International Ministries

Buttry, Dan - International Ministries The latest from Dan Buttry https://internationalministries.org/teams/110-buttry-dan.rss Pan African Peace Network <p>In 2013 the Pan African Peace Network (PAPNET) was formed. &nbsp;It was born among participants at the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) that Sharon and I led in Kenya. &nbsp;We had people from eight African countries, and they wanted to build on what they had learned, putting the training skills into practice. &nbsp;But they also wanted to continue the relationships, working together in international partnerships, bringing together spiritual energy, Biblical perspectives, and experiential education tools to impact African contexts for peace.</p><p>Almost immediately they launched into the work with a team being sent straight from the TCTT to do a workshop in a rural flashpoint for political violence in the Rift Valley of Kenya. &nbsp;Later in northern Kenya Boaz Keibarak got involved mediating between warring tribes, and he invited Philip Kakungulu from Uganda to join him in a conflict transformation training initiative with those tribes. &nbsp;Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe became the coordinator for PAPNET. &nbsp;He invited Boaz to help him train chiefs and traditional leaders on peace-building in a volatile region of southern Zimbabwe. &nbsp;Then Philip and Lance trained together in the Lord's Resistance Army areas of northern Uganda, especially working among war orphans and the staff ministering to the orphans.</p><p>PAPNET grew when Lance and I led another TCTT in Nigeria, this time drawing participants from ten countries. &nbsp;One was Anthony Fabrice Kettemalet, a dynamic young Christian activist from Central African Republic. &nbsp;Fabrice took his new peacemaking tools and quickly made such a huge impact in C.A.R. that the U.S. embassy noticed. &nbsp;Fabrice was hosted on a U.S. tour visiting places like the Jimmy Carter Center in Georgia and the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. &nbsp;Meanwhile back in C.A.R. Fabrice working with Muslim leaders to develop joint Christian/Muslim public prayer vigils for peace and conflict transformation training throughout the country.</p><p>Lance Muteyo will be joining me and International Ministries at the American Baptist Churches' Mission Summit. &nbsp;If you go to Portland for the Summit, be sure to catch us at the IM exhibit and at the IM Luncheon on Saturday.</p><p>Also, you can view a musical slideshow about the work of PAPNET on my website: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.danbuttry.com/resources/presentations/papnet-slideshow/">Click here</a>.</p><p>By the way, you can support the work of PAPNET through an IM project, the <a href="https://internationalministries.org/projects/150">Global Peacemakers Mentoring Project</a>--you can give on-line or send a check to IM noted for that project to help keep this work going as we seek to make an impact with the peace of Christ in various conflict zones in Africa and beyond.</p><p>Thank you for your prayers, financial support, encouragement, and partnership!</p><p>Peace,</p><p>Dan</p> Thu, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65315-pan-african-peace-network https://internationalministries.org/read/65315-pan-african-peace-network Miracle donation <p>The Lord promises to provide for our needs, and we had a miracle provision for a mission program need this year. &nbsp;Our 10-day intensive Trainings of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) have been a great success. &nbsp;However after TCTTs held in Thailand (2012), Kenya (2013), Nigeria (2014), Ukraine (2015), Detroit (2010, 2011, 2015), and the Philippines (2016) we had exhausted all the grant money along with many generous gifts from donor churches and individuals. &nbsp;But momentum was growing for the training with more requests from people seeking to be empowered for peacemaking work in mediation, nonviolence, trauma healing, and conflict transformation training. &nbsp;Specifically we had invitations to work in the Middle East (Egypt) and Latin America (Mexico). &nbsp;But no money!</p><p>Then the miracle occurred. &nbsp;I had never received a gift or donation beyond $5,000 for any program except for the grant that covered the earlier TCTTs. &nbsp;Then without making any appeal an anonymous gift of around $20,000 came as an undesignated specifics donation through the American Baptist Foundation. &nbsp;Given our plans for two major TCTTs in 2017 and no significant funds, I knew immediately what the miracle was connected to in God's plans.</p><p>In Alexandria, Egypt this February we held the training with 32 people from Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, India, Nepal, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. &nbsp;In Mexico City this March and April we held the training with another 32 people from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. &nbsp;With the generous gift we were able to provide scholarships for Christian peacemakers to be equipped, sometimes in war zones, post-war situations needing healing and reconciliation, or to deal with other social conflicts often involving violence.</p><p>As we began our training in Egypt one morning we woke to a quadruple rainbow. &nbsp;I'd never seen such a thing. &nbsp;The double rainbow was clear, but out of the base of the brightest arc two other multi-hued arcs split off. &nbsp;What a sign of hope as we began our work! &nbsp;An extra blessing!</p><p>Then as we finished each TCTT we had a farewell exercise of an affirmation web. &nbsp;Each participant would throw a ball of yarn, holding onto one end, and speaking words of affirmation to the person who received it. &nbsp;Soon we were all bound together by that web, feeling our connections not just through the yarn but in our hearts. &nbsp;There was at least one person missing from that circle--the generous heart that gave us the anonymous gift of $20,000 to make all this possible. &nbsp;I wish he or she (or perhaps a couple) were there for me to throw the yarn to and say "Thank you!" &nbsp;I trust they know a bit of the impact of their generosity which touched many hurting countries with one gift.</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan</p> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64917-miracle-donation https://internationalministries.org/read/64917-miracle-donation Conflict Transformation Trainers TNG <p>Since 2012 the signature program for my peacemaking ministry has been the intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT). &nbsp;We started doing one TCTT a year, and have done two per year since 2015. &nbsp;This February Sharon and I led a TCTT in Egypt with people from 13 countries. &nbsp;We were joined in the leadership of the training team by Manal El Tayar from Lebanon.</p><p>One of the key concerns in the TCTTs is empowering the next generation of peacemaking leaders and trainers. &nbsp;Obviously, the training itself speaks to that purpose, but since 2014 I've also invited some TCTT graduates to lead later TCTTs with me. &nbsp;Manal was in the 2015 TCTT in Kiev, Ukraine. &nbsp;After that she had worked in a peace organization working across the Middle East and North Africa. &nbsp;Recently she was hired to direct the peace-building initiatives of the Institute for Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. &nbsp;When Sharon and I planned to lead a TCTT in the Arab world Manal was our obvious choice as a co-facilitator. &nbsp;Though still in her 20s she is emerging as a tremendous Christian peacemaking leader.</p><p>Manal facilitated various tools in the Egypt TCTT with me consulting and coaching. &nbsp;However, she also brought her own gifts and skills into her leadership, doing things differently from how I do them, as should be expected. &nbsp;Sometimes I'd watch her and think, "Wow, that works really well--I'll try that next time I lead it!" &nbsp;As the three of us worked on the plan for the training, Manal suggested a major empathy exercise that fit in well with the goals and design. &nbsp;We added her piece to the overall plan, and it ended up being one of the most emotionally intense moments of the training.</p><p>Mentoring is not a one-way street, passing on the wisdom from the older, more experienced one (me, in this case) to the younger up-coming one (Manal). &nbsp;Yes, there is much wisdom and experienced passed on. &nbsp;But in a good mentoring relationship the wisdom of the older one includes an openness to learn from the younger. &nbsp;Manal was a full member of our team, growing in some ways as a trainer, but also teaching Sharon and me as well as the participants. &nbsp;Sharon, Manal and I with our particular personalities and stories connected to different participants at deeper levels, helping them stretch their thinking, take risks in trying new things, and processing all that was being stirred up in the training. &nbsp;Together as a leadership team we were able to impact people's lives much more than if I was working solo.</p><p>Watching the rising generation of leaders like Manal gives me hope. &nbsp;God is raising up outstanding women and men who have a passion to follow Jesus into some of the really tangled places of our planet. &nbsp;God's reign continues to break into our wounded world!</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan</p> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64754-conflict-transformation-trainers-tng https://internationalministries.org/read/64754-conflict-transformation-trainers-tng Helping Heroes <p>One of the special privileges Sharon and I had on our recent trip to the Middle East was to serve those who work among refugees and displaced people from the civil war in Syria. &nbsp;These folks are heroes in my book, pouring out their lives to help people whose lives have been ripped apart by a terrible war now spinning into its 6th year. &nbsp;Just like Aaron and Hur held up Moses' weary arms in Exodus 17, we sought to hold up the weary arms of incredible servants of the Lord who work among "the least of these."</p><p>In January we were in Lebanon teaching at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. &nbsp;In addition we led a number of workshops in the area, including two 2-day trainings sponsored by the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development, one of IM's main partners in Lebanon. &nbsp;</p><p>The first workshop was with church and community leaders from Syria who came into Lebanon just for this training. &nbsp;Their stories of faithful service in places like Aleppo and Homs moved us to tears. &nbsp;We taught about the dynamics of trauma and trauma healing. &nbsp;We also taught about self-care: &nbsp;How do we not burn out and see our compassion erode away when faced with such intense, constant, and emotionally-sapping needs? &nbsp;We used experiential models of education, including people sculptures, mirroring emotions in our bodies, and dramatized Bible studies. &nbsp;A pastor from Aleppo told about his church building being destroyed and most of his congregation having fled. &nbsp;Yet the church was growing as they continued to reach out to those around them in love and service. &nbsp;He gushed with appreciation for the training even as he headed back to his ravaged city.</p><p>The second workshop was with Christian workers from Lebanon working among the Syrian refugees. &nbsp;We facilitated the same training design as before. &nbsp;Again we heard stories of profound sorrow as well as of miraculous provision and protection. &nbsp;Sharon and I were leading, but we felt like we were the students learning from these faithful witnesses.</p><p>As we were serving these heroes we constantly felt the sharp contrast with our own country's fearful attitudes toward refugees and immigrants, closing our doors in the face of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. &nbsp;The Christians in Lebanon are heroic in ministering to those in need, whether Muslims or Christians or people of no particular faith. &nbsp;They see Jesus, who was a refugee himself as a child, among those in need. &nbsp;We in the U.S. need to be challenged in our discipleship to live out the sacrificial love which we have received in Christ. &nbsp;Will we be among the sheep or the goats in that moment Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25 when we will be judged based on how we treated "the least of these"? &nbsp;For as we treated them we treated Jesus. &nbsp;These are difficult days across the world, and my role models are the people Sharon and I were honored to equip and support for their ministry in these two trainings in Lebanon.</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan</p> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64675-helping-heroes https://internationalministries.org/read/64675-helping-heroes The Church in the City that Hasn't Been Built <p class="MsoNormal">Today (Feb. 3) I visited a church in a city that hasn’t been built yet.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The city is Shorouk, Egypt.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The population of Egypt has been exploding, with over 94 million people.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Metropolitan Cairo is densely packed with over 20 million people, and new cities are springing up quickly in the surrounding areas.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Sharon and I were leaders along with IM Area Director Charles Jones for a retreat for pastors and their families in the Egyptian Baptist Convention.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The retreat center used to be in the desert east of the Nile.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But now a city is springing up all around it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In every direction dirt streets are lined out.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The concrete, brick and rebar skeletons of new buildings rise from the ground in every direction as far as you can see.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The sites of other homes are marked by small brick corners sometimes with the electrical box already installed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Some streets have villas nearing completion, whereas others are still full of dust and bricks.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">In the middle of this desert under construction and a short walk from the retreat center is the rising form of a Baptist Church that already has a congregation gathering in it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Yousef serves the 60 or so people who gather on Sundays in the completed ground floor.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>On the second floor is the sanctuary which will hold many hundreds, awaiting windows and finishing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Next to the church a medical clinic will be built to provide for the health care of the community.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The street has already been named Baptist Church Street.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">The city isn’t even built yet, but already the Baptist Church is present.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The core congregation has gathered.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As houses are completed and families move in there will be a Baptist witness to welcome them and serve them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">It isn’t easy being a Baptist Christian in Egypt.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There are many pressures faced by Christians in this society, sometimes even direct harassment and threat.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But these brothers and sisters are full of vision and a passion for serving Christ and the people of Egypt.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As Egypt’s population grows the work of the Egyptian Baptist Convention grows as well.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Remember the witness of Egyptian Christians in your prayers, even in a city that hasn’t been built yet.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">In peace and hope,<o:p></o:p></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> 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mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal">Dan Buttry<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">You are welcome to explore my website: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.danbuttry.com">www.danbuttry.com</a></p> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64474-the-church-in-the-city-that-hasn-t-been-built https://internationalministries.org/read/64474-the-church-in-the-city-that-hasn-t-been-built Welcoming the Refugee <p>"I was a stranger, and you welcomed me," Jesus said in Matthew 25. &nbsp;The members of the Mottola Baptist Church in southern Italy got an opportunity to practice welcoming Jesus in the form of a Syrian refugee family who was settled in their region. &nbsp;The family was brought to church and then stayed for the church dinner, a celebration both of new friendship but also of international church networking.</p><p>I was in Mottola for the weekend with my peacemaking colleague Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe. &nbsp;Lance and I were working for almost two weeks with African migrants in the "heel" of Italy's "boot." &nbsp;For the weekend we traveled to Mottola to lead a conflict transformation training for the Baptists in that region on Saturday then to preach in the church on Sunday. &nbsp;Pastor Dario Monaco told us that a newly-settled Syrian refugee family would be joining them.</p><p>After the worship service we met the family--a father and mother with their 8 children ranging in age from the early 20s to about 6. &nbsp;The Mottola church was having their monthly church dinner, so we headed down to their fellowship hall. &nbsp;Italian Baptists don't have dinners like we do in the U.S.--eat together then go off for the rest of your life. &nbsp;This is the rest of your life! &nbsp;The folks at Mottola lingered for almost 4 hours, eating course after course of homemade delicious Italian cooking but with lots of jovial conversation, mixing, and sharing together.</p><p>I sat down with the refugee family as I know a little (very little!) Arabic. &nbsp;I was able to get everyone's name. &nbsp;Khasan, the father, and I embraced with laughter and called each other "habibi"--"my dear friend." &nbsp;18-year old Jamel was a smiling and intense learner of English and Italian, sometimes consulting the translator on his smartphone. &nbsp;Joined by a couple of the Mottola members we bounced around teaching each other words from the 3 languages, frequently writing on napkins. &nbsp;Aziza, maybe 11 years old, had a shy, charming smile as she tried different words. &nbsp;I tickled pesky Jasour, the youngest, as he tried to poke us from behind. &nbsp;I told Khasan and his wife Mona that these kids would be speaking fluent Italian before very long.</p><p>Through our 3 stumbling languages, hand motions, photos and Facebook posts I put together their story. &nbsp;They had left their home town in Syria five years ago, settling in Lebanon. &nbsp;Two years ago Khasan and Mona became Christians through a Baptist church where the wife of the pastor was the sister of my dear friend Martin Accad at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. &nbsp;We had common friends! &nbsp;They lit up with excitement, continuing to share bits of their story. &nbsp;Khasan praised Jesus for his care of them through their difficult journey.</p><p>Pastor Dario filled me in on more of the story. &nbsp;This family had been resettled in a U.N. program where the family has no choice in where they go. &nbsp;They were put into southern Italy. &nbsp;A British Baptist missionary often worked with the church in Lebanon, so he contacted the Italian Baptists. &nbsp;The Mottola church was 18 kilometers from where the Syrian family was settled. &nbsp;Dario had to work hard to get access to them because the secular agency settling the refugees wanted to have nothing to do with religious folks. &nbsp;After almost an hour of pleading Dario was finally allowed to meet the Syrians and arrange for them to come to church.</p><p>When the dinner was wrapping up the congregation gathered in a big circle to pray for and bless the Syrian family. &nbsp;Khassan immediately began to pray allowed, followed by Mona. &nbsp;Their passionate prayers and boldness to speak out bore witness to a strong faith refined in the fires of difficulty but shining bright. &nbsp;I wept as I listened to their prayers, then joined with those from the Mottola church in praying for them and the new fellowship that had begun. &nbsp;God put them together, and this congregation was determined to welcome them and love them as brothers and sisters. &nbsp;It was clear from the beginning that the spiritual enrichment would go both ways.