City of despair becomes international beacon of peaceNanjing, Chinahttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/City-of-despair-becomes-international-beacon-of-peaceCity of despair becomes international beacon of peaceBy Mike Sherrill

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Traveling to the Arizona deserts where others have trodAlumni Hopi visit https://www.pjsn.org/news/Traveling-to-the-Arizona-deserts-where-others-have-trodTraveling to the Arizona deserts where others have trodLaurie Oswald Robinson
Advent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel Adventhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Advent-hope-and-Easter-faithAdvent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel By Joe Sawatzky
Muslims help build church in Burkina FasoBurkina Fasohttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Muslims-help-build-church-in-Burkina-FasoMuslims help build church in Burkina FasoBy Siaka Traoré
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City of despair becomes international beacon of peacehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/City-of-despair-becomes-international-beacon-of-peaceCity of despair becomes international beacon of peaceBy Mike Sherrill <p>NANJING, China (Mennonite Mission Network) — By 9 a.m., the August sun hanging over Nanjing, China, had long baked away any morning chill. As part of the group of almost 30 participants from the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI), a Mennonite Mission Network partner based in South Korea, we were invited to participate in the annual televised ceremony commemorating the Japanese surrender in 1945. </p><p>We joined about 70 other guests in laying white carnations on a memorial stone to express lament and respect for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre. The ceremony included brief addresses from other countries, including a contingent from Japan who expressed their remorse and longing for peace each year. We filed out along a 30-foot length of newsprint on which we could leave signed messages of peace and solidarity.</p><p>This was the beginning of a full-day experience at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall (in Mandarin: Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders). Beijing (north capital) serves as the current capital of China. It is the country’s largest city and a hub of global exchange. Nanjing (south capital), less than four hours south by high-speed rail, was the former center of rule for many dynasties, and holds insights into the heart of China. Indeed, contemporary Chinese-Japanese relations cannot be properly understood without a visit to the historical museums of this city.</p><p>Nanjing fell to Japanese forces on Dec. 13, 1937. Although often referenced as an event of World War II, the massacre actually occurred during the Second Sino-Japanese War. From that date, for a six-week span, Japanese soldiers killed 300,000 Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers. </p><p>The horror included looting, burning, torture, and the rape of more than 20,000 women. The atrocities committed against women extend much further than the Nanjing Massacre period. In 2015, a museum telling the horrifying story of the “comfort women” opened on the site of the Li Ji Alley Military Brothel. It was one of 40 such brothels in Nanjing. Estimates show that between 1937 and 1945, more than 200,000 women from China and surrounding countries were “enlisted” by the Japanese military. </p><p>As painful as it is to recount these stories, these museums stand as a remembrance to the victims and serve as a lament with details often not shared in textbooks outside of China. </p><p>The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, however, intentionally points beyond lament toward a future hope of healing and peace. In the courtyard a memorial symbolizes the longing for peace in the world, and in particular, with Japan. Well-known Japanese leaders, including former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, have visited the museum, and pictures are displayed of these visits. A broader survey of Nanjing reveals that this museum is only one part of an inspired vision to reshape Nanjing into an International City of Peace.</p><p>In 2017, Nanjing University established an Institute for Peace Studies, the first of its kind in China, directed by Dr. Liu Cheng, UNESCO chair for Peace Studies and NARPI partner. In addition to offering courses in peace studies, the institute promotes peace education in primary and secondary schools, holds international seminars, and hosts many training courses. </p><p>Those courses include the 2019 NARPI Summer Peacebuilding Training led by Mission Network husband-wife team, Jae Young Lee and Karen Spicher. More than 100 youth from across East Asia attended the two-week training. I was deeply encouraged to witness the blossoming of mutual understanding and appreciation among these future leaders in pursuit of peace. </p><p>Part of our debriefing after the day at the Memorial Hall was a panel discussion with four survivors of the Nanjing Massacre. Three of them were toddlers at the time, but one was a 10-year-old. Now 92, he recalled his experience in vivid detail. </p><p>The entire room was riveted by his passionate testimony. In closing, he declared that although he hates what happened, he does not hate the Japanese. He urged the assembled youth to leave hate behind and to pursue peace in the world in order to build a shared future for all humanity. </p><p>Out of the ashes of despair, suffering and sorrow, Nanjing is taking strides to be named among the International Cities of Peace® reaching out to the world with a powerful message of solidarity and hope. </p>
