Missionary Stories

Understanding Colombia’s Vote Against the Peace Accords and What Lies Ahead: Especially for churches working for peace

Colombia_-_Oct_2016_divided-peace-dove.jpg“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”

These opening lines from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, could also apply to a tale of two Colombias. My colleagues, friends and I watched, somewhat in shock, as report after report came in yesterday showing that the No vote had won in Colombia´s plebiscite on the peace accords that just a week earlier had been signed between the Government of Colombia and the FARC guerrilla. Polling in the weeks leading up to the plebiscite indicated that Yes would prevail with around 65% of the vote. In the end, No won by the slimmest of margins; 50.2% No, 49.7% Yes.

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Telling the Story

"I have been in nearly all the women´s jails in the northern part of Chile," she told me when she caught my arm after the Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma workshop.  A team of trauma healing and resilience development facilitators from the Shalom Center had come to Antofagasta on the coast of northern Chile to accompany the members of the Pentecostal Church of Chile.

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Vigil to Close the School of the Americas Moving to Nogales

Dear friends,

     The movement to close the School of the Americas (SOA) training center for Latin American soldiers has held an annual vigil in front of the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia for 25 years.  This year, the convergence will be moved here to the Nogales Wall as an expression of resistance to the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.  The four-day event will conclude on October 10 – the fourth anniversary of the murder of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez by a Border Patrol agent that fired into Nogales, Sonora from Nogales, Arizona on October 10, 2012.

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Tea Time: A Reflection of Travel in the Global South

Chile_-_Kabat_May_2016_Reflect.jpgWe ate fresh made peach pie and drank tea in her well-kept, lovely home looking over the Pacific Ocean.  I had stayed there a number of times at the pastor’s house, and every time she laughed about our height difference, once actually taking out a tape measure at a family gathering to see who could guess closest to my actual height. I explained to her how maple syrup is made and she told me that her secret ingredient in vegetable soup is half an apple.  She prayed for my neck pain while knitting me a scarf and I prayed for her Parkinson’s while looking out at the city from the guest room window.

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La decisión está en tus manos

Elena Huegel, Global Ministries missionary in Chile, recorded this podcast in Puerto Rico during her time there. Please note, the podcast and accompanying note are in Spanish only.

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Cuba Perspective

When I was presented with this opportunity to travel to Cuba with Global Ministries I immediately thought to myself, “This would be a fascinating chance to get some perspective on life and Christianity from a people who have largely been ignored by the western world since the 50s!” In the months prior, I had been making a concerted effort to broaden my understanding of perspectives from different communities on the global scale, and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to embark on that endeavor.

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My First Holy Week and Easter Experience in Nicaragua

Hola from Nicaragua!

Jesus is here in the morning
Jesus is here at noon

Jesus is here in the evening

so keep your heart in tune
  

This will be my first Holy Week and Easter experience in Nicaragua.  Nevertheless, I want to share with you some of the religious traditions that were shared with me by my catholic and protestant friends.  I am excited about experiencing this Holy celebration of our Christian faith.

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Drought in Nicaragua

Nicaragua_-_Magyo_2015-09-24_10.14.16_Spr_16.jpgDuring 2015 I met a farmer; she is supported by the Interchurch Center where I am serving. This woman managed to overcome times of drought that affected Nicaragua and still affect the Central American region due to climate change. Her story impressed me so much as an agronomist and volunteer that I wanted to share her story with you.

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A Snapshot of my Life as an Intern

I write to you from the “Gathering Place” in Talca, Chile, the Shalom Center’s primary meeting spot and the place where I have called my home for the last nine months.  By the time you receive this letter in the mail, I will be back in the United States having completed a year and a half abroad.  Last year at this time I wrote to you from a small Peruvian village along the Amazon River.  Today, I write from a bustling city between the Andes Mountains and the Pan-American Highway.  Summer is upon us, and for the Shalom Center, that means that our camp season is in full swing and the Gathering Place is abuzz with the ins and outs of delegations from different countries, camp staff, and brothers and sisters from the Pentecostal Church of Chile stopping by for visits.  The Shalom Center, the organization with which I am interning, is a group of people who facilitate programs based on peace education, environmental education and spiritual development.  It is also a place with an off-grid expanse of forest dotted with cabins up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains where many of the Shalom Center’s camps and programs take place.

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Peace

Colombia_-_Joseph_Spring_2016_pic1.jpgSpring conjures up the image of coming out of the cold darkness of winter into the warmth and light of spring that brings new life. This image resonates well with how 2016 is going so far for me and for our partners in Colombia.

I have been on home assignment since early January, which brought the challenge of facing a (thankfully mild) New England winter as I itinerated in Connecticut. As of this writing I am very much looking forward to itinerating in the Central Atlantic through the end of winter and into spring.

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