</p><p>As the global refugee crisis continues and as immigration is a hot political issue, let us remember that Jesus was a toddling refugee as his family fled the violence of Herod who sought to claim his young life. &nbsp;Jesus is present in these strangers in our midst, not just in need, but sometimes in a ministering presence. &nbsp;Will each of our churches &nbsp;have the openness to be hospitable and welcoming? &nbsp;As we do it to one of the least of these, we do it unto the Lord.</p><p>Peace,</p><p>Dan</p> Mon, 31 Oct 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63740-welcoming-the-refugee https://internationalministries.org/read/63740-welcoming-the-refugee New Website for Dan Buttry <p>As our peacemaking training has lead to a growing cadre of Christian peacemaking trainers who in turn are training and mentoring yet more people in the "things that make for peace," we needed a website to serve as a key resource center. &nbsp;I had an old website that was difficult to update and that kept getting pushed down the priority list. &nbsp;</p><p>So I talked about the dream for a revamped website with Sharon's and my Mission Partnership Team. &nbsp;Sean Cote, who lives nearby in Hamtramck and is on the MPT, is an IT professional doing website design. &nbsp;Sean jumped into the task, listening to the resources we had, the needs we were hoping to address, and the dreams for the future. &nbsp;Then he put together a wonderful website which could house so many resources in an easy structure for the user to navigate.</p><p>We have free Bible study guides to download (including in 10 languages!). &nbsp;We have connection to buy my books. &nbsp;We have almost 200 inspiring mini-biographies of peacemakers from around the world. &nbsp;We have stories of transforming initiatives from the small to the large scale that have made a difference in conflict situations. &nbsp;We have photo galleries. &nbsp;We have a blog for thoughts on current concerns and experiences. We have upcoming peacemaking and training events. &nbsp;We have video presentations and a documentary film we produced. &nbsp;We have links to significant peacemaking and training organizations so people can access even more resources. &nbsp;People can even connect back to IM's website to see our missionary journals and provide financial support.</p><p>And that's not all. &nbsp;Two more members of our MPT are helping us develop a video series of over 20 mini-training clips on Bible-based conflict transformation. &nbsp;These will be housed on the website, too, as well as on IM's youtube channel. &nbsp;Christin McKamey is a film-maker who produced our documentary on religious freedom in the Republic of Georgia and me telling the socks story (both on the website). &nbsp;She'll be filming and editing the training videos. &nbsp;My son Jon Mayo-Buttry will do some of the graphics and animation, working with Frank Mayo (no relation), an artist in my home church who is very supportive of our peace work. &nbsp;We hope to start debuting some of the training videos in early 2017. &nbsp;This has been such a team project!</p><p>So check it out: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.danbuttry.com/">www.danbuttry.com</a>. &nbsp;You're welcome to visit again and again.</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan</p><p><br></p> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63062-new-website-for-dan-buttry https://internationalministries.org/read/63062-new-website-for-dan-buttry Baptist-Trained Peacemakers Help Bring Stability to Warring Kenyan Tribes <p>It is not unusual for global servants from American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to make life-changing impacts on the people they serve.</p> <p>In the arid region of Turkana in northern Kenya, the impact of the peacemaking training conducted by IM Global Consultant the Rev. Dr. Dan Buttry took effect almost immediately. It helped defuse a long-lasting bloody conflict between two warring tribes—with surprising, God-honoring consequences.</p> <p>The Turkana and Pokot tribes of parched northwestern Turkana have long been embroiled in violent conflict. Cattle rustling is the primary cause, precipitated by scarce water and grazing resources, says Dan, who has been an IM global consultant for peace and justice since 2003.</p> <p>“A lot of it is also related to a marriage practice in these tribes,” Dan explains. “Young men, when they want to get married, have to give 20 or 30 head of cattle to the bride's father, and usually they only have two or three head. So they would steal cattle, heavily armed with AK-47s. Even the Kenyan army and police wouldn’t go into the area because it was so dangerous.”</p> <div style="display: block; float: right; padding: 10px; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; width: 45%; height: auto; background: #F5F5F5;"> <h3 style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px; line-height: 1.15em"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><i>Responding to the Call</i> Impact Area:</span><br> Proclaiming God's Reign of Justice, Peace and Abundant Life</h3> <p>One of the major goals of International Ministries <i>Responding to the Call</i> (<i>RTC</i>) is “to provide ongoing conflict transformation training for international church leaders and expand its support of the peacemaking efforts of international partners.”</p> <p>A key tool to meet this goal is the 10-day, Bible-based workshop Training in Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT), an adaptable program developed and led by the Rev. Dr. Dan Buttry.</p> <p>TCTT training was launched globally in 2012 in Thailand. Since then, workshops have been held in Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Ukraine and Detroit, Michigan, drawing participants from all over the world. Upcoming workshops are being planned for Egypt and Guatemala.</p> <p>“I try to no longer do things by myself, so I have a TCTT graduate with me so that person can learn and grow in cross-cultural training work,” Dan says.</p> <p>When not traveling around the world, Dan lives in Hamtramck, Michigan. He is the author of several books, including <i>We Are the Socks</i>. His wife, the Rev. Sharon Buttry, is an American Baptist Churches pastor and quarter-time IM global consultant. Sharon has been actively involved in urban ministry for 20 years and is the founding and current chair of the Hamtramck Community Initiative, a public safety organization.</p> <p>Dan’s efforts are aligned with IM’s <i>RTC</i> peace and justice objectives to:</p> <ul> <li>Provide ongoing conflict transformation training for international church leaders and expand IM’s support of the peacemaking efforts of international partners.</li> <li>Respond to interreligious conflict by attending to survivors of religious persecution and by working to transform such conflicts.</li> <li>Provide training to churches, communities and organizations around the world in respectful interreligious dialogue in order to promote mutual understanding and cooperation.</li> <li>Expand work with women, men and children who are affected by domestic violence through ministries of prevention, shelter and restoration.</li> </ul> </div> <p>Dan, who is based in the U.S., spent time in Kenya in 2013 to scout for a venue to conduct a workshop called Training in Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT), a 10-day Bible-based learning opportunity focused on conflict transformation. The workshop is a key part of IM’s <i>Responding to the Call</i> (<i>RTC</i>) objective to “embody God's love in situations of discord, suffering and conflict.”</p> <p>While in Kenya, Dan met Boaz Keibarak, a 22-year-old unpaid, state-appointed peace commissioner with a heart for peacemaking. Impressed with Boaz’s “sweet, gentle spirit,” Dan invited the young man—a member of the warring Turkana tribe—to participate in the TCTT in 2014.</p> <p>Just one month after Boaz’s TCTT training, his learning was put to the test when the simmering Pokot/Turkana conflict exploded into violence and about 130 people were killed.</p> <h3>Dan's young student intervenes in the conflict, with impressive results</h3> <p>“Boaz went to where the fighting was going on, back and forth between the sides, and he got them to agree to a ceasefire,” Dan recalls. “And then he set up weekly consultations of the tribal elders to deal with the problems and keep small issues from exploding into cycles of violence.”</p> <p>Later, Boaz developed a more comprehensive peacemaking plan with fellow TCTT graduate Phillip Stargate from Uganda, helped in part by IM’s Global Peacemakers Mentoring Project.</p> <p>More recently, Boaz conducted his own TCTT-related trauma healing workshop in Turkana, addressing another <i>RTC</i> priority. The goal is to help people deal with trauma so it doesn’t feed a new cycle of violence, but rather moves toward reconciliation.</p> <h3>Church growth: the fruit of peace</h3> <p>In addition to helping bring stability to these warring Kenyan tribes, the peace-making efforts of Boaz and others have helped the churches in Turkwell to grow by planting multi-tribal congregations committed to reconciliation.</p> <p>“The TCTT workshop has helped inspire and transform many lives between Pokot and Turkana tribes, and some have joined the Baptist family,” Boaz said recently. “Now new churches have been planted through the gathering of ‘peace warriors.’”</p> <p>The impact of the churches is remarkable. Boaz reports that 174 people have been baptized since 2014 and that the church has been taking care of the spiritual growth of the reformed warriors. “My vision is to make stable peacemakers built on the foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace,” he says.</p> Wed, 10 Aug 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/62786-baptist-trained-peacemakers-help-bring-stability-to-warring-kenyan-tribes https://internationalministries.org/read/62786-baptist-trained-peacemakers-help-bring-stability-to-warring-kenyan-tribes Teach to Teach or Train to Train <p>The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2.2).&nbsp; This mandate to teach people so they can teach yet others--or train people to train others--is a foundational principle for both International Ministries and my conflict transformation work.&nbsp; The major program piece is the TCTT--Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers, a 10-day intensive Bible-based experiential education training program that covers a wide range of conflict transformation topics.</p><p>In February and into March my wife Sharon and I facilitated two of these 10-day TCTTs back-to-back.&nbsp; We met at the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Philippines, about a 6-hour drive north of Manila.&nbsp; Our participants were various church and community leaders from 13 different countries in Asia and the Pacific.&nbsp; For the second TCTT we had a team of four Nepalis:&nbsp; Jirman Rai, General Secretary for the Nepal Baptist Church Council; Dipak Raj Rai, Executive Director for the social work depart for the Nepali Baptists; Santosh Basnet, Dean of the Nepal Baptist Bible Collegel; and Subash Pradhan, former Principal of the Bible college on sabbatical for further study.&nbsp; They were delightful participants in the Baguio TCTT bringing energy, focus, and insight to the larger group.</p><p>But the team from Nepal had a serious "final exam."&nbsp; As soon as they returned to Nepal they would facilitate a 3-day training in conflict transformation and trauma healing.&nbsp; I joined them for that training.&nbsp; They would immediately put into practice what they had learned in the Philippines.&nbsp; Sharon and I (along with Mylinda Baits, an IM colleague and co-facilitator for the 2nd TCTT) were training them so they could train others.&nbsp; We had time in the training for participants to design their own workshops and practice tools to use in those workshops, and the Nepali team got to work with special urgency.</p><p>Nepal has a lot of need for such training.&nbsp; The people of Nepal suffered through a long civil war between the government and a powerful Maoist insurgency.&nbsp; Then last year Kathmandu and many of the towns and villages were hit by a massive earthquake (you can still give designated gifts to earthquake relief through the One Great Hour of Sharing).&nbsp; People are traumatized by war and natural disaster, and the Baptists have been engaged as agents of peace and healing.&nbsp; IM missionary to Nepal Carol Sydnor and Area Director Benjamin Chan had supported the creation of this team of Nepali leaders to get the training in doing this work and then to lead the workshop in Nepal.</p><p>The team of Jirman, Subash, Santosh, and Dipak did a fantastic job.&nbsp; I had expected to have to do some of the major pieces of the training, but each of the Nepali team members rose to the challenge of leading key experiential tools and content pieces.&nbsp; I basically provided support, minor coaching, and fill-in along the way.&nbsp; It was such a delight to see these recent TCTT grads leading significant training portions and "nailing it!"&nbsp; They were outstanding, and the response from the Nepali participants showed that the impact was deep and profound.&nbsp; The Nepali participants had come from across the country, and they quickly were inviting the team to come to their regions to host similar workshops with people closer to home.</p><p>I wouldn't be doing what I am doing if I hadn't learned from others.&nbsp; Many mentors, teachers, and trainers poured their wisdom, skills, and experiences into me.&nbsp; It's my turn to pour what I have into others.&nbsp; I was far more satisfied seeing Subash, Santosh, Dipak and Jirman lead in such an competent, thoughtful, and energetic way than if I had led the Nepal training myself.&nbsp; I would have done a great job, I'm sure, but these Nepali leaders will ultimately have such a deeper impact.&nbsp; They know the culture from the inside, can take the work farther and broader than I ever could, and will still be running with it long after I've retired.&nbsp; Teaching people so they can teach others is the way to pass on our gifts for the long term.</p><p>Thank you for your participation in this long-term work through your commitment, gifts, prayers, and words of encouragement.&nbsp; The beat goes on!</p><p>Peace,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2016 02:00:30 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61573-teach-to-teach-or-train-to-train https://internationalministries.org/read/61573-teach-to-teach-or-train-to-train Christ, the Prince of Peace Icon <p>Icons and Baptists don't usually go together, but they do in the Republic of Georgia where the deep iconography tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Churches has been as rich as stained glass in the Western Churches.&nbsp; So if Baptists churches in the U.S. use stained glass to express their faith and tell their stories why not Baptists in Georgia use icons?&nbsp; And what a rich story they have.</p><p>I have traveled to Georgia nine times beginning in January 2004 immediately after the Rose Revolution.&nbsp; In those trips I've seen much wonderful art from monastic caves in the desert where Syrian monks painted their icons on the stone walls to dark Orthodox cathedrals with candles before the icons.&nbsp; The Baptists in Georgia have incorporated much iconography into their worship spaces and spirituality.&nbsp; But the story of the Christ the Prince of Peace Icon is special.</p><p>In 2008 tensions were building between Georgia and Russia that would eventually erupt into war.&nbsp; The Baptist Archbishop at that time (Georgian Baptists call their regional leaders Bishops with their top official being the Archbishop), Malkhaz Songulashvili started a conversation with the Baptist iconographer and artist Mamuka Kapanadze about what to do.&nbsp; Mamuka wanted "to think of something as an expression of protest agains the injustice we were experiencing, but on the other hand be nonviolent and speak about peace."&nbsp; When the war erupted Malkhaz was in Oxford and called Mamuka saying they needed an icon on Christ as the Prince of Peace. <br></p><p>Mamuka had a bold image in his mind of Jesus in the middle of war, but wondered about the spirituality of putting Jesus with bodies and explosions around.&nbsp; He painted a picture and sent a photo to Malkhaz who thought it was perfect.&nbsp; Jesus amid war was a totally new theme in the history of iconography.&nbsp; <br></p><p>Malkhaz took the photo of the new icon to a meeting of the European Baptist Federation where Russian Baptists were present.&nbsp; That image became an expression of prayer, hope, and reconciliation for both sides.&nbsp; He also offered it to the Russian Orthodox leaders as an expression of reconciliation.</p><p>Malkhaz sent small copies of the icon to various friends in a beautiful triptych card.&nbsp; Sharon and I put the one we received in front of the large "Holy Trinity" icon Sharon had painted following the work of the Russian iconographer Rublev.&nbsp; It became a powerful focal point for our prayers for peace around the world, including for Georgia and Russia.</p><p>I visited the Baptist church in Gori (there are two in Gori that I've visited many times) where the Christ the Prince of Peace Icon without the war images hangs at the front of the sanctuary.&nbsp; The Russian advance stopped in Gori, and many people in Gori suffered from the war.&nbsp; A couple with young children who were part of that church were killed in the shelling, and some old women from the church were maimed by shrapnel.&nbsp; This January I was once again in Gori, preaching in front of the icon.</p><p>Later in the week I was welcomed into the home of Mamuka and his family.&nbsp; I saw some of the other wonderful art he had painted.&nbsp; He told me the story of the creation of the Christ the Prince of Peace Icon, which moved me deeply.&nbsp; <br></p><p>As I was about to depart from Georgia I found that Mamuka had dropped off a beautiful icon he had painted of the Transfiguration of Jesus.&nbsp; I was stunned.&nbsp; But how would I get it back to the U.S.?&nbsp; It was too big to put in the suitcase.&nbsp; Someone helped me securely wrap it with cloth and cardboard and lots of tape.&nbsp; But then at the airport I discovered that you can't take art out of Georgia without special permission and documentation.&nbsp; There was no way I was going to be allowed to carry that icon on the plane!&nbsp; Fortunately the current Baptist Archbishop Merab Gaprindashvili had stayed around to be sure I'd gotten on the plane okay.&nbsp; Sorrowfully I handed the Transfiguration icon to Merab for safe-keeping.&nbsp; <br></p><p>Maybe someday on another trip we can get the documents to bring it to the U.S.&nbsp; But I was able to take away the amazing story of the Christ the Prince of Peace icon, to know the beautiful heart of Mamuka who put his faith into paint, and how this image has spurred the work of reconciliation.&nbsp; Thank you, Mamuka!<br></p> Sun, 24 Jan 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61039-christ-the-prince-of-peace-icon https://internationalministries.org/read/61039-christ-the-prince-of-peace-icon Baptist Missionary in a Mosque <p>For 4 days spanning 2 weekends in December I co-facilitated conflict transformation training in the mosque for the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.&nbsp; My co-facilitator was Imam Steve Mustafa Elturk.&nbsp; <br></p><p>Imam Elturk and I have known each other for many years, serving together as officers for the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit.&nbsp; His mosque includes a commitment to nonviolence in their mission statement, and we've discussed my peacemaking work through International Ministries.&nbsp; As I shared my concern to find Muslim counter-parts in some of the conflicts I deal with around the world that impact Christian and Muslim communities, Steve suggested that we hold a pilot project at his mosque to do an Islamic version of the Christian training I do.&nbsp; We went through the design of the intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) that I do.&nbsp; For every Biblical story I had supporting the particular peace-building topics Steve was able to come up with stories from the life of Muhammad and the early Muslim community.</p><p>So we launched the training.&nbsp; Around us the media was filled with politicians calling for suspension of allowing Muslims to emigrate to the U.S., fear and anger over the attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, and talk about registering Muslims and mosques in our country, but I was surrounded by Muslim women and men who were excited to learn tools for conflict transformation.&nbsp; We had between 10 and 18 participants each day--people in their 20s and 60s, people born from the U.S., Bangladesh, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Bosnia, and Ukraine.&nbsp; Some knew first-hand the horrors of war and the terrorism from extremists.&nbsp; But they were all deeply engaged, passionate about making peace and building justice, and committed to make the world a better and more inclusive place.&nbsp; I wish people with negative stereotypes of Muslims could have shared those days with me.</p><p>I learned a lot about the conflict transformation stories in Muslim tradition--stories that don't get much attention in Christian contexts.&nbsp; I was also invited to teach about "the jihad of Jesus"--the teachings about nonviolence in the Sermon on the Mount.&nbsp; We opened the gospels and explored what Jesus was saying in those familiar passages that Christians often struggle to live out.</p><p>Imam Elturk bought a complete set of my peacemaking and interfaith books--6 in all--for the IONA library.&nbsp; So there is mosque in Detroit with more books from this Baptist missionary than almost any American Baptist church in the U.S.!</p><p>This was a pilot project, and a very successful one!&nbsp; We hope to do more Muslim versions of this training in Detroit, then in other parts of the U.S. and eventually internationally.&nbsp; I hope to train someone to take my place with the technical peacemaking aspects of the training, mentoring a Muslim counterpart to the young peace trainers we've been developing through the TCTTs we've been doing for Christians.&nbsp; One way to counter the extremism that leads to terrorism is to training and equip a cadre of Christian and Muslim peacemakers (and people of other faiths!) to help people move in more constructive directions.&nbsp; It is possible.&nbsp; We are seeing it, even as a result of the work we have already done.</p><p>My Muslim friends are passionate about their faith and are quick to share it.&nbsp; I am passionate about my faith and love to share about the wonderful grace of Jesus.&nbsp; As we live in this country and this larger world with Christians, Muslims, and people of other faiths, how will be relate to each other?&nbsp; Will we let fear, suspicion, ignorance, and violence be the narrative driving our communities?&nbsp; Or will we be transformers of our societies, driven by faith in a God who calls us to mercy and peace?&nbsp; For me, the question is, "What would Jesus do?"&nbsp; As I look at the teachings of Jesus, we're trying to work that out!</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan Buttry<br></p> Mon, 14 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60665-baptist-missionary-in-a-mosque https://internationalministries.org/read/60665-baptist-missionary-in-a-mosque A New Book: We Are the Socks! <p>My latest book has been released, <i>We Are the Socks</i>.&nbsp; What a strange title!&nbsp; There is a great mission story behind the title.&nbsp; You can find parts of that story in some of my old mission journals or <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/60067-we-are-the-socks">click here</a> to see a video clip of me tell the socks story.&nbsp; The book is a collection of stories from my peacemaking mission work around the world--short stories that are inspiring, sometimes humorous, and calling us to faithful discipleship to Christ especially in situations of conflict.&nbsp; You could call it <i>Peace Warrior</i> meets <i>Chicken Soup</i>.</p><p>You can get the book on-line by going through the publisher, <a href="http://www.readthespirit.com/bookstore/books/we-are-the-socks/">Read the Spirit</a>, to amazon.&nbsp; Or you can send a check for $15 made out to me to my home (2300 Neibel St., Hamtramck, MI 48212).&nbsp; I'll send you a signed copy.</p><p>Get it, read it, be blessed, and remember:&nbsp; We are the socks!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p><p><br></p> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60310-a-new-book-we-are-the-socks- https://internationalministries.org/read/60310-a-new-book-we-are-the-socks- Simple and Deep <p>Pastor Yuri embraced me with an emphatic hug.&nbsp; "What you have taught is simple and deep."&nbsp; I'll take that as the highest compliment, especially considering the source.&nbsp; Pastor Yuri is from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.&nbsp; His city has been thoroughly swept up in the war between ethnic Russian separatists supported by Russia against the army of Ukraine.&nbsp; He just came from a hot war zone to our conflict transformation training.&nbsp; If he says what we were teaching about conflict transformation was simple and deep we must be doing something right!</p><p>I had come to Ukraine to teach for a week at the Ukraine Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS), something I've been doing for every other year for the past seven years.&nbsp; Four years ago Veronika Voloshyna was one of my students.&nbsp; She was also fluent in Russian, Ukrainian and English, so she translated some in the class as well as translated my "Bible Study Manual on Conflict Transformation" into Russian (to download a copy of the Bible Study Manual in English, Russian or other languages, <a href="http://www.bpfna.org/mobilize/ct-bible-study-manual">click here</a>).&nbsp; She presented many of the Bible studies in her church and other local congregations, so I invited her to participate in the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) we held at UETS last May for people from Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.&nbsp; (To read my journal about that training <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/59394-what-we-can-t-tell">click here</a>.)&nbsp; Veronika was an outstanding participant in May and invited me to visit her city.</p><p>Veronika is from Dnepropetrovsk (you get extra credit if you can pronounce that!), the third largest city in Ukraine with around 1 million people.&nbsp; Dnepropetrovsk is just to the west of the arc of the three easternmost provinces of Ukraine which are all swept up in the civil war.&nbsp; Though it's not in the war zone, they feel the political pressures of the conflict, and many displaced people have fled there for refuge.&nbsp; I agreed to come to Dnepropetrovsk the week before teaching at UETS, but as has become my habit when visiting TCTT grads, I insisted that Veronika and I co-facilitate in the conflict transformation training.&nbsp; She was delighted to do so.</p><p>So Veronika and I led a two-day workshop on conflict transformation training for pastors, church outreach workers, counselors, health care workers, and 3 missionaries at a local public library.&nbsp; Some of the participants were from Dnepropetrovsk and some were from the war zone including Pastor Yuri from Donetsk.&nbsp; We worked through themes of diversity in groups and the dynamics of mainstreams related to the margins of groups, the dynamic at the root of this war and so many other conflicts.&nbsp; We explored trauma and trauma healing with a special emphasis on secondary trauma that can impact those trying to help the victims and erode away one's compassion and energy.&nbsp; All the participants responded with overwhelming appreciation for the content and the experiential method of teaching we used.</p><p>Veronika was outstanding as a trainer.&nbsp; She had high energy, a commanding presence, clarity in communication, and was able to draw everyone into the activities and discussions.&nbsp; One of my goals in the past few years has been to develop highly skilled, passionate, and committed Christian peacemakers to do this kind of ministry at strategic places around the world.&nbsp; That's why we conduct the TCTTs, and that's why I am focusing on mentoring, supporting, and coaching the grads as they expand their peacemaking work.&nbsp; Veronika's leadership shows the value of that approach.&nbsp; I know whatever happens in that region of Ukraine God has a special peacemaker at work on the ground.</p><p>Thank you for all the support for our global mission work through the World Mission Offering this fall.&nbsp; Many of you as individuals and churches have supported me as well as Sharon and all the other wonderful missionary colleagues we have at International Ministries.&nbsp; Many of the churches have supported IM's overall work.&nbsp; We are all grateful beyond words for your partnership--but using those words we do have:&nbsp; Thank you and bless you!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60305-simple-and-deep https://internationalministries.org/read/60305-simple-and-deep Back to School <p>It's time to go back to school!&nbsp; Children are heading back to classrooms.&nbsp; Teachers are all prepared to launch a new year.&nbsp; College students are gearing up for a new semester.&nbsp; I've been teaching Bible-based conflict transformation around the world, particularly with a rising generation of Christian peace activists.&nbsp; Now those graduates who have been trained are leading peace-building workshops themselves, but they are doing it with their own energy, passion, vision, courage, and dedication.&nbsp; These young leaders are taking us all back to school to show how transformative ministry can happen today.</p><p>Lance and Christina Muteyo have become a dynamic training duo, working in their homeland Zimbabwe, but also recently training Baptist youth in Zambia.&nbsp; Lance has been a leader of the Pan African Peace Network which sponsors conflict transformation training across the continent.&nbsp; He has done work in Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ukraine, as well as Zambia and Zimbabwe.&nbsp; He's working on plans for work in Namibia.&nbsp; Christina attended the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers that Lance and I led in Ukraine last May.&nbsp; Besides working as a co-facilitator with Lance she has done solo training for about family conflict for counselors in Zimbabwe.</p><p>Boaz Keibarak has been engaged in mediation and training in a hot conflict between the Pokot and Turkana tribes in northern Kenya.&nbsp; He goes where police are afraid to go, armed only with his Bible, training skills, and courage.&nbsp; This young pastor has become a teacher of the things that make for peace, schooling even national political and traditional tribal leaders who had been locked up in negative old patterns of violent conflict.</p><p>Philip Kakungulu from Uganda has developed into a dynamic force for human rights and healing not only in his country but in neighboring Kenya and South Sudan.&nbsp; He has become an excellent Bible teacher on living out the Sermon on the Mount and seeking justice for those most marginalized.</p><p>Fabrice Anthony Kettemallet began as a human rights activist in Central African Republic when he was a teenager.&nbsp; Now in his 20s he has been a visionary advocate and trainer for peace amid the violent conflict between the Christian and Muslim communities in C.A.R.&nbsp; He has worked with an imam to develop joint Christian-Muslim public prayer vigils and joint conflict transformation and trauma healing training.&nbsp; He's even had young men in militias come into his workshops with their automatic weapons to learn about building peace!</p><p>It's back to school time, but a new generation is leading the way.&nbsp; They've taken what they have learned, mixed it with their own dreams and Holy Spirit anointing, and are taking our peacemaking mission further than we had dared to hope.</p><p>Through your prayers, financial support, and encouragement, you have been part of the amazing work of these young Christian peacemakers.&nbsp; As we take the World Fellowship Offering this month, this is part of the Christ-centered mission that is supported.&nbsp; Donations through the World Fellowship Offerings that are designated for my support (or for the support of my wonderful colleagues) or for IM projects (such as our <a href="http://http://www.internationalministries.org/projects/150">Global Peacemakers Mentoring Project</a>) bring Christ's peace to bear in places like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, and Central African Republic.&nbsp; Undesignated contributions to the World Fellowship Offering help us address places of special need and priority.&nbsp; However you give--THANK YOU!<br></p> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59768-back-to-school https://internationalministries.org/read/59768-back-to-school What We Can't Tell <p>There are some things we can't say.&nbsp; There are some things we can't tell.&nbsp; Peace, you see, is a problem.&nbsp; Peace between people from nations at war can be viewed as a betrayal.&nbsp; Peace when spoken in the same sentence as justice can become a threat.&nbsp; Peace for those who are persecuted can upset the "divine order."&nbsp; Peace can be very troublesome.</p><p>A troublesome peace training was held in Ukraine.&nbsp; Ukraine has its own problems with peace with a civil war spurred on by conflict with neighboring Russia.&nbsp; However Ukrainians opened a seminary and their hearts to participants from 11 countries who gathered there for an intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT).&nbsp; Most of the participants were from former Soviet Republics or from the Middle East.&nbsp; I was joined in facilitation by Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe.&nbsp; We can share about some people and some photos, but we cannot say where many others are from or show them in our photos.</p><p>What we can say is that people learned skills in Bible-based peacemaking.&nbsp; People practiced tools in experiential education that they could put to use in workshops to equip people for bringing positive change to their societies.&nbsp; Many of the participants have already put their skills and tools to use in their home contexts.&nbsp; The participants bonded deeply, and many have continued to provide support for each other in their creative and courageous work, even at a distance.</p><p>Back in the 1960's the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary sang about laying the meaning "between the lines," as in those volatile days certain things just couldn't be said on the radio.&nbsp; Even as missionaries we sometimes have to lay our message between the lines.&nbsp; It's sad because what we are doing is good for people and good for communities.&nbsp; What we are doing empowers people to find the way forward toward justice, freedom, wholeness, reconciliation, and peace.&nbsp; But that is perceived as troublesome in some places.<br></p><p>It is sad, but hope grows even amid the sadness.&nbsp; The powers of fear, suspicion, and even outright hatred and oppression cannot ultimately win.&nbsp; Jesus has died and has risen.&nbsp; Hallelujah!&nbsp; As we learned the things that make for peace together we also worshiped and prayed together.&nbsp; We grounded ourselves in the hope that in anchored in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.&nbsp; And one day what has to be kept secret will be shouted from the rooftops with joy.&nbsp; In the meantime, don't be surprised if I share with you a little "holy gossip," just not on the internet!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59394-what-we-can-t-tell https://internationalministries.org/read/59394-what-we-can-t-tell What an MPT! <p>Sharon and I have an awesome Mission Partnership Team, and they came through in such a big way these past two weeks.&nbsp; I was leading the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT), the signature program of my peacemaking mission work for the last few years.&nbsp; I led one in Ukraine in May, then one in Detroit in June.&nbsp; This is the first time I've done two in one year, and it wouldn't have been possible without our MPT coming through in so many ways.</p><p>The Ukraine TCTT had participants from 9 countries from the former Soviet republics, the Middle East, Africa and Europe as well as the U.S.&nbsp; In Detroit I thought it would be a more U.S.-focused event, but we had participants from Syria, Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, and Holland bring a definite international flavor to the training.</p><p>The star of the MPT was Murphy, on the pastoral staff at the Markey Community Baptist Church in Roscommon, Michigan, a congregation that has provided support for Sharon and me over the years.&nbsp; She's also the director of the Monarch Counseling Center, bringing a deep therapy background and experience in dealing with domestic violence and trauma healing.&nbsp; Murphy attended the <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/50606-entrust-to-faithful-people-">September 2013 TCTT</a> Sharon and I led in Kenya.&nbsp; She followed up by organizing a <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/55135-the-dolphin-rhino-and-fox-at-the-peace-festival">peace festival in Roscommon </a>in which we led many of the peace training exercises from the TCTT.&nbsp; With her training, professional experience, and passion for peacemaking Murphy made an ideal co-facilitator.&nbsp; God used her in special ways as the training surfaced many issues for participants where she could provide special support for their growth personally and as Christian peacemakers.</p><p>So members of the MPT came through in fine fashion.&nbsp; Our MPT coordinator Jack Linton helped in much of the logistics planning and provided many rides from the airport and back again.&nbsp; Then in the middle of the training when we were having 11 additional participants come in for the middle of the training Jack's mother passed away.&nbsp; (I'd been their pastor for 7 years--Gloria Linton was a wonderful Christian woman--at 92 she died in the peace of the Spirit.)&nbsp; So Jack needed to focus with his family.&nbsp; Rick Jones, who lives much further from the airport stepped into the gap and made a couple airport runs.&nbsp; Sean Cote, who had done our earlier midnight airport run--he's a night owl anyway!--took another of the runs with a moment's notice.</p><p>Hospitality for all those folks coming from around the country (and world!) was a massive undertaking.&nbsp; Abby Layer and her husband Andrew hosted a couple of the training participants in their home.</p><p>So when I count my blessings as a missionary, I have to put Sharon's and my MPT high on the list.&nbsp; They've done the tasks of stuffing envelopes for fund-raising, helping raise funds for special projects such as our <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/projects/150">Global Peacemakers Mentoring</a> program, working on electronic newsletter lists and web design, and just encouraging Sharon and me.&nbsp; Our MPT pastor Ken Sehested has been such an encourager, preaching <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/54463-commissioned-for-a-new-season">Sharon's commissioning</a> sermon.&nbsp; Mission work is not a solitary work but a team project in taking the love of Christ into all kinds of situations.&nbsp; Our MPT brings joy to this work together!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58773-what-an-mpt- https://internationalministries.org/read/58773-what-an-mpt- Who is for Reconciliation? <p>Reconciliation is a key part of the gospel--reconciliation between God and humanity and reconciliation between people.&nbsp; Paul spells out this two-dimensional reconciliation in Ephesians 2 and says we have been given "the ministry of reconciliation" in 2 Corinthians 5.&nbsp; But who is for reconciliation, especially in the Holy Land?</p><p>Sharon and I recently spent two months in the Middle East doing conflict transformation training.&nbsp; All around us we saw the tearing of relationships from war, hostility, injustice, and fear.&nbsp; We saw Christian, Muslim, and Jewish expressions that exacerbated the conflict and justified violence in the name of God.&nbsp; But we also saw Christian, Muslim, and Jewish people engaged in the hard work of reconciliation.&nbsp; Sometimes it seemed that those doing the most "God-talk" were doing the least "God-action."&nbsp; But there were many courageous people who let their "God-actions" talk loud and clear, bringing hope into a context that many people want to write off as hopeless.</p><p>Sharon and I led two workshops for the women of Musalaha.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.musalaha.org/">Musalaha</a> (the Arabic word for "reconciliation") is an amazing organization of Israeli Messianic Jews and Christian Palestinians from both Israel and Palestine.&nbsp; They have very different views about theology and politics, but they hold fast to their oneness in Christ.&nbsp; The men, women, and youth of Musalaha meet regularly to talk, pray, and go on retreats together to explore how they can build bridges of understanding and peace.&nbsp; They have been doing this for some 20 years, through the first Intifada, the second Intifada, and the wars in Gaza.&nbsp; They stubbornly cling to their vision of reconciliation, of <i>musalaha</i>.</p><p>We also met with Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian Muslim leader in Parents Circle--Families Forum as well as Combatants for Peace.&nbsp; His Jewish Israeli counterpart had a family funeral and had to cancel.&nbsp; But Bassam told us amazing stories.&nbsp; He was a Palestinian freedom fighter who ended up in an Israeli prison.&nbsp; Eventually he and some other Palestinians linked up with Israeli Defense Forces veterans, forming Combatants for Peace.&nbsp; They refer to each other as enemies and as partners.&nbsp; They are working for peace together, and they ask that their leaders for whom they have fought over the years begin to follow them.&nbsp; Israel commemorates Memorial Day to remember all the Israelis who have died in Israel's wars.&nbsp; Combatants for Peace have begun an alternative Memorial Day commemoration to remember all the Israelis and Palestinians together who have died in the wars.&nbsp; When they started 10 years about about 70 people gathered.&nbsp; Last year 5,000 people came to the public memorial.