Walking with Palestinian Christians for Holy Justice and Peace

J.R. & Stacey plan to attendDid you even know that there is such a thing as Palestinian Christians? Well, there are. They are crying out for our help. But, their stories don’t make Headline News, or any other news for that matter. Unfortunately, all that is reported by the media is designed to make us watch the news, to be drawn into the drama by reporting the worst about people. Media sources are driven by ratings, which are driven by money.

In Gaza there are approximately 3,000 Christians, in the West Bank the number of Christians stands around 35,000 and in East Jerusalem there are about 12,500, according to the website www.JewishVirtualLibrary.org. Our Christian brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Territories are the keepers of our history. They are the ones who keep the sacred places, the land where Jesus was born, lived, taught, was crucified and resurrected, safe. They are the people often referred to as “the Living Stones” of the Holy Land. They are made up of different traditions; from Eastern Orthodox all the way to Baptist, yet they work together to maintain these places for the rest of us.

Stacey & J.R. Atkins have been to Bethlehem bible collegeChristians in the Palestinian Territories also educate children, including Muslim and Jewish children. The education offered at Christian schools is so good that the upper classes of Jewish and Muslim believers pay to send their children to these schools. What a testament to our faith! What an opportunity! Opportunities for mutual acceptance, respect and understanding that may be the tiny seeds of peace being sown. Opportunities are created to imitate the life of Christ for these children, to teach the meaning of being a Christ follower.

Our ‘Keepers of the Faith’ in Israel and the Palestinian Territories face so many difficulties every day just to exist that are beyond anything most of us can even really understand. The constant humiliation of going through the checkpoints all throughout the land, the walls that have cut through their ancient family owned olive groves which cut them off from their only source of income, the taunting of the children on their way to school by Israeli soldiers, the hatred that runs underneath all of their lives, the pervasiveness of these daily challenges is unknowable to most of us. The list goes on and on.

That’s the bad news. The good news is here too. The most beautiful news is that the Christian Palestinians have boundless amounts of hope. It is because of their hope that they continue their missions for Christ with joy and purpose. On our trips to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, J.R. and I were always awed by their hope. They continue to work to create a better world for their children, and therefore, for the children of the world.

What are we called to do as Christians in this situation? We are called to stand in love with our Christian brothers and sisters. To be their voices which go unheard or ignored. The United Methodist Church is sponsoring a conference August 7-9 called “Walking with Palestinian Christians for Holy Justice and Peace.” The goal of the event is to determine ways we can help, then turn those ideas into action.

What can you do? J.R. and I feel we have been called to be a part of this process. We are working to fund the trip to the conference. We need to raise $900 by this Friday before 5:00 pm to be able to participate. If you feel moved by these issues we need your support. Please donate what you are able:

Donate to Something Different Ministrieshttp://www.gofundme.com/c89h3w

Thank you for your prayers and support.

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