Eleven international peacemakers from different countries around the world will visit congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 23-Oct. 18.

They will share their stories about church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and Sudan.

The International Peacemaker program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

Brenda Trinidad Espitia is a graduate of the Presbyterian Pan American School in Kingsville, Texas and studied international commerce in Mexico before going to Spain for a master's degree in e-commerce. She owns a Christian bookstore in Toluca, where her ministry is to provide Bibles and resources to the community.  She looks forward to speaking about the roots of violence in society, specifically in domestic violence; challenges for the Christian community; and the economic and political issues which contribute to violence in Mexico. 

Q: What is the situation in your country that you will be addressing?

Trinidad will make a general presentation about U.S./Mexico relations, drugs, violence, migration and women’s issues.

“Of course, the hope and need of preaching the Gospel to people in Mexico, and in the United States, about gun sales to Mexico. We need to have U.S. citizens be more aware of the situation there and more interested in the situation because we are neighbors and anything in one affects the other.”

Q: How are the faith communities addressing this situation?

“Honestly, we are needing the people of the church in Mexico to be more involved in these issues. Members of the church work, but it’s not a coordinated effort. That’s required in order to have a strong voice regarding these issues. There are churches participating, but I believe there’s a need for more consciousness from the leaders. We need to be more active and organized.”

Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, has also gathered religious leaders and asked for their help in finding solutions to problems in the country.

Q: What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“I learned that in this world full of struggles and conflicts, the only hope is Jesus Christ. Sometimes we feel God has lost control of things, but God is in control and can change things. But He needs us to be part of that change. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and be light. Sometimes we forget that. We need to come back to the scripture and renew a commitment to God and reflect that.”

Q: What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“More than anything, we as Christians have to lift up our flag in order for people to see the light. It is required for us to really believe what He says. That’s nothing new. His message is the same as ever. He requires us to be an active part of it.”