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Showing posts from May, 2017

The harvest is increasing

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When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them. – Matt. 9:36
Five miles down river from Istmina near the village of Chiquichuqui, Luis Norberto and Gladys Musquera farm three hectares of land. Though Luis is one of nine children in his family, he is the only one of his family farming their ancestral land.
Luis grows a variety of crops including yucca, plantain, fruit and two kinds of fish, but the crop he hopes will soon become his primary source of income is cacao.
Through a project with MCC, the Mennonite Brethren churches in the region are encouraging farmers to grow cacao, the source for cocoa and chocolate, rather than coca from which cocaine is produced.
So far, 85 farmers in the region have agreed to plant cacao. It was slow going at first. Farmers feared the armed groups that profit from illicit drugs and producing coca can be profitable. Plus, growing the alternative crop of cacao takes more time – almost two years until the first crop can be harvested and nearly five years…

Lives of service

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Blessed are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice. – Luke 11:28

We are stranded at the Iglesia Evangelica Nueva Vida in Quibdo, one of 16 Mennonite Brethren churches in Colombia begun more than 70 years ago. There is a civic strike in the Choco region and we are not able to find transportation to Istmina, our hoped for destination about an hour and a half away.
So instead, we pray. With the church members who had gathered, we trade songs and Scripture texts and then we gather in smaller circles and pray for the future of this church and for its faithful witness in its community.

Twenty years ago, Pastor Manuel told us, there was poverty in this region of Colombia, but it was also a place of peace, a place rich in natural resources.
Today, mining by foreign states has raised the level of mercury in the rivers to dangerous levels and the additional sediment in the rivers means that when the rains come, as they do frequently, the river is more likely to flood.
The poverty …