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13.05.05 03:34 Age: 7 yrs

"Denial of a visa could not silence me"

Janet Plenart shares testimony
from Alix Lozano

Alix Lozano, director of the Mennonite Biblical Seminary of Columbia, was unable to speak at Thursday's plenary session on mission and violence because she was denied a visa. But her voice was still heard.

Janet Plenart, Executive Director of International Ministries for Mennonite Church Canada, blamed Lozano's absence on "systemic violence and injustice." She then acted as Lozano's voice, reading her testimony to those gathered at the plenary.

"Violence in Columbia has been a constant companion to mission," Lozano wrote. "Evangelization by means of the Cross and the Sword was the motto of the Conquistadors."

In the midst of Columbia's socio-political and economic war, the church has become a place of shelter and refuge to those who have been displaced by the conflict. "This is one of the ways that the mission of God can be lived out in a context of violence," Lozano wrote.

Lozano finished her testimony with these words: "I could not be present with you, but you have heard my voice. This is a miracle and a step towards overcoming one kind of violence. Denial of a visa could not silence me."