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¿Has Estado en La Habana?

¿Has Estado en La Habana?"Tú has estado en las conversaciones de paz iniciadas por Santos en La Habana?" Le pido a la mujer frente a mí en el desayuno.
"Sí yo era parte de un grupo de víctimas Colombianas que fueron a compartir con nuestros autores cómo se sentía estar en el extremo receptor de sus armas. Esto es parte de las conversaciones que van a poner fin a la guerra civil. Fue realmente bueno. Sentí que realmente me escucharon.”
"¿Cuál es ese botón dices que llevas puesto?", Añadió. Yo le respondí "dice “Orar por la Paz" Ella respondió. "Eso es una buena cosa."
Ella era parte de una reunión de unas 15 líderes de comunidades llamado por Ricardo Esquivia. Su propósito era para ellos para averiguar juntos la mejor manera de responder a una petición de ayuda de Argos, una empresa internacional de cemento.
 Argos compró miles de hectáreas de tierra muy baratos de campesinos cuando tuvieron que abandonar sus tierras debido a la violencia. Ahor…

Been to Havana?

Been to Havana?Hello Friends,
”You’ve been to the peace talks initiated by Santos in Havana?” I ask the woman across from me at breakfast.
“Yes I was part of a group of Colombian victims who went to share with our perpetrators how it felt being on the receiving end of their guns. This is part of the talks going on to end the civil war. It was really good. I felt they really heard me.”
“What’s that button say you’re wearing?” she added.  I answered “it says Pray for Peace” She responded. “That’s a good thing.”
She was part of a meeting of various community leaders called by Ricardo Esquivia.  Its purpose was for them to figure out together how best to respond to a request for help from Argos, an international cement company.
 Argos had bought up thousands of acres of land for a song from campesinos (farmers) when they had to leave their land because of the violence.  Now Argos wants to talk about how to improve its image by its response to this situation, namely they have this huge acreage…
Hola amigos,                           ¿Por qué hay Atrocidades?                                 05 de noviembre 2014

"Jim, ¿por qué la gente hace atrocidades, como hacer la guerra, matar unos a otros y las mujeres y los niños?", Preguntó este profesor de la izquierda en una de las 16 charlas en una escuela secundaria en Barranca.

Yo le respondí: "Bueno, eso es una pregunta difícil. Voy a tener que pensar en eso. Justo al lado del manguito de una serie de cosas vienen a la mente. Primero Dios nos ha dado libre albedrío. Somos libres de hacer las cosas terribles si decidimos.

  La televisión es probablemente parte de por qué también. ¿Cuántos asesinatos vemos allí cada semana? Me imagino que nos dice inconscientemente que matar es sólo una parte de la vida en el mundo de hoy.

Otra es jugar juegos en Internet donde uno tira las cosas para ganar. Entiendo el ejército usa este tipo de juegos para entrenar soldados para matar. Ellos empiezan a disparar las cosas, luego son …

Hope for Justice and Peace

Dear Friends,              Hope for Justice and Peace      10/29/14 One student in La Mesa shared, “Before the class I had little hope for peace and justice in Colombia, but now I have hope. Thank you so very much.”
Another student in La Mesa where I gave 17 talks remarked, “I really appreciated that you I talked about how God wants Catholics and Protestants to work together rather than fighting each other. I really agree with that.” 
I always stay with the Quiroga family in Barranca. We really enjoy each other and do a lot of teasing. It is fun. Roberto and Eberty also made a point to encourage me to keep up the talks, saying they felt it is good and very important for Colombians.  Here is Roberto, Robertito, Sasha, and Eberty.
 When I was here a couple of years ago, Roberto the father was beginning as a council member in Barranca a city of 300,000 .
It has been the custom for each member of the council to receive under the table a large sum of money. Roberto has refused to accept it out…

Why Atrocities?

Hello friends,                       Why Atrocities?       Nov. 5, 2014
 “Jim, why do people do atrocities, like make war, kill each other and women and children?” asked this teacher on the left in one of 16 talks at a high school in Barranca. I answered, “Well, that’s a tough one. I’ll have to think about that. Just off the cuff a number of things come to mind. First God has given us free will. We are free do awful things if we decide to.
 The TV is probably part of why too. How many killings do we see there every week? I imagine it tells us unconsciously that killing is just a part of living in the world today.
Another is playing games on the internet where one shoots things to win. I understand the military uses such games to train soldiers to kill.  They start shooting things, then are gradually are switched to people and then the people are turned into the enemy and then the devil. Then when the soldiers are in the field they are switched to real people. Probably that same process…
Peace with ISIS?                                                     9/18/14
 Dear Friends, Below is an article I wrote on dealing with the exploding Middle East crisis. I sent it to several newspapers and my representatives. Peace with ISIS?
My first natural response is that the only option I know is to take ISIS out with our military. But if we bomb them such that we kill about 75% civilians many women and children as often happens  it will become the cement that pushes people to fill the ranks of ISIS. The more we bomb them the faster their acts of hatred for us will increase.
Here in Kurdistan, Iraq are refugees a result of the fighting there. My friend Peggy Faw Gish is on the CPT team there. Go to  Plotting Peace to read Peggy’s updates.

My reading “The Powers that Be” by Walter Wink has made me reconsider and try to think of an alternative response.  Asking how can we stop this growing hate of each other?
Also I learned that ISIS along with their evil ways are doing some very good thi…
Dear Friend,                    September 12, 2014  Here is an article “Praying about my Death” by Rich Foss. I think you will appreciate it. It was published in the Bureau Valley Chief Tiskilwa, IL newspaper. Rich has been a mentor to me and a close friend and graciously granted me permission to share this with you.        Peace,  Jim
Tiskilwa Plow Creek Boy A Bureau Valley Chief column by Rich Foss
It was peaceful, two in the morning following Labor Day, and I was lying in bed, next to my sleeping Sarah, contemplating my passing. I suppose it was understandable, given the fragility of my health and the fact that Sarah and I had been to three memorial service in the previous nine days.
As I thought of praying about my death, I wondered, what do I want? How should I pray? Then it came to me. I wanted to pray for a peaceful death, not only peaceful for me but peaceful for Sarah, our children, friends, family-so many people who love me and that I have loved.
A peaceful passing seemed like a…
Traveling to GeorgiaHello Friends,       

I will be spending a week at Jubilee Partners, a rural community that is dedicated to helping refugees learn how to adjust to our culture. I will be responding to their many invitations over the years to visit them and will be giving four presentations while in Georgia. Pray we may come to realize anew how God is using people to bring justice and peace in this world of violence from the sharings.

I will also visit two nephews, one of which I haven’t seen for 30 or 40 years. That will be a special reunion.

Since Lyn’s request for our separation one and a half years ago I have been part of the 11 member household called “The Clearing” at Reba Place Mennonite Fellowship. It has been a wonderful haven for me during this very painful time. It has made me feel this is what the church should be about – supporting each other in such times of deep pain. I am very grateful to feel safe and supported. The Clearling Household I help Bob, in the lower right, …