The Spirit of Giving

This year has been challenging on so many levels. However, as the youth, young adults and children in the SEHPAZ (Be Peace Make Peace) project know, it has also been a year to practice shalom. It has been a year where they have been able to take leadership and initiative in their community and be a beacon of light during some dark times. It has been a year that they have been able to live into their call as peacemakers.

Be Peace Make Peace leaders help to clean and organize a local park

In December this continued to be true. Given their active role in the town of El Bagre during the past 2 years and their partnership with the municipal government, other organizations and foundations, they have been able to reach out to more children living in difficult circumstances. They were approached by a local mining company Mineros Aluvial (gold mining is the main economic activity in the town) and invited to be protagonists in a Christmas initiative for children. The company would provide the resources and the gifts, and the Be Peace Make Peace participants would have the joy of meeting with children, hosting a few fun activities to celebrate Christmas, and they would give out Christmas gifts. This is possible as the cases of Covid in the town are low.

And so as they do with everything, the leaders and participants in Be Peace Make Peace organized, planned and provided a reason to celebrate this Christmas for 1055 children in the municipality. Yes, that is correct! 1055 children were the recipients of some love this Christmas.

Gifts were given and activities organized for children in a neighborhood in the town of El Bagre. Even Krystal who had broken her leg and was in a full cast would not miss out on the opportunity to serve other kids. So they set her up with a chair and she was able to spread joy by face painting. As you can see by the fan on her, El Bagre is very hot (think 90s and 90% humidity).

In addition to sharing joy with kids in the town, they also went out into the countryside where farmers and their families live. They visited 13 rural communities (known as Veredas). Often it required different forms of transportation to reach the kids and their families – from boats, to canoes, to horses, and walking. One of the leaders shared that the longest trip they took to visit a group of the kids in the countryside required 2.5 hours of travel (an hour in a boat, 30 minutes in a canoe, and 1 hour on horseback or walking) Check out the video clips of their adventures by clicking on the titles below.

Riding horseback to visit children in the countryside

One of the trips on horseback to visit children in the countryside

The participant in this video narrates by saying, “Doesn’t matter the time, the harsh weather…the distance doesn’t matter. Here we go, with all the motivation in the world, accompanied by God’s hand. The youth of Be Peace Make Peace, making history.”

Riding through streams to get to rural communities

Participants from Be Peace Make Peace even rode through creeks to reach families

Exchanging gifts on the river

Many of the families and children who live in these rural communities don’t get many visitors, let alone gifts. So you can imagine the joy not only for those receiving the visitors, but those who had the privilege of visiting and sharing a little love this Christmas. The hope of the leaders of SEHPAZ is that this partnership will continue in the year to come and that this would not be a one time experience, but that the Be Peace Make Peace participants would be able to continue to visit, interact with and develop relationships with the children and their families, in their commitment to live out shalom in their community and municipality. Praise God for their heart and desire to give and serve and reach out to some of the most vulnerable in their community. Pray that this would be the beginning of new opportunities to be living examples of shalom to children and their families.

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3 thoughts on “The Spirit of Giving

  1. I am amazed at all the opportunities you take to let God show and be through you and those you lead His peace and light. I’m not even sure that I can respond here or not. Praising the Lord for what it going on in Columbia! Reaching the children so far from out is truly amazing. So very wonderful and I do pray it will continue into the future.

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