Advent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel https://www.pjsn.org/blog/Advent-hope-and-Easter-faithAdvent hope and Easter faith: a film review of Emanuel By Joe Sawatzky <p></p><p>Advent hope and Easter faith: a film review of <em>Emanuel </em></p><p>By Joe Sawatzky </p><p>This Advent season many churches will sing, “O Come, O Come Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel.” In doing so, we plead that “God with us” — Emmanuel — may “appear a second time” to complete in history the freedom from evil, sin and death, accomplished in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:28). Grounded in the past, our hope for the future is fueled in the present, whenever we become acutely aware that God is with us. True to its title, <em>Emanuel</em> — a documentary film about the <span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Emanuel</span><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"> African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina — channels just such hope. </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;"><em>Emanuel</em>, directed by Brian Ivie and co-produced by celebrities Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, was released in theaters last summer and was ready for purchase this fall. The movie tells the story of the nine church members gunned down June 17, 2015, at a Bible study in their historic African-American church by a young White male seeking to start a race war. Through dramatic vignettes, evocative imagery, and compelling interviews, the film places the tragedy in the history of American racism. Charleston was “the premier slave port” through which 40 percent of African Americans trace their lineage. South Carolina was the only original U.S. colony in which Blacks outnumbered Whites, a fact fueling White hysteria about a reversal of society’s racial hierarchy. “Mother Emanuel,” the oldest AME church in the south, was a symbol of Black self-determination in the face of White supremacy. <em>Emanuel</em> also connects the mass shooting to the contemporary context of lethal violence against unarmed Black men, including Charleston’s own Walter Scott. He was shot five times in the back while fleeing a White police officer a few months prior. </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">These scenes form the backdrop to <em>Emanuel’s</em> main theme — the intensely personal, problematic, and theologically profound process called forgiveness. Viewers are likely to weep with Nadine Collier as she recounts how she heard that her mother, Ethel Lance, had perished in the massacre. In the eyewitness testimony of his mother, Felicia Sanders, we are compelled by the love of Tywanza, who spoke grace to his killer, “You don’t have to do this ... we mean you no harm.” Tywanza delayed death just long enough to reach his beloved “Aunt Susie” [Jackson] where she lay bleeding. </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Without resolving knotty theological questions, we may find ourselves strangely comforted in the words of the preacher Anthony Thompson. He detected an extraordinary glow alighting his wife, Myra, on the morning of her murder as she eagerly departed for Bible study. “I understood it afterward,” says Thompson, “she was already in her glory.” We may also ponder the testimony of collegiate athlete Chris Singleton. He realized in the wake of his mother’s death that the biblical proverb that had strengthened him on the baseball field that season “wasn’t for baseball.” </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Each of the above made public and unplanned pronouncements of forgiveness toward Dylann Roof, their loved ones’ killer. This spontaneity of grace seems to be <em>Emanuel’s</em> main point, echoed also in the climactic footage from the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Emanuel AME’s slain pastor. Indeed, eyewitnesses recount the moment during the oration when “something came over” President Barack Obama and he “began to preach.” Extolling the mysterious merits of forgiveness on display in Emanuel’s members, and following a pregnant pause, a song sprang up, <em>“Amazing Grace ...” </em></span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">For all its compelling power, forgiveness is not presented without its problems. Viewers may find themselves persuaded by Muhiyidin D’Baha and Waltrina Middleton, activists who hold forgiveness accountable for the deferment of justice. We hear Melvin Graham Jr., brother of the slain Cynthia Graham Hurd, resolve not to forgive until Roof can say which of the seven shots fired into Hurd’s body was the one that killed her. We also hear him say of those family members who pronounced forgiveness, “God truly worked a work in them. I am a work in progress.” </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Graham’s