Fifteen international peacemakers from different countries around the world are visiting congregations, presbyteries and colleges of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 21-Oct. 15.

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 Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Northern Ireland, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia and Syria.

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

Linda Macktaby is a member of the National Protestant Church in Beirut, Lebanon. She works as youth program coordinator for the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue. In 2009, she earned her master of divinity degree from the Near East School of Theology. As time allows, she preaches at the Evangelical Church in Kfarshima, Lebanon.

Linda Macktaby will be visiting the presbyteries of Albany, San Jose, Grace and Cimarron. She will also be participating in the “Dallas II” world mission consultation.

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

“I will be speaking about peace and conflict in the Middle East and also in North Africa, because our work involves both regions. I will be speaking about the Christian presence in the Middle East and the role of the Christian community, particularly young people, in bringing peace.”

How are the faith communities addressing this situation?

“Many religious and political leaders are trying to do something positive, but hidden agendas make it very difficult. In the Middle East so many people are so dependent on the leaders ― blind followers almost ― that it’s harder for religious leaders because they usually don’t have so much power. In many places faith is so connected to politics that everything is being destroyed because politics is so corrupt.”

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

“I should deal with the person right in front of me as a human, not as a label, because humanity is worldwide. I also don’t believe in “levels” of society, because they destroy community. Love is the basic tool for peace ― love in Jesus’ way. ‘Give and take’ are totally together and must be the way of peace.”

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

“You and I don’t just want peace ― we NEED peace in the world. That must be the driver.”