Mennonites in Colombia

Holding hands with the FARC

Colombian countryside where FARC guerrillas and the military fought for control before the peace accords were signed. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

Congress building in Bogotá, where the peace accords were approved. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

Presidential Palace, Bogotá, Colombia. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

The learning tour members stand for prayer with Robert J. Suderman, in the blue plaid shirt, and two FARC members, Andres Camilo and Jorge Ernesto (no last names), to his left. (Photo courtesy of Robert J. Suderman)

Len Jewitt hugs FARC member Andres Camilo, at left, while learning tour member Isaias Rodriquez, back to camera, speaks with Jorge Ernesto, another FARC member. (Photo courtesy of Robert J. Suderman)

There we were, standing in a prayer circle holding hands. While not really that unusual, what was extraordinary was that some of the hands we were holding were likely bloody. They were the hands of guerrillas—high-ranking, long-time members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 

Strengthening faith and soccer skills

Teammates Stiven Castro and Jose David Lopez Herrara face off during soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. Offering soccer camp for youth who want to be professionals provides an opportunity to share Christ and to give purpose to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Teammates Johan Esteban Carvajal Motoa, Duvan Rodriguez and Stiven Castro hone their skills after a soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. They are part of an MCC-supported soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Soccer player Stiven Castro, 16, meets with instructor Sigifredo Godoy after a practice in Cali, Colombia. MCC supports the work of Godoy, a former professional soccer player, who runs a soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

Goalkeeper Duvan Rodriguez, 18, reaches to grab a field marker used to teach specific skills during soccer practice. Rodriguez says that being part of the soccer school, at which players are also taught how to manage their anger, has helped him resolve conflicts with words instead of violence. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

When Sigifredo Godoy talks about living out his faith, he’s talking sweat and strategy—the commitment, knowledge and skills that shaped him as a professional soccer player. That’s what he’s now passing on to young men from some of the most violent areas of his home city, Cali, Colombia.

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