This morning I had the privilege of speaking at the Anglican church just down the road from base. Different members adopted different YWAMers while we were on outreach to pray for us individually. It was such a privilege to be supported not only by my churches back at home in the states, but at my home here in New Zealand. Unfortunately, my prayer partner couldn't be at church today so I thought I would post my little speech on here for him. Also, it is a good summary of the things we did/I learned while in Israel.
What exactly did we do? That's a much more complicated answer than it is a question. We did a variety of different ministries ranging from working with people with disabilities to doing home visits for local church members to helping out at a shelter for women and children refugees. As I mentioned in previous posts, we also had the privilege of painting two Sunday school rooms.
Our main ministry, however, was relatively simple. We listened. Early on in our ministry, we made it a vision that we wanted to hear people's stories regarding the conflict regardless of our own personal beliefs. We wanted to hear stories from both the Israelis and the Arabs, the Christians and the non-Christians, because at the end of the day, everybody wants to be listened to, encouraged, and loved.
Through that God also taught me a ton about listening to Him. I felt myself drawn to the story of Samuel's calling in 1 Samuel 3:2-9. One thing my teammate Cody said that really stuck out to me was that we should ask God to hear clearly. So often we ask God to speak clearly, but that's not the problem. He speaks clearly (as you can see in the story of Samuel's calling). He's God. We don't hear clearly. My prayer has been help me listen intently and hear clearly.
To end I want to share with you a journal entry I wrote fairly early on in outreach about injustice.
Justice defined by Miriam Webster is, "The principle or ideal of just dealing or right action--conformity to his principle or ideal; righteousness." How do we do that? How do we mold this into our outreach? I'm not quite sure, but I think one of the first steps is to recognize what injustice is. I think injustice is a lot more difficult to define than most people think. I think one of its most fundamental qualities is that it is undefineable; it skirts below the surface of onlookers. It rears enough of its ugly head for the outside world to acknowledge its existence but never enough to move them to action. People never know the full extent its oppression. Ignorance is bliss and throwing money at different causes every once in a while is enough to calm the discomfort of the unjust suffering inflicted upon others. For me, for us, that is not enough. Action is mandatory and we are not satisfied with allowing our teammates to remain on the sidelines anymore. Injustice isn't just in Israel and Palestine--it exists all over the world. The longer we allow injustice to creep just below the surface, the more we allow it to ferment and multiply. This is a chance to tear through the surface, to rip through the facades that we, that I have created. The process will be messy. The healing will not happen overnight. But the alternative is worse. If we continue to ignore injustice, the fermentation will seap up from below and, without our awareness, will infect every inch of our lives rendering us incapacitated to help not only those "others" who suffer, but ourselves.
This is my challenge to you all: Listen to others, listen to God, and allow Him to call you to action.
Peace and Love :)
And a little piece of Palestine to leave you with... :)