by Elli Atchison, World Vision
Peter is special…. and it shows. This young man from Bethlehem has a twinkle in his eyes and a magnetic smile that draws a stranger in close. However, life has been challenging for him as Peter was born with hearing impairments that made learning difficult. This would ordinarily put him in a segment of Palestinian society that is marginalized and cast aside.
However, despite his inability to communicate with words, Peter is outgoing and makes friends easily. He is a talented artist and an accomplished olive wood carver. Peter thanks the Joy School for giving him the opportunity to learn and develop these skills. Read more
by Elli Atchison & Natalie Wisely, World Vision
While acts of terror and violence made headlines, a group of young adults gathered to learn about peace and reconciliation in Washington, D.C. These diverse activists came from across the country, with a shared interest in actively promoting peace in the Holy Land.
The summit was hosted by Millennial Voice for Peace (MVP) and World Vision. MVP members are strongly motivated by the core Christian values to love and pray for one’s enemies (Matt.5:44) and step into the call to be part of the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20), just as Jesus served in His life.
The underlying message of MVP is clear. It affirms the God given dignity of all people, regardless of race or religion (Gal. 3:26-29). And it believes that only advocacy that hears, recognizes, and validates the concerns and needs of both the peoples will be effective in creating lasting peace. Read more
by Natalie Wisely, World Vision
Located in the southwest hills of Bethlehem, Tent of Nations is a family run farm focused on bringing people of various cultures together to build bridges for understanding, reconciliation, and peace.
Though their land is under constant threat of confiscation by the Israeli military, the Nassar family has adopted the slogan “We Refuse to be Enemies” to define their ministry.
This steadfast courage is never more poignant than when it is directly faced with opposition.
On Monday, May 19, 2014, at 8:00am more than 1,500 of their apricot and apple trees were uprooted and grape plants were smashed and destroyed by the Israeli military. These trees were planted by the Nassar family on their land 10 years ago and are some of the most fruitful the family owns. Read more
by Natalie Wisely, World Vision
What They Do:
The Global Immersion project (TGIP) seeks to cultivate everyday peacemakers by giving them access to seemingly inaccessible global and domestic conflicts and the peacemakers that live and work in these arenas. The goal is to integrate the work of reconciliation and peacemaking into the consciences of individuals around the globe. In doing so, they aspire to develop generations of everyday peacemakers that can influence the global and local realities they face in their neighborhoods, villages, towns, and cities.
How They Do It:
TGIP curates three-phase Learning Labs that culminate in immersion experiences into international and domestic conflicts. TGIP is currently hosting Learning Labs focused on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the U.S. Immigration Crisis, but also plans to expand to address various other international and domestic issues and locations. Read more
Organization Highlight: Holy Land Trust
The conflict gives rise to a wide range of perspectives and opinions. Whether individuals represent a particular political identity, nation or ideology; be they Muslim, Christian, or Jew, one thing many people agree on is that this is the “Holy Land.”
The verb “to trust” is the foundation of any relationship that seeks to move things forward, especially during challenging times; without trust there is no future. The word trust is also taken from “trustee,” meaning to hold on to something, guard it and care for it.
Combining these two concepts, the name “Holy Land Trust” projects the belief that the Holy Land belongs to no particular group of people, but to the Creator of all. It is sacred to all humanity, and as trustees of this land, we are its caretakers. We carry a responsibility to maintain it, nurture it, and see it prosper. Read more
by Craig Swandby, World Vision
The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF) is a joint Palestinian Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict. Through face-to-face reconciliation programs, the Parent’s circle has shown that the reconciliation between individuals and nations is possible, and it is this insight that they are trying to pass on to both sides of the conflict.
The PCFF was established in 1995 by Mr. Yitzhak Frankental and several bereaved Israeli families. In 1998 the first meetings were held with a group of Palestinians families from Gaza who identified with the call to prevent further bereavement through dialogue, tolerance, peace, and reconciliation. The connection with the group in Gaza was cut off as a result of the second Intifada. Read more
Organization Highlight: Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA) – Impact: Holy Land Conference
ESA is convening a conversation—Impact: Holy Land—in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 4-6, 2013, to hear from Jesus followers around the world on what we can do to foster peace with justice in the Holy Land. Many are seeking to have a positive “impact” on the area—for all the populations living there.
At Impact: Holy Land, we will gather to listen well to the diverse stories and perspectives of Palestinian Christians, Christian Zionists, Messianic Jews, and other followers of Jesus. All of these perspectives reflect serious engagement with scriptural texts and political realities in lands that carry deep meaning for our faith. The event will culminate at the altar, where we will share in the body and blood of Christ together in Holy Communion. Read more