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Sharing at the Mennonite Relief Sale and Hannibal, MO

Dear Friends,

The woman came up somewhat anxio
usly to my booth at the Peoria Mennonite Relief Sale and asked, "Do you really see any changes that give you hope that the situation in Colombia is getting better?"

I asked her to sit down with me so I could tell her some of the things I see happening.

"When I first went there five years ago, numerous organizations were a bit unclear about their stance on the use of a gun to try to fix the tremendous injustice that exists there. Today, most if not all, are clearly
against all use of violence. One thing about war, the more war we have, the more people are able to see that it just does not work. It shows itself for what it is. The evil is brought to the light.

"Another source of hope is that since 2001, the Pentecostal, Mennonite, Brethren and other churches are helping displaced people, which is threatening to the armed groups that caused them to abandon their homes.

"Five years ago we spent five to six days a week in the Opon accompanying the farmers; now we only have to spend 2-3 days per week, and we are now able to work in other areas of Colombia.

"I just saw in the news that former guerrilla Senator Porte in Colombia has had eight of his fellow representative investigate
d and arrested by the Colombian FBI. Along with that, he said that the guerrillas are a dictatorship and involved in the drug trade. I see this as very positive that people are putting their lives on the line with that kind of honesty.

"Reflecting over this, it seems many of us from time to time struggle to see something hopeful in the world situation. As I see it, part of the problem is that unless someone is getting hurt it doesn't get in the news. Very little of the positive things happening in Columbia get reported in the media
.

"You know when I started this work, I feared I might become burnt out and discouraged. But to my surprise I find I have a lot more hope than I used to."

Here are some of snippets from so
me St. Louis high schoolers notes to me after I spoke at their school. "You inspired me." "I did not expect to learn so much." "It's an experience I won't forget." "It was better than I thought it would be." "It inspired me to think about what I want to do with my life." "I would like to be a part of CPT." "I really liked the personal stories."


Here I am with Pastor Eric Mattson of the Hannibal, Missouri Arch United Methodist Church. Every Sunday
he prays for the US troops; that night after I spoke at Arch, he prayed for CPT peacemaking.

Thanks for:
  • Good conversations at the Mennonite Relief Sale.
  • Six good talks I gave at two local high schools.
  • The good friends who have helped me through some hard conflicts in relationships and that I can now say it was good. And for the grace to keep praying even when I did not feel like it which was a big help.
Pray for:
  • Getting places to share in churches and schools around here.
  • Getting help to talk with people at the Cornerstone Festival Booth.
  • To be humble and honest as I continue to work through challenges in relationships.
Peace,

Jim

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