November 20, 2012
Valerie's Perspective on the Hospital Visit:
We visited a government hospital today. The director was very grateful for our visit and the money he has received from US AID. The hospital looked clean and appeared to be well-run. We passed out gifts to the maternity ward, to the pediatric unit, and to the dialysis section. We also were given the opportunity to pray with the people in the hospital. Our team was glad to plant seeds and be part of the work being done there. Ask us more about this visit when we get home!
Cathleen's Perspective on Home Visits:
We made four visits to people's homes from the Jericho church. Some of them have been in the church for many years and one family has only been attending for a month. At one house, there are ten family members living there. The Palestinian people are so hospitable! We were offered tea, coffee, or juice at every home and warmly welcomed. Testimonies were shared that included several miraculous healings. Listening to one particular story of Jesus visiting ayoung girl who had almost no chance for healing, gave me God bumps. She still remembers it vividly.
One house we visited had three older adult sisters living together. Their living quarters were upstairs and one of the sisters can no longer walk up or down the stairs. They have a huge garden from which they make their living. They have ornamental plants they sell as well as vegetables and fruit trees. When we first walked up, two of the sisters were working in the garden. They stopped and washed their hands to greet us. We went upstairs and they shared with us about their lives along with prayer requests. At each house we went to, we had a chance to pray for the family members. These two sisters asked for prayer for the third sister that God would heal her knees. We gathered around and laid hands on her. It was wonderful to see how these ladies cared for one another. In this culture, it is common for extended family members to live with one another. There is no social security or governmental aid here so they truly depend on each other.
Later we gathered at the church with all of these people once again. It was more meaningful to see their familiar faces and worship together! They sang one song in Arabic that they knew we would know in English. The electricity was off at the church so we had pulled all the chairs (plastic) outside and sat around in a circle in the courtyard. It was lovely under the stars!
Lupe's Perspectives on the evening:
What impressed me the most today was visiting The Sycamore Tree that Zacchaeus was said to have climbed in order to see Jesus. The tree was so green and luscious, that I could just picture him in the tree searching for our Lord. Later that evening, Paul and I shared the song and dance with the children during the church service. They corrected us in saying it was the story of "Zaca," as they didn't know our English word for him. It was heartwarming that they recognized the story that we were sharing.
The kids were similar to the kids in our church. They were asking for prayer to do well in school, for their families, for their lives here, all the struggles they go through. They shared with us that life is not easy here. Due to the language barrier, we couldn't make out what they are suffering but could feel their sorrow. They expressed the hope they have in Jesus.
Paul's Comments on the evening:
Since we had met some of the children during our home visits, I felt it was a bit easier to jumpright in with the kids for children's church. There were about 10-12 kids who Lupe and I spent time with during the adult service. We started the evening by showing them the Zacchaeus song. After that, they insisted on showing us one of their dance songs. We recorded some of theseactivities which we will share during our presentation on December 2. In fact, we will share many more photos on that evening too. Lupe gave a short message on how Jesus cares for them and how we are all God's children no matter how far apart we live. We have a connection in Him. When the electricity came on, even though the adults did not move inside, we took the kids inside to their Sunday School room. We resumed by playing Simon Says (Sim Sim is what they call it). We were winding down and I shared a game on my phone with a couple of the boys who were restless. Now I had their attention! This was a great connection tool that needed no language! It was a great feeling that we could communicate without language. Love is the universal language.
Geoff's Comments on the evening:
After the church service tonight, the pastor invited anyone to share from the pulpit. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my love for Christ with the Jericho church. So I got up and shared my personal testimony and the pastor interpreted it into Arabic for the congregation. It was greatthat a local man from the church got up afterwards and shared his testimony, too! We heard from someone at the Bethlehem church that was unusual for a Palestinian man to do this. After the service, many of the people came up and greeted me as a brother in Christ.
A highlight of my day was watching the two cultures come together and sharing our love for Christ.
Tomorrow we will be making home visits to people from the Bethlehem Church and will participate in their Wednesday evening service. Also, we have felt safe in the hands ofHolyLand Missions. We thank God for your prayers!