</p><p>Then Bassam's life took a tragic turn.&nbsp; His 10-year old daughter was shot at close range by an Israeli soldier while she was playing with friends in front of her school.&nbsp; There was no rock throwing or other incident to provoke the shooting.&nbsp; In his anger and grief he was comforted by a Jewish Israeli father whose 13-year old daughter was blown up by a Palestinian suicide bomber.&nbsp; These grieving fathers have become leaders in the Parents Circle--Families Forum, an organization that wants no more members.&nbsp; They are parents who have had children killed in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, calling for an end to violence and for peace.&nbsp; They don't want the deaths of their children to be the rallying cries for the next cycle of violence.&nbsp; Instead they present their common grief as a bridge for reconciliation.</p><p>Palestinian Baptist theologian Yohanna Katanacho is the Dean at Nazareth Evangelical College.&nbsp; He attended a two-day workshop Sharon and I led for counselors and therapists and other church leaders.&nbsp; He brought keen insight and delightful energy to the training.&nbsp; We spent quite a bit of time with him during our 10 days in Nazareth.&nbsp; What struck me most about Yohanna was his hope.&nbsp; The plight of the Palestinian Christians can seem so hopeless, but Yohanna looks at the resurrection of Jesus and says how can we not have hope!&nbsp; His book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Land-Christ-Palestinian-Cry/dp/1620326647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1427374939&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=Katanacho"><i>The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry</i></a> presents his personal story, a theology of the land, and deals with issues of injustice, resistance, and hope.&nbsp; He co-wrote "The Palestinian Kairos Document" which should be required reading for any Christian concerned about events in the Middle East.&nbsp; He looks with wide-open eyes at the problems and challenges of Israel and Palestine but has a faith in Jesus Christ that injects hope into that context.</p><p>In the U.S. we have many Christians who take extremist views on one side of this conflict because of particular theological views and interpretations of the Bible.&nbsp; But they miss the presence and witness of the indigenous church in the Middle East.&nbsp; They miss the work of reconciliation going on.&nbsp; In fact, some of these folks criticize that very work and those who engage in it.&nbsp; For Sharon and I it was a privilege to walk with, encourage, and to further equip these sisters and brothers for the work of reconciliation in which they are engaged.&nbsp; These folks are the yeast in the lump, the salt in the society, the light shining in the darkness, and hope amid despair and cynicism.&nbsp; You can walk with them and encourage them with your prayers and support for these kinds of ministries both through International Ministries and directly.&nbsp; Thank you!<br></p> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57648-who-is-for-reconciliation- https://internationalministries.org/read/57648-who-is-for-reconciliation- Who will save the Middle East? <p>As Sharon and I stopped for a snack during an outing in the Middle East we saw a Batman action figure for sale.&nbsp; The title over Batman's head was "Hero Savior."&nbsp; Is Batman or someone of his ilk the Savior needed for the Middle East?</p><p>We certainly saw the need for a Savior!&nbsp; Violence was all around us.&nbsp; The Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq was creating havoc as we taught in Lebanon.&nbsp; Many of our students from those countries had lost homes and loved ones in the conflict.&nbsp; An ISIS incursion killed 8 Lebanese soldiers, causing us to change some travel plans.&nbsp; In the middle of our trip a Jordanian pilot was burned to death by ISIS, the dramatic lead story in the news for quite some time.&nbsp; We finished our two months in the region in Egypt, arriving just as IS in Libya beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.&nbsp; People who knew their families were in First Baptist Church of Cairo when Sharon and I preached there.&nbsp; Who will save the Middle East?&nbsp; Will more bombing, more armies, more violence, more force?&nbsp; Will a "good guy" superhero do the job?</p><p>When Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday he saw the city.&nbsp; Luke 19 says he wept.&nbsp; As he wept over the city he said, "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!&nbsp; But now they are hidden from your eyes."&nbsp; The Holy Land--Jesus touched the earth from Lebanon, down through Israel and Palestine, likely into Syria, then to Egypt, the place that received him as a child refugee even as child refugees today are being received by Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.&nbsp; Jesus must still be weeping over the Middle East--and the U.S.....and Europe....and Africa....and Asia....and Latin America.&nbsp; "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!"&nbsp; Who will be the Savior of the Middle East?</p><p>We did find some people who were acting in the Spirit of Jesus, some Christians, some not, but all loving "the other" and even "enemies."&nbsp; There were the refugees we met who were helping other refugees.&nbsp; There were the churches in Lebanon who were mobilizing in amazing ways to meet health, educational, friendship, and spiritual needs of desperate and traumatized families.&nbsp; There were parents who had lost children in the conflict who reached across the lines of battle to embrace those like them--parents of different nationalities and religions with a common bond of anguish.&nbsp; Then there were Combatants for Peace, soldiers and "freedom fighters," who call each other "enemies" and "partners" working for peace, saying their leaders need to follow them for a change.&nbsp; There were the members of "Musalaha" ("Reconciliation" in Arabic) who come together across lines of division because of their oneness in Christ.&nbsp; There were churches feeling the squeeze from dominate religion and culture who didn't try to simply survive but were seeking to minister lovingly to the glaring needs around them.&nbsp; These folks don't get much attention in the news, but Jesus sees them and is working through them.</p><p>There is a Savior in the Middle East.&nbsp; He is working through women and men and even children who are meeting the crises around them with faith and compassion.&nbsp; They don't have masks or capes.&nbsp; They dress in ordinary clothes.&nbsp; But they do extra-ordinary work.&nbsp; They have his super powers of love, mercy, sacrifice, tenderness, courage, and hope.&nbsp; We walked and served among them for a while.&nbsp; We tried to encourage and further equip them for their work.&nbsp; We hold them in our hearts and pray for them.&nbsp; We invite you to notice them and pray for them, too.&nbsp; They are the ones bringing the hope of a Savior to the Middle East.</p><p>Thank you for all the sustaining prayers, financial gifts, and messages of encouragement many of you offered these past two months.&nbsp; We couldn't have done it without you!</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 03:58:11 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57440-who-will-save-the-middle-east- https://internationalministries.org/read/57440-who-will-save-the-middle-east- Peacemaking Experiences Dramatic Expansion Through the Global Training Programs of Dan Buttry <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> 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gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">In 2010, IM Global Consultant, Dan Buttry, began development of a 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) to share as much as possible of what he does and how he does it for people who want to incorporate peacemaking into their work and ministries.&nbsp; </span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Buttry started doing pilot projects to refine the Bible-based experiential education form of training for the first two years.&nbsp; Then Buttry took the TCTT global.&nbsp;In November 2012 he led a training in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 28 people from eight countries in Asia and the Pacific. Then in September 2013 he and his wife, Sharon, led a TCTT in Kenya for people from eight African countries and the U.S.&nbsp;Then the All-Africa Baptist Fellowship co-sponsored another Africa training in Nigeria in May 2014.&nbsp;This TCTT was co-facilitated by Dan and Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe, a Kenya TCTT graduate.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">The TCTTs have seen a dramatic expansion of peacemaking training, as well as direct mediation in violent conflicts.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">At the Kenya TCTT, participants formed the Pan African Peace Network (PAPNET) with Lance Muteyo as the coordinator.&nbsp;PAPNET set as its mission "to transform African conflicts while fostering social equity and community progress through pacifism not passivism."&nbsp;Their vision statement was "to usher in a novel era of mutually beneficial nonviolent conflict transformation synergies and creating a win-win scenario."&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">These were not just words. The young activists, in particular, trained in TCTT plunged into action.&nbsp;They trained people in many countries in conflict transformation, from Baptist young adults to Zimbabwean traditional leaders including chiefs. Some engaged in mediation to end armed conflicts. Others crossed lines of religious difference where armed militias make interfaith activity a high-risk action.&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><u><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Here are results of the TCTT grads making a difference</span></u><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">.</span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="line-height: normal; text-indent: -0.25in; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-add-space: auto; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font: 7pt/normal &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Young African peacemakers are dramatically taking peace training to the front lines of conflict in their own countries and in other countries. They are graduates of the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) led by Dan and Sharon in Kenya in September 2013 and with Lance Muteyo in Nigeria in May 2014. Participants, drawn from 12 countries, have taken the training and run with it beyond the Buttry’s imagining. <br style="mso-special-character: line-break;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="line-height: normal; text-indent: -0.25in; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-add-space: auto; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font: 7pt/normal &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Some of the TCTT grads from Liberia and Sierra Leone have been recreating their peace and reconciliation work to face the Ebola crisis. They are using tools learned in experiential education to develop public health workshops.<br style="mso-special-character: line-break;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="line-height: normal; text-indent: -0.25in; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-add-space: auto; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1;"><span style="font-family: Symbol; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol;"><span style="mso-list: Ignore;">·<span style="font: 7pt/normal &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">In northern Kenya, Boaz Keibarak has been engaged in a long-term process of peace training and mediation to end warning between the Pokot and Turkana tribes, as well as help young men trapped in cycles of violence in cattle rustling.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Invitations to the PAP-NET (Pan African Peace Network) trainers to conduct workshops are being received from Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Namibia and Mozambique, as well as the continuing work in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Central African Republic. “God is doing amazing things through this emerging generation of peacemakers,” commented Dan. “They are moving fast, and we need to move fast to keep pace with what the Spirit is doing with them.” </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 12pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">A major source of funding for these projects is IM's Global Peacemakers Mentoring Fund.&nbsp;Contributions can be made <a href="http://internationalministries.org/projects/150">here</a>.&nbsp;An anonymous donor has issued a $3,000 matching grant for all donations coming in before the end of the year.&nbsp;So immediate gifts up to $3,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar to keep these young peacemakers busy!</span></p> <span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;">Read more about </span><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 11pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/629-buttry-sharon"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Sharon</span></a></span><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;"> or </span><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 11pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin;"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/110-buttry-dan"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Dan</span></a></span><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;"> on their profile pages. To support their ministries also go to their profile pages.&nbsp; <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"><br></span></span><p></p> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56726-peacemaking-experiences-dramatic-expansion-through-the-global-training-programs-of-dan-buttry https://internationalministries.org/read/56726-peacemaking-experiences-dramatic-expansion-through-the-global-training-programs-of-dan-buttry Difficult Conversations in Hong Kong <p>Difficult conversations in churches?&nbsp; We certainly know what that is about.&nbsp; Maybe we don't have them because we are afraid of them.&nbsp; Maybe we have them and split our churches or drive people away.&nbsp; But maybe, just maybe, we have the difficult conversations and find our churches strengthened because we are able to deal positively with our conflicts.&nbsp; We learn how to listen to each other, how to find common ground, and how to find a deeper unity in Christ that can hold those tensions where we still disagree.&nbsp; A healthy church is a church that can have the difficult conversations without fear and without ripping apart the body.</p><p>Hong Kong is going through a very challenging time right now.&nbsp; There is a democracy movement called Occupy Central (which has also occupied other parts of the city as well).&nbsp; They are calling for greater democracy especially in the nomination and election of the Chief Executive (like a governor).&nbsp; Many of the leaders and activists have come out of the churches.&nbsp; One key leader is a Baptist ministry, and many students from the Baptist University have been active in the protests.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The conflict in the streets has spilled back into the churches, pitting passionate activists against those who think Christians should respect the governing authorities.&nbsp; I was asked to help the Baptist churches process these conversations in a healthy way.&nbsp; We had started a series of conflict transformation workshops back in March.&nbsp; I'm working with Jabbie Chia, a Baptist deacon and businessman who also runs at mediation center.&nbsp; Jabbie is a graduate of the 2012 Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so he and I have made a great co-facilitation team for these workshops.</p><p>We had a two-day workshop for pastors who had participated in our March trainings.&nbsp; We gave them some ways of analyzing the dynamics of groups in which the difficult conversations take place, and then some tools for facilitating those conversations.&nbsp; The practice was intense because they were also real conversations about generational perspectives and experiences as well as the hot topics in the churches.</p><p>Then we did a separate series of evening trainings for lay leaders from those same churches, getting into the beginning level of conflict transformation topics that we'd done with the pastors in March.&nbsp; Jabbie also arranged for me to lecture in two seminaries--Bethel Semininary with many Baptist students, the other a Lutheran school that had many Baptist students from Burma/Myanmar.&nbsp; The hot discussion at Bethel was about the Occupy movement as many students had been involved in the actions and were sleeping down in the streets.</p><p>Then the final Sunday in Hong Kong was spent with the Kwun Tong Swatow Baptist Church who had hosted the pastors' training. Kwun Tong is located in a suite on the 33rd floor of an office building while there new building is being constructed.&nbsp; They have about 600 in the congregation broken up into a Saturday night and two Sunday services.&nbsp; I preached in the Sunday services on godly communication.&nbsp; Then we had a workshop with the deacons and other church leaders, including many young people, on difficult conversations.&nbsp; We helped them hold some of those conversations in a safe space, learning the tools they can put to use whenever needed.<br></p><p>The issues in society shift and change.&nbsp; The hot topics of conversation in churches shift and change.&nbsp; But how we handle these difficult conversations is critical.&nbsp; Colossians 1.27 tells us that whatever we do in word or deed we should do it in the name of Christ Jesus.&nbsp; How do we conduct our difficult conversations in the name of Jesus?&nbsp; Do we reflect God's Spirit in how we disagree with each other?&nbsp; Is love more important than winning our point, or do we think that our point is God's position therefore those who disagree are unrighteous and ungodly?&nbsp; I don't need to go to Hong Kong to find churches struggling how to handle tough controversies or disagreements about what to do.&nbsp; I can go to my own home church--or your home church!&nbsp; These conversations are where practicing the peace of Christ must be practically hammered out.&nbsp; If we handle our conflicts well, our churches will be stronger in the end.&nbsp; So may your church be blessed with conflict--blessed in how you handle your conflicts!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56559-difficult-conversations-in-hong-kong https://internationalministries.org/read/56559-difficult-conversations-in-hong-kong Matching Grant to Support Amazing African Peacemakers <p>Young African peacemakers are dramatically taking peace training to the front lines of conflict in their own countries and in other countries.&nbsp; They are graduates of the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) which I've led (along with Sharon Buttry in Kenya in September 2013 and with Lance Muteyo in Nigeria in May 2014) with participants drawn from 12 different countries.&nbsp; They have taken what they have learned and run with it beyond our imagining.</p><p>These creative and courageous Christian peacemakers need support, so we established a Global Peacemakers Mentoring Project to continue their support by having them come along with me on some training trips and to support their own leadership in training with my support through coaching and consultation.&nbsp; One excited donor has offered to match any donations to this project dollar-for-dollar up to $3,000.&nbsp; You can go to the Project page to donate:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/projects/150">Global Peacemaker Mentoring Project</a>.</p><p>And what is supported?&nbsp; Just this past week I got two amazing reports.&nbsp; Fabrice Anthony Kettemallet from Central African Republic is only 21 years old, but he is going where few have dared to tread.&nbsp; Fabrice, with the support of the project fund, conducted conflict transformation trainings for young people in Christian militias in C.A.R.&nbsp; He's been able to convince some to disarm and pursue their dreams by education rather than violence.&nbsp; He's been approached by Muslims to help in peace training in their community, too!</p><p>Over in northern Kenya Boaz Keibarak has been engaged in a long-term process of peace training and mediation to end warring between the Pokot and Turkana tribes as well as help young men trapped into cycles of violence in cattle rustling.&nbsp; Boaz just reported on trainings funded by the project in which he worked with church leaders in one training and with young men involved directly in the violence in another.&nbsp; (You can read more about Boaz's work in an earlier missionary journal:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/52783-young-peacemakers-at-work-in-turkwell-kenya">"Young Peacemakers at Work in Turkwell, Kenya"</a>).