words may best articulate that hope for a meeting of salvation’s past and future, where “the finished work” — “God truly worked a work in them” — holds the promise for God’s “work <em>in progress</em>.” In beseeching “Immanuel” for the “ransom” to come, we may remember the “amazing grace ... that <em>saved</em> a wretch like me.” In expressing our Advent hope, we may experience our Easter faith, that the “one who endured such hostility against himself from sinners” is even now Emmanuel, “God is with us” (Hebrews 12:3; Matthew 1:23). </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">At once educational and affective, <em>Emanuel</em> ultimately portrays forgiveness as the real presence of God in Christ with his people, rising up, and renewing us in faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).</span></p>
Muslims help build church in Burkina Fasohttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Muslims-help-build-church-in-Burkina-FasoMuslims help build church in Burkina FasoBy Siaka Traoré<p>BOBO-DIOULASSO, Burkina Faso (Mennonite Mission Network) — Thirteen years ago, we began planting Mennonite churches around Bobo-Dioulasso, the second city of Burkina Faso. Today, we worship in three locations, with the newest being in Kodeni.</p><p>It began with Ousmane Hié, a teenager from Kodeni, who was forced to end his education due to lack of family resources. He worked for two years as an apprentice to an auto mechanic. My wife, Claire, and I saw much potential in Ousmane, and Claire helped him get back into school.</p><p>Each Sunday, Ousmane and three of his siblings walked about three miles from Kodeni to attend our church in Bobo. Claire helped them get their paperwork in order so they, too, could attend school. These four children were the beginning of the Mennonite Church in their village.</p><p>To celebrate World Day of Evangelism in 2016, we held three evening meetings in Kodeni. Because of this outreach, more than 50 children gathered for worship and Sunday school in a classroom of a nearby public school. This church plant is led by Samuel Traoré, a Bible school student from the Bobo congregation. </p><p>Believing that this new congregation would soon outgrow a classroom, we searched for a plot of land on which to build. As soon as we bought the land, we visited the people who lived in the neighborhood. They are all Muslims, but they welcomed us warmly. They began giving us valuable building tips.</p><p>Each time we visited our new plot of land, we first visited our neighbors, especially the family of the <em>imam</em> whose property adjoined our church plot. God seemed to precede each encounter and soften their hearts so that they were friendly toward us, even though there is much distrust and persecution between Christians and Muslims in our country. Because of our good relationship with the imam's family, we asked if they would guard our construction materials — cement, boards, shovels and wheelbarrows — against theft.</p><p>What is even more remarkable is that when our church members have workdays, Muslim youth come and help us build our church!</p><p>Our prayer is that we will be a church of peace that builds relationships with everyone — without laying aside our distinctive identity. One of the verses that guides us comes from 1 Peter 2:9: "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of the one who called you from the shadows into marvelous light."<br></p><p><em style="color:#808070;font-size:16pt;">Siaka Traoré has retired from formal leadership positions with </em><span style="color:#808070;font-size:16pt;">Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso</span><em style="color:#808070;font-size:16pt;"> (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso), but continues to serve with Mennonite World Conference. He owns franchises of Christian bookstores and hardware stores in Burkina Faso, and lives in Bobo-Dioulasso with his wife, Claire. </em><br></p><p><em style="color:#808070;font-size:16pt;"><br></em></p><p><em style="color:#808070;font-size:16pt;"><img src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2019/Kodeni.jpg?RenditionID=16" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></em></p><h4>Steve Wiebe-Johnson, Mennonite Mission Network’s co-director for Africa and Europe, and Siaka Traore stand on the foundation of the new Kodeni Mennonite Church building. Photographer: Rod Hollinger-Janzen<br></h4><p><br></p>
I wear my heart on my sleevehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/I-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeveI wear my heart on my sleeveBy Joshua Garber<p>When Alisha and I and our son, Asher, moved to Barcelona, many things didn't make the cut in our honest attempt to "leave all things behind" and follow Jesus. However, <em>Martyrs Mirror</em> was never on the chopping block, despite its six-pound weight.