Saturday, June 23, 2012

Alabama Volunteers - Camp is Over

Marhaba, ya'll!!

Sadly, the camp drew to a close today.  These beautiful children hold special places in each of our hearts.  We are told that they will always remember the week the foreigners came town; well, these foreigners will never forget the week we got to serve them.

We held an extended closing session at the end where we reviewed all that the kids have learned and it was mighty impressive what all they did consume during this short time.  They were on top of the songs and not only did they grasp some of the English, they even spoke in complete sentences which shows their desire to learn.

Words cannot express just how touched we were not only by these children, but also the local village adults that helped out.  After feeling us out on the first day, the smiles on these men and women increased with each day.  Whats more, after dismissal they were quick to grab their cell phones and ask for pictures with some of us.

In conclusion, we believe as a team that we have accomplished the mission God called us here to do.  We made a huge dent removing the rocks of this field so that it can be harvested.  However, there are still plenty more stones to be broken up and removed.  In other words, there is plenty of work for this new partnership with the Alabama team and the PAL team.

Since there is work still here, we (Alabama Volunteers and supporters back home) cannot become lax in our prayers for this people group.  These are VERY loving people who have had it rough and simply thirst for hope; the hope that will quench them only comes from Christ and the cup that pours the hope is the PAL team and volunteers that give of their time to assist in reaching this people group.

This camp ending is bittersweet.  While we will miss the people we had the pleasure of serving along with the PAL people, we must return home.  The Alabama Volunteer team cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your prayers and support.  Although our tour is complete, we have only scratched the surface.  Please continue to offer your prayers and support to this much needed ministry.

All day tomorrow and most of the day on Monday we will be touring more of the holy land, departing from the area Monday night.  Pray for a smooth sailing throughout the airports as well as safe flights while we return.

Shukkran, shukkran, shukkran (Thank you , thank you, thank you)

The Alabama Volunteer Team

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alabama Volunteers - Camp Days 3-4

Marhaba from the West Bank!!!

Day's 3 and 4 are complete and we get a much needed break tomorrow.  These kids are beautiful and we love them very much.  God really has his hands on all that is going on with the camp.  Each day brings increased interest from the locals in their desire for more help.  The adults around town have really been appreciative of everything and have began to inquire about furthering the relationship with the PAL team.  Folks this is an answered prayer...elhamdulilah!!! (Praise be to God)

During the classes the adults have really begun to become interactive as well.  They sing all the songs, they do all the motions, they participate with the kids doing crafts, and yes they get out and shame us playing "futbol"

The local social worker that got us into the village and set this camp up pulled our leader aside today and was inquisitive about each of the team members.  She wanted to know more about our schooling and if we studied the crafts, music and teaching, etc.  We didn't go to school for these things; they are seeing that the love we are sharing is very genuine.

If there was a better Internet connection, we would post some of the videos of the children singing the songs that are being taught.  Seeing and hearing them sing "This is the day" in both English and Arabic is very heartwarming.  What is cool is that when asked to make a song request during opening/closing assembly, they seem to always go to "Father Abraham".

Please pray for every one of these children.  Please pray for this people group.  They live oppressive lives with oftentimes no hope other than the hope found in Christ Jesus.  Pray for these local adults and that their inquisitiveness doesn't stop when we leave.  Pray that God opens the door for more visits in particular to the homes.

If you are wandering about us, we are doing fine. We are physically very tired from being on the go constantly.  Tomorrows break cannot get here fast enough.  In the morning we are taking the bus and going to tour the garden tomb.  After this and a bite to eat it is on to The Dead Sea for some much needed floating time, with a pass through Jericho at some point.

Thanks again to all of you prayer warriors out there.  We really mean it when we say that there is no way we are here doing this work if not for you, so shuukran (thank you).  But, the work doesn't stop when we leave.  Continue to pray for the PAL team, especially the two "newbie" families as they continue their adjustment period while getting to work.

Love you all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alabama Volunteers - Camp Day 2

Marhaba (hello)!  After experiencing the ease of the first day of camp and seeing the joy in the children's eyes we had no clue what we were walking into this morning.   Elhamdulilah (Praise be to God), this pretty much sums it up.  

For years the Pal team hasn't made any head way in the village that we are conducting the camp.  Well, just after these first two days it is evident that progress is being made and the work being done now will serve as a catalyst for the future.  God is piercing hearts in this community, He is softening even the adults that are helping.  Just yesterday you could see the skepticism in their eyes.  Today, they jumped right on in and sang with us, did crafts with us and even kicked the 'futball' around.

The children all showed up this morning in their red camp shirts we handed out yesterday at the close of the day. The girls that wear head scarfs showed up today wearing red ones to match their shirt.  This goes to show that they are going home to mom and dad and sharing of their experience.