</p><p>Meanwhile Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe is coordinating the Pan-African Peace Network that grew out of the Kenya TCTT.&nbsp; He's worked with me in Zambia and Nigeria (See the journal:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/52837-the-arts-shine-at-a-conflict-training-in-zambia">"The Arts Shine at a Conflict Transformation Training in Zambia"</a>) as well as leading his own trainings in Malawi and South Africa.&nbsp; Lance and Boaz worked together as an international team training chiefs and other traditional community leaders in a volatile region of southern Zimbabwe.&nbsp; The paramount chief was so impressed by their leadership and training that he invited them back to do further work.</p><p>Meanwhile invitations have been coming to do workshops in Rwanda, South Sudan, Namibia, and Mozambique as well as the continuing work in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Central African Republic.&nbsp; Some of the TCTT grads from Liberia and Sierra Leone have been shifting from their peace and reconciliation work to facing the Ebola crisis in their countries, but they've been using the skills and tools they learned in experiential education to develop public health workshops.<br></p><p>God is doing amazing things through this emerging generation of peacemakers.&nbsp; They are moving fast, and we need to move fast to keep pace with what the Spirit is doing with them.&nbsp; Join us if you can--and thank you for your financial support, prayers, and encouragement.</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p><p><br></p> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56187-matching-grant-to-support-amazing-african-peacemakers https://internationalministries.org/read/56187-matching-grant-to-support-amazing-african-peacemakers From Here to There to Here <p>200 years ago Adoniram and Ann Judson traveled from the US to Burma, becoming our first supported American Baptist missionaries.&nbsp; Now the church that has grown from that earlier mission and through many U.S. and Burmese laborers.&nbsp; Because of war many people have fled from Burma, now formally called Myanmar, and some of those refugees have settled in the U.S.&nbsp; Baptist churches from the Karen, Chin, and Kachin ethnic groups have sprung up all across the country where these refugees and immigrants have settled.&nbsp; Some of these congregations are revitalizing struggling old U.S. churches.&nbsp; Mission has gone from here to there and now back to here.</p><p>In September I was called to serve with both Chin and Karen leaders.&nbsp; The Ministers Council of the Chin Baptist Churches USA met in Green Lake, Wisconsin gathering from across the country for a retreat.&nbsp; Sharon and I joined them to lead training sessions on conflict transformation.&nbsp; Throughout the training we were impressed at the high quality of leaders, their biblical engagement, and their passion to make a transformative impact through their ministries both in the U.S. and back home in Burma.&nbsp; The work we did related to trauma healing was especially exciting to them as so many of their church members and even the pastors themselves have experienced terrible trauma because of the war in Burma and in their plight as refugees.</p><p>One week later I was teaching Karen church leaders from across Tennessee and Kentucky.&nbsp; We were meeting for a class as part of the Foundations program organized through Central Baptist Theological Seminary and headed up by my IM colleagues Duane and Marcia Binkley.&nbsp; We met in the grand Gothic buildings of the Scarritt-Bennett Center, a United Methodist facility next to Vanderbilt University in Nashville.&nbsp; We had an intense, energized day of training for the Karen leaders to explore conflicts in their families and churches as well as the conflicts they face in their new communities.&nbsp; Last year I led similar classes for Karens from New York and North Carolina.</p><p>Sunday I preached at the Karen Baptist Church in Nashville.&nbsp; I was blessed to see some of the students from the Saturday class functioning in their own leadership contexts.&nbsp; These churches are so full of life and vitality with many gifted and committed young people.&nbsp; From here to there to here again mission in the name of Christ continues.</p><p>We can share in this continuing work of Christ through participation in the World Mission Offering.&nbsp; Your church can give to support the general work of IM and the many project in which we are engaged.&nbsp; You can also designate a portion of your WMO for specific missionaries to make a more direct connection to the work being done.&nbsp; However you give, we are deeply grateful for your partnership.&nbsp; Bless you!</p><p>In peace and joy,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55650-from-here-to-there-to-here https://internationalministries.org/read/55650-from-here-to-there-to-here Ready for Either <p>When I checked into the registration table for the World Mission Conference at Green Lake in July I noticed a big pile of black and white buttons available for participants.&nbsp; I took one and looked closely at the tiny sketch.&nbsp; I was profoundly moved by what I saw.</p><p>There is a bull or ox standing in the center.&nbsp; In front of the bull is a plow.&nbsp; Behind is an altar with smoke rising from it.&nbsp; Over this picture is a banner with the words, "Ready for Either."&nbsp; Ready to be harnessed to the plow to serve.&nbsp; Ready to be offered up to God on that altar as a sacrifice.</p><p>For the mission society the logo wasn't about cattle, but about people--about missionaries.&nbsp; We must be ready for either--to serve Christ or to sacrifice our lives for his cause.</p><p>That was a very real and serious issue in the old days of missions.&nbsp; Back in the early 1800s when the modern missionary movement was getting underway and the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society was formed, the average lifespan of a missionary on the mission field was less than two years.&nbsp; Most missionaries died rather quickly of tropical diseases like malaria, sleeping sickness, dysentery, typhoid, and so on.&nbsp; Adoniram Judson buried his first wife, Ann, in Burma.&nbsp; He then married Sarah Boardman who had buried her first husband while also serving in Burma.&nbsp; Sarah died there, and Judson married again.&nbsp; His third wife, Emily Chubbuck, buried Adoniram at sea on a trip back to the U.S. when he succumbed to a lung disease he picked up in Burma.&nbsp; Many missionaries were also martyred such as those killed in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 and the 10 American Baptist missionaries beheaded by the Japanese Army in the Philippines during World War II (as I always do when I am at Green Lake I visited the Hopevale Memorial during the World Misison Conference).</p><p>"Ready for either"--to serve or to be sacrificed.</p><p>The same challenge is before us today.&nbsp; Missionary health care workers have been at risk for Ebola in the current crisis in West Africa.&nbsp; They are amazing heroes standing alongside their friends and colleagues from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.&nbsp; One of our earlier American Baptist missionaries, Dr. Dan Fountain, was the world's first expert on Ebola when it appeared in Congo.</p><p>And martyrdom is possible.&nbsp; When I was in the Philippines in 2003, a few days before I was to fly into Davao City airport the terminal was blown up by terrorists.&nbsp; Among the 20 or so people killed was a Southern Baptist missionary.&nbsp; In recent years there have been missionaries martyred in the Philippines and India.&nbsp; I've stood in churches destroyed in Nigeria, Indonesia, and India.</p><p>As missionaries called to Christian peacemaking Sharon and I sometimes go to places familiar with violence.&nbsp; Though we are seldom truly in harms way, we often are with the people who are intimate with the threats, dangers, and trauma of violence.&nbsp; I get more questions about fear and danger than any other topic related to my mission work.&nbsp; People ask if Sharon and I are scared to go to the places we sometimes go.&nbsp; Yes, sometimes I am scared.&nbsp; But staying safe is not a gospel value.&nbsp; Following Jesus is the gospel value that drives our lives.&nbsp; What is Jesus asking us to do?&nbsp; Jesus said, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.&nbsp; For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it." (Mark 8.34,35)</p><p>"Ready for either"--to serve or to be sacrificed.</p><p>This is not a call just for missionaries.&nbsp; This is a call for all Christians.&nbsp; Basically all of us are missionaries in some way.&nbsp; We are all called to serve Christ and be his ambassadors whether we are sent to Syria, Sierra Leone, or South Bend.&nbsp; We are called to give ourselves to service whether in Nicaragua, Nigeria, or Nebraska.&nbsp; We are called to be ready to pay any price necessary for love or faithfulness whether in India, Ivory Coast, or Illinois.</p><p>I should say that Sharon and I do appreciate your prayers for our safety!&nbsp; We have no martyr complex, death wish, or love of danger!&nbsp; But like our earlier missionary colleagues who went out under that old logo, we are called by Christ.&nbsp; And in his service we need to be "ready for either."</p><p>During the next couple months American Baptist congregations will be taking the World Mission Offering.&nbsp; We thank you for your support for us and for all of our missionary colleagues and partners with International Ministries.&nbsp; We can't be ready for what Christ calls us to do unless we have sisters and brothers ready to support and send.&nbsp; Blessings on you in your partnership in Christ's wonderful mission!</p><p>Peace,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55126-ready-for-either https://internationalministries.org/read/55126-ready-for-either Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant <p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">The 2014 IGNITE Team in Bolivia got an amazing opportunity to meet two of the giants of Baptist faith and witness in that country. I was with them to do the orientation, along with IM missionary Mario Morales, who will be their team leader. I had touched on the lives of these two “giants”—one directly over a number of years, and the other unknowingly and tangentially. Both of these men are in their 80's, and what an opportunity for the young mission leaders of the IGNITE Team to meet them and cross the divide of generations through their stories of courage in the face of great difficulty!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><b><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">Mario Rivas</span></b></p><p style="margin-top:0in"><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">The first was Mario Rivas. Mario Rivas was the only Bolivian Baptist liberation theologian. I first met him at the 1988 International Baptist Peace Conference in Sweden. He was living was in Germany at the time, part of his 12-year exile by Bolivia's military dictators for his teaching. He did theology—as he still does—from the vantage point of the poor. It's amazing how the Scriptures come through with different emphases that are often missed when one is in a position of privilege. Passages that some just glide over quickly become powerful promises of God's presence and deliverance in incredible hardship and oppression. Those were the texts Mario brought to bear on the Bolivian context, much to the distress of his Baptist colleagues and to the anger of the Bolivian authorities. For many years, he stood alone.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">When I was in Bolivia in 2006, the two Marios and I drove across the country—from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba, then on to La Paz. Along the way, we held a series of peace workshops for Baptist and Pentecostal pastors and church leaders. We were on television and the radio, speaking about ways Evangelicals (that's what Protestants are often called outside the U.S.) could creatively engage in the new developments in Bolivian political and social life. We became deeply bonded during those hours of driving, sitting around the table at meals and speaking across the country.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">When we met with Mario Rivas a few days ago, he shuffled out to meet us. He is in his 80’s and is dying with untreatable cancer, but he still has an immense power in his voice and conviction. He spoke about concerns for justice and about the peace his faith gives him regarding his impending death. He also wanted to sing. He had a guitar and drum in his living room. Breaking out the instruments, we sang "How Great Thou Art" in Spanish and English. Then we sang the song he led on a bus in Sweden in 1988, "With Jesus in the Home, What a Happy Family"—we both remembered that moment! The climax was a rousing version of "La Bamba," with Mario Morales rocking on the guitar. Mario Rivas pounded the arms of his easy chair and sang with gusto. He told us our time with him was better medicine than any doctor could provide, but his testimony was also sweet nourishment to us.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">One of my blessings in relation to Mario Rivas was seeing this grand theologian/activist who had stood alone as a prophetic voice when the cost was high. Now he has seen peacemaking taught among the churches and in the seminary (I did a seminar at the seminary the following day). Voices for justice and peace are still not in the mainstream of the churches, but they are heard and are helping the churches engage in what is happening in the broader society. Tears coursed down Mario's face in 2006 and again this week as we talked about the harvest of peace that was sown by Mario (see James 3:18).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><b><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">Jamie Goytia</span></b></p><p style="margin-top:0in"><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">The other grand old saint was Jamie Goytia, 89 years old. The IGNITE team met with him and his wife, Marina, who is in her 90’s. With their daughter translating (Miriam Isabel Goytia translated my <i>Bible Study Manual on Conflict Transformation</i> into Spanish in 2006), Jamie told the story about the martyrs of 1949. I had visited a memorial to those martyrs back in 2006, but never really got the full story. Nobody can tell it like Jamie.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">He was a teenage boy who had been baptized by Canadian Baptist missionary Norman Dabbs. Dabbs, the rector of the Baptist seminary and another pastor were traveling to a nearby community for a special event. Jamie wanted to go, but his father refused to allow him. Jamie pleaded and was finally given permission. He rushed off to the meeting place for the trip, only to find that the truck had left a couple minutes before without him. That late arrival saved his life. The entire team, including the driver and four Bolivian Baptist campesinos, were attacked by Catholic villagers stirred up by their local priest. The Baptists were dragged out into the village square and stoned to death.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">When Jamie saw the bodies of the martyrs returned to their town, he felt God calling him to be a pastor instead of being a lawyer or joining the military as his family wanted. Jamie's career included being a pastor, teaching and leading the seminary and being the head of the United Bible Society in Bolivia. He oversaw the translation of the Bible into Quechua and Aymara as well as some of the languages from smaller people groups in Bolivia. He worked closely with both the Protestant and Catholic churches as the Bible Society director, which led to an amazing act of reconciliation.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">In the early 2000s, the Roman Catholic Church in Bolivia officially asked forgiveness for the killing of the Baptists in 1949. Jamie, as the only survivor of that group, was present at the ceremony. With tears he pronounced forgiveness, an act of healing that had been buttressed by years of shared ministry in Bible translation.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">We were all blessed to sit for a spell with these grand old saints. They won't be with us on this earth much longer, but their stories showed the IGNITE Team how God's servants can blaze with passion for Christ and his service for long and faithful lives. When the time comes for Mario and Jamie to die, I know they will hear the voice of Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">In peace and hope,</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.5pt;">Dan Buttry<o:p></o:p></span></p> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54425-well-done-good-and-faithful-servant https://internationalministries.org/read/54425-well-done-good-and-faithful-servant Jesus speaks Mapudungun <p>Does Jesus speak Mapudungun?&nbsp; Some churches have evidently thought not.&nbsp; The Mapuches are indigenous people in Chile, a people never conquered by the Incan Empire but incorporated into Chile by the Spanish colonizers.&nbsp; They have a very spiritually-based culture, so some of the early missionaries and even some of the evangelical churches today consider anything associated with the Mapuche culture as pagan.&nbsp; Many Mapuches in coming to Christ have abandoned their culture and have tried to accommodate themselves to the dominant Spanish-based culture.</p><p>But now things in the Mapuche heartland are stirring up.&nbsp; Mapuche activists are responding the the prejudice they have experienced with pride, anger, and violence.&nbsp; Tensions are building.&nbsp; People have been killed, homes burned, and land occupied.&nbsp; IM missionaries Dwight and Barb Bolick have been working in Chile, especially among the Mapuches, doing development work and other outreach projects with the churches in Temuco and Panguipulli and surrounding areas.&nbsp; Dwight invited me to come to Chile to equip the churches for conflict transformation work in this developing context of confrontation. <br></p><p>The core of my time in Chile was a 2-day training in Temuco followed by a 1-day workshop in Panguipulli.&nbsp; I learned about the loss of language that was sometimes encouraged and even enforced in some church settings.&nbsp; As we trained about the dynamics of mainstreams and margins in groups it was clear that the Mapuches were experiencing serious marginalization, and language was a key touch point.&nbsp; I learned the Mapuche greeting, "Mari, mari."&nbsp; So at one point in the workshop I looked at Lucy, a Mapuche woman who is studying in seminary.&nbsp; I told her that when she gets to heaven Jesus is not going to say "Bienvenidos!"&nbsp; Rather Jesus will open his arms and say, "Mari, mari!"&nbsp; Lucy's eyes welled with tears and her face shone.&nbsp; It was the most emotionally charged moment of the workshop.</p><p>There is firm Biblical ground for that affirmation.&nbsp; The Bible says in Revelation 7.9 that there will be "a great multitude that no one can count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."&nbsp; Mapudungun will be one of those languages in heaven.&nbsp; God's glory can't be fully expressed without the sound of Mapudungun, however marginalized and disparaged that language may have been on earth.</p><p>Conflict transformation requires respecting the humanity and the voices of those at the margins.&nbsp; Sometimes out of anger and frustration the voice from the margin is raised through violence.&nbsp; Such expressions from the margin become counterproductive, destroying lives and property, leading to deep alienation and trauma, and allowing mainstreams to justify their own repressive violence for the sake of law and order.&nbsp; But listening to the voices from the margin is necessary for learning what is going on, where the pains are, and what the needs and concerns are.&nbsp; We need to hear from both the margins and the mainstream to gain the information needed to come up with creative solutions.</p><p>I have hope for this region of Chile.&nbsp; The churches are getting engaged in being agents and ambassadors of reconciliation while the conflict is still in the early stages.&nbsp; The Bolicks are doing excellent and strategic work there.&nbsp; The Chilean Baptists, including the Mapuche leaders are getting trained and mobilized.&nbsp; There are many others seeking the things that make for peace, including some in the government.&nbsp; This is the time to sow the seeds of peace because the hearts of people and the communities seem to be fertile soil.</p><p>Thank you for all you do to support me and my IM missionary colleagues such as Dwight and Barb Bolick.&nbsp; Your financial support, your encouragement, and your prayers give us strength and help unleash the work of the Spirit in places of need.&nbsp; Bless you!