Pray with Colombia, December 11, 2022
Lectionary Selection Luke 1:46b-55
Prayers for Colombia:
Our soul sings,
our Spirit rejoices
because you notice
because you realize
that there are governments
who prefer the foolishness of bullets.
Because you know that
from 2018 to 2022,
Organized Armed Groups,
strengthened and extended their reach to 604 municipalities;
that 191 massacres were registered in the national territory,
and that, only in 2021,
926 attacks on social leaders were reported to the corresponding agencies.
our soul sings,
our Spirit rejoices
because our humiliations
they are no strangers to you
nor are they a state secret.
Our life stories
they don’t have a single face
nor do they please the status quo.
They are not the norm
for the self-indulgent happiness of this world
that demands performance,
balances and symmetry.
You see our humiliation
and you don’t think less of us.
You don’t rule us out for it
or look elsewhere.
You are not ashamed that we are dust.
You entrust us with hope instead
and insist on what is possible
And when everything was nothing
And nothingness was no more.**
Your promises are not ours to keep
Your mercies are not ours to keep
they are neither exclusive nor they exclude others from it
they extend, they expand
as millenary mountain ranges
and clear rivers in the moors.
so that we can sing again
so that we can party again
from generation to generation…
With Justapaz we pray that churches will be “watchmen of hope” (Esquivia):
- During confrontations between armed groups for territorial control, and threats to social leaders especially in departments such as Chocó.
- Through dialogues with the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and other actors within the framework of the public policy of “Total Peace”
- When establishing humanitarian agreements, especially in favor of children, adolescents and young people
- While discerning the different legislative initiatives that take place in Congress, and the uncertainty they cause in the territories; we ask that congressmen approach the initiatives of the people and not only legislate from their own perspective.
**Ángel Darío Carrero
Mission Stewardship Moment from Colombia:
I met Pilar Santos* a year ago in Ibagué. Also her family. We were supposed to meet a group of Mennonite Church women victims of the armed conflict on church grounds to carry out an exercise in community memory, but many of them were delayed by a meeting in their neighborhood. The New Jerusalem settlement is an invasion, and the municipality does not want them there. That’s what the meeting was about. Then our plans changed and it was better that we met over there.
Pilar’s mother’s house is reached by a dirt and stone road that the municipality has not wanted to pave. Shortly before, in a previous corner there is a grocery store as far as the pavement road reaches. The rest is invasion. Half-made houses in the afternoon dust.
At 5 pm there were already ten of us on Doña Daisy’s* balcony. We prayed and talked about human rights, we introduced our program for “Historical Memory, Human Rights and Advocacy”, and then we drew a map of Colombia on a big piece of paper and identified where we had become victims of the conflict. The sheet was filled with stories.
Pilar* was forced into the ranks of the FARC-EP guerrillas on April 18, 1991. She lived then in the village of Alto Sevilla in the municipality of Milan in Caquetá, and had just turned thirteen on the 15th. Then she was raped. Shortly before her 32nd birthday, she escaped from the factions of the insurgency by returning to where her mother lived, to the village of Mononguete in the Solano neighborhood of Caquetá. Then they were displaced, and Pilar went to Putumayo, where she was captured by a military checkpoint. She had an arrest warrant and served five years for the crime of rebellion. Shortly after leaving, she was charged with homicide in her former municipality. She was not recognized as a signatory to the Agreement, and six years ago she arrived at the settlement. Today she is 42, a mother, wears shrapnel on one knee, limps and participates in housing associations in her neighborhood.
In August, I returned to the Mennonite Church of Ibagué, and I saw Pilar again. This time she was participating in a workshop on gender violence with Xiomara. She continued her leadership and had an entrepreneurial project in mind. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of…” Pilar.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Alex Maldonado
Mission Partners in Colombia
- Justapaz: Mennonite Center for Justice, Peace, and Nonviolent Action, Colombia
- Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (CEDECOL)
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Colombia:
Alex Maldonado-Lizardi and Xiomara Cintron-Garcia serve with Justapaz in Colombia. Their appointments are made possible by gifts to the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts. Make a gift that supports the work of Alex and Xiomara