Skip to main content

Light in the Opon

Hello friends,

"Have you heard what happened last night?" Jorge, the pastor, and Lucy, his wife, asked us. Duane and I answered, "No we haven't." This was right after worship at the church in the Opon.

"Two persons were drunk. The one, Felipe, hit the other, Manuel, three times with a machete, one of those times on the head. Manuel was bleeding profusely, was bandaged at the local health post, and then taken the1½ hour boat trip to a clinic in Barranca."

The tension in the town was very high over this, and there was fear that more violence could erupt if family and friends sought revenge. So we thought we should do whatever we could to keep more violence from happening. The church leaders asked us to visit Felipe. In the past Felipe had been a leader in a small church there. He was very glad for our visit.

Duane explained CPT's interest in avoiding violence and offered to help communicate anything Felipe might have to say to anyone that could make reprisals less likely or help the community deal with Felipe's public display of violence. Felipe said he was willing to talk with anyone in order to resolve the situation in a good way.

Then Duane and I made a visit to Manuel's house. Manuel's ten-year-old son Pedro was there, being cared for by a teenaged young man. We introduced ourselves and CPT, expressed sorrow on his father's injuries, asked how he was, etc. Pedro said, "My dad is going to have a head X-ray and the injuries are bad." We passed along Felipe's expression of willingness to work out some kind of solution. The four of us prayed for healing for Manuel and the community. We left a CPT brochure with Pedro.

We than visited with Jorge and Lucy again. We recommended that they visit with Felipe. Jorge said, "I thought and prayed about it last night, and I felt the Lord tell me I should not visit Felipe." Duane offered for us to go again to visit with Felipe. What if Felipe were to say he would like a visit with you? To this Jorge and Lucy said, "Then we would be ready to visit with him together with the two of you." Another trip by boat and a yes from Felipe, and then back to pick up Jorge and Lucy, and back to Felipe just as heavy rain began to fall.

Jorge, an uneducated 76-year-old farmer, then gave a 25-minute talk followed by allowing Felipe to speak. I feared it would be a fire-and-brimstone talk full of judgment. But I was very pleasantly surprised at his emphasis on God's love. As he said, "It's never too late to turn around. God is always there loving us."

In some ways I felt I had witnessed a real example of how we should practice calling back a brother or sister who has strayed. He spoke very truthfully and straightforwardly, but yet he never lost sight of God's forgiveness and love. God has developed some real pastoral gifts in Jorge and Lucy.

All-in-all it was a positive interchange that ended in a prayer that Duane made sure included a heartfelt prayer from Felipe for Manuel's healing and well being. Duane followed with a request that through Jorge and Lucy, Felipe make some reconciling gesture to Manuel and family. Just as we finished, rain slowed enough so that we could make one more quick stop at Manuel's house, at which we assure them of our prayers. The people there said, "Manuel is better and out of the clinic and walking and eating normally." We were thankful to hear this.

Duane did a very good job of being culturally sensitive. He pushed Jorge, Lucy and Felipe at certain points and yet let them be themselves in their culture. I sense your prayers were a part in helping us to be salt and light in this situation. Keep them up, for we are not out of this tunnel yet. We did hear this positive news that Manuel had returned and that Jorge had made contact with his family.

From left to right is Jorge, Lucy, and Juan, who are all church leaders, and me just after the worship time outside their meeting house.
The Church sign says, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever."

Your agent for peace in Colombia,

Jim

PS. I wonder how much this kind of violence is perpetuated by 45 years of trying to solve the differences in this country with guns ?

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…

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…

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 …