</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan&nbsp; <br></p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 01:11:22 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54303-jesus-speaks-mapudungun https://internationalministries.org/read/54303-jesus-speaks-mapudungun Can We Love Boko Haram? <p>Writing during the war between Serbia and Croatia while his own seminary was under artillery fire, the Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf begins his theological masterpiece <i>Exclusion and Embrace</i> with this question: "Can I love a Chetnik (slang term for militant Serbs)?" His response: "In Christ I must." As followers of Jesus, we must love our enemies if we are to take his teachings seriously. What does this mean for our faith, our theology and our actions?</p> <p>We could relate to this sort of difficult faithfulness when participants from 10 African countries gathered in Nigeria for the intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT). Shortly before we arrived, the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram had kidnapped over 200 school girls in northern Nigeria. The abduction of the girls and the failure of the Nigerian government and army to rescue them has become a national nightmare and trauma in Nigeria. We arrived in the airport to discover massive security because of Boko Haram threats—cars were kept more than a kilometer away from the arrival terminal, so we had to haul our suitcases across dusty roads to the hastily organized car park.</p> <p>At the TCTT, we explored topics of conflict resolution, personal conflict styles, dealing with diversity in social groups, power dynamics, nonviolent transforming initiatives, building movements, trauma healing and reconciliation. We plunged into Biblical teachings on these topics. With people from Nigeria (including the highly-conflicted north), Congo, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia, we had participants who knew the horrors of war and violence intimately, yet who were also deeply committed to being Christ's agents of peace and reconciliation.</p> <p>At one break, three of the young adults approached me with a desire to communicate directly with Boko Haram. They said, "We've been learning from you about what Jesus calls us to do, and we have to act in this crisis." There has been a global campaign to post pictures and tweets saying, "Bring Back Our Girls." But the attitude is too often demanding. We had talked about taking transformative initiatives, acting in ways that affirm both our humanity and the humanity of the other, that put loving our enemies into practice. We explored how this wasn't passivity in the face of evil—how evil needs to be exposed, resisted and overcome. We looked at how to be "soft on people and hard on the issue."</p> <p>So the three, with the concurrence and support of the whole group, filmed a video to be posted directly to the Boko Haram website. They spoke in Hausa, the main language in northern Nigeria. Instead of demanding, they began, "In the name of Allah the compassionate and merciful," recognizing that the members of Boko Haram pray to God in this way many times a day. They told them that they loved them, but that God's compassion and mercy calls them to release these girls. Maybe nothing will come of this, but the issue is that we are faithful to act in a way consistent with the call of Christ.</p> <p>The philosophy of experiential education, the methodology we use, is to begin with experiences, reflect on those experiences, generalize to see the lessons that can be learned, then to apply your learning to create a new experience. The TCTT participants didn't wait to leave the workshop to apply what they were learning, but acted right away. We also developed plans for further action related to Boko Haram, higher-risk action perhaps, as well as actions back in the participants' home countries.</p> <p>I was blessed to have as co-facilitator Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe. Lance is a growing leader who participated in the TCTT we held in Kenya in September 2013. He has become the coordinator of the Pan African Peace Network that grew out of that training and has already been engaged in peace trainings and mediation in six countries. Lance and I teamed up to lead this event, helping him dramatically expand his experience and skills in facilitation. Besides mentoring Lance I have also been learning from him!</p> <p>Thank you for your participation in global mission, including our peacemaking work in the name of Jesus. Your prayers, financial support, words of encouragement and in some cases direct participation make a huge difference!</p> <p>Peace, <br>Dan</p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54123-can-we-love-boko-haram- https://internationalministries.org/read/54123-can-we-love-boko-haram- Part 1 in Hong Kong & Macau <p>March saw Part 1 unfold of what we hope will be a three-year project to do church-based conflict transformation and mediation training in Hong Kong and Macau and China.&nbsp; It builds off the leadership training I've been doing centered on the 10-day intensive Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers.&nbsp; Jabbie Chia participated in the TCTT in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November 2012 (see my <a href="http://internationalministries.org/read/46533-multiplication">missionary journal</a> about that event).&nbsp; He had established a mediation center in Hong Kong, so the next step was to partner together to bring the training into the churches and to support Jabbie in the continued development of his training skills.&nbsp; Together we designed the program and sharing the facilitation roles.&nbsp; Ben Chan, IM's Area Director for parts of Asia including Hong Kong, Macau, and China, developed the vision for the three-year program, including training of church leaders, getting into theological institutions, and publishing resources in Chinese.&nbsp; The three of us made a great team!<br></p><p>We had a excellent representation of pastors and evangelists from the Swatow Baptist Churches in Hong Kong for the two-day training.&nbsp; We met in the 33rd floor of a skyscraper where one congregation is meeting as they expand their church building.&nbsp; We explored various dynamics of conflict and positive ways to be engaged in transforming those conflicts.&nbsp; On the second day Ben and Jabbie took us deeper into mediation with some case studies and role plays.&nbsp; Some pastors were initially hesitant about the training, but by the time we were done they were eager for us to come again and go deeper into the topic.</p><p>So we laid out the next steps with Jabbie leading a "reunion" workshop in July, followed by still deeper work with Ben, Jabbie and me in November.&nbsp; At that time we will launch another initial training for various lay leaders so that pastors and lay leaders can both be on the same page in healthy ways to handle conflict.</p><p>Macau is a new mission area for IM as we have entered into partnership with the Macau Bible Institute.&nbsp; Just this year <a href="http://internationalministries.org/teams/445-wu">Emerson and Ivy Wu</a> were deployed there to serve in administrative and teaching leadership.&nbsp; We led a training there not only for people in the institute but for other Christians in Macau who had an interest, including one Baptist layperson who worked in the government to resolve conflicts with the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to Macau each day, mostly from China and mostly to gamble at the casinos.&nbsp; During the training we took some special time to bless the Wus and pray for their ministry in Macau.&nbsp; I also had conversations with a couple people who see this kind of work as key components of what God is calling them to, so Jabbie will be able to begin to mentor them along with me.<br></p><p>The 2014 World Mission Offering is going to feature the work of Emerson and Ivy in Macau.&nbsp; We were accompanied by a Hong Kong film-maker.&nbsp; We also had many conversations to lay the plans for November's trip and the following two years.&nbsp; We are developing conflict transformation resources in Chinese.&nbsp; We debuted a new Chinese edition of my "Bible Study Manual on Conflict Transformation."&nbsp; We're also working on a Chinese version of <i>Christian Peacemaking</i>. &nbsp; A lot is happening!</p><p>Thank you for your prayers and support.&nbsp; China is one of the most dynamic centers in the world for economic activity, but it is also a place where God's people are engaged with similar energy and passion.&nbsp; Pray as we continue to explore and build positive partnerships for bringing God's blessing to this region of the world.</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53625-part-1-in-hong-kong-macau https://internationalministries.org/read/53625-part-1-in-hong-kong-macau Dan Buttry, Orientation Leader, Ignite 2014 <p>Dan Buttry will be leading the orientation for the IGNITE 2014 Bolivia team..&nbsp; Dan is the Global Consultant for Peace and Justice for International Ministries, working around the world to engage in &nbsp;ministries of conflict transformation and peacemaking.&nbsp; He led the 2005 Xtreme Team and the 2013 Ignite Team to the Republic of Georgia and considers those some of the highlights of his missionary career.&nbsp; Dan is 60 years old but considers working with the Xtreme Team and now IGNITE&nbsp; young adults one of the things that has kept his heart and energy level high. &nbsp;He's also proud that his son Jon produced the IGNITE video including doing the fire-spinning performance--check it out on the IGNITE web page!<br></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:52:46 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53476-dan-buttry-orientation-leader-ignite-2014 https://internationalministries.org/read/53476-dan-buttry-orientation-leader-ignite-2014 Documentary on Religious Liberty in the Republic of Georgia <p>International Ministries has just launched a new YouTube channel.&nbsp; Perfect timing, because we are also released a new documentary this month on the topic of the struggle for religious liberty in the Republic of Georgia.&nbsp; The film, "Republic of Georgia - Finding the Voice" can be found if you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRoUvfryA-k&amp;feature=youtu.be">Click Here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>In November 2011 a mission team of film-maker Christin Russman-McKamey and photographer Robert Bruce joined me in the Republic of Georgia.&nbsp; Christin and Robert are members with me at Genesis the Church in Royal Oak.&nbsp; They offered their professional skills in service of Christ's mission, and this opportunity developed.&nbsp; With a tiny budget and only a week on the ground, we went intending to shoot one particular story.&nbsp; But then another story grew, the issue of religious freedom in an emerging democracy.&nbsp; Religious militants from the mainstream Georgian Orthodox Church have been intimidating and attacking religious minorities, including Baptists.&nbsp; This was the compelling story that emerged during our work.</p><p>Putting the film together was a challenge because of volunteer time, translation accuracy, no budget for return trips, and limited access to film archives.&nbsp; The story continued to develop, so we wanted to update it with more recent events, including the actions by militants to block Muslims from praying and the response of a demonstration for the freedom to pray that was led by Georgian Baptists.&nbsp; The 2013 IGNITE team participated in this event as recorded in their <a href="http://internationalministries.org/read/49073">missionary journals.</a></p><p>Baptist Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze is featured prominently in the documentary.&nbsp; She was recently selected for the International Women of Courage Award given by the U.S. Department of State.&nbsp; You can read about this in the recent IM <a href="http://internationalministries.org/read/52939-baptist-bishop-from-the-republic-of-georgia-receives-international-women-of-courage-award">press release</a>.<br></p><p>So we invite you to check out the documentary.&nbsp; You can show it in your church, in a small group, or a class.&nbsp; Contact us if you want more information about Georgia and current developments.&nbsp;</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 06:34:20 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53144-documentary-on-religious-liberty-in-the-republic-of-georgia https://internationalministries.org/read/53144-documentary-on-religious-liberty-in-the-republic-of-georgia The Arts Shine at a Conflict Training in Zambia <p>This was conflict transformation with lots of artistic spice.&nbsp; We had David LaMotte's "magic guitar" and Lance Muteyo's mbira.&nbsp; We had poetry and music.&nbsp; And we had 3-days of powerful conflict transformation training led by a team that had never been together before.&nbsp; People were in tears as they expressed their gratitude for the event and our work.&nbsp; God mixed a brew of people, music, poetry, experiential education, Scripture, and grace to pour over the conflicts in Zambia--and it was good!</p><p>I had been invited by Rev. Isaac Zulu of the Baptist Convention of Zambia to do a conflict transformation program for the church leaders, focused mainly on church life, but also on conflicts in family and society.&nbsp; No problem.&nbsp; I've done these kinds of trainings many places, and even though it would be my first time to Zambia I didn't see any special problems, or unique opportunities for that matter.&nbsp; Then two people who had been in my Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) to equip the rising generation of peacemaker trainer/activists asked if they could come along.&nbsp; David LaMotte is a <a href="http://davidlamotte.com/">singer-songwriter</a> from North Carolina who is also a <a href="http://https://www.rotary.org/en/peace-fellowships">Rotary International peace fellow</a> (check out the websites!).&nbsp; He had been in a TCTT I held in Detroit in 2011 and wanted to accompany me in a training to grow in his peacemaking experience and skills.&nbsp; Lance Muteyo is a peace and environmental activist from Zimbabwe who I first met as a youth participant at the Global Baptist Peace Conference in Rome in 2009.&nbsp; Then in 2010 Lance and I traveled with Phillip Mudzidzi across the breadth of Zimbabwe doing peace workshops and holding our own leadership training inside the car in the hours between the cities.&nbsp; In September 2013 Lance attended the TCTT Sharon and I led in Kenya.&nbsp; Lance is coordinator for the Pan-African Peace Network (PAP-NET) formed at the Kenya training.&nbsp; As Lance's leadership bloomed I asked him to join with me as co-facilitator in the upcoming TCTT in Nigeria in May.&nbsp; As we worked on the plans for Nigeria we realized Zambia would be a great opportunity for us to try our teamwork, so Lance joined the team.</p><p>The three of us worked carefully on the design and plans for the training, Skyping and e-mailing between Detroit, Asheville, and Harare, but Lance and David never met until we were coming out of the airport in Lusaka.&nbsp; We knew David and Lance brought some additional artistic skills to the team--Lance's poetry and mbira playing (the mbira is a small African "thumb piano") and David's folk-singing.&nbsp; We wove their artistic contributions into the workshop plan.&nbsp; Then the Holy Spirit went to work stirring everything and everybody up!</p><p>On the first day of the workshop David's music opened us up with a level of skill and energy that immediately got the 170 participants from across Zambia fully engaged.&nbsp; Then Lance shared a prophetic African love poem with the Zambians and deep wells of history and hope were tapped.&nbsp; As the three of us flowed in our facilitation through the various sections, the conflict transformation training pulsed with a power I've seldom seen.&nbsp; Oh, we made our mistakes as facilitators and talked about them in our team debriefing.&nbsp; However, it was clear in the event itself that we were connecting to deep needs in the people present, opening up old wounds to transforming grace, giving insights to see old conflicts in new ways, and providing tools to work in those conflicts in constructive and healing ways.&nbsp; Participants commented about how smooth we were as a team, looking like we'd been working together for a long time.<br></p><p>For me as the lead missionary and trainer I saw the importance of giving significant opportunities for younger leaders to step forward and use their skills.&nbsp; I could have done all the training sessions, and I have done solo facilitation many times.&nbsp; But David and Lance could also do many of these sessions, and they were ready to lead.&nbsp; Furthermore, by bringing them into the team we had gifts I couldn't bring but that added profound dimensions to what God was doing with and through us.&nbsp; For me, this was not just another training in just another country.&nbsp; Because of how God shone in Lance and David the Zambia training became the paradigm for the new way I need to work as much as possible.</p><p>It's never about any one of us.&nbsp; We're always connected to others who are part of the Body of God's people, part of the team God is using to bring his love to bear on the needs of our world.&nbsp; I saw that in our team in Zambia.&nbsp; You are part of the team as well.&nbsp; Neither David, Lance, nor I could have been in Zambia without caring and supporting people who sent us forth, paid for our tickets, cared for our kids back home, and undergirded us with prayer.&nbsp; God mixed us all together with our various skills and poured a blessing out over the needs in Zambia.&nbsp; As Lance would say, "Amazing!"<br></p><p>In joy and hope,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52837-the-arts-shine-at-a-conflict-training-in-zambia https://internationalministries.org/read/52837-the-arts-shine-at-a-conflict-training-in-zambia Young Peacemakers at Work in Turkwell, Kenya <p>The area around Turkwell in the province of West Pokot has been so explosive that Kenyan police won't go there.&nbsp; But two unarmed peacemakers recently led a peace-building workshop with the warring Pokot and Turkana communities.&nbsp; Boaz Keibarak from West Pokot and Philip Stargate from Uganda led the training with the support of Pokot and Turkana team members.&nbsp; They have built off the tireless and sacrificial peacemaking work of Boaz in that region for the past two years.</p><p>I visited there with Boaz in 2012, which I reported in a missionary journal, <a href="http://http://internationalministries.org/read/43651-we-want-peace-but-">"We Want Peace, but..."&nbsp; </a>Seeing the wonderful peacemaking work Boaz was doing I invited him to be a participant in the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers we held in Nyaharuru, Kenya last September.&nbsp; My wife Sharon and I facilitated training in a number of peacemaking topics, based on the Bible and using experiential education methodologies.&nbsp; Among the participants besides Boaz was Philip Stargate from Uganda.&nbsp; <br></p><p>A few weeks after the training, violence exploded once more in the Turkwell area.&nbsp; Over 130 people were killed in this latest cycle of violence between the Pokots and Turkanas.&nbsp; It go so bad that <a href="http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25068295">BBC</a> covered a story of the escalating conflict.&nbsp; As soon as I saw that story I contacted Boaz, and sure enough, he was packing to head out there right away.&nbsp; Boaz ended up mediating a process to end the immediate crisis using one of the tools of getting to win/win solutions that Sharon and I had taught that September.&nbsp; "It really worked!" Boaz excitedly wrote me.&nbsp; He then set up weekly mediation sessions with the Turkana and Pokot elders to head off any crises that might develop out of the still fragile and tenuous situation.</p><p>Boaz then worked up a more comprehensive peacemaking plan, and secured some initial funding support through my program with International Ministries and through the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.&nbsp; He and Philip then developed a peace training workshop for the region, including building a team with a community leader from both the Pokots and the Turkanas.&nbsp; They began their program with a Freedom Walk through the area with people from both sides witnessing about their desire for peace.&nbsp; Then they did the workshop in the Turkana and Pokot communities.&nbsp; The situation is still tense, but two young and courageous peacemakers have planted seeds of peace in the harsh dry soil of the Turkwell area.&nbsp; Boaz will continue working there, connected and supported by a community of peace from Kenya, Uganda, across Africa, and the U.S.</p><p>Thank you to all you who have supported our peacemaking efforts in prayer and financial giving.&nbsp; The September Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers gave Boaz and Philip the tools to carry on this work.&nbsp; Your gifts for my support and Sharon's support enable us to do this kind of training.&nbsp; Some of you made special contributions to this particular peacemaking project (which is on-going!).&nbsp; So you are part of that supportive community of peace in the name of Jesus.&nbsp; It is making a difference--people who were killing each other in October are now walking together and learning together to build healed communities!