The phone rang one evening in our house in San Jose, Costa Rica. I was lying in bed reading a book to Angie, who was at that time three years old. At the other end of the line was the familiar voice of a key Miskito leader in the armed resistance that had been fighting against the Nicaraguan government, a person who had become a close friend in the previous year.
"John Paul," he said. "I have some difficult news. I have been informed by a very good source that there is a plan to kidnap your daughter. They want you out of the country."
Even now, I can still feel the shiver, the blood draining from my face, and the pounding of my heart.
"What are you talking about?" I responded, my drying mouth struggling to stammer intelligent words.
"I cannot give you details on the phone," he said. "We can talk tomorrow. But listen, it is very serious and it includes the three-letter boys," a reference to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "You have to tell your wife to break all her routines. Don't let her go to school tomorrow. Don't open your doors. Watch carefully."
The words seemed unreal, like a dream. I knew we couldn't talk, but I could not let him go.
"Come on," I heard myself saying, "how serious is this?"
I will never forget his last words. "John Paul," he responded, "You are one of us now."
I hung up the phone and went back to Angie, who seemed never to go to sleep. My mind was racing, and a nagging question kept cropping up: "What in the world have I gotten us into?"
What I had gotten us into was peacemaking. I was part of a team of church leaders who were working intensely to bring together the leaders of the Nicaraguan government and the East Coast resistance for negotiations aimed at ending the nearly eight-year-old war. While ...1
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