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Showing posts from November, 2006

Workings of the Spirit

Hello friends,

The other Sunday a former paramilitary, Jose, who is the leader of a Christian band, invited CPTers to come to the worship service where they would be playing. So I went.

Jose left the Paras (the illegal paramilitary organization) as a result of conversations he had with CPTers in the Opon four years ago through which he came to see the futility of using a gun to try to solve the 40-year-old conflict. Jose told me Sunday, "There were about 50 of us who left the Paras at that time. Some ended up in jail, as they were so used to criminal activity, it got them in trouble. Others returned to the Paras, and a few of us started to try to straighten out our lives. I am graduating from a seminary course Dec. 17. Can you come to my graduation?"
"Regrettably," I replied, "I won't be here in Colombia then."

Recently, when I was picking up a switch at the hardware store, the clerk asked, "Who are you? And what are you doing here in Colombia?"…

Peacemaking in Cucuta, Colombia

Dear friends,

I was traveling with Juan, a rural Pentecostal pastor, on the way to an evening worship service near Cucuta, Colombia. He told me this story:

"One night the Paras (Paramilitaries) took a 23-year-old mother in our church and shot her in front of her children, because the Paras thought she had killed her Para friend. The community was afraid to go to recover the body, for fear of what the Paras might do to anyone who showed sympathy to the mother. So they called me. I went that very night and recovered the body and gave her a proper funeral in our church, as a way of saying that the church was not going to be intimated by the Paras threats. As often happens here in this war, it was soon found out that the killing was a mistake for she had had nothing to do with the killing of her Para friend. Then, led by the Spirit, the church carried the coffin to where Paras lived and buried the body there.

"This made the Paras face their awful mistake every time they passed the …

Getting My Visa Renewed

Dear friends,

I arrived at the border with Venezuela after a long six hour journey of climbing and crossing the magnificent Andes mountains, including being above the tree line and in the clouds at times.


I went to the Colombian Consulate and found it full of people waiting. I went to the desk and, without even allowing me to say my name or why I was there, the secretary said, "Just have a seat. She will call you". I waited for an hour and half while some 40 people came and went, and I wondered if I had been forgotten. Finally the secretary saw me and said for me to go into a side room.

By this time I was rather anxious. I hoped that all 25 pages or so of papers that I had brought for my visa would be OK. The Consulate, Ziada, said, "Didn't you hear me call for those who needed visas?" I hadn't heard her.

I nervously gave her the stack of papers. As she began to go through them, she read about the beginnings of CPT, and she asked, "Who are the M…