A Message from the CEO

Greetings dear friends,

I looked around the room, and I saw faces of determination and great resolve. The words shared as stories spilled out included both immense sorrow and moments of joy, and from that, a steadfast commitment resounded in collective agreement. “We are a people who will fight for what is right, for restoration, for healing,” seemed to permeate the room’s atmosphere. Not with the forces of violence, but the transformative forces of peace and justice.

The stories being shared were that of horror and redemption. The realities of violence that has plagued their very lives; the loss of husbands, children, homelands. It was my honor to be visiting the Peace and Hope Colombia office, and we met with a group of ladies the office has been working with known as Mujeres de la Memoria (Women of the Memory). We had just come from visiting a mass grave site, and now as I listened to the stories of survivors, I was struck by how instead of despair and revenge, these stories led to such hope and commitment to the work of cultivating peace. “We have seen enough of the violence.”

How true this rings. Week after week, year after year, we at Peace and Hope have seen enough of the violence! And in this current moment, you probably don’t need me to remind you as headlines daily show the war and armed conflict that has shocked the world in tragic ways. Terrible acts of violence continue to unfold on a daily basis in various conflict zones, wars, and gang controlled societies. Indeed, we live in a very violent world. And it is too easy to get used to it, and to justify it. However, we have seen enough of the violence! 

“We have seen enough of the violence!”

At Peace and Hope, our focus is on Latin America. We see firsthand the results of violence. Ours is a work up close and personal. These are not simply headlines, issues, or causes for us. We mourn with and care for the Andean families whose children were shot down by Peruvian armed forces this year. We walk alongside rape survivors providing therapies and legal supports in multiple South American countries. We work with indigenous families and communities who face violence from illegal mining operations in the Amazon, families fleeing violence in Venezuela, communities plagued by gang violence in Ecuador and Colombia-–the list could go on. Peace and Hope knows firsthand the lasting consequences of violence on children, families and communities, as well as the vicious cycle of violence breeding future violence.

However, we also get to see up close and personal a very different element. We see the restoration that CAN take place. That IS taking place. We are witnesses to the healing power of the Prince of Peace. We celebrate and rejoice when the power of peace and justice overcome violence and revenge. And we invite you to continue to partner with us, supporting Latin American leaders who are committed to cultivating peace, a radical path in a world so consumed and obsessed with violence. As I reflect on my visit with the ladies displaced from their homes by violence in Colombia, I ask myself:

Can we have the same resolve to work for peace as the very people who have experienced so much violence?

It does not matter how much religion we practice if we do not take seriously this admonition from our Lord. Let us not be like the well-intentioned but unwise bridesmaids who allowed themselves to run out of oil before the groom’s arrival! Let us commit to pursue reconciliation through the restoration of all peoples, rejecting violent responses, which not only deny our faith in God, but are also counterproductive to preventing future cycles of violence. As followers of the Prince of Peace we celebrate this season, may we seek genuine shalom, cultivating community with love, justice, fraternity, solidarity and generosity.

We invite you to give today, to financially partner with Peace and Hope International.

Many of you have been so generous and are already a part of the story of Peace and Hope and the beautiful ways God is at work in Latin America. We are full of gratitude, and invite you to once again consider giving this season, with great resolve and commitment to support those who pray with their very lives for peace.

As we give thanks to God for all the goodness in our lives this holiday season, let us also pray for peace. Let us join hands and together work for peace.

With gratitude,

Nina Balmaceda, PhD

CEO & President

We’d be honored if you included us in your end-of-year giving.

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