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Peacemaking Transitions: A Personal Note ...

The end of the year is always a good time for reflection. We recall the past and consider what might lay ahead. But if you are like me, it is harder these days to make sense of all that has happened in the last decade.

In 2011 I was beginning my 11th year with Peacemaker Ministries, but the ministry suffered from the 2008 financial crisis and changes were coming. One year later, our staff was greatly diminished. It caused many of us to ask God what He was doing, but God’s faithful answer was that the ministry of reconciliation is ours to carry as His children even in the moments of “why” (I Corinthians 5:11-21).

In 2016 I began work with Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AoR) even though my peacemaking experience had been wearied and become somewhat jaded. God gently used this season to remind me of His faithful work in changing lives through pointing people to Christ in the middle of their conflict struggles. How wonderful to share that God calls us to first be reconciled to Him before reconciling with others. I was amazed again how eyes were opened and hearts came alive as they turned to God with their hurts and pains. Yet, I was more amazed at His work in me amid all my “peacemaking” confusion, to first turn to Him for healing and grace so I could be His messenger of the same.

After years with AoR, God took my husband Rick and I to California for a short time of work and ministry. I thought my peacemaking time was ending, but I was asked to come alongside others in 2020 to help with changes in ICC Peace. God is so gracious and now ICC Peace and AoR have begun work together to grow the care and oversight of the ICC.

I share this to encourage all those who have worked in peacemaking over the years. The ministry of reconciliation continues. Like in the days of the early church, while the look and providing of services has changed and organizations begin to flourish, the ministry continues and grows around the country and the world. People continue to be encouraged and blessed. Currently, myself and others are assisting AoR in providing Coaching People to Reconcile and Mediating People to Reconcile via Zoom to leaders from over 10 different countries in Africa! This is not the only good work going on for sure, so we rejoice at what God is doing!

As we turn the corner from 2021 to 2022, I encourage you to explore what this new season can bring to you as a Certified Christian Conciliator or Candidate. The last few years of peacemaking transitions have been challenging and COVID hasn't helped. In fact, the pandemic and political divides in and outside the church has brought on new kinds of conflicts and controversies. We understand, we have experienced this as well. And yes, we are all weary of the struggle.

But more importantly, we remember that the reason we do this work. Hebrews 12:1-2 gives us this reminder:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the found and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I am looking forward to working and growing alongside all of you in 2022 as Certified Christian Conciliator, a Christian Reconciler, and as a minister of reconciliation in all I do.

Annette Friesen

Peacemaker Ministries, 2000 – 2014

Ambassadors of Reconciliation, 2016-2020

ICC Peace Advisory Board, 2020-2021

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