Alliance Peacemaking: A Testimony

The following is a testimony from an Alliance International Worker that was received by Gary Friesen in August of 2013.

Dear Gary, (and others whom this may concern)

I wanted to thank you again for inviting me to help you with the peacemaker theme training at the Field Forum. I had a great time teaching the sections you gave me and also learned so much by interacting with this material with such a diverse group.

I really hope you will continue to have opportunity to teach and train others in the areas of Biblical peacemaking and conflict coaching. I have personally benefitted from the training and have seen amazing fruit come forth among those who received the training here in the country I serve. After the first training I received through Alliance Peacemaking, I was challenged to apply the Biblical principles immediately to the ongoing team conflict I was facing at the time. I was challenged to evaluate my contribution to the conflict and was also able to think more objectively about the others’ interests (as taught in the mediation portion of the training).

Two years later, when the materials had been translated into the local language, I was co-leading one of our small groups (all locals) where we used the material for our weekly gathering for 2 months. It was such a practical and helpful study tool because everyone in the group was dealing with conflict on a daily basis, so they were able to apply the principles immediately. I remember the great impact the lesson on “apologizing” had on one of the guys in our group. He had borrowed a bike from a young woman in our group, and the bike was stolen. He hadn’t ever properly apologized to her; he actually laughed with embarrassment and simply explained it had been stolen. After the lesson on “making an apology,” he felt compelled to make retribution, so he went out and bought her a new bike, and genuinely apologized!

As you know from your visit here, the impact of this training on church pastors and leaders was, as several mentioned, “the most practical and helpful teaching they’ve ever had.” I remember several of them said things like, “I’ve been doing it {conflict resolution} wrong for so many years. I never tried to get to the root of their problems, I just threw Bible verses at them and tried to fix the surface problem.” One of the head pastors in the province confessed, “I never gave people hope when I was trying to solve their problems. I only cared about fixing their problems. Now I will consider how to help them have hope.” I think one of the greatest impacts of the conflict coaching training in this context is the self-awareness growth that so many of the attendees experienced. Participating in the role-plays helped them realize how they come across to others when trying to help them solve their conflicts. Counselors in this culture tell us that a lack of self-awareness is one of the main factors of relational conflicts. So, this material gives them a chance to grow in multiple ways.

For myself, I’ve been able to apply the mediation principles in my own context. I had the opportunity to do an informal mediation for two Christian women who were in conflict. I was so grateful to have those tools and principles to help guide me during the mediation time. The two women were reconciled, and later, both received additional conflict coaching training. They are both currently in positions of teaching and counseling so I know they will have not only personal testimonies to draw upon, but also hands on training.

With much appreciation,
An Alliance global worker serving in a creative access country.

Before joining The Alliance as Alliance Conciliation Specialist, Gary Friesen served at Peacemaker Ministries overseeing all mediation cases, Executive Vice President, and finally as acting CEO. Gary has taught biblical peacemaking, mediation, and arbitration across the globe. He is passionate about seeing people everywhere experience the redemptive power of the Gospel in their relationships.


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