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Why are we going to Mexico?

from Michael Ware, vice president of the BPFNA board


May 5, 2017

Why are we going to Mexico?

Michael Ware

Click here to learn more about Summer Conference and to register!

Just in case you have not heard, this year’s Summer Conference (a.k.a. Peace Camp) of 2017 will be in Mexico! I have been attending summer conferences since 2006, and each of them has been truly refreshing, renewing, and empowering. There is something about a group of Baptists coming together around peace and justice that is life-changing. This has been my experience of summer conferences for 11 years. I believe this is because as Jesus said, “where two or three gather together in my name, there am I with them.” Friends, I can truly say I have felt the movement of the Spirit at each and every conference, from my associations with the youngest attendees to the longtime sojourners.

This is the first time in the history of BPFNA that we will gather in Mexico. With what’s going on in our world today, venturing to Mexico to continue our conversations on peace and justice is essential. This is a powerful moment for the work we do as a people rooted in justice.

Even though you might be asking “why Mexico?” I encourage you to turn that around and ask “why have we waited so long?”

BPFNA is centered not only in listening and engaging the voices that desire justice but in being in the space of those we need to hear. Mexico, as one of our four-nation locations, is a place we need to BE in to truly listen to our Mexican sisters and brothers. We must go to support them and to show solidarity with those who are doing the work for peace and justice in this nation.

I know the cry for justice of the indigenous people of Mexico reflects the same pain as the indigenous cultures of Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States. I also understand the girls and women in this nation weeping for justice and struggling because lack of power makes them the targets of neglect and abuse. These issues are central in all of our nations as well. And yes, like Mexico we all share in the many human-made traumas currently affecting families and workers when it comes to immigration, which impacts each of our four nations on a daily basis.

I believe the reason we are going to Mexico is not because of the beautiful country, wonderful cuisine, or the gracious hospitality, which will certainly be present. While these amenities are nice to experience, the real reason for Peace Camp is the knowledge gained and awareness brought forth when it comes to doing the work of justice and peace in each of our areas. We all seek tools to do what is needed when we return to our individual settings.

We go on this journey in Mexico for the same reason we go to all Summer Conferences: to provide a challenge for our renewal and to ground our shared experiences so we can make a difference in our community and the wider world. Peace camp is about gaining experiences in listening, learning and leading. It is claiming God’s peace and justice through the programing, the culture, and all the peoples present. 

This will be a conference grounded in the Mexican cultural experience and language. It will be exciting! We read in the book of Acts that when the Holy Spirit came to those gathered in community, everyone was able to hear the word of God in their own language. So don’t worry about the language or the location, because we will all receive the message we need to hear in our own tongue!

This is a God moment for us to step out on the mission statement of BPFNA Bautista por la Paz, “Witnessing to God’s peace rooted in justice-working together till it comes.” We will do this in Mexico this summer. I am filled with both anticipation and excitement about meeting with you and journeying together as a people of peace in Mexico. Our discoveries and nurturance as a body shall cast graceful ripples on the waters of justice and peace for each of our nations!

Come and be filled!         

Michael Ware
Vice President, BPFNA  ~ Bautistas por la Paz

Click here to learn more about Summer Conference and to register!

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