Skip to main content

Valle Nuevo, El Salvador Visit

"A thousand saludos (greetings) for Plow Creek. I pray for Plow Creek every day," said Margarita in the attachment. I was glad I could say, "I pray for you daily, too." She than added, "We are so glad you come to visit us; thank you for remembering us; we appreciate it very much. How is so and so¦?" I heard similar words to these over and over through out our week in Valle Nuevo. And they back up their words with the best meals they can afford. What a welcome from some of world's materialistically poorest people, but some of the richest in the Spirit of Jesus.

Margarita will be a recipient of the housing project we initiated this year. There are cracks in her house's adobe walls from the last earthquake, and the termites are turning the wood post into dust. If you are interested in hearing more about this housing project, let me know.

I've visited there at least six times now, and I wasn't sure there was going to be much new. But I found I was pleasantly surprised. One was a renewal of many friendships that have been developing since 1992, when I slept in a hammock at Juana and Simon's in a dirt floor house made of boards salvaged from their refuge camp in Honduras. Today they have a cement block home surrounded by many trees, and a garden which is fertilized from an experimental compost project. Right now with help and guidance from World Vision, they are experimenting with raising chickens and flowers to sell. Even though they have a house, Juana helps with leadership of a Housing Cooperative as a way to serve others.

I gave a slide presentation to 150 of their high school students. They raised some very pointed questions when I shared how the guerrillas and paramilitaries have gotten involved in the drug trade in Colombia. Since Valle Nuevo was a center of guerrilla support during their civil war, they are now looking at the question of whether their guerrilla military fighting was worth it. Many told me they never want it again. They were so interested in the CPT peace work that the Principal just let the session go beyond the allotted time. Thirty students signed up for emails.

I also had an opportunity to talk with some of the recent high school graduates who are attending University. Jenny, one of the first graduates of the newly formed high school, stated, "One of the toughest things at the University is the fact that my goals clash with the goals of many of the other students. It seems that their main concerns are selecting the latest in fashions, and focusing their education on a job which will help them purchase a nice car, and house. Mine is to learn psychology so I can come back to Valle Nuevo to serve the community." Jenny was one of the first graduates of the newly formed high school.

Something new that excited me was an Alcoholics Anonymous group of 80-100 attendees. I see this as a really important part of God's work to improve their community. They also have a very successful hydroponic greenhouse and are marketing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. They are in the process of building another greenhouse to expand the business. This kind of economic activity is very important to their future.

Much has changed in Valle Nuevo since 1992. When we visited during March of that year, the Peace accords were signed and guerrillas came in from the hills and turned in their guns. At that time, houses were cobbled together from salvaged boards and tin because everything had been destroyed in the war. There were few trees. In contrast, today many residents have cement block houses and are working hard to create food from their rocky hills. It's a hard life, but they are not giving up.

They appreciated so much our visiting them again. If you have any interest in going along next year, let me know.

I will be giving seven presentations in the St. Louis area between April 9 and 12. I would appreciate any prayer support you can give.

Peace,

Jim

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Outside the Box

Dear Friends,       Outside the Box I am here to share about making peace with Isis nonviolently. I came to this in my quiet time when I first heard of Isis. My response was, “I’m a pacifist so I prayed, “Lord, they are such bad people the only thing I know to do is get rid of them. Bomb them.” I suppose Jesus’ disciples, and many people today like me, might have had a similar response.
So I prayed, “Lord, I’m a pacifist. Show me Jesus’ way, there must be a better way.”Lo and behold I just happened to be reading pages in the book The Powers that Be where Walter Wink says “for every conflict there is a nonviolent answer” I prayed, “Lord, I don’t believe it, show me.” Then what came to me was we need first to understand what creates Isis support, why they hate us, what makes people join these terrorists, and to find a good solution. What if you went home tonight and your house looked like this?

(I pass out this picture of homes bombed by drones) And your family was killed by a US drone? Wo…

Preemptive Memorial Service

Dear Friend,

"My brother Evan just came down with cancer a couple of days ago, he has just a few days to live. Just found it out and we are trying to figure out how to deal with it emotionally." This is how I learned of my friend Evan's situation.

Three months later I learned from Bart his brother that that Evan appreciates phone calls. As awkward as it was I called him three times. We had surprisingly good conversations. Evan has a deep heart for justice and peace so we had some good sharing on that common ground.  

He told me his divorced wife called him every day. What grace, what a gift.

 Evan then had a pre-emptive memorial service with him there in which 30 or 40 friends and family he helped with his skill in plumbing and heating expressed their deep thanks. Evan had them play "Bridge over trouble Water" with the volume turned up. It was all very meaningful. This made me consider that every day I get closer to passing on too.

I am currently in Portland seeig m…

Korea Peace Healing our Divided couhtry

Dear friends “Healing Our Divided Country” First I rejoice at the North and South Korea peace agreement. I suggest you go to the link democracy now.org for a very good interview of an American coronel who resigned in protest against the afghan war, and even though she opposes most of trumps doings she gives surprising hopeful insights about the accords. “I have a friend who recently told me he thinks we should deport all undocumented persons. And we should just do away with those who disagree. We are quite good friends we play soft ball together. How do I begin to talk to him?” shared a student at George Fox University in Oregon. The professor suggested, “Well you have some common ground in softball. Maybe that would be a good place to start.” The prof added, “Just about every student enter the conversations that was great.” This was from one of the 10 times I shared in Oregon. Here is our Emily with her family that I shared about in the last letter. I am glad to report that donation for …