</p><p>In joy and hope,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 02:49:40 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52783-young-peacemakers-at-work-in-turkwell-kenya https://internationalministries.org/read/52783-young-peacemakers-at-work-in-turkwell-kenya New Peace Book in Burmese <p>When I arrived in Yangon for the Peace Forum for the Asia/Pacific Baptist Fellowship and Asia/Pacific Baptist Aid, Maung Maung Yin had a surprise for me:&nbsp; The Burmese edition of my book <i>Blessed Are the Peacemakers</i>.&nbsp; Maung Maung Yin is the founder and director of the Peace Studies Center for the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT).&nbsp; They published this version of my books, selecting 20 of the 62 mini-biographies from the original version.&nbsp; So delightful!</p><p>Dr. Maung Maung Yin's vision for peacemaking in his own country has driven the creation of the Peace Studies Center.&nbsp; Many years ago he invited me to be the first guest lecturer when the Center didn't have it's own programs yet.&nbsp; I lectured about peace in every department of the seminary:&nbsp; Old Testament, New Testament, Theology, Church History, Pastoral Ministry, Family Ministry, Counseling, and maybe something else I can't remember.&nbsp; Part of his vision is that peacemaking impacts and is expressed throughout the Christian faith and experience, not as an add-on but as an integral part of living for Christ in this world.&nbsp; His challenge to me through the invitation stretched my own thinking and application about what Paul calls "the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6.15).&nbsp; Then in February of 2012 my wife Sharon and I co-facilitated a day-long training program on peacemaking and the arts at MIT.<br></p><p>I was again at MIT this January for the Peace Forum held by the Asia/Pacific Baptist Fellowship and Asia/Pacific Baptist Aid.&nbsp; Many of those participating were long-time friends and colleagues, some of whom had been in trainings I've conducted over the years including the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in Chiang Mai, Thailand back in November 2012.&nbsp; Hearing of their on-going work and creative responses to the challenges they face was so encouraging.&nbsp; I was also blessed to meet committed Christian peacemakers from many other places I had not been involved yet, and we shared stories, resources and words of encouragement.&nbsp; Over it all, however, was the blessing of seeing the institutional maturity of the Peace Studies Center and the activist/academic leadership Maung Maung Yin has nurtured over the years.&nbsp; They have come a long way and are now a bright shining light of hope, capable of hosting international conferences and impacting the life and ministry of the global Baptist family.<br></p><p>By the way, if you want to get a copy of my <i>Blessed Are the Peacemakers</i> you can go to any bookstore to order it, or you can get it from <a href="http://http://www.readthespirit.com/bookstore/books/blessed-are-the-peacemakers/">Read The Spirit</a>, the publisher for the book.&nbsp; However, for American Baptists and anyone concerned with global missions there is a special International Ministries edition that has an extended chapter about American Baptist missionaries engaged in peacemaking as part of their witness for Christ, missionaries from Adoniram Judson to Gustavo Parajon, 200 years of peacemaking witness.&nbsp; You can get that special IM edition, signed by the author, by sending a check for $25 (which will include shipping) to me at 2300 Neibel St., Hamtramck, MI 48212.&nbsp; I will send you the English version.&nbsp; For the Burmese version you will need to contact Maung Maung Yin at MIT!</p><p>In Christ,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52426-new-peace-book-in-burmese https://internationalministries.org/read/52426-new-peace-book-in-burmese The Judson Legacy Continues <p>200 years ago in 1813 Adoniram and Ann Judson arrived in Burma.&nbsp; They began a Baptist mission work there that saw many other missionaries follow them and that saw the building of an indigenous church that is now one of the largest Baptist bodies in the world.&nbsp; As I write this journal some 30,000 Baptists from Burma/Myanmar and from around the world are celebrating that legacy.&nbsp; I wasn't celebrating it in Burma, but rather in New Bern, North Carolina, a fascinating place for the Judson legacy to continue.</p><p>I've been involved in peacemaking efforts in Burma for about 25 years.&nbsp; Peacemaking is part of the Judson legacy as Adoniram played an intermediary role to help end one of the Anglo-Burmese wars in 1826.&nbsp; Earlier Judson had joined the Massachusetts Peace Society from Burma, writing about his conviction that the missionary, Bible, and peace societies were "forming that three-fold cord, which will ultimately bind all the families of man in universal peace and love."&nbsp; Peacemaking as an integral component of Christian mission is part of our Judson legacy!</p><p>I was last in Burma in February 2012 with my wife Sharon.&nbsp; We taught at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, which now has a peace studies program directed by Maung Maung Yin.&nbsp; Then we taught at the Pwo Karen Theological Seminary alongside Ko Ko Lay, the seminary's principal and a passionate peacemaker.&nbsp; We explored Biblical ways to strengthen the work of Christians for peace in homes, churches, communities, and their nation.&nbsp; Years ago a friend from Burma issued a challenge to a global Baptist peace conference, "You sent us the Judsons to bring us the gospel; send us a second Judson to bring peace."&nbsp; I argued with him that the second Judson had to be from Burma.&nbsp; That peacemaker, Saboi Jum, was the second Judson he dreamed about, along with Maung Maung Yin, Ko Ko Lay, and all the students they are training who are rising up to leadership.&nbsp; The legacy continues!<br></p><p>But how does New Bern come into that legacy.&nbsp; Because of the wars in Burma, many Karens, Kachins, Chins, and people of other ethnic groups have fled.&nbsp; They have filled refugee camps in Thailand or found places to live at the margins in India, Malaysia, and Bangkok.&nbsp; Over the last few years the U.S. has opened to doors for immigration to those refugees, and tens of thousands have settled all across the U.S.&nbsp; Many if not most of these refugees are Baptists because of the Judson legacy.&nbsp; As they have settled in American cities they have quickly formed congregations, often renting space from or being incorporated into our local Baptist churches.&nbsp; To help in this transition from refugee camps to the life in the U.S.&nbsp; Duane and Marcia Binkley have been jointly commissioned by International Ministries of the A.B.C. and the Co-operative Baptist Fellowship.&nbsp; They developed a "Judson Foundation" program to educate Karen church leaders around the country in partnership with Central Baptist Theological Seminary.&nbsp; I've been invited to participate as part of the faculty for the Judson Foundation program, focusing on Bible-based conflict transformation for family, church, and community.</p><p>In November I went to Utica for a full Saturday teaching Karens from across the northeast.&nbsp; This was the last of an extensive series of classes, and the next Sunday they celebrated a graduation at the host church, Tabernacle Baptist.&nbsp; Then the first weekend of December I was in New Bern with Karen leaders from across North and South Carolina.&nbsp; What a dynamic and energetic group, mostly of younger adults.&nbsp; These immigrants are carrying on the Judson legacy not simply by being Christians who come from Burma, but they are coming to the U.S. as missionaries.&nbsp; They can challenge our older churches that have sometimes grown too grey and too tired with their youthful passion for the gospel.&nbsp; Their ministry is a cross-cultural mission back to the churches that once sent the Judsons to bring the gospel to them.&nbsp; Now the legacy continues as they bring the gospel back to us.</p><p>So I didn't mind missing the celebration in Yangon (well, maybe I missed being there a bit!).&nbsp; I felt I was right on the cutting edge of the Judson heritage.&nbsp; I'll be going to Yangon in January--interestingly to a peace consultation for Baptists from across Asia and the Pacific at the Myanmar Institute of Theology.&nbsp; It will then be 201 years since the Judsons arrived, but the work still needs to be done.&nbsp; Now our partners are different, but our commission is still the same.</p><p>By the way, if you want to read more about Adoniram Judson's peacemaking work and missiology as well as the last 200 years of peacemaking American Baptist missionaries, you can order the special International Ministries version of my book "Blessed Are the Peacemakers."&nbsp; Besides the 62 inspiring mini-biographies of peacemakers from around the world there is an extended chapter on our ABC missionaries--a "must read" for every ABC church library to get!&nbsp; You can order by sending a check for $15 made out to "Dan Buttry" at 2300 Neibel St., Hamtramck, MI 48212.&nbsp; Shipping is included.</p><p>Have a blessed Christmas and a grace-filled 2014!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51770-the-judson-legacy-continues https://internationalministries.org/read/51770-the-judson-legacy-continues IM Announces Endorsement of Global Consultant for Community Transformation <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> 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Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Sharon A. Buttry from Hamtramck, Michigan, has been endorsed by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to serve as Global Consultant for Community Transformation. Sharon will provide consultation and training of community and conflict transformation at the request of IM global partners, in partnership with her husband, Dan Buttry, current IM Global Consultant for Peace and Conflict Transformation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">Sharon is an ordained American Baptist pastor and a licensed social worker. She currently serves with Acts 29 Fellowship in her hometown as interim CEO and Board President.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Acts 29 Fellowship serves a diverse immigrant community teaching English as a second language, healing prayer, literature distribution, Shepherd on the Street and meeting critical needs of daily living. The Buttrys live and work in a two-square-mile immigrant city within the city of Detroit among mainly Muslim Bangladeshi and Yemeni ethnic groups. Sharon will serve part-time with IM and will continue her ministry in Hamtramck. Sharon’s home church is Genesis the Church in Royal Oak, Michigan.</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">When asked why she feels called to this ministry, she responded, “Followers of Christ must wrestle with what it means to be a faithful believer in all the complexities of life, including conflict and the challenging social issues that shape our world.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">“My ministry is one of engagement and education, bringing knowledge of the Scriptures alongside evidence-based community transformation practice skills,” she continued. “The goal is ‘community transformation’ guided by the Word, yielding positive impact for communities that, day by day, more clearly reflect the love and power of God at work in the world.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma; color:black;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">As an endorsed Global Consultant, Sharon will be working in the months ahead to build her Mission Partnership Network.&nbsp; She will be inviting individuals, groups and churches to partner with her by committing to share the spiritual, relational and financial support needed to begin her ministry with global church leaders. </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Tahoma">Please join IM in celebrating this new endorsement and praying for Sharon as she invites others to join her in “the journey to become all God has intended for us as Jesus’ disciples.” You may send words of encouragement and communicate directly with Sharon at <a href="mailto:sharon.buttry@internationalministries.org">sharon.buttry@internationalministries.org</a>. Learn more about Sharon on the IM website: </span><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/629-buttry-sharon"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/629-buttry-sharon</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">.</span></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">For more information, contact Catherine Nold: catherine.nold@abc-usa.org</i></p> <p></p> Sun, 13 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50729-im-announces-endorsement-of-global-consultant-for-community-transformation https://internationalministries.org/read/50729-im-announces-endorsement-of-global-consultant-for-community-transformation A Special Graduation in Kenya <p>Wilson Gathungu sacrificed attending his seminary graduation so that he could carry out the peacemaking ministry God called him to.&nbsp; So his seminary, Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas, arranged to take the graduation to him in Kenya.</p><p>It all began in a class at Central.&nbsp; Wilson wrote a paper in his social ethics class about the violence around the 2007 elections in his homeland Kenya that spilled over into 2008 and left more than 1,000 people dead and many communities shattered by tribal hatred.&nbsp; He wrote about what the church might be able to do for reconciliation.&nbsp; Dr. Terry Rosell, Wilson's prof, challenged him that this should be a project, not a paper.&nbsp; So they contacted me to consult about possible next steps.&nbsp; Before long Wilson was on his way back to Kenya to launch PRARI, the Peacebuilding, Reconciliation And Rehabilitation Initiative (for more see:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.prari.org">www.prari.org</a>).&nbsp; In June 2011 the Rosell family, Sharon, and I joined Wilson in a training and reconciliation initiative in the Molo District of the Rift Valley, one of the flash points for the post-election violence.&nbsp; I returned in June 2012 and April 2013 to work alongside Wilson in conflict transformation trainings in communities radiating out from the central community where PRARI's project began.</p><p>While doing his peace work Wilson continued his seminary education.&nbsp; I brought textbooks for his new classes.&nbsp; He communicated with his professors by e-mail and sent his papers back through the internet.&nbsp; He completed his last classes, but he could not get back for graduation.&nbsp; The U.S. government refused to give him a new visa to return for his commencement.&nbsp; His seminary class graduated without him.</p><p>So CBTS President Molly Marshall and Dr. Rosell arranged for the graduation to go to Wilson.&nbsp; I received an honorary doctorate from Central back in 2009, so I was able to stand in for Dr. Marshall.&nbsp; I was with Wilson back in Kenya in September for the Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT).&nbsp; Wilson had handled all the local logistics for the TCTT and was also a participant in the training.&nbsp; We had people from 7 African countries and the U.S.&nbsp; Three of the U.S. participants were students from the CBTS community, so the student body was well represented as we put on the graduation one evening during the TCTT.</p><p>One of our TCTT participants was Dr. Henry Mugabe who had been President of a seminary in Zimbabwe for many years and more recently was involved in founding an ecumenical seminary.&nbsp; We asked Dr. Mugabe to give the graduation address, a marvelous message from Acts 27.&nbsp; As I listened to the story about Paul's shipwreck I wondered how he would turn it into a relevant seminary graduation address.&nbsp; When he got to verse 44 about everyone getting safe to shore including some "on broken pieces," he talked about the broken pieces that so often are part of how we make it home.&nbsp; It was the image of Wilson's journey, his stalwart work for peace even though he had to endure the broken pieces of separation from family and seminary because&nbsp; a government wouldn't hear his pleas.</p><p>But Wilson testified to God's faithfulness, leading Wilson in one surprising way after another.&nbsp; A boy refused entrance to school because of no fees now receiving his Masters degree.&nbsp; A teen on the streets of Nairobi learning auto mechanics, now repairing shattered communities with the fine-tuning of reconciliation.&nbsp; Central bestowed on Wilson their Peace and Justice Award, which we had training participant and PRARI co-worker from Molo, Clement Kariuki, present to Wilson while we all stood and applauded.</p><p>A few days later Wilson slipped away from the TCTT to prepare the way for a peacemaking team to go to the remote village of Kawmaura to build a house with one-time enemies laboring side-by-side, then teaching the things that make for peace.&nbsp; Wilson celebrated with us all his hard-earned degree.&nbsp; Then just like he did when he left the CBTS campus, he got to work as the passionate peacemaker he is.</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50615-a-special-graduation-in-kenya https://internationalministries.org/read/50615-a-special-graduation-in-kenya A New Familiar Partner <p>It's Monday October 7th, and I'm home alone.&nbsp; My wife Sharon is away in Valley Forge at the Mission Center where she is going through new missionary orientation for International Ministries.&nbsp; She's been endorsed to be a missionary partner with me, coming onto missionary staff part-time as the new Global Consultant for Community Transformation!&nbsp; So though she's gone right now, her absence is a step forward in a deeper work partnership.&nbsp; Instead of accompanying me for two to three weeks a year as a volunteer, she will journey with me for two to three <i>months</i> a year as a regular missionary colleague.</p><p>For ten years Sharon has prayerfully selected one of my trips to teach alongside me.&nbsp; She is an ordained American Baptist clergy person.&nbsp; She's been trained and has a lot of experience in experiential and participatory education.&nbsp; She knows peacemaking and nonviolence from the local to the global level.&nbsp; So she and I have made a great mission team whether co-facilitating in trainings or doing dialog sermons in a pulpit.&nbsp; We've done great work together in places like Kenya, Ethiopia, Poland, Thailand, Burma, India, and the Philippines.&nbsp; The international encounters aren't a problem for Sharon as she daily encounters people from Poland, Bangladesh, Yemen, and Bosnia in her ministries here at home.&nbsp; She has been capable and comfortable in cross-cultural and multi-cultural contexts.<br></p><p>We just got back from Kenya where in September we co-facilitated an intensive 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT).&nbsp; We had 30 participants from 7 African countries--Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Burundi, and Liberia--as well as four folks from the U.S.&nbsp; It was an amazing time--great training, but also the bonding together of a very deep spiritual community.&nbsp; <br></p><p>In the years to come we envision joining the faculty of a seminary or theological college with one of our mission partners, teaching for a full academic term.&nbsp; From that institutional base we will do various trainings and programs in regional churches and communities.&nbsp; This will maximize our mission involvement together while minimizing the travel with the wear and tear on the body.&nbsp; The rest of the year Sharon will continue her urban mission work in Hamtramck/Detroit while I continue my global peacemaking in other places.</p><p>So rejoice with Sharon and me about this new phase in mission!&nbsp; And please pray for us as we raise the funds to the level necessary for International Ministries to commission her and send her forth.&nbsp; We are hoping to reach full-funding for her ministry by spring of 2014 so we can spend the fall of 2014 teaching with one of our mission partners.</p><p>In peace and hope,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Sun, 06 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50610-a-new-familiar-partner https://internationalministries.org/read/50610-a-new-familiar-partner "Entrust to Faithful People" <p>Paul tells Timothy "...and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well."&nbsp; The task of teaching others so they can pass on to those who follow is one of my main peacemaking mission tasks these days.&nbsp; I have begun facilitating an annual 10-day intensive Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) to pass on the major Biblical teachings, peacemaking concepts, training tools, and methodologies I know to key Christian peacemaking activists.&nbsp; I held one in Asia last year, and in Kenya this year and Nigeria next year for folks from Africa.</p><p>In September my wife Sharon and I were blessed to training 30 people from Angola, Burundi, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe as well as 4 additional folks who came from the U.S. for the TCTT.