Friday, February 17, 2006

PL: A Threat

There is a very serious situation developing in Gaza. We felt like our friends and others concerned for Palestinians would like to be alerted.

Late on Friday night, Feb 3rd, a bomb was placed at the door of a Christian bookshop on the main square in Gaza. It blew down the doors, but did not do much additional damage. The shop was closed and no one was injured. Although it was very alarming to those who work for the sponsoring organization, at the time they felt that it was most likely a personal grudge.

On Sunday, the 12th, unknown masked gunmen, distributed leaflets in the area stating that the first bomb was just a sample of what was to come if the shop did not close and all activity of the organization stop. The threats were very specific and serious.

Many friends have written expressing concern because of the elections and the recent demonstrations against the Danish cartoons. This incident does not seem to be related to either. It does show the state of anarchy that Palestinians now face in Gaza.

Following are exerts of a letter written by the director of the sponsoring organization:
He said the society’s workers in Gaza and elsewhere in the region are “calling upon the Lord and claiming the blood of Jesus” for protection of the society and its neighbors in Gaza.

“(We call) upon the Church through all of you to lift us up before the Lord. We want to hold in balance trust in the Lord and His protection, not giving in to the threats of the enemy (and, at the same time,) an attitude of responsibility towards the safety of the team and our Muslim neighbors, who are terrified by this threat ….

“Please pray for us,” he asked. “It is test time for our ministry in Gaza."

After the first bombing, "Neighbors came around and expressed their dismay at what happened. Romans Chapter 8 came to mind ('All things work together for good to those who love God'), and I encouraged the team to take hold of it. Satan's tool is to terrorize, but Christ's Spirit is a spirit of peace, love and sound mindedness. This love is our security, and we're committed to let it flow freely and unconditionally so others can taste and see how good the Lord is.

"The situation in the Palestinian areas is turning into chaos. We are not deterred, but rather much more committed to be what Christ wants us to be. It is at such dark times when the light is most needed. It is our responsibility to present the way of Christ: Love your neighbor and love your enemy."

He asked for prayer "not only for the Palestinian church as a threatened minority, but as God's tool to bring His light to the Palestinian people. We want to focus on active and responsible presence, not just survival."

We echo his requests for prayer. The Christian community in Gaza is small. This threat affects them all. Pray especially for the leaders and workers of this organization. As our friend says, may the church "be God's tool to bring His light to the Palestinian people."

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