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Orientation

Hello, friends,
Getting oriented here in Barranca seems to have gone a lot better than a year ago. One of my best friends, Pastor David, even said my Spanish has improved. It seems as though my ability to understand and hear is better. Thank you to those who have been praying for that.

The very warm welcome I received from David and others several from the Opon felt very affirming and good. It is getting to feel like old friends when they even remember my name.

As some of you know, I came with a month-old stomach acid reflex problem that wasn’t improving even though I was taking medication. So I went to see Chan, the native doctor, who had healed me three years ago of a bug bite, and shoulder and toe problems that western medical ways were unable to help. He pressed on my stomach and had me drink tamarind juice and in two days the problem was gone. I might note that I am still bothered by my aching arm muscle, however.

One of the biggest challenges in CPT Team life is living in a house together closely with many people whom you have not known before. This includes eating, making meals, and keeping the place clean. It becomes a real test of our community living ability when our habits, likes, and dislikes come out and clash. So it seemed like fresh air when we had a retreat in which we shared about our habits, likes, dislikes, and the things that really bother us. For me one of those things is leaving dirty dishes around that become covered by ants. This retreat helped us adjust to each other. This was something that was missing in my other two times here.

The retreat center we used had been held up by robbers the week before, a reminder of the lawlessness that abounds here. Soldiers were walking around while we were there, probably in response to the robbery.

I have had several chances to show my slides and I am making plans to show them at least four more times here in Barranca. The show includes slides from CPT in Colombia, Iraq, Palestine, Canada, and the USA. I think that seeing CPT efforts in other parts of the world broadens people’s view of our peace work. I pray it may plant seeds of hope and encourage all who see the slide show to be peacemakers, too.

Today newspapers reported that the Government has given the OK for the church to be in dialogue with the guerrilla movement, which controls 40% of the country and is the largest guerrilla movement in the world. This is hopeful, for since the Uribe government took power two years ago, it was adamant that it was not ever going to negotiate with the guerrillas. It seems wars always are settled by negotiation eventually, so the sooner it gets started, the less people suffer and so the better for every one. Please put this on your prayer list.

Peace to you,

Jim

The Opon River rose and overflowed its banks, causing foot deep water to flow in and around many of the houses of the farm families which CPT accompanies. Here I am with one family by their kitchen. The flooding will make the yucca crop, which is one of their staples, rot. If flooding continues, the other crops will also be damaged. We are praying the waters will recede.

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