</p><p><em>Martyrs Mirror</em>, a book of more than 1,500 pages, was written in the 17th century. It is filled with thousands of stories and testimonies of the early Anabaptists (and other similar-minded Christians) who were persecuted and killed in terrible ways during the Radical Reformation. Perhaps its most famous story is about a Dutch Anabaptist named Dirk Willems, who was running from the authorities after he escaped imprisonment. While fleeing across a frozen lake, Willems heard a loud crack and realized his pursuer had fallen through the ice. Willems went back and rescued him. This act of profound compassion and enemy-love cost him his life and he was burned at the stake. </p><p>I love sharing this story. For me, it captures one of the most stunning Christian acts I've ever heard of, proclaiming that one's liberation cannot come at the cost of someone else's suffering. It has affected me so profoundly that I got the well-known copper etching of this story tattooed on my arm.</p><p>It's joined several other tattoos, all of which delight in different aspects of God that I've learned in my walk with Christ. I have a page from Maurice Sendak's classic children's book, <em>Where the Wild Things Are</em>, wrapped around one arm — a beautiful parallel of the Prodigal Son. I have a nautilus deconstructing into a plot of the Golden Mean — God's fingerprint that shows this reoccurring phenomenon of order and intention in a seemingly chaotic universe. I have a bird and flowers — a reminder that, if God takes care of such things, then I shouldn't worry. And there are several more. </p><p>When you consider a modern definition of "sleeve" that refers to an arm covered in tattoos, I'm not joking when I say I wear my heart on my sleeve. In doing so, I've had the opportunity to tell the story of Dirk Willems dozens of times, whereas it's a safe bet most copies of <em>Martyrs Mirror</em> never leave the house. </p><p>My tattoos are conversation starters. They're personal reminders. They're an act of worship and obedience — a nod to Deuteronomy 6:8 ("Bind God's message to your hands.") and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ("Your body is a temple; honor God with your body.").</p><p>From my experience, wearing my heart on my sleeve illustrates a faith perspective that genuinely confounds most people who have been turned off by certain branches of Christianity. It has built countless more bridges than barriers, allowing my body to proclaim the gospel even when my mouth doesn't have the words. The world is changing, and to be honest, I had forgotten there are still pockets of Christians who are shocked by tattoos — that is, until this past summer when Alisha and I were sharing about our ministry in Barcelona with a wonderful partner church in rural Kansas. The first question we received was, "Can you tell us about your tattoos?"</p><p>If making some ethnic Mennonites scratch their heads is the consequence of decorating my arms with visual stories, inspired by the divine, like the cathedrals of old, then I'm OK with that. Any natural opportunity to share about the subversive nature of Christ's love is worth making some folks uncomfortable.</p><p><img src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2019/_DSC6326.jpg?RenditionID=15" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><h4>In the Middle Ages when literacy rates were low, stained glass windows told the biblical story. Alisha Garber repurposes the stained glass windows motif for today’s world in her tattoos. Photographer: Josh Garber.</h4><p><br></p><p><img src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2019/_DSC6373.jpg?RenditionID=15" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><h4>Asher Garber gets an early start on Anabaptist theology from <em>Martyrs Mirror</em>.</h4><p><br></p><p><em>Alisha and Joshua Garber, along with their son, Asher, serve with Mennonite Mission Network in Barcelona, Catalonia (a region where allegiance to Spain vies with voices calling for independence). They work alongside the leaders of the Mennonite church in Barcelona, focusing on youth outreach and congregational mission. To learn more, visit</em> <a href="http://www.worthwhileadventures.org/">WorthwhileAdventures.org</a>.<br></p>
Walking the Watershed Wayhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Walking-the-Watershed-WayWalking the Watershed WayBy Alice M. Price <p>​<span style="font-size:1.4rem;background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-style:inherit;">Wendell Berry once penned: "Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you." That theme was woven throughout a recent gathering, "Walking the Watershed Way: Going Deeper into Creation Care," held Sept. 27-29 in Alamosa, Colorado. </span></p><p>I was grateful to be part of a Mountain States Conference planning team* that helped to shape the high-energy gathering of 40-some Mennonites and other diverse community allies. Together, we explored ways to build capacity to respond locally and globally to the climate crisis. The Anabaptist Fellowship of Alamosa hosted the weekend of presentations, activities, practical tools, and commitments to action. <a href="https://mennocreationcare.org/">Mennonite Creation Care Network</a> provided a small grant to help with expenses. </p><p>It was heartening to see a wide range of participants – people in their early 20s up to their 80s – engage with each other and the material. For me, it held one vision of what "church" might be moving forward in this region. Hands-on portions of the weekend, a "Taste of Place," pivoted around local field experiences and presentations, exposing out-of-town visitors to innovations in the Alamosa area related to equitable land and local foods access and environmental restoration efforts.  </p><p>For example, Liza Marron, executive director of the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, shared information about the organization's varied initiatives. Tours followed, led by various project managers such as Jesse Marchildon, of the Rio Grande Farm Park. Abe Rosenberg prepared a Local Foods/Local Places picnic shaped by foods from the Valley Roots Food Hub. Zoila Gomez gave a tour of the Alamosa Farmers' Market, highlighting her program's focus on nutritious cooking for lower-income families. Emma Reesor, executive director of the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, took the group to a bend in the Rio Grande restored through efforts by that project, where a history of indigenous presence was shared and prayers were offered. </p><p>The next day, Reesor and Patrick O'Neill shared about ongoing collaborative efforts in our Valley to preserve and restore important water and soil resources. O'Neill also spoke of his long-time partnership with the Guatemala family farmers at what is now the Rio Grande Farm Park.  </p><p>Todd Wynward and Daniel Herrera, leaders of a Watershed Way group in Taos, New Mexico, challenged the audience with what <em>Walking the Watershed Way</em> requires, from overall life commitments to specific daily practices. They highlighted five practices that inspire the Taos group:<br></p><p><br></p><ol><li>Fall in love with your place.</li><li>Protect your place and practice abundance.</li><li>Celebrate and surrender to each season.</li><li>Practice communion through common projects with diverse groups.</li><li>Treat your place as your teacher/rabbi.  </li></ol><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;"><br></span></p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;color:inherit;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:inherit;">Interwoven throughout the weekend was space for individual and small-group networking. Every break included the buzz of conversation. Folks swapped contact information along with advice on worms, seeds, and garden produce. They also shared recipes, music, poetry, book recommendations, and connections for accessing desired foods and other regional supplies. Opportunities to explore "next steps" for action by individuals, local community groups, and the larger regional network also helped to drive the event. Towars the close, Wynward repeated his ongoing challenge for individuals and groups to move beyond ideas to action. He urged them to draw upon learnings they gained from projects they had visited and connections they had made during the gathering.</span><br></p><p>As coordinator of a Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) program in this area for many years, it was gratifying to visit local projects that MVS volunteers and Fellowship members have helped to initiate and/or keep vibrant over the years. Reesor, who began two years of MVS in Alamosa in 2013, now directs the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project. Connor Born is a current volunteer at that project, preceded by Andrea Bachman and Reesor's predecessor, Jeremy Yoh. Hannah Thiel currently volunteers with the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, preceded there in recent years by Chris Lehman, Bryce Hostetler, Curtis Martin, and Peter Wise.</p><p>These important opportunities for community engagement resonate with our Anabaptist understandings and with the local service model of MVS in Alamosa. These and others have greatly enriched our lives and the life of our broader community in this rural setting. </p><p>*The planning team members were Anita Amstutz, Barry Bartel, Ken Gingerich, Alice Price, and Todd Wynward.<br></p>
Turmoil in Ecuadorhttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Turmoil-in-EcuadorTurmoil in EcuadorBy Peter Wigginton <p style="text-align:left;"><strong></strong>Ecuador has generally been a very peaceful and politically stable nation, compared to its close neighbors, Colombia and Peru. Delicia and I have been serving the past four years with Mennonite Mission Network in Quito, Ecuador's capital, and we have experienced this calm. However, Ecuador has struggled a lot economically. And now these struggles are coming to a catalytic moment as mass transportation sector strikes and a large indigenous march are exciting the nation.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Ecuador's current president, Lenin Moreno, has tried to distance himself from the previous government and leader, Rafael Correa. Correa had always championed his "Civilian Revolution" and invested a lot in public infrastructure. He also pushed back against U.S.-led policies and other neoliberal ideals.