Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Missionaries to Israel/Palestine




By Lisa Bender

Rev. Alex and Brenda Awad, retiring United Methodist missionaries to Israel/Palestine, are visiting conferences across the U.S. this fall. They shared their compelling story with Bishop Park and the conference staff as part of their time in Susquehanna Conference October 9-10.

Alex Awad served as pastor of a small church in Jerusalem and was dean at Bethlehem Bible College. Brenda Awad was an English teacher and administratator at the college. They have done mission work with Christians in Gaza and with Syrian refugees during their 26 years of service.
See “The Awads” on vimeo.com/139707602

The indigenous Christian community in the Holy Land is rapidly disappearing, and is now only 2% of the population.  Bethlehem Bible College was started to train young people in Palestine for careers in ministry, tourism and media in the hope that they will remain to be caretakers of our Christian holy sites.  Palestinian Christians seek the prayers and actions of Christians around the world and invite us to be part of their struggle to end the occupation.

Alex shared his family’s story of life in a Jerusalem community with his parents and six brothers and sisters that ended in 1948 when they were pushed out into East Jerusalem.  When his civilian father was killed in a crossfire of the war, his mother returned to school and became a nurse to support her large family.  Her children are today very thankful for their Christian mother who taught them to never harbor hate for anyone, and to always forgive.

 Alex has spent his life spreading this message while praying for peace in the troubled region.  He presented signs of hope that include grassroots efforts to educate the world of the dual narratives that comprise the conflict, along with actions we can take to help the governments involved to settle the conflict, cease the building of illegal settlements and end the occupation.

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