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Prison and black




Dear Friends,
“I murdered a person in California, after which I was in prison for about 20 years. If I were black I would still be in jail,” remarked Nash.  I had met him at Koinonia Community Farm, in Georgia.
Nash works hard at supporting local Hispanics who live in fear of deportation by Trump’s executive orders.

Nash showed me his house, which was a trial prototype for Habitat for Humanity. Clarence Jordan was cofounder of both Habitat and Koinonia. Habitat began when Clarence remarked one day, “Nobody should live in a shack.”  So they built houses for their black neighbors, who were living in shacks.
In its first years the multiracial community was harassed with drive-by shooting at their houses and local boycotts that kept them from selling their pecan products or buying farm supplies from local businesses. They were shunned because blacks were part of the community. One business was bombed because they sold Koinonia some fertilizer.  Innovatively Koinonia started selling pecan products by mail, which sustains them today after 64 years.

At Koinonia while we were there they had a memorial service for a 20 some year old brother who had overdosed. I thought I would go to the service and just slip out the back after a little while, since I did not know him. But to my surprise people shared how the fellow had deeply affected them in many good ways. I was so touched I stayed.

As I reflected on it, I came to see that I was very prejudiced, feeling deep down that a drug addict could never touch people very much. It was a new insight into a personal bias I had been completely unaware of. It was one of the highlights of my five days in Georgia.

Koinonia, like every community or church, has lots of shortcomings. But like every community God still uses them. I learned this anew as many people shared how grateful they were for their time at Koinonia, as I was too.

I am still in need of about $2000 for my planned two months in Colombia startling mid-June. I plan to give talks in churches and schools to encourage people to support the peace accords. More Colombian support would greatly help to insure that the agreements will stick so the 52-year civil war will come to an end. This is an opportunity for you join me. Any help you can give in money and prayer, I surely would appreciate.

God’s Shalom surround you today,

Jim

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