Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reflecting Praising Grieving

Reflection on being Part of the Methodist Community Palestine Israel

Comfort is found in being in community; I leave the comfort of my local congregation when I travel as an Individual Volunteer in Mission. 

Here in Palestine Israel there is a temporary Methodist community.  Rev. Kristen Brown, Liaison at the Methodist Office Jerusalem uses her gifts to nurture community for Methodists who travel and serve here

Serving here, we have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields in order to do ministry.  Praise God with me that in this temporary community we receive from each other part of the hundred-fold promise of God.  We create for each other the soil where we can grow and blossom. 
In community, we remove the plank in our own eyes as we are able to see ourselves.  In community, we are working on the specks, healing each other.  Acknowledging our brokenness we do not judge each other, but, stand together in the light of God’s Grace and Mercy, reflecting that Grace and Mercy to each other.  

Reflecting on Added Blessings, House of Hope

As some of you know, I stayed at the guesthouse of House of Hope for two months earlier this year.  It was my joy to be able to return and share devotions with the residents, blind and special needs students.

During this week, my last week here, I was able to attend a fundraiser for House of Hope.  They are in desperate need!  More information may be found on their web site,  

The winner of the Palestinian Idol was the entertainment for the evening. 

The House of Hope residents were invited up to sing and danced along.
Jaffa, a blind resident, was given the microphone and led us in couple of Christmas songs.  

Everyone enjoyed the music, students, and the privilege of helping the House of Hope.

Experiencing Beit Jala

Beit Jala, the village where Hope School is located, has St Nicholas as their patron saint.  The boarders from the school, their house father and I walked down for the Lighting of the Christmas tree.

 Sorry, the video of the countdown and lighting of the Christmas tree would not load.  Maybe we can watch it together during one of my presentations.

Again the next morning we went down for the Saint Nicholas Festival.  

Some of God's treasures from Hope School
 Seeing all these Palestinian Christians celebrating their special day was a joy!

Reflection on Interacting at Hope Secondary School

I hope you have stayed current with my blog,  Further information and photos of some of the things I did can be found on Hope School's web and their Facebook page, Hope Secondary School.

Seeing the administration and staff striving to educate the most vulnerable of Palestinian children is joy to my heart.  Professional development for the staff is an ongoing contributing to Hope Secondary School’s success.  Much of my time was working in the development office also being a part of English enrichment was a delight. 

The students are given opportunities and experiences that will add to their ability to thrive.  Along with their class work, students have access to computers.  During the time I was here, they attended a science fair, went an environmental learning field trip and enjoyed a day together at a park.  These are children of the occupation, I am so glad to see their enjoyment of these extras.

Special to my heart are the boarding students.  Eating meals together and exchanging vocabulary and a little conversation was a highlight.  After living with these 22 teenage boys, I am not sure I will be able to stand my quiet home.  I will miss their camaraderie. 

I have already started my leaving, grieving process!

While pondering the plight of these vulnerable children, I reread the scriptures that refer to children.  In Matthew 18:10 Jesus says, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." 
God sees all the pain of children and through their angels; they have their own additional advocate with the Father.  

Hope School’s sponsorship program invites you to sponsor a student.  You can become an additional advocate as students face the many troubles of being a child of poverty and the occupation.  For sponsorship information, contact:

Praising God

I am completing the seventh month this year in what we call the Middle East, my heart is filled with thankfulness to God. I am praising God for the people and places in the memories of my 71st year on earth! 

May the Joy of Christmas Fill Your Hearts!