4 September 2009
As the summer draws to a close and the school year begins, we are gearing up for another full year of activities in all of our departments. As we look back at our activities this summer, we can say that we were truly blessed by everyone who volunteered, participated and sacrificed their time to serve. We would like to share with you the experiences of one of our counselors at the Bethlehem camp.
Upon arriving in Tel Aviv, our team was travel weary and going on adrenaline as we exchanged money, secured cell phones, and sought out our driver Saied. We anticipated the transformation that God had in store for us as we breathed in the humid, hot, summer, Israeli air.
A bit concerned for two team members who were being questioned in customs – we unswervingly forged ahead. We prayed and trusted that God would come through – and that we would be installed in country with our team of ten intact. God did not let us down!
We arrived in Beit Sahour, quickly changed, and headed out again – no time to rest after a long flight. We had work to do – and a new time zone, 10 hours ahead, to adjust our body clocks.
Soon, we were off to clean the school – and prepare the way for Muslim and Christian children to enjoy a week of camp! After an inspiring introduction and Q&A time, we grabbed brooms, sponges, mops, buckets, and began to clean, arrange class rooms, and make ready Shater Shater (Smart! Smart!) camp central.
We anticipated 150 children. Come Monday there was 43. Where were the kids? A swine flu scare was circulating through the town. Parent’s were concerned and kept their kids at home. We sent prayer requests back to our home base prayer support, and, come Tuesday, 93 kids were in camp. God answered prayers while we slept!!
Each day new kids came! They played football, what we Americans call soccer, while waiting for camp to begin each day. We took this time to create bonds between the kids and us. Football is an international language! The kids played hard, laughed a lot, and enjoyed this time with us.
During camp we sang and learned life and morality lessons from Mr. OK!, the camp clown and his sidekick, Annin. Kids were grouped into teams with smart animals’ names such as: Lion, Elephants, and Giraffes. They’d line up and then head off to the craft room, drama room, story room or Olympics – held outside in the heat!
The crafts were fun and special to the children who have little opportunity for art projects. They learned to express themselves in the drama room, and heard riveting stories from “Miss Sofa” (Miss = Teacher). The Olympics were a particular favorite activity for the children.
I noticed kids who were nervous and unsure clinging to their siblings the first day – who were laughing and playing with new friends on days two and three. One particular girl stood out to me. She arrived on day two, dressed all in black with her bangs hanging over her eyes. Her head was down and she sat alone on the sidelines, not engaging with the other kids. I was struck by her solitude and sadness.
While the kids laughed, played, joked, teased, and enjoyed their day - she spoke to no one.
I prayed silent prayers – the language barrier limited me – but not God.
By day four, she was laughing, running, and playing freely with the others. Engaging in conversation, crafts, and playground games. Again I was struck at her transformation in such a short timeframe.
Who knew that by giving up our time, and showing up with an attitude to serve, that we could make a difference in these children’s lives – and they would capture our hearts. We most certainly made an impact.
By Leslie Skinner
Calvary Community Church
To view a video from this camp, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-aaLLLRKNw
Family Leadership Conference – Germany
We would like to praise God for a fruitful Family Leadership conference, which took place August 14-21 at the Langenstienbacher Hohe Biblekonferenzzentrum in Germany. Israeli and Palestinian families and leaders opened up as they studied reconciliation and breaking down barriers and built relationships with leaders from the other side. We would were humbled by the sacrificial service of our hosts, especially Eckhard Meier. There were also two other conferences, one for the children and one for the youth. We would also like to thank Near East Ministries (NEM Holland) for their time and effort they put into the youth program. The youth made a video of the Good Samaritan, which you can view here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXdMaQL-v8. We will have a full report in an upcoming email.
Bridgebuilders Conference – Norway
Israeli and Palestinian young adults, new to Musalaha attended the Bridgebuilders conference in Norway and reaped blessings from it. The biggest blessing was the friendships the Norwegians, Palestinians and Israelis formed with each other. It was evident through the teaching and discussions, through tackling difficult issues, and listening attentively with their hearts as their brothers and sisters shared. We would like to thank all of our partners who made this trip possible: the Palestinian Bible Society, Caspari, Bridgebuilders, fri kirken and Den Norske Israelsmisjon. Please keep these young adults in your prayers that God may use these participants for change in our societies.
Youth Galilee Encounter Follow-upPray for the youth who attended our Youth Galilee Encounter Follow-up in April will reconvene once again September 19-20 for a time of learning and fellowship. These years are their formative years and instilling within them a spirit of reconciliation is crucial. Our youth are our future leaders who will bring about change in our societies, we ask that you uplift them during this time that God would use it to speak to them.
Young Adult Follow-up
Our young adults will be continuing their follow-up program as it has been one year since their Desert Encounter in Wadi Rum. They have built close relationships, shared experiences and studied the stages of reconciliation. Pray for them because in October they will head north to Nes Amim and learn about each other’s narrative history. For many, this is a difficult topic especially in this land where everyone is affected and has their own story to tell. We seek the Lord’s grace in their lives as they learn to listen and understand.
We envy your prayers in our publications department as we are in the process of re-writing our multi-authored book on the Bible and the Land. This book is unique as it includes Palestinian Christian, Israeli Messianic Jewish and Western Christian authors, covering an array of perspectives and interpretations. Pray for us as this book covers the tough issue of Theology and the Land as it is controversial subject among the believers in the land. We are seeking the Lord’s guidance that he would open doors concerning a publisher and provide the one that is right for us.
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 Christian Trust
Rockwood, Storth Road
Cumbria LA7 7PH
Registered Charity Number: 327845
You can also make a secure online donation simply by visiting our website, www.musalaha.orgThank you.
Salim J. Munayer, Ph.D.
Director of Musalaha
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