Peace in Schools
Two little girls play jump rope, while a small group of boys run down the basketball court chasing the lead dribbler toward the hoop. Across the concrete court another group sits in the shade playing hand-games similar to “Miss Mary Mack”, but in Spanish. The smell of fried plantains and arroz con leche fill the air, causing stomachs to growl as lunchtime approaches.
Beyond the white and blue sea of Salvadoran children playing in the courtyard in their school uniforms we spot other uniforms. Soldiers. While children run and giggle at recess, soldiers with long-barreled guns stand their guard, ready for any outbursts of violence or crisis that may arise.
At first, this image of the school “Benito Juarez” where MVP first began in 2015 seemed unbearable. Children and soldiers coexisting. Guns sharing the space of books and learning. I remember asking myself three big questions: Why was this new generation seeing so much violence? Why did they have to live in fear of violence? and Why wasn’t the church doing more to change this and bring God’s peace?
Peace in our World
Over the past few weeks, the United States has suffered once again from mass shootings. As I reflected on and mourned the violence here in this country, I am pressed by these same three questions: Why was this new generation seeing so much violence? Why did they have to live in fear of violence? and Why wasn’t the church doing more to change this and bring God’s peace?
As we prepare to return to El Salvador and continue the work God has called us to be peace makers for those communities, we are also burdened for communities around the world who suffer from violence, especially gun violence and organized crime. The church around the world is working for peace, but there is still much to do. Peace is not just an absence of physical violence, but the removal of all types of violence – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. We are called to build peace, God’s kingdom of Shalom, here on earth. And while we long for this peace, we must also act.
Peace through Love
We are God’s hands and feet to remove all types of violence from our communities and world. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let us work to drive our darkness and remove all forms of violence, so that God’s love and peace can rule in, around, and through us.
We hope you will join us in this journey towards peace.
Molly & Eliberto