Our context shapes our views and the priorities of our faith. In order to experience our faith through “third world eyes” we have formed partnerships with friends in Laurel Galan, Nicaragua and Lwamondo Parish in Venda, South Africa. Since 1990 multiple delegations have journeyed from both directions (they here, we there) during the past 24 years. When on site, dialog and immersion in cultural experiences create fresh perspectives, new understandings and the willingness to reexamine our personal and global priorities.
The Incarnation of Christ, his struggles and crucifixion by the powers of his day, make clear our responsibility for engaging the issues of our time. Too many Christians want to evade and avoid contemporary realities.
Nicaraguan friends (working with Entre Culturas/Between Cultures) have revealed the harshness of impoverishment, exploitation, drought, hunger, and the international policies which hurt them. Tshenu Farisani, a Lutheran Dean, was imprisoned and tortured four times during a 10 year period for speaking out and organizing against apartheid. He, his wife Mudzunga and their children were banished into exile. They arrived in the Bay Area and Peace became a spiritual home for them.
Through global partnerships we became friends; through partnership we became advocates for one another; through partnership our mutual faith prompted the desire to create a better and more just world with one another – because this is God’s desire. Most of all we get to delight in the humanity of each other by the sharing of our hopes and dreams and commitments.
Therefore we welcome – especially in worship – friends from around the world who struggle for justice: a Chinese seminarian working for Human Rights; Sulha (Reconciliation) advocates from Israel/Palestine; indigenous people from the Amazon of Ecuador; Japanese Hibaksha – survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Real solidarity begins when it is no longer a matter of “we and they” but when we pray and decide to make real the Shalom God longs for on earth.
Friends of Nicaragua and our Partnership in Laurel Galan
As you know, Laurel Galan is in a very poor rural area and has particularly suffered from the effects of climate change on their means of survival through their work in agriculture and raising farm animals. However, since my first of eight delegations since 1990, I have seen great changes in education. (The Sandanista Government first developed education for the masses in 1979. Prior to then girls and the poor were excluded.) In 1990 on my first delegation only elementary school was available in Laurel Galan. A few students walked quite a distance to the municipal seat of San Francisco Libre for secondary school.) In later years I witnessed the first opportunity for adults to achieve their high school diplomas. The Sandanista Government brought high school teachers from other parts of Nicaragua to teach on weekends in the Laurel Galan elementary school. I personally witnessed the joy and pride of these adults in achieving their accomplishments. Today most of the children attend high school and several attend the university on weekends in Managua. As a retired teacher, I believe education is the hope of the future.
On Nov. 27th I responded to Methodist Missionary, Nan McCurdy’s Christmas greeting that included information on the wonderful work she and her husband, Miguel, are doing. I also asked about the political situation in Nicaragua today. She responded with the message below:
“Things in Nicaragua are improving and tourism is returning but those who constantly receive millions from the US to destabilize are constantly doing little things that keep the country from really being in the peace it deserves. But it is totally safe now for foreigners – back to being the second or third safest in all of Latin America.
Did you sign up for the weekly Nica Notes? Go to https://afgj.org/ and hit subscribe. Fill it in and at the bottom you can just subscribe to Nicanotes or to everything.You will also see this week’s Nicanotes which begins with an article of the good things that have happened just in the last 6 weeks.”
I signed up for the Nicanotes. If you are interested in getting real information on the situation in Nicaragua, I encourage you to do so, too. Nan wrote the article. It is entitled “NicaNotes: Nicaragua in 2019 Would Make Anyone Proud”. For your information, Nan was assigned to Nicaragua by the Methodist Church and she facilitated our first delegation to Nicaragua in 1990. Pastor Steve and I were part of that delegation which resulted in Peace developing our partnership with Laurel Galan. The Methodist Church has since transferred Nan and her husband, Miguel, to work in Mexico.
However, she and her Nicaraguan husband have many family members and friends who still live in Nicaraguan so she has strong ties, concern, and knowledge regarding the situation there. Pr. Steve and I have great confidence in Nan and believe in her truthfulness.
Nan’s article is long. I hope you will study it and keep it on your computer for future reference. https://afgj.org/nicanotes-nicaragua-in-2019-would-make-anyone-proud
God used Mandela in a marvelous way. He was a leader who was humble, accessible (anyhow humility and accessibility go hand in hand), bold, selfless and fought for the rights of South Africa and beyond. Beyond the silence, God speaks.
Community in Laurel Galan.
See our Resources page for links to related sites:
- Bread for the World
- Entre Culturas/Between Cultures