Musalaha’s Palestinian-Israeli Summer Camp

Musalaha’s Palestinian-Israeli Summer Camp

Here is a picture update from last week’s summer camp. Tomorrow I’ll post my reflections on the camp. It was really wonderful, as you can see from the pictures below.
During leader orientation we did the activities we asked the kids to do later in the week. I think the guys did a pretty good job (even though we women won)!
Hillary, one of the other leaders, with one of the girls in her cabin during the Bible study time.

Doing something like a Bible drill.

The kids did even better than the leaders with the newspaper clothes. I had a soft spot in my heart for this kid… just look at that face!

I saw this girl walking through the camp on the last morning and chased her down for a picture. I think her shirt  is great — and perfect for the camp.

So much fun!

This little guy was so sweet. He wanted his face painted as a football (soccer ball). He is originally from South Sudan.

We had moon bounces galore and lots of water one afternoon. Everyone had a wonderful, fun time!

No caption necessary:-)

More fun.

Enjoying the water.

Picture in Ronit’s hand: what she said she was going to do to my face. My face: what she actually did to it. I’ll post the video she made in the next few days.

Diligently working on the crafts.

Chivalry in the Middle East

Chivalry in the Middle East

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time. One thing I appreciate about Arab culture is that, when I get on a bus, a man often gives his seat up for me (or any other woman who gets on-board). This is especially nice because the buses are small and standing is very uncomfortable.

So here’s a shout-out to Arab gentlemen. I know you guys often get a bad rap, and I want you to know that I appreciate your kindnesses!

I was with my photojournalist friend when he took this picture of our bus driver right by the checkpoint.
Photo credit: Barry Rodriguez,
West Jerusalem

West Jerusalem

I had the opportunity to go to into downtown West Jerusalem last week with Ronit, Judith, and Kagi, and had a wonderful time. We had excellent, affordable sushi in a place with a great atmosphere, visited some quirky and nice shops, and enjoyed walking around and seeing the city. There is a really fun quality to a place like Israel where people come from all over the world and bring some of the best things their cultures have to offer.

Kagi, Judith, and Ronit

Cars are Bouncy

During my recent walk, I was thinking about how we have an incorrect perception in the States that cars are easily breakable and should avoid brushing up against things. If we mis-estimate a distance we feel pretty bad. If our cars get a little character (scratch) we get upset.

Drivers here bounce cars and trucks off of lots of things –walls, buildings, concrete blocks, parked cars, and sometimes even low roofs of buildings. It happens all the time, and I witness it regularly.

So if you are in doubt about a distance between your car and something, maybe just give it a try. Probably the worst that’ll happen is that you’ll bounce — and really, who doesn’t like doing that?

Note: Jenni, guardian of my car, this post is not relevant for you.

Divine Appointments

Kagi will be here in The Land for the next three weeks. He is working in Pharmacy at a hospital in the West Bank while I continue my work with Musalaha. This is very exciting for me, as you might imagine!

In order to make his stay possible, we prayed that God would open the doors for a visa, a pharmacy placement, an inexpensive place for him to live, and affordable plane tickets. Last week He provided all of these things! Kagi arrived on Saturday early morning and a friend even let me borrow a car to pick him up in Tel Aviv.

Sunday, we had a really nice day. We went to church in Beit Jala and then took a bus to Jerusalem, and had a wonderful time walking around, doing some shopping in a very western part of the city, and etc. First, though, we went for lunch in the old city.

Through a variety of circumstances, we ended up meeting a lovely guy who has a jewelry shop right near the Jaffa gate. He helped us find a place for lunch and then we visited him in his shop for a little while.

Today I am thinking about the privilege it is to meet strangers who quickly become friends. This Muslim gentleman’s daughter will soon get married, but the joy of that occasion is mixed with sorrow due to a recent family tragedy. He openly shared what they are going through and graciously accepted our offer to pray for him.

Too Much Adventuring, Too Little Blogging

Too Much Adventuring, Too Little Blogging

This has been a busy month. Between things heating up at work, me starting to have things to do almost every night with friends (what a blessing they are!), a few special trips, and some illness, I have done a very poor job of blogging. But here is a “catch-up” post with lots of pictures. If you don’t hear from me at least weekly from here on out please send me an email like wonderful father did yesterday: “Hey, I just noticed that you are not doing a good job with your blog. Time to get with it!!” Thank you Pops:-)!
Stars and Bucks in Bethlehem. Definitely enough of a “green circle of pleasure” to make me smile when I see it, and it serves one of my favorite things: fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice! There are many benefits to living in the Middle East and the fruit is at the top of my list of those things.

My boyfriend, Kagiso, was able to get a visa to come visit me here at the end of February. We traveled around the country during his four-day visit.

This is me floating in the Dead Sea. It is very cool, but I think the water is one of the grossest things I have ever tasted! (No, I didn’t drink it intentionally. I think a little splashed on my lip. YUCK!)
Kagiso on the sea of Galilee. It was cool to be at a place we read so much about in the gospels.

Hanging out with friends and eating a wonderful traditional Palestinian barbecue lunch. These guys have made life here so much fun!

My roommate, Judith, walking in the hills near Jerusalem. This was at the beginning of March and I hope gives you a taste of the beauty and diversity of this country.

Setting out on a trek through the desert near Jericho with good friends.

After our hike we rode on a cable car up the Mountain of Temptation. It was amazing to spend the day in the place where Jesus had done his fast and been tempted by Satan. I have new respect for how difficult it would have been to not turn the loaf into bread… we were sooo hungry and tired after our one-day hike!

After the recent bombing in Jerusalem I was concerned that getting through the checkpoint would be much more difficult. Thankfully, the day of the bomb was the only time we noticed a difference at all. I’m thanking God that for us here it hasn’t caused the problems I feared it would. Please continue to pray for real peace here, and that people would not turn to terrorism. I have many thoughts on this, but will post them another time.

Friends and I went to an event at the Intercontinental Hotel (which is amazing) in Bethlehem. It was my first stand-up comedy performance to see live, and had a great time.

Believe it or not, two days from now will mark three months in The Land. I needed to leave the country for a new visa, and spent a week in Bradford. God is providing some possibilities for my time after being here, and I’ll need to write about them later as well. This picture was taken in a paddle-boat on the pond in Lister Park on a gorgeous spring day.