During this first year of Seed, I have had many opportunities to ask questions, to learn, to accompany. In the midst of a lot of beauty and many complexities, I want to recognize and give thanks for all of the experiences this year that have challenged me, that have helped me to grow, and that have allowed me to learn to live in and be part of a new community. Of all of these experiences, I would like to highlight three.
- Being part of the Seed team. We’re a diverse group, from six different countries with different experiences and stances, but we have the opportunity through Seed to build a team together. During the few months of orientation in Bogotá and in the Seed times throughout the year, we’ve been able to learn about the Colombian context, about ourselves, and explore together how to accompany a community and participate in the work of peacebuilding. I am grateful for each person on the team and for the opportunity to share and learn about the diverse experiences that we’re living during these two years in Seed.
- Accompanying the social work of the church. As a Seeder, an important part of my role is to accompany the social ministries of the Mennonite Brethren Church, MCC’s partner here in Chocó. This year I had the opportunity to participate in a children’s program, a sexual and reproductive health program, and the church’s agricultural foundation which helps farmers to cultivate rice and cacao. Something that has really left an impression on me is the desire of many people in the church to share a holistic gospel in their communities, to help people in their necessities, and to work for the transformation of society. I have noticed that there are communities in the region that feel very supported and accompanied by the church, and I am grateful to able to learn a lot more about the context and the role of the church.
- Getting to know the welcoming and resilient people in Chocó. I feel a lot of gratitude for the people here in the church and in the region who have welcomed me warmly and have helped me feel at home despite being in a different context. Many people have offered me delicious food and have shared their space and their time with me. Despite living in a complicated context, with armed actors, government negligence, poverty, and environmental degradation, there is a lot of resiliency, and people have built and continue to build lives and communities with a lot of beauty. I know it is not easy to welcome someone that comes from a very different culture and context, but I am very grateful for the people who have shared their stories and their lives with me.
Among many other things, I think that participating in Seed is an opportunity to build bridges, to form and cultivate connections. In the midst of a lot of injustices and divisions, I believe that it’s even more important to look for ways to understand each other and to be transformed together. This last year has allowed me to explore these ideas and begin to cultivate relationships in the team, with the partner, and in the communities here in Chocó, and I am learning a lot about myself, about the context, the church, and peace-building.