In the midst of reports and discussions concerning numerous resolutions, the delegates to the 2014 Southern Province Provincial Synod unanimously passed Resolution 9, “Spiritual Solidarity with Sisters and Brothers in Honduras.” The resolution focuses on the homicide and other violent acts that are directly connected to the trafficking of illegal drugs in Honduras and invites North American Moravians to stand with our partners in “spiritual solidarity.”
So, how does this situation affect us as North Americans and what, if anything, can we do about it?
It affects us, first of all, because of our mutual membership in the Body of Christ, where, if one part suffers, all suffer with it. It affects us because it affects the Moravian Church in Honduras, and for more than 60 years the Moravian Church in North America has had a special relationship with the Honduran Moravian Church as one of our partner provinces and through the sending of missionaries and mission teams to work alongside our Honduran sisters and brothers.
Very importantly, it affects us because most of the drugs being trafficked through Honduras are eventually sold here in the United States.
Drug trafficking is a big business, but all too often, our assessment of and opposition to this business has focused on the “supply” side—the terrible things that drug lords do and the willingness of so many people in other parts of the world to take part in the trafficking. Rarely do we stop to reflect on the importance of the “demand” side of the business. It is this desperate demand or need for illegal substances that creates such a lucrative market. The problem really begins with us!
Besides using the best weapon that is available to us (prayer), what else could we possibly do to combat this evil? Here are some suggestions that are laid out in the resolution:
Take advantage of the blessing of freedom of speech that is ours in this country and be the voice of our sisters and brothers who often cannot speak out against drug use or drug trafficking because of the danger of retaliation against them or against their families.
Try to raise awareness in our churches concerning the struggles that others face. This could be done by showing a film, inviting a speaker with knowledge of the subject, organizing special prayer gatherings, etc.
Teach our children and young adults about the consequences of drug use not only for them and their own personal health and safety, but also how buying and using illegal drugs contributes to the incidence of violence and even the murder of many people, young and old, in Honduras and other parts of the world. This should begin at home, but should also spread outward into our schools, our Sunday Schools, our Youth Fellowships, our Bible Studies and even our sermons.
Contact our government officials and state and local government representatives, calling upon them to reassess and recreate our U.S. foreign policy and drug policy to address situations of human rights violations, illegal drug trafficking and violence that impact the quality of life for our sisters and brothers in Honduras.
Reflect on the question: what is it that creates such a need, such a demand for illegal drugs in our society? What is the emptiness that is longing to be filled? How might the church fill that void or do a better job of introducing folks to the one who can fill that void, Jesus Christ?
A young Honduran Moravian heard about Resolution 9 and the overwhelming affirmation that it received at Synod. He said, “My oldest brother was killed by gang members because he would not cooperate with their trafficking. I felt alone and weak. It gives me at least some strength to know that I have many brothers and sisters in the Moravian Church in North America. I thank God for you.”
The full text of Resolution 9 can by found at www.mcsp.org.
Sam Gray is a bishop of the Moravian Unity and director of intercultural ministry and new work for the Board of World Mission. Photos by Sam.