Thursday, May 6, 2010

Palestinian Christians "Get the Hell Out" of Palestine

And Who Wouldn't?
If YOU had to live with conditions like they have lived under, especially since 1948?
"Friend" Marlin (Sally) Vis have just returned from our region with this tale of the success of our friends, the Israelis, in getting Palestinian Christians (and Muslims) to leave land they covet for themselves and themselves alone.

Pray for conversion, a change of heart to allow "The Other" entrance and presence in "The Land" so coveted by both Jews and Palestinians. Thank you Marlin, for sharing yourself and your vision a "Shared Isr/Pal". JRK

Dear Friends and Family:

"It never gets better here." This from a close friend and partner in mission and ministry - a Palestinian Christian named Sami. Sami lives in Bethlehem. He has a wife and two children. Sami works tirelessly to train other Palestinians in the art of nonviolent resistance to the stifling occupation that overshadows all else in this land of bright sunshine and resurrection hope. Sami introduced me to dozens of Palestinian Christian children - middle school and high school. When asked what they hoped for in the future, almost without exception, they answered the same: "We hope to leave this awful place."

This awful place! This is the Land of Jesus, the land of their ancestors. Why would they call this place awful?

And why do they want to leave? "Don't you love this land?"

"Of course we love our homeland. But we have no freedom here. We have no future."

Where will they go? They'll come here, just as my grandparents did, and maybe yours as well. They'll go to Canada or one of the Latin American countries. And this region's loss will be the gain for whatever place receives them. They are bright and beautiful and committed to working hard to earn their own way. They speak English and Arabic and Hebrew and French too. They are leaders in their communities and will be again when they settle in your community or mine.

This want to leave their homeland is not a want born out of disconnect of place, but rather, a longing to have before them a playing field that is level, or at least not so uphill as to be an impossible climb. They want a chance to shine, and shine they will, these sons and daughters of the early church fathers and mothers - Just not here in the land of Jesus. They will not shine here, and that is a shameful fact of life in this Holy Land.

Please continue to pray for Sally and me as we seek to do whatever we can to assist those like Sami who work to keep the Palestinian Christian youth in the land of Jesus. If they leave, then who will represent Jesus in this place of conflict? Who will be the church here, if not these young shining lights? It is a crisis and Sally and I are committed to doing what we can to help.

Help us help them. Urge your church to support us financially. Travel with us to the Land of Jesus. Check out our brochure for 2011. Consider a Christian Peacemaker Delegation pilgrimage. We are hoping to conduct one of these every year. We just finished our first. Check out our blog for details.
Pray for us and for the Palestinian Christians who keep trying when trying is so hard to do. Young friends of ours have started a church in East Jerusalem. Sally and I support them in many ways and they are doing a brave, good work, reaching out to the Palestinian community and having success. We are so proud of them. Two of them are our regular bus drivers.

We are well, back in Zeeland after two months in Jerusalem. Our ministry grows and grows. We are overwhelmed with the possibilities that lay before us, and therefore, before all of us together. Because we are the church! We are together in this and in everything else that grows the Kingdom.

And we thank you. And we love you. And we pray for you as you pray for us. We invite you to join us in Jerusalem. You will be blessed and you will be a blessing! We promise.

Love and blessings
marlin and sally vis