Eleven international peacemakers from around the world visited congregations, presbyteries and colleges of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 27-Oct. 21.
They shared 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 Rev. Mansour Khajehpour, an Irani, is pastor of Middle East missions at First Presbyterian Church in Seattle. He has also served a pastorate in Kansas. His travels frequently take him to the Middle East as he works assisting refugee families through the process of asylum and resettlement.
During his international peacemaker itineration, Khajepour visited the presbyteries of Central Nebraska and Detroit, PC(USA)-related Hastings College in Nebraska and Grosse Point Presbyterian Church near Detroit.
What is the situation in your country that you addressed?
My focus is to bring awareness and advocacy for peaceful relations between the U.S. and Iran that will affect the life situation of Iranis. Massive numbers of Iranis and Afghanis have been displaced because of differences with their governments.
How are the faith communities addressing this situation?
We are promoting awareness of these refugees and their need to be able to settle down so they can experience the love and peace of Jesus Christ.
What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
We are encouraging PC(USA) congregations to be active in ministries of resettlement. The God of the Bible is able to use the good, the bad and the ugly of all sorts of people to achieve His purposes. I have great trust that the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, will use his power to create peace, justice and a better life for all Iranis so it will help people all around the world.
What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
We are witnessing an unprecedented part of history in Iran. The majority of the people have been disillusioned. These days Jesus Christ is actively seeking the lost and finding them in massive numbers. We want the PC(USA) to be part of that.