International Ministries

Is There Hope?

April 14, 2017 Journal
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“Jesus’ work on the cross is to protest and question and demand the overthrow of violence and death-dealing systems of power. His imminent and eternal rising is a crying out against and over the abuses of this world — ensuring that they do not have the last word.” Layton E. Williams


How to listen #1

Somewhere in my brain

each laugh, tear and lullaby

becomes memory.


How to listen #7

Even the silence

has a story to tell you.

Just listen. Listen.


How to listen #10

Write down what I think

I know. The knowing will come.


Just keep listening…

            -Jacqueline Woodson, brown girl dreaming


Listening to my heart this Easter week as I process an amazing gathering of 35 Latin American peacemakers at the first ever 10 Day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in Mexico City that I was honored to help make happen. I arrived home after experiencing life-giving beauty in diversity, wisdom in youth and seasoned sojourners, humility in abundant generosity and extravagant hospitality, and hope laced with practical and prudent non-violent tools for conflict transformation in our churches, community and world to bad news. I was saddened and grieved by news of death promoting violence in military actions taken by the US against the Syrian people, Palm Sunday bombings of Egyptian believers in their place of worship, another senseless school shooting in my hometown of San Bernardino and the Maundy Thursday bombing attack in Afghanistan. I struggle to find words to express what I think I know, trusting that the knowing will come. I’ll just keep listening…


If even the silence has a story to tell me, I’ll listen.


The busyness of facilitating group learning, arranging airport taxis for scattering workshop participants, paying the final bills for food and housing, cleaning up the reams of butcher paper used to record “the wisdom in the room”, the giving and receiving of hugs, blessings and Facebook friend requests have all subsided now and I was left to ponder in sweet silence. Stories that stick to me become memories that remind me of Jesus’ rising and crying out against and over the abuses of the world. Stories that astound and humble me as I recognize how privileged and honored I am to walk alongside of such significant servant leaders. These stories visit me, prod me and coax me toward Hope, even when the evidence against it grows with every new newsfeed.

I am grateful for the stories that move my friends towards brave non-violent transforming initiatives as they follow Jesus’ way of peace. Like Rebecca and Javier who accompany the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico as they hold on to a hope for justice. Like Ernesto who when he unknowingly committed a cultural offense, modeled mature humility and gratefulness to learn from others in the group who have been historically  marginalized. Like Gustavo who, though not a follower of Jesus, generously shared from his deep well of Chilean Mapuche spirituality and extensive knowledge of human rights advocacy. Like Luz, the only Columbian participant, who both engaged deeply with the other participants while maintaining close tabs on the struggles of her congregation and close friends back home as they dealt with emergencies related to extreme flooding and loss of life on top of the post traumatic effects of a 52 year civil war. If you can imagine, the stories that these 35 people carry with them are countless. In 10 days we couldn’t hear or honor all of the richness that they each represent, but we did get a glimpse and it was amazing.


The gift of this gathering was as historic as it was priceless. Without the generous support and prayers of many, we could not have accomplished all that we did. Most of the leaders who are serving in Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua received scholarship help to be able to attend. Now with many more tools in their peacemaking toolbox, they will be able to multiply the impact in their communities, churches and countries. Thank you for being connected. Thank you for the stories you hold. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus has the last word and it is life. That gives me Hope!