She was working around the house, doing the things a mom normally does while the kids are at school. She looked up and saw a small group of people come up her short path and into the house. One woman; three men. She recognized one of the men. They grabbed her and tied her up with her hands behind her back. They began to beat her, striking her all over and punching her in the face and head.
None of the neighbors heard anything.
She lost consciousness. She lay on the dirt floor while the one woman and three men gathered some things from her home: a little bit of clothing, school papers, things that would burn. They lit a fire next to her and left.
None of the neighbors smelled anything.
Three of her children came home from school. They found their mom tied up, beaten, unconscious on the floor of her smokey house. The fire had gone out.
This was not the welcome the mother wished to give her children at the end of the school day. This was not something which should occur when neighbors are close by. This was not an assault which will be investigated by the police.
This was a warning. This was a moment of life in our sister community, a life teetering on an invisible line between rivals. A life which in one moment breathes love and in another breathes violence.
How do we teach one another to love life? As sister churches, we are searching for answers.