Sunday, March 26, 2006

PL: A mounment to the Lord

We were privileged to worship with the Gaza Baptist Church today. A guest read from Isaiah 19:19-25. This passage describes the “King’s Highway” It is worth a reading if you aren’t familiar with it. Verse 25 says, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork and Israel my inheritance”. It was verse 19, though that caught our attention:
“In that day, there will be an alter to the Lord in the heart of Egypt and a Monument to the Lord at its border.” Gaza sits on the border between Egypt and Israel. Even in the midst of turmoil, it is exciting to see what God is doing in the lives of Believers in Gaza. There truly is a Monument to the Lord on the Egyptian border in the lives of these dear Brothers and sisters.

Outside the church it is hard to find any good news in Gaza. One friend said the people he talks to only see black before them. There have been some food shortages – flour and bread especially, but the border was opened a few days ago for food to enter. We were told that out of the last 70 days the border for goods had only been open for 10. No exports are allowed. We bought 6 kg of strawberries for 10 sequels; that translates to 16 cents/pound. Our good fortune means misfortune for the strawberry farmers who can’t export their crops. While we were there we heard at least 10 “booms”. Our friend said this was shelling from Israeli tanks. It is done in retaliation for rockets fired by Palestinians. There are very few foreigners in Gaza these days. It isn’t unusual for me to be asked where I’m from, but today it seemed that everyone I met asked me. They all welcomed me heartily. Our relief project continues. The food the team delivers is more needed and more appreciated than ever before.

The Christian Bookstore remains closed, but they hope to reopen this week. So continue to remember them in your prayers. The authorities have done some investigating, but are no closer to knowing who has made the threats.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Food Distribution in Shoukba

On Thursday I went with our Palestinian partner to distribute food in Shoukba, a village of about 4500 near Ramallah. Like many of the villages in the area, it is set on a hillside. Our little car would hardly make it up the steep inclines. T
At the first house we stopped by there were three young men working on a car - all three unemployed. One many was 32 years old with four children. He had worked in Israel before the closure. The other two were in their early 20s and still single. They wanted to get married, but with the situation who could think of taking a wife. The next house up the hill we found a young man still asleep at 11 A.M.. He was a barber, but only opened his shop in the evenings; not enough business to bother opening the shop in the morning. One mother told us that when her children went to school that morning she had nothing to feed them. Without exception the residents were hospitable and gracious.