3 April 2009
We just want to reflect on the upcoming holiday season of Easter and Passover and share with you some of the exciting events taking place at Musalaha and our most immediate prayer needs.
People feel their societies are in bondage, suffering from the pangs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is hopelessness all around. People feel as though they are in bondage to the situation, walled-in and cannot escape the problems that encompass a life in the midst of the conflict whether it is the occupation, terrorism, separation barriers, low-income employment and more. And thus Israelis and Palestinians have fallen into a state of hopelessness. Their assumption is that they’ve done everything such as engaged in war, had power, attempted peace and nothing works, all efforts are perceived as a failure and there is nothing that can be done to resolve the political situation.
Though our society is in bondage and the people are filled with hopelessness, people in the land are remembering God’s deliverance of physical bondage from Egypt as well as deliverance of spiritual bondage from sin and death through what he did for us on the cross. But our message is more than just about deliverance.
God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt so that they would no longer be under bondage and so that they would become a society transformed to walk according to his statutes. They were not only led to the desert to find God, but to become a society that would be built on mercy and justice. The children of Israel were once strangers in a strange land, but when they were to come to power they were instructed to not only care for themselves, but also for the marginalized and the weak. God warned them that he intervenes on behalf of the oppressed as he heard their cry in Egypt, so he would also hear the cry of the afflicted.
The passion of the Messiah is the most profound display of divine intervention in God rescuing the world from the bondages of eternal punishment, fear, hatred and death. But our Savior’s death on the cross is so much more than deliverance, it offers us hope and gives us the opportunity to rise again to new life. And as a part of our new life in the Messiah we can love unconditionally for it is the love of the Messiah that compels to love and reach out to the least of those in our communities and beyond. It is through God’s deliverance that we have the ability to become agents of change, transforming our societies.
So for us as Israelis and Palestinians who see the political situation at this moment as an entity bound in fear and hatred, we need to remember that God is Lord of all history and he is engaged in history. Only through him can we proceed in the ministry of reconciliation.
In Reconciling All Things, Emmanuel Kataongole and Chris Rice write that “God’s ‘way in the desert and streams in the wasteland’ are not easily seen or perceived. God is always planting seeds of hope, always doing something new and fresh – but not in the ways we expect, look for or even desire. When the world’s desperate search for success masks a desire to short-circuit the journey of reconciliation, we fail to recognize and live by God’s more radical vision of hope and transformation. This vision is nothing less than the hope of enemies and strangers becoming friends and of all becoming God’s companions. It is a vision of hope grounded in the unseen.”
So, during this holiday of reflection we must continue to hope in him and prepare our hearts to be ready for his visitation because God is working in ways we cannot see. We must refrain from hardening our hearts like the Egyptians so that when he does appear we will be sure to recognize him.
Salim J. Munayer, Ph.D.
We just want to praise our heavenly father for the completion of our national women’s conference that took place last weekend in Petra. The conference focused on the stages of reconciliation following the Gaza conflict. While it’s normal to have grief and contemplate withdrawing from the reconciliation process these women learned how to move forward. As “pilgrims in this world” we have to go through the valley, but we have to make our way out of the valley and they learned exactly how to move out of the valley and on up the mountain.
We would at this time ask for you to pray for our new women’s group that is forming this month. That our Savior would bring in the right people for this group as we finalize the list and that God would bless them as they begin a new chapter in their lives as well as in the work of Musalaha.
Youth Galilee Encounter
We ask that you keep our Youth Galilee Encounter in your prayers, which is taking place during Passover and Easter. Pray that solid relationships would be formed as it is foundational for the reconciliation process to begin. That at such a young age God would lay on them a spirit of reconciliation that they may grow to be a new generation of reconcilers. Also, keep those who are leading the trip in your prayers as they prepare the teaching and deal with the final preparations for this trip.
Leader’s Family Conference
We are excited that we have had a good response from Israeli and Palestinian leaders who will receive training at our Leader’s Family Conference. Our family conference will be held in Karlsbad, Germany from August 14-21. Keep these leaders in your prayers that God would prepare their hearts for the teaching and interaction with those from abroad and especially the other side. This is one of our most important and effective conferences. Our most immediate need is that you pray for God’s financial provision for airfare to Germany.
At the end of April, we will be taking our second group of Muslim and Christian leaders from the Bethlehem area to Wadi Rum, Jordan for a Muslim-Christian Desert Encounter. Pray that Salim would have discernment and wisdom as he teaches and reaches out across the borders to these two faith groups. That he would be able to equip them to become agents of reconciliation in their own communities, but together as those of different faiths.
Contributions to Musalaha can be sent to Musalaha directly, or to the following organizations in the USA and Europe. Please write the checks to the name of the organization (e.g. The Andrew Christian Trust), and in a letter designate the funds to Musalaha.
P.O. Box 52110
P.O. Box 238
Medina, WA 98039-0238
Tax ID # 91-1960797
CH – 4153 Reinach
PC – Kto. – 40-33695-4
D – 79541 Loerrach
Sparkasse Loerrach (BLZ 68350048)
The Andrew ChristianTrust
Rockwood, Storth Road
Cumbria LA7 7PH
RegisteredCharity Number: 327845
You can also make a secure online donation simply by visiting our website, www.musalaha.org. Thank you.
Salim J. Munayer, Ph.D.
Director of Musalaha