Friday, March 28, 2008

An On-coming Truck

Salvation can be a difficult concept to understand for people of any culture. It is especially difficult for Palestinians from a Muslim background because "good works" are so important. One of our team members shared the following experience and a great analogy she sometimes uses.

I’m helping a Palestinian study for a comprehensive exam over everything they have studied in two years and is mostly in English. I have been able to meet the whole family. We had a discussion of eternal life the other day. My student was concerned that I won’t go to Paradise. I shared what I believe and the problem seemed to be that, if salvation is a free gift, what would keep you from being bad? I compared it to someone who pushes you out of the way of an on-coming truck and dies saving you. How would you feel? What would you do for that person’s family? Would you want to make something good of your life because of that other person’s sacrifice? God’s love makes you want to be good.

Pray with us for this family. Not only are we asking that they'll understand, but that they'll experience salvation.

A New Friend

One of our team members who lives in a country where Palestinians are a minority shared the following about a new friend.

Last week I went down to a Palestinian area to visit a friend. I met this lady last summer, but I’d thought she hadn’t liked me. She’d been sort of standoffish and cold to me. I ran into her again when we went down to her area to check out a humanitarian project we are funding there. I gave her my number and she said she’d call me that night. Apparently she did call, but somehow I missed the call. About a month later, we were back in her area, and I told her to call again because I really did want to talk with her. I thought that would be it, but that weekend she called and we talked awhile. She invited me to come visit her that week because she was off for a couple of days. I usually avoid overnight visits if at all possible, but for some reason (must have been God because it sure wasn’t me), I just said yes. So a couple of days later, I hopped on a bus and went down to her area. The visit was amazing! This girl really opened up and shared her heart with me. I listened to her struggles and got a chance to share with her. Later that night I got a chance to share again in front of her brother. Both of them listened very well, and my friend said that the whole story and the idea of salvation was very beautiful. I left her with a movie and a book. Anyway, that whole visit was exciting. My friend has called me several times since the visit, including once on Easter to give me Easter greetings. I’m praying that she’ll soon know the power of our risen Lord.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day

One of our team members worked in Gaza for several years. She shares these thoughts about Mothers' Day.

The deep bonds with Palestinian friends from Gaza continue. Last Friday, the first day of Spring, was Mother’s Day in the Middle East. I have made it a tradition to telephone my “Palestinian mother,” Sitt Z. every Mother’s Day. (“Sitt” is s title of respect for older women.) During the three years and eight months that I spent in Gaza, she “adopted” me and always calls me her American daughter. Even though it’s been a few years since I have seen her, we feel as close as ever. Some of my friends in America still have a prayer card with her picture and prayer requests and sometimes ask me how she is. She has no idea what impact she has made upon people and how widely she is known, because during one of my stateside assignments I told everyone everywhere that I spoke about her and requested prayer that the Holy Spirit would work in her life. I have left tapes and Scripture with her and shared many Bible stories and the plan of salvation with her. So far she is still a devout Muslim, but I pray that God will give her a vision that will convict her heart of truth. Now in her eighties, she said one prayer request is that we get to see each other before she dies!

Not only do I have a Palestinian “mother” that I stay in contact with, but I also have a “spiritual Palestinian son.” He called me on Mother’s Day. His family is still in Gaza, but H. has now lived in the United States long enough to become an American citizen. He and his wife have one young son and are expecting another one. What a blessing to know how God has changed him, having opened his spiritual eyes before he left Gaza! Indeed I am so thankful for God’s guidance and intervention!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Limits of Love

Where have we been? Well, we're still here. We appreciate your prayers and thought even when we don't post very often.

We read a great article about reconcillation today entitled: The Limits of Love. (Click on the title to read the article.) Great food for thought.