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2006 Peace Plans

Greetings friends!

I am recently back from Colombia. Here are my plans for 2006 combined with a report on 2005. To start off, here are some photos that catch some of the main aspects of my work in Columbia.

Here we are in one of our many visits with the farmers in the Opon. The little girl was ill with a fever. We prayed together both for her and for peace. Encouraging us CPTers to pray with the farmers when we visit in their homes seems to be part of my role on the team.




Here we are in our living room in Barrancabermeja praying for the four teammates who are being held hostage in Iraq. This really shook us up and made us consider in a new way that this could happen to us in Colombia. But it also drew us together to pray more. We were very grateful to see them alive on the January 26 video.


Conversations with people I meet, like these guys, have become an important part of my peace work. Fonso, Leo and Joe challenged my stereotyping of all Colombians as people who would take Americans for as much money as they could and the men as persons who were freely unfaithful to their wives. It was exciting to see how the local church was the key instrument in turning their lives around. This kind of commitment to integrity in relationships is an intricate part of building peace in Colombia.

You have been receiving my letters about my work for sometime now, so you have a good idea what my peacemaking involves. And so I would like to ask you to read this letter prayerfully and consider whether you might join me in this peacemaking by giving me some financial support.

Advances toward Peace in Colombia

I would like to answer a question I am often asked: "Have you seen any progress toward peace in Colombia since 2001?"

When CPT arrived, the people were abandoned; as a matter-of-fact, that was why we chose to work in the Opon. The churches, the non-governmental development agencies, the Colombian government organizations and even the military were all afraid to go to the Opon, for fear of getting caught in the fighting between the guerrillas and the paramilitaries.

In November 2005, a church was started in the Opon. It began three years earlier when I got to know Pastor David and began encouraging him to come with me to the Opon. David is now mentoring three persons from the Opon to be church leaders. Pray that this church can be a true light for peace and justice there. At times, the Catholics and the Protestants have cooperated in giving spiritual support to the people of the Opon, a real sign of the Lord's hand.

Programa, a Colombian church development organization, has been working in the Opon for over two years now, promoting chickens, cacao trees (for chocolate) and gardens.

Defensoria, a government watch-dog agency, has been actively visiting the Opon pleading to the government that the people be treated with respect and given help. All of the above efforts have had the active support of the CPT team.

On the national level, four years ago President Uribe took office on a platform that he would never negotiate with the guerrillas. In 2005, he began governmental talks with the ELN and has also offered to negotiate with the FARC. War is often ended by negotiation, so this gives me hope that we are seeing the beginning of the end.

These are some very good signs. Keep them in your prayers.

My Mission
To do peacemaking lovingly, humbly, calmly and prayerfully so that it challenges,supports and foster
reconciliation, friendship, understanding and compassion between people locally and internationally.


Making a Difference for Peace in 2005

  • I gave ten slide presentations in the US `in 2005 and had many significant conversations, encouraging people to be peacemakers and sharing about my own peacemaking. In 2006 I have already given an hour-long TV interview and seven presentations.
  • I managed CPT booths at the Cornerstone Music Festival (20,000+ attendance), our Mennonite relief sale and our county fair. I had 13 other people that helped, enabling us to have more personal time with the many interested people.

  • I went to Colombia in September for three months to be part of the CPT team protecting some eighty Colombian families from the intrusion of the paramilitaries and the guerrillas. I also did four slide presentations and had many conversations about peacemaking there.

  • I coordinated bringing Peggy Gish, author of "Iraq: A Journey of Hope", to Princeton to share about her CPT experiences in Iraq. I also set up six other places for her to give presentations.

  • I wrote e-mail letters so that you can be an informed prayer partner and advocate for peace. Over 1000 people receive these letters. My letters and photos are at web site www.jimspeacemaking.org

  • I participated in our local Peace Vigil. Over 2000 local cars see our messages each week like "Pray for Peace, Act for Peace", "Trust in God and Not in Weapons" and "But I say . . . love your enemies . . . Jesus".

  • Almost every day I spend over an hour praying for others, myself and world justice and peace. Not that I am so great at praying, but we do have the Greatest Listener when we pray. Praying helps me keep on track, for I inevitably get off track. Many of you are on my list.

  • I will carry on in 2006 much the same as in 2005.
Pastoral Oversight


I will continue to review my peacemaking activities, plans and budget spending with my pastor, Rich Foss, and with others as needed. I will plan to report regularly to supporters during the year. I always welcome you're suggestions, questions or encouragement.


Your Invitation to Invest in this Peacemaking Ministry

I am passionate about peace. Will you join me in making peacemaking a priority in today's world?
Make out checks to Plow Creek Mennonite Church with "peacemaking" in the memo line and mail to 19183 Plow Creek Road, #2, Tiskilwa, IL 61368. All contributions are tax deductible. Thanks!

Below is my budget, in which I've tried to keep in mind my commitment to live simply despite rising prices.

Sincerely,
Jim

PS. Please consider acting on your concern for peace by investing generously in my peacemaking today.

Give for Peace



Peacemaking Budget
(If this budget does not come through in a readable format and you want to see it let me know.)

Travel: 2006 Budget 2005 Actual
Colombia; El Salvador; USA $3,200. $2,693

CPT Program Needs: 1,200 1157
Booth rental; books; slides

Administration: 1,600 1,578
Copying; publicity; computer;
postage; phone; internet

Total Direct Peacemaking Expenses 6,000 5,429


Living Expenses 13,344 12,871
Housing: $590/mo
Retirement: $166/mo
Medicine: $110/mo
Health Insurance: $125/mo
Church: $100/mo
Personal Allowance: $33/mo

Total Expenses 19,344 12,871

Carried Over from Prior Year $ 4,738

NEW DONATIONS NEEDED $14,606

To maintain one soldier for war our taxes pay $150,000 a year

I will be a soldier for peace for $19,344 a year.

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