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Turning toward peace
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:18
Each year some people of faith decide to witness for peace by redirecting their war tax dollars to efforts that nurture life, build justice and promote peace.
The MCC U.S. “Turning toward peace” initiative provides an opportunity to sow the seeds of peace by supporting MCC program in Afghanistan, or the MCC U.S. Summer Service program.
An MCC partner in Afghanistan, the Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA) located in Herat Province, is providing trauma healing services for 270 women over a 3-year period, through counseling and regular group activities. During decades of war and political turmoil, women in Afghanistan have faced many constraints, sometimes resorting to suicide to escape the violence and hopelessness that surrounds them. Established in 2002, WASSA promotes the equal participation of women in the socio-economic sectors of the country.
According to Jamila Sharifi, counselor at WASSA, many women who enter the program say, “I am useless; I am not important; I have no value. ”Jamila reminds the women that God created each of them and that they are not to give up on their lives.
Zahra Hasanapur, former managing director of WASSA notes, “We are not hopeless and voiceless. I believe we will change the situation. We have many strong women who are working for women in Afghanistan.”
MCC’s Summer Service program supports young adults of diverse backgrounds from across the United States to participate in a 6-10 week leadership development program. Serving in their home communities through a church or other agency, young adults help with various activities such as vacation Bible school, summer youth camps, or other community building activities. When you support the Summer Service program, you are helping prepare young adults to be future leaders in their churches and communities.
In 2011, Erica Cuellar of Sanger, California compiled resources for churches on the problem of human trafficking and prostitution. "The word 'injustice' is key to my purpose, to my relationship with God," she said. "It's my turn to dig deeper into what has already been sown by pastors or professors."
Resources for Reflection
Choosing to redirect one’s war tax dollars to peaceful purposes often involves prayerful reflection on one’s deepest faith commitments and careful consideration of the potential consequences. The following resources may be helpful: