Monday, July 1, 2013

Abraham's Children

EAPPI stands in solidarity with church related organizations and projects.  Abraham’s Tent was started by the Lutheran Church in Beit Jala, but now it depends on private donors for its operating funds. 

The facility is no longer a tent; activities are held in buildings in the village of Al Ubeidiya.  Abraham’s Tent is about building bridges between the people of the three faiths that claim Abraham’s heritage. 

Muhammed Farajrjh, the director, invited us to their summer camp titled, Abraham’s Tent Environment Camp 2013.

We had the fun of being involved in an environmental lesson about pollution and handicraft activities. 


One of the sessions that I particularly enjoyed was a discussion group with the students of middle and high school age.  We explained EAPPI and our reason for being in Palestine and at their camp.  They discussed their ideas about the occupation and its solution.  They asked thoughtful questions during the Q&A.

After lunch with the children, we joined in the fun of their songs and dance.

As these children left for home, my heart was filled with hope.

These children will be the leaders in a future Palestine.  They will find the way to a Just peace.  

 I thank God that I got to spend time with these children of Abraham.  May we all live by faith as our father Abraham did.

Pray for a JUST peace in Palestine and Israel 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Use for Stones

EAPPI Standing in Solidarity 

with the Village of Al Khadr

Summer Day Camps

Special summer activities for children occur across Palestine.  The camp we attended provides special activities for over 120 children from Al Khadr.  These activities were held in a stadium built in 2007 with money from the Palestinian Authority. 

The face painting so popular at festivals in US, was popular here too.  

It was fun seeing the little ones enjoy running on the artificial grass of the stadium.

A Good Use of Stones

My teammate Aaron was invited to share his juggling skills at this summer camp in Al Khadr.

Of course, the military showed up with their guns in hand at the edge of the parking lot.
Why would the military need to be in the parking lot of a stadium filled with 120 children?

How many assault rifles should a child have to walk past in a day?

Needing things to juggle with, we went with the staff to pick up stones at the edge of the parking lot too.  Aaron used his Hebrew language skills to explain to the soldiers why we were gathering stones.  They seemed OK with this new use for stones.

Parading with Purpose

The final activity of the day for the children was a parade. 

The parade was to remember those who are in Israeli jails.  Being in jail without being charged is common.  The legal system is in need of much reform to be a just system. 

Some of the participants had made handmade signs that told about the prisoner issues.  Others held pictures of prisoners.

There was marching, singing and many flags waving.  There were special performances once the parade arrived at the center of town. 

Palestinian Hospitality

After the parade, we were treated to a wonderful lunch with the teachers from the day school.  Then we had coffee at one of their homes.  I was able to hold a very young Palestinian, ten days old. 

So much potential, so much to hope for!

Solidarity with Palestinian Farmers

Everything Legal in Hebrew

Later in the afternoon, we met with one of our local contacts and a farmer.  This farmer has been denied access to his land.  He has taken the issue to court and has legal paperwork.  Of course, all legal paperwork is in Hebrew.  Fortunately, a teammate knows Hebrew and so did the local contact in this village. 

Together with the local contact, we went to access this farmers land via a settlement that the farmland is near.  Although we did not successfully reach the farmer's land, an important step was taken toward getting the farmer back on his land.  The farmer now has the number to call and will be doing the required follow up. 

A Walk, a Climb, a Jump and a Fall

On the way back from the settlement, we walked down into a valley and then up to some trees.  

As I climbed up to the trees, I thought of the quote I had read earlier, “It is the bumps in the paths of life that allow us to climb the mountain; a smooth mountain cannot be climbed.” 
The outcropping of stone allowed me places to step into and grab as I climbed. 

Fruits and nuts were gathered and consumed.  I wish you could all have experienced the eating of fresh treats off the trees of Palestine.

Coming down Aaron gave me a hand, yet my decision to jump the last three feet resulted in my second fall in Palestine.  When a 70-year-old falls in the fields of Palestine, angels are on duty protecting their bones.

I praise God for the privilege of being in Palestine/Israel, involved in the pursuit of peace and justice for those who continue to experience violation of their rights.

Pray and Take Action for a Just Peace in the Middle East!