&nbsp; We met in a beautiful Catholic retreat facility named Tabor Hill after the mount where Jesus was transfigured.&nbsp; We covered topics ranging from conflict resolution and mediation to nonviolence and trauma recovery.</p><p>But this training had a special component it it.&nbsp; Wilson Gathungu from Kenya has been my peacemaking partner who had invited me to Kenya three times before.&nbsp; Wilson has been doing a series of peacemaking trainings and reconciliation projects in the Molo area of the Rift Valley, one of the political hot spots that has periodically erupted into violence around elections.&nbsp; He planned to do another training in the village of Kamwaura, building off the training Sharon and I had shared in with Wilson back in 2011.&nbsp; Wilson asked if I could stay on to lead the Kamwaura training.&nbsp; Instead we developed a better idea.</p><p>We invited a team of three young peacemakers from Zimbabwe who were coming to the TCTT to stay longer and lead the training in Kamwaura with Wilson.&nbsp; Phillip Mudzidzi, Lance Muteyo, and Charles Nzungu agreed.&nbsp; They were joined by Wangu Mureithi, a young Kenyan woman who was living and studying in London.&nbsp; The team could immediately put into practice the training skills and tools they would pick up at the TCTT.&nbsp; In fact, we worked in time for them during the TCTT when they could developed their workshop design for Kamwaura.</p><p>The team had to leave the TCTT a day early to be able to join in a reconciliation project of people from various tribes working together on the construction of a new home for a family displaced in the political violence.&nbsp; Everyone gathered together with the team, laid hands on them, and commissioned them to go to Kamwaura in the grace, power, and peace of our Lord.&nbsp; They would need it!</p><p>The road to Kamwaura was incredible, blocked at times by huge flooded areas.&nbsp; They had to abandon their vehicle and hire motorcycles to make the last stretch.&nbsp; But the construction went well.&nbsp; They worked together as a team to facilitate the peace workshop they had designed.&nbsp; They participated in a peace rally Sunday afternoon.&nbsp; The Zimbabwe team gained international cross-cultural training experience.&nbsp; The team members had grasped the tools in a deeper way by using them.&nbsp; You could call the Kamwaura training their practicum or internship, and the reports came back about the excellence of their work.</p><p>In the days since I returned from Kenya I have had communications with the team members.&nbsp; Lance has been approached to lead a peace training in Malawi.&nbsp; He is developing the experience and track record to handle these invitations with confidence and skill.&nbsp; The work is being passed on to those who are faithful.</p><p>Speaking of faithfulness, I am especially grateful to all who were faithful in praying for and giving for the support of my peacemaking mission and particularly this TCTT in Kenya.&nbsp; We couldn't do it on our own.&nbsp; And as you can see through Wilson, Phillip, Lance, Charles, and Wangu, the work is rippling to far shores!</p><p>Peace,<br>Dan<br></p> Wed, 02 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50606-entrust-to-faithful-people- https://internationalministries.org/read/50606-entrust-to-faithful-people- The Last Breath <p>When the INGITE team was in the Republic of Georgia we wanted them to connect to the deep spirituality and spiritual disciplines that are the nourishing roots for the incredible live and activism of the Georgian Baptists.&nbsp; So Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, who loves to hike the hills and mountains of his homeland, led us on a two-day pilgrimage.</p><p>The pilgrimage was structured around the Ten Stations of the Cross.&nbsp; We stopped along the way to read Scripture from the passion of Christ as recorded in Mark's gospel.&nbsp; We took turns reflecting on that passage.&nbsp; We sang Georgian, English and Latin chants Malkhaz taught us.&nbsp; We prayed in ancient Christian forms.&nbsp; Our hike took us over many desolate high hills, and we camped under the stars with a cold wind whipping over us.&nbsp; Sometimes we came across the markings of earlier pilgrims:&nbsp; A ancient weathered stone marker with a cross etched into it, and a cross of small stones laid out on the ground, to which we added the stones representing our burdens and concerns we had carried from the previous station.&nbsp; We began and ended with the Eucharist, bookending our rigorous hiking and meditations.</p><p>The passage I was given to reflect on was Mark 15.33-39 in which the text says, "Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last."&nbsp; Malkhaz asked us to be physical in our worship, so I invited everyone to lie on the ground in the pose of death.&nbsp; As we lay there, hands folded over our chests, we noticed our breath.&nbsp; I said the time will come when we will all breath our last.&nbsp; There won't be another one for us.&nbsp; I told about being with my father when he breathed his last, what that moment was like.&nbsp; Jesus breathed his last.&nbsp; What does that mean for us that God in our flesh experienced that final moment?&nbsp; <br></p><p>As we sat up I told the group that this particular day--June 1--was a special day for me.&nbsp; Four years ago I had surgery for cancer, the same kind of cancer that killed my father.&nbsp; I'm cancer free.&nbsp; I have not breathed my last yet, for which I am grateful.&nbsp; But I told about a mystical experience I had that very moment when my father breathed his last.&nbsp; I was not in a spiritual frame of mind at all, but suddenly I was overwhelmed by the reality of LIFE in Christ.&nbsp; Even as my father's body was stilled in death the reality of the resurrection washed over me--it was more solid than any of the equipment in that hospital room.&nbsp; The moment passed, and I began to grieve normally.&nbsp; But death had lost its sting.</p><p>Because Christ breathed his last then was raised (we had been singing chants of the resurrection during this Easter season of the Eastern Church), our own last breath is transformed.&nbsp; We breath our last, not in despair but in hope.&nbsp; Thus the Scriptures can proclaim, "And I heard a voice from heave saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.'" (Rev. 14.13).&nbsp; That is the blessing in which we can rest in peace as we breath our last.</p><p>I am a Christian peace activist, working in places of conflict, even of violence and death, to guide people into the things that make for peace.&nbsp; As I have learned from the Georgian Baptists, such work needs deep grounding in the faith and hope that comes from an intimate walk with the risen Christ.&nbsp; Worship empowers our action.&nbsp; On the pilgrimage hike we went deep into the mysteries and joy of our faith.&nbsp; Then we got down from the mountains (or high hills) and plunged into the world of children begging on the streets of Tbilisi, Orthodox extremists physically attacking people with whom they disagree, refugees unable to return home because Russian troops are occupying their land, and poor elders going hungry because their pensions had vanished with the collapse of the Soviet Union.&nbsp; We can face these challenges because we have been nourished by the one who overcame death and all the powers of evil through his amazing love.</p><p>Thank you to all who prayed for our IGNITE team over the past 5 weeks.&nbsp; Thank you to all who gave generously to support IGNITE or my own mission work.&nbsp; Thank you to those who have given words of encouragement.&nbsp; May you all know the power of the one who breathed his last and then rose again from the dead.&nbsp; Blessings!</p><p>Peace,</p><p>Dan<br></p> Sun, 30 Jun 2013 06:40:56 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49311-the-last-breath https://internationalministries.org/read/49311-the-last-breath Demonstrating for Prayer <p>We stood out in the hot sun in a square in downtown Tbilisi on a Friday afternoon.&nbsp; I was in my black, clerical robe, not the garb of choice out in a hot public square.&nbsp; But we were there for a reason:&nbsp; To demonstrate and bear witness to the right of everyone to pray as their religion and conscience might dictate.&nbsp;&nbsp; The IGNITE team and I had been invited to join in this demonstration by the leaders of the Georgian Baptists--all three of their bishops who were in the country at the time were there in their stunning purple robes.&nbsp; For them this was a critical time to take a public stand, especially as Baptist Christians who stand for the religious freedom of everybody.&nbsp; Each member of the IGNITE team eagerly responded to that invitation to stand in solidarity with their Georgian Baptist sisters and brothers.<br></p><p>The problem was that radicals in the Georgian Orthodox Church, led by priests, had denied Muslims in a village in eastern Georgia the right to gather for their Friday prayers.&nbsp; Two weeks earlier than our Friday demonstration the radicals blocked the Muslims from gathering and beat up their imam.&nbsp; The government failed to protect the rights of the Muslims to assemble peacefully for prayer the next week, in spite of making a commitment to do so.&nbsp; So the Baptists and others upholding religious freedom called for the demonstration the next Friday.&nbsp; Jews, Catholics, Pentecostals, and Yizedis (from a religion rooted in ancient Mesopotamia) were all there along with many secular young people and Orthodox folks upset at the violence and bigotry tolerated in their own church.&nbsp; But Baptists were the clear leaders, the only religious folks easily identified in the crowd with their clerical robes dramatically setting them apart.</p><p>The Baptists in Georgia have been persecuted by these Orthodox radicals.&nbsp; Worship services have been attacked by club-wielding religious extremists.&nbsp; Church buildings have been burned.&nbsp; I've witnessed the devastation endured by the Baptists first-hand in earlier trips.&nbsp; But rather than cower in the face of threats these Georgian Baptists have boldly come into this public square to stand up for religious freedom, not just their own, but in this case for people of another faith to be free to simply pray.&nbsp; The Georgian Baptists stand in a long tradition of Baptists speaking out for religious liberty for everyone.</p><p>Earlier in the week the IGNITE team had been in the city of Batumi on the Black Sea.&nbsp; We met with the leaders of the Georgian Muslims Union and learned of their experiences of discrimination at the hands of the Georgian Orthodox radicals and even from the government who has been swayed by the demands of the radicals.&nbsp; We learned how the Muslims have been denied the right to build mosques even though there is only one mosque in the predominately-Muslim city after the Soviets had destroyed the other two.&nbsp; Like Baptists, the Muslims have continually had trouble getting permission to build new facilities while the Orthodox Church builds many new stunning structures with government funds.</p><p>So there we were on the streets of Tbilisi calling people to simple things like respect for all and loving one's neighbor.&nbsp; After holding a vigil in the square we processed up the hill to the mosque forming a symbolic protective cordon while they conducted their Friday prayers.&nbsp; As the worshipers filed out of the mosque, I stood at the door greeting them in peace and sharing about the demonstration.&nbsp; They were excited and moved that we had stood up for their freedom of worship.&nbsp; We concluded the demonstration as one young Muslim man expressed his thanks in a beautiful speech to the crowd.</p><p>Religious freedom is a global issue.&nbsp; I've advocated for freedom in Muslim and Hindu dominated contexts where Christians have been attacked, harassed, or persecuted.&nbsp; Freedom to be genuine must be granted to all, and as Christians we shape our ethics around simple teachings like doing to others what we would have them do to us and loving our neighbors.&nbsp; Putting such ethics into practice when the risks get high and when someone else is targeted rather than oneself or one's people--that's the challenge of courage and faithfulness.&nbsp; The Georgian Baptists rose to that challenge in an inspiring way.&nbsp; It was my privilege to stand alongside them.<br></p> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 09:38:30 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49294-demonstrating-for-prayer https://internationalministries.org/read/49294-demonstrating-for-prayer "A Voice for the Voiceless" <p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; 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mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> </p><p class="MsoNormal">Just before departing for the Republic of Georgia with the IGNITE team, I read a book about Roger Williams, one of our great Baptist forebears.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The book is <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul</i> by John M. Barry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Though I knew a bit of the story of Williams being exiled from colonial Massachusetts for his Baptist beliefs and founding Rhode Island as the first place in the Americas with freedom of religion written into its constitution, I learned so much more about the depth and challenge of that religious and political experiment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I had no idea about Williams’ trips back to England and how he was interwoven into many of the revolutionary stories of the Puritan era.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I also learned about how wildly exhibitionist some of the early Quakers were (unlike today’s Quakers!) and the personal challenge they posed to Williams about maintaining his commitment to religious freedom.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But he championed the rights of those even with whom he disagreed, setting a standard for religious liberty that is a guide for how we might handle the religious diversity of the 21<sup>st</sup> Century.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Then I came to Georgia and found the Baptists engaged in the same struggles as Williams and rising as bright lights for liberty.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Here in Georgia it is the Orthodox Church that dominates like the Puritans did in colonial Massachusetts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The Orthodox have persecuted the Baptists, burning churches and other facilities.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But the Baptists have not sought just their own liberty and well-being, but they have been the loudest advocates for religious liberty for all people and for the freedom of conscience to be exercised in Georgian political life.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">As we were flying in we saw in the international news that a small anti-homophobia demonstration (the organizers’ terms) was violently overwhelmed by literally thousands of Orthodox radicals (some of the same people who had earlier burned Baptist churches and beaten Baptists at worship).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The police where shoved aside by robed Orthodox priests and deacons, and small groups demonstrators were chased by hundreds of Orthodox Christians.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The demonstrators were beaten as the radicals urged their “slaughter.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Twelve people were hospitalized with serious injuries.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">So as our IGNITE team gathered for orientation, our Georgian host, Bishop Merab Gaprindashvili (the Georgian Baptists call their leaders “bishops,” a term that unlike “general secretary” or “area minister” is found in the Bible!), invited us to accompany him downtown.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We prayed with him before he went into the office of the Orthodox Patriarch.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Merab was the chief spokesperson for a delegation of Christians (including Catholics, Lutherans, Adventists, and Pentecostals as well as Baptists), Muslims and Jews.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In vain they urged the Patriarch to condemn the violence of the Orthodox radicals and to uphold the freedoms of all citizens in a secular country.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>After the meeting Merab shared the details with us, and together we prayed for the people of Georgia and the courageous advocacy of the Baptists for a despised minority to be treated with basic human rights.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The next week we experienced the violence being turned to another minority in Georgia.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In a village in eastern Georgia Muslims were barred by Orthodox radicals from gathering at their mosque for prayer.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The radicals then beat the Muslim mufti.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Again the Baptists, this time under the leadership of Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili,<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I shared in some of the discussions about responses, and this is a story that is continuing to develop.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">As we waited for plans to develop our IGNITE team conducted a prayer walk along the sites of the recent violence in Tbilisi.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We prayed against the spirit of violence and for those seeking peace and human rights.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We prayed for religious freedom and understanding.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We walked and prayed past an Armenian Apostolic church given by the government to the Orthodox Church which has kept the vacant building rather than return it to the Armenians.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We met with people at the Tbilisi synagogue and mosque, praying for interfaith respect and liberty even as we passionately hold to different beliefs.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Last time I was in Georgia, Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze, the only woman bishop in Georgia—the Baptists have ordained many women to pastoral ministry—was the leading voice for religious liberty.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>After years of struggle to get recognition to register as religious groups rather than simply non-governmental organizations, a bill was introduced to the Parliament to allow Catholics, Lutherans, Muslims, Jews, and Baptists to be officially recognized as religious bodies besides the Orthodox Church.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But Rusudan refused to accept this legislation, even though Baptists were being granted the sought-for right.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She demanded that the right be extended to all religious groups, not just an acceptable list.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her voice prevailed, and the legislation for registration covering all religious groups was passed.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Following the Holocaust in Nazi Germany during World War II, Pastor Martin Niemoller, who spent much of the war in a concentration camp, wrote these telling prophetic words:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Socialist.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Speaking for freedom cannot be done just for our benefit as individuals or as a group.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Speaking for freedom must be done even when margins are put at risk who are unpopular or with whom we disagree.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Otherwise that freedom will be truncated and lost.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It will become the freedom of the majority, the elites, the privileged, not the freedom for all.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The Baptists in Georgia, a persecuted minority, are also a courageous prophetic group speaking and acting for all.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They are risking themselves for the sake of others.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They are examples for all of us about how to stand up for freedom, for religious liberty, and for human rights.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">(This journal was written around June 1<sup>st</sup> in the Republic of Georgia, but we wouldn’t post it because of difficulty downloading the photos.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Another journal will be posted shortly that will finish this story.)</i></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 01:31:05 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49202-a-voice-for-the-voiceless- https://internationalministries.org/read/49202-a-voice-for-the-voiceless-