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The Darkness Has Not Overcome the Light of Life in Peru

A Letter from Jed and Jenny Koball, serving in Peru

December 2020

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But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.
– Mark 13:24-26

Dear friends,

We wake up this morning to learn that we have no President, no acting Congress, and a silent Constitutional Tribunal (the highest court in the land). We wake up to a country in mourning, following the assassination of two young protestors by over-zealous police forces. We wake up to learn that five other young people have been ¨disappeared¨ by the same forces because they dared to raise their voices to a corrupt government. And in the midst of this political crisis we also wake up to a coronavirus that continues to ravage the country. Peru continues to have one of the highest fatality rates in the world from COVID-19 and one of the hardest hit economies. Fear and uncertainty abound. But we are not a hopeless people. We know that something better is coming. It is the essence of our faith.

From the confines of their home in Lima, Jed, Jenny and Thiago bring you greetings of great joy in these Advent days of waiting.

So it was those many years ago when Mark wrote his gospel to a people living in great fear and uncertainty following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. His apocalyptic language was less a prediction of divine rage and furious revenge, as much as it was a reminder of who we believe in and where we place our hope. The lesson above from Mark comes to us on the first Sunday of Advent to assure us that in a year that has devastated lives throughout the world, the moral arc of the universe still bends towards justice and righteousness. This is the starting point of the story of Christ – a story that we already know the ending to. Good will overcome evil. Love will conquer hate and indifference. Life will rise from the dead. Our task – God´s mission for us – is to be alert and bear witness to the light that no darkness can overcome.

That light has shown brightly this past year in Peru and among our partners. We have seen it in the twenty community kitchens they have organized for families that struggle to put food on the table. We have seen it in the public health workshops they have orchestrated to ensure people are following the best sanitary practices to avoid spreading the coronavirus. We have seen it in their creative sharing of resources and curriculums for school children with no access to online education. We have seen it in the continued advocacy they have done to fight for the rights of the poor, the marginalized and of the Earth itself. We have seen it in the virtual gatherings for prayer and worship that they have led to nurture their faith in a loving God. We have seen it in their simple presence with one another – their comfort in times of mourning; their laughter when the tears run dry; their steadfastness in the burdens of each day. The darkness has not overcome the light of life in Peru.

By way of you, we also know that the darkness has not overcome the light of life in the United States, either. Your generosity continues to humble us. Your graciousness continues to sustain us. But above all, your conviction to share Good News in the face of so much that is bad continues to inspire us. We are grateful to not only be your partners in mission but your sister and brother in Christ. And, in these long dark days of Advent, we wait alongside you with great expectation of the One who will break into our lives and make us sing with unfettered Joy to the world.

With gratitude, hope and Christmas longing,

Jed and Jenny

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