Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Surviving civilization

Our communal group at Plow Creek has a mission is to be a global village practicing the peace of Jesus.

I was on the phone with someone from Kansas this week and he said, "I don't know what that means."

There's two part's to our mission. First, there's the global part. For instance, last December we sent two of our members, Richard and Ruth Anne Friesen, to Argentina to walk with the Toba, a native American group, who have been trying to figure out for the last seventy years how to survive civilization. More on that in a moment.

Second, our mission is to be a local village. Plow Creek owns houses and a 192-acre farm. The second part of our mission is to be a thriving little village, a home-base for our global village people.

And both the local and global village people practice the peace of Jesus.

As I mentioned earlier Richard and Ruth Anne are walking with, listening to, and encouraging the Toba as they seek to be faithful to the Lord and survive the taking of their tradtional land.
Here's excerpts from a recent e-mail from Ruth Anne:

After lunch we went to visit a couple who has been very close to the Kingsleys since their beginning days here-- German and Hilaria. She is the president of a group of Toba in the Colonia La Primavera, near the border with Paraguay, who are organizing to protect their land. They actually were in the midst of a protest where the group blocked the national highway for about 10 days, only allowing traffic through for half an hour at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. They had long banners across the highway at two places with about 100 yards in between. They were doing their protest nonviolently, having started by informing the gendarmeria (national police force) of their action. So about 20 gendarmeria showed up very quickly and protected them from the nearly 200 police that showed up shortly thereafter. The police were told to go on their way, which they apparently did without problems. The Toba set up temporary shelters/lean-tos by the roadside, about 100 yards from German and Hilaria's house. We went up to talk with various folks sitting by the road. It was quite hot, but people were all quite peaceful. They had received donations of drink and noodles and meat from various neighbors, so they seemed to be doing quite well. They had also had a worship service right there on the highway. It was neat to hear how faith-based their protest was. The youth were quite involved! They were sitting there on the highway right by the roadblock, sharing some mate (tea). It was great to see the co-operation of the community and the spirit of togetherness. Hilaria commented that it was important to be friendly to officials who arrived and to negotiate with them. The news of the action has been reported in the papers here in Formosa. The Toba want to keep their land. They had been told that half of the reservation had been already sold and there was nothing they could do about it. They also want a change of administrator who is politically appointed and has been 20 years on the job. On March 3 Hilaria and several other Toba leaders had a meeting with Borriini, a government official here in Formosa, but according to Hilaria's report to Gretchen Kingsley nothing was solved! Only some pay-offs were again offered but refused! Pray with us for the peaceful and just resolution of these difficulties that the Toba are experiencing as they stand up to the government to protect their rights!'

Richard and Ruth Anne are walking with people who are trying to practice the peace of Jesus and save their land.

Jesus of Nazareth had an amazing ability to combine truth and love. For groups to thrive they must do the same.

I am amazed at how Hillaria could lead a protest, definitely speaking the truth. It's not right for the Argentine officials to sell the Toba's land out from under them.

And yet Hillaria could be loving and say it's "important to be friendly to officials who arrived and to negotiate with them."

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