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Moreno recently worked with the International Monetary Fund to strike a deal for a loan for the government; some of the deal required that the government reduce spending. The deal was hammered out behind closed doors, without the knowledge or approval of the Ecuadorian general assembly or congress. And now some terms of the loan agreement are coming due. </p><p style="text-align:left;">The government announced Oct. 1 its plans to cut subsidies for diesel and gasoline. Those cuts raised costs for taxi operators, bus owners, and food prices. These subsidy cuts have caused an almost 100 percent hike in gas and diesel prices. This huge spike has sparked protests from transportation organizations and unions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;"><strong><em>Mission Network partners </em></strong><strong><em>encourage peace and justice to reign </em></strong> </p><p style="text-align:left;">Those strikes eased after a few days, but now student movements and indigenous organizations—especially CONAIE, a national indigenous organization—are pressing forward in a growing indigenous march now storming into Quito. More information on IMF and subsidies are explained by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/27/imf-economics-inequality-trump-ecuador" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>The Guardian</em>,</span></a> <a href="https://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/2019/10/imf-ecuador-agreement-undermines-workers-rights/" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>Bretton Woods Project</em>,</span></a> and <a href="https://www.vox.com/2019/5/17/18624740/fossil-fuel-subsidies-climate-imf" target="_blank"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>Vox</em>.</span></a>  <br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Mission Network partners, the Quito Mennonite Church of ICAME, and the indigenous Mennonite churches of ICME, are involved in fixing food for the marchers. Mission Network's local partner, FEINE, is also helping to organize the march. It has officially said that it is against the decree that cut the subsidies for fuel.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Oct. 8, several FEINE leaders were arrested and detained when they pushed into the national Assembly building with other protesters. Julian Guaman of ICME estimated that more than 50,000 indigenous people are participating in the march to Quito, and more than 20,000 are marching to Guayaquil. Members of ICME churches are also participating in the indigenous march. Guaman shared that ICME has not issued an official statement. But members of their churches are pushing against injustice, citing Matthew 21:12-13, when Jesus pushed out the money lenders from the temple.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Another member of the ICME churches, youth leader Anita Aguagallo, said that the government has not initiated dialogue, but has fomented hate toward the indigenous movements. She believes the church needs to have a message of love toward all our brothers and sisters. Aguagallo also shared that she was at a protest site Oct. 8 where police used violence to suppress the protesters – many of them women and children. Several protestors, including children, were hurt.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Members of the Mennonite church in Quito are participating in public demonstrations in favor of justice and peace. ICAME issued a statement that reads in part: "We call for work to overcome structural injustice and go beyond an economic model that has placed the majority of the population on the margins. [New laws must be created] to organize society not around capital, the market and the transnationals, but [around] the common good, for the people who are on foot, and to solve the problems of injustice and unemployment that afflict thousands of Ecuadorians." </p><p style="text-align:left;">The church leaders acknowledged that the United Nations and the leaders of the Catholic Church and universities have been designated to start mediation. But the president has reiterated they will not give in to the decree that cut subsidies. Please pray for Ecuador, the government, the different social and religious leaders, and the different Mennonite congregations in Ecuador. We are called by Christ to love our enemies no matter where they may be from.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Martin Luther King Jr. gave us guidance on how we can love our enemies and push against injustice: "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding, and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."  </p><p style="text-align:left;">But this question remains for the global church: How can we support brothers and sisters in Ecuador and around the world who are combating injustice? We most certainly can be in prayerful communion with them. But is this enough? We can petition our different leaders of government (the IMF is mostly run at the discretion and guidance of the current U.S. administration). Is this enough? We can take to the streets as members of the Ecuadorian church are doing, but who will take notice?  </p><p style="text-align:left;">Maybe we can take heart in a different call from King, found in an excerpt from his essay, "Loving Your Enemies:" "To our most bitter opponents we say, 'We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. …" </p><p style="text-align:left;">We can and shall pray. We can and shall make our voices heard. We can also march. But we must remember that we will also suffer, and within that suffering, we must love.  </p><p style="text-align:left;"> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><a href="/Impact/locations/Latin%20America/Ecuador">Learn more about Mission Network's ministries in Ecuador.</a> </p><p><br></p>