José was not registered in the system.

José, part of a family with two small children, was on his way to meet with a Mennonite pastor. He had suffered gunshot wounds and stabbing from previous attacks. The church has been trying to help him get asylum in Canada. It looked like he would get asylum, and then the Canadian administration changed, and they have now rejected him. It is now in appeal.

The other thing is that numerous Mennonite church people leaders fear for their safety. And so I want to beg you to pray for these concerns and for justice and peace for Colombia. Through your prayers and concern, you are an intimate part of my work. The violence has gotten considerably worse for the Mennonite church since I was here a year ago. The Mennonite Church has been having regular meetings to pray for protection, justice, and peace. These unsafe times are developing the church’s dependency on the Lord.

I have had some adjustments to make. One was the ten hour bus ride from Bogota to Barrancabermeja (Barranca). The first four hours consisted of continued switchbacks up and down mountains through some beautiful country. Then for the next six hours the bus went into the tropics. My body has to adjust because it approaches 100 degrees every day. When it gets to 80, I am very grateful.

On the trip we had a good conversation with an 11th grade girl about CPT work. I showed her some photos of CPT projects and shared stories about the pictures and about my involvement in El Salvador, Bolivia, and with overground railroad refugees. She hopes to become a physical therapist and help children who have been injured from landmines in Colombia. She asked how she could get involved with the Church with helping people like I have been doing. Since she is from Bogota, I gave her Mennonite church contacts there that are doing lots of work with people suffering from the 40-year civil war here. She asked me to pray for her and her broken family.

I mentioned that we believe Jesus calls us to love our enemies. She said, “That is hard, if not impossible.” I said it is hard, but if we ask God to help us, God can make it a reality. Time will tell how God might use this sharing; it seemed a real gift.

I got my visa fine, thanks for your prayers.

Shalom, Jim


Popular posts from this blog

A Temper Tantrum

Dear friends: A Temper Tantrum On a shopping trip to Aldi’s I noticed a mother with a girl who was two and a boy who was one sitting together in her cart.. The boy was having a temper tantrum. I know how embarrassing that can be. Besides she was just beginning to shop. So I thought maybe I could help settle him down. So I went over and tried to talk to him. But he would have nothing to do with me. So I just started talking to his sister. “How old are you? What’s your name? How old is your brother? . “What is his name? She replied “Noah.” Hearing his name the boy started to quiet down and pay attention. After some more question and answers the kids and I shook hands and said goodbye. Then we both did our shopping. We passed each other several times. The kids would say “Hi” and wave each time we saw each other. Then as we went through the checkout the mother remarked, “Thank you so much, what is your name?” the kids waved saying “Goodby…

Running Out of the Classroom

Hello friends, Running Out of the Classroom 4/1/2019 She stood up to share, and then she just runout of the classroom. I was confused, I had no idea what was going on. In a few minutes she returned and began crying and sharing about some terrible violence that had happened in her family. This started about 8 in the class one by one to cry and share about violence that took place with their uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents or neighbors. This ended up taking up the entire time of the last two classes of my time in Colombia. This likely was the first time they had shared these things outside of their families. This surely was healing for many of the students. The adult friend who was there mentioned she was having someone experienced with trauma healing coming to her church. She hoped to have her go to the school and help some of these students. It felt a real gift to be able to hear and share these things. Afterwards as students often did after class…

Corriendo Fuera de la Clase

Corriendo Fuera de la Clase Hola amigos, 1/4/2019 Ella se puso de pie para compartir y luego solo salió corriendo del salón de clases. Yo estaba confundido, no tenía idea de lo que estaba pasando. A los pocos minutos ella regresó y comenzó a llorar y a compartir sobre algunas violencias terribles que habían sucedido en su familia. Esto empezó alrededor de las 8 en la clase; uno por uno empezó a llorar y compartir sobre la violencia que tuvo lugar con sus tíos, tías, padres, abuelos o vecinos. Esto terminó ocupando todo el tiempo de las dos últimas clases de mi tiempo en Colombia. Probablemente fue la primera vez que ellos habían compartido estas cosas fuera de sus familias. Esto seguramente fue curativo para muchos de los estudiantes. La amiga adulta que estaba allí mencionó que ella estaba experimentando la curación del trauma yendo a la iglesia. Ella espera que fuera a la escuela a ayudar a algunos de estos alumnos. Fue un verdade…