As I write to you today, I’m thankful for your sharing, your gifts, your patience, your listening, your compassion, your challenges and – maybe most of all – your prophetic vision. What you have taught me is the courage to dare to see a world where peace, equity and justice prevail. And not only see it but also work to ensure transformation moves in that direction!
So when I’m asked to explain what BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz is about, what naturally comes to my mind is the organization’s prophetic stance and transformational strategies. It’s not enough to dream and vision without a means for the journey. Nor is it enough to simply transition. The end goal is transformation from death-dealing and oppression to that of life-giving and purpose. Prophet Isaiah helps us see the need to go beyond laying down our swords, for we could easily pick them up again. We must transform them into cultivating tools that nourish.
Two very special people who helped me see the mission of BPFNA–Bautistas por la Paz are LeDayne Polaski and Evelyn Hanneman, both of whom this year have continued to transform their lives to bless others in different settings and opportunities. Bold prophetic teachers!
The Global Baptist Peace Conference committee brought together peacemakers from across our globe with stories of terrifying truth and fragile hope. Their testimonies recalled the visual passage from Isaiah 11, “a shoot shall come forth from the stump of Jesse.” From cut down stumps, we find shoots emerge. In the reality of pain and oppression, we dare to look for a shoot of life and find the Spirit of the Lord resting on it! So many of us witnessed stories of transformation while in Cali, Colombia.
Cali is where we also heard good news from proclaimer Doris Garcia who shared about vessels being reshaped, recast, transformed in the potter’s hands from the prophet Jeremiah’s journal. Doris said yes to becoming our Interim Executive Director, and the wheel has been turning since her arrival on September 23!
Our faithful peace fellowship staff transcended expectations this year with grace and commitment. This has been a year of woes (with a flooded office and subsequent quarantined files in molded areas) as well as a year of blessings (with a marvelous peace conference and excellent leadership and decision making during the months without an executive director). Stop and say a prayer of gratitude for Allison, De’Ann, Hortensia, Katie, Luz Amparo, Mena and our newest staff member, Spanish language editor for the Baptist Peacemaker, Rubén David Bonilla.
While we will likely close this year with a deficit, we are still grateful for the marvelous Giving Tuesday response and for all who have given generously. No other non-profit that I’m aware of runs as lean as we do. And that needs to be evaluated as we look to justly transform our organization with Doris’ guidance. For as we seek to be just and caring for those who are treated unfairly, we too must ensure we are modeling this internally with our staff.
Therefore, this next year we shall seek donors and grants also willing to give to our General Fund and not only to specific projects in order to help us examine and discern how our organization can be further transformed into life giving vessels!
May peace truly be yours to share this Christmas!
On behalf of your board of directors,
BPFNA–Bautistas por la Paz