Dan works with International Ministries missionaries and national church partners around the world to deal constructively with conflict situations. These conflicts may be social and political conflicts within a country, or they may be conflicts within the national church bodies that negatively impact Christian witness. Dan trains church and community leaders in conflict transformation skills, utilizing experiential education methodologies and Bible study. He consults with church leaders about conflicts plaguing them, and in some situations he may participate in mediation teams between conflicted parties. Dan also will explore ways for people interested in conflict transformation to accompany him and develop training and facilitation skills alongside him.
He writes – Gustavo Parajon was one of my heroes and role models. Gustavo and his wife Joan were International Ministries missionaries in Nicaragua where Gustavo pastored the First Baptist Church of Managua and led in many medical and community ministries. … Gustavo was a role model for me in his work for peace and justice. … Gustavo was one of the conveners with the Nicaraguan Baptist Convention of the Global Baptist Peace Conference held in Nicaragua in 1992. He was a keynote speaker. It was at that modest resort on the Pacific Coast that God’s Spirit ignited the spark in my mind and heart that led to my current peacemaking mission with IM. That conference was my last time in Nicaragua until this year.
In March and April of 2017, I led a 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) in Mexico City with my IM colleagues Mylinda Baits and Ray Schellinger. Among the participants from 11 countries were two from Nicaragua: Freddy Solorzano and Debora Garcia Morales. Freddy is a Pentecostal pastor who is the current President of the board of CEPAD. Debora is a faculty member at both the Baptist Seminary and the Baptist university UPOLI. They invited me to come to Nicaragua, and I found myself walking in my dear mentor’s footsteps. The training we were to do was for a special institute named for Gustavo Parajon.
The major work I did was a 3-day training of over 30 young people who are CEPAD’s “psychosocial workers.” They work in various villages, their own communities, throughout Nicaragua to identify community needs and then train people and develop strategies to address those needs. Conflict is a huge issue, so Freddy asked me to do conflict transformation training with them. Since Freddy had been through our TCTT, we co-facilitated. We had a great time in both giving these young Christian peacemakers and community activists new skills, but also seeing their creativity and passion fully engaged. They organized themselves to stay in touch, to work together and to support each other as they build their work. I could see the work started so long ago by Gustavo growing into its next chapter with this younger generation, the “grand-children” in ministry of Gustavo.
Read Dan’s full journal at https://internationalministries.org/in-the-footsteps-of-gustavo/