by Elli Atchison, World Vision
Two weeks ago I was privileged to be part of a World Vision delegation in the Holy Land. Twenty women gathered from all corners of the United States to visit people living and working in Israel and the West Bank. Most of the ladies had never been to the region before. Those of us who were returning yearned to understand the issues better.
Together we journeyed throughout the land, seeking perspectives from Israelis and Palestinians. We were also seeking spiritual insights and the wisdom of Jesus that could help us make sense of this tragic conflict.
We met so many amazing people who told the stories of their very different lives. Our days were full of listening, learning, and asking questions. And continually I challenged my companions and myself: ”You hear stories of pain on both sides of this conflict. You see the hardships of life under occupation. But, where do you see Jesus?” Read more
by Elli Atchison, World Vision
As the hype around the Israeli elections comes to a close, the watching world questions if new peace talks are possible in the near future. The international community has been supportive over the years. They have encouraged the peace process and provided financial and diplomatic aid to protect Israel’s security and democracy in the region. However, frustration seems to be growing and patience is getting thin. There are many questions about the future of the Holy Land, but the one thing that is certain is that status quo of life in Israel and the Palestinian Territories cannot continue.
All people living in the Holy Land have unmet needs. Israelis want to feel safe and secure. Palestinians want live in freedom without the occupation. All want economic opportunities that will improve the lifestyles of their families and their hopes for a better future. These are common needs and basic desires from two groups of people who were created by the same God. 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
Violence and chaos in the Middle East have left many around the world hopeless and feeling helpless. As followers of Jesus, we refuse to be sidetracked by the temptation to despair.
Prayers for Peace (P4P) provides a way for Christians of diverse political and theological backgrounds to stand up for peace and unite in supplication to God with a special focus on prayers for the Holy Land. Prayers for Peace provides Jesus’ followers with the common language of prayer around which to mobilize their energy and passion for the land that gave birth to our faith. To combat the prevailing images of discord, Prayers for Peace will highlight peace-building organizations that we may pray for them as they live out the reconciliation offered in the Prophets and Jesus’ message of shalom.
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.