These kids truly have a thirst for genuine love that only Christ can give using us as the cup.  They are smelling the pleasing aroma of Christ from this group of volunteers as well as Pal staff.  This is solely the work of God.  We cannot take any of the credit.

If you are wondering what to pray for, let us toss a few at you.  Pray for God's favor with the work being done this week, pray for the continued softening in the hearts of those participating and even helping.  Pray that these people like the taste from the cup of Christ and begin to ask questions as to what it is.  These are beautiful people living oppressive lives not even knowing that they have freedom through Christ.  Their view on Christianity is so skewed and that is slowly being changed because of your prayer and the work being done here.

As for us - we are tired and hot, but, our spirit remains extremely high.  Thanks again for your support and prayers; we cannot do this without you.  If you are wondering about the food and how we are eating, well look below.  We are NOT going hungry!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alabama Volunteers - Camp Day 1

Boys taking shade while playing "futbol"

Girls painting canvas bags during crafts

These guys are a hoot.

Some of the children's artwork
Marhaba!! So we began the camp today and as you can see we got to meet some wonderful children.  The boys and girls enjoyed the arts and crafts, music, recreation (man it is hot), and ultimately the English class.  One thing we picked up on early in the day was how eager these kids were for interaction.  

Immediately as we pulled into the school and got out of the car we were greeted by several of the boys walking up saying "what is your name", "what is your name"?  It didn't stop there;  the whole time during the recreation periods these kids were constantly asking that same question repeatedly as well as reciting some of the things they were taught.    

During the music periods we found that they picked up on the songs quite well and surprisingly quick.  We had planned on just a few songs for the entire week only to find ourselves teaching 5 songs to one of the classes and 3 to another,  and so on.  

While at crafts we were able to really sit down and talk with them and ask them questions.  The theme for today was "family" so we were constantly asking "do you have any brother's/sisters?".  Each time a child reached for a splotch of paint for their brush we repeated the color in English and encouraged them to do the same.

The biggest takeaway was just how much they thirsted for the loving interaction, and this is something you can definitely pray for.  These are beautiful children with heart-wrenching stories.  Each one has gone though so much in their short lives; more than any of us will ever imagine.  Please keep them fervently in your prayers.  

How are we doing? HOT HOT HOT...LOL.  Encouraged is a good word to describe the group.  This first day went off soooo much better than any of us expected and it is due to only one thing - God!   

Thank you again for your support and prayers.  There is no way we can do this without each of you.  

The Alabama team. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First Full Day - Alabama Volunteers

After a long flight over here and a full night of rest we had the day to sight see the "Old City" of Jerusalem. It is amazing to walk the streets that our Lord and Savior walked.  Visiting here and learning as you go puts new perspective on what one has learned by reading their Bible; the pages come to life.

We cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support and ask that you continue praying as tomorrow we begin the real work venturing into new places and meeting new people to lead this camp.  

God Bless

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alabama Volunteers

Praise the Lord!!  They arrived.  No problems on any flight.  Their seats were together.  All their suitcases arrived with them.  They were exhausted, but excited to be here.  We feed them and put them to bed.  On Sunday, we'll do some planning for the project, have a worship time with all the team here and tour the city. 

Keep praying.  The project starts Monday.

The Team

The volunteer team from the States should be arriving within the next few hours.  We are excited to have them coming and we have been praying for the week ahead.  We wanted to update with some specific requests before we head to the airport to pick them up.  Please join us in lifting them up to the Father!

* Please pray for grace going through the airport.  For favor with the security personnel and an easy entrance into the country.
* As the team spends the day trying to stay awake and touring, pray that the Father would grant them love for each other, a restful night of sleep tonight and easy adjustment to the time difference.
* Many on the team have had sick children or have been sick themselves.  Please pray for strength and endurance for the week ahead.

We trust that the Father is going to do great things this week, some that we see and some we may never see.  We look forward to reporting on His faithfulness throughout the week!

"For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."
Psalm 108:4

Friday, June 08, 2012

We're Back!

Wow!  It has certainly been a long time since our last post, in fact it has been over 4 years!  However, that does not mean the work has not continued and the Lord has not been faithful.  Thank you for your prayers on our behalf.

The purpose of this blog is to update you on teams that come to visit, cultural moments experienced by various workers and to proclaim the faithfulness of our Savior.  We look forward to updating regularly as well as hearing from you!  If you would like to receive an update when we update please enter your email address in the right sidebar.

Check back soon as a team will arrive in the coming weeks ahead.

We hope this blog gives you a glimpse into the work that is going on with the Pals on this side of the water and spurs you onto praying for these peoples.