Eleven international peacemakers from around the world are visiting congregations, presbyteries and colleges of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Sept. 27-Oct. 21.

They are sharing 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 Bolivia, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jamaica, Madagascar, Niger, Northern Ireland, South Sudan and Syria.

The International Peacemaker program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program

The Rev. Nicole Ashwood, based in Jamaica, serves as the education in mission secretary for the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM). She also serves with the World Council of Churches (WCC) as a mover for gender justice and works with the World Council of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) on areas regarding gender-based violence.

Ashwood will be visiting the presbyteries of Los Ranchos, Miami Valley and Des Moines.

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

I will be speaking on violence in general, gender-based violence, racism and human trafficking. Hopefully bringing together people’s shared experiences and provoking thoughtful discussion on how to make a difference.

How are the faith communities addressing this situation?

Faith communities are addressing these realities in a variety of ways. Some have reached out to women working in the red light district as counselors. Others have developed a school for women who want to leave that trade and need skills. Many trainings have been developed to educate children about sexual abuse prevention and what to do is abuse is suspected.

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

Rather than communicating lessons, I hope to generate new ways of thinking and partnering with communities. I hope that we can all see ourselves in the story of brokenness.

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

Eradication of violence has to begin with me. It’s not someone else’s problem.