Friday, October 26, 2007

Humanitarian Disaster in Gaza

Today the BBC reported ( that Israel approved to cut power to the Gaza strip in the case of future missile attacks. Israel presently supplies 60% of Gaza's electricity. While these missile attacks are terrible, this is NOT a proper response. This is collective punishment which is illegal by international law and only creates more terrorism and hatred due to the suffering of millions of innocent people. Gaza is already in a humanitarian nightmare due to a economic embargo by Israel and due to the fact that its seas, borders and air are completely controlled by Israel. Power cuts would only worsen the situation.

Just last year Israel bombed a power plant in Gaza, with huge repercussions on services such as hospitals, schools, etc. This was widely condemned by the international community as a war crime (see,7340,L-3308615,00.html). Now they are saying they want to encourage Gaza to develop its own power sources.

Please pray for the situation in Gaza and that Israel won't cut the power and that these rocket attacks would stop!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Looking ahead...

After much thought and prayer, it seems like I now have a decent idea what this next year will look like. I decided, after all, to start grad school at Wheaton in the spring in the intercultural studies program (probably with a concentration in development). This would allow me to continue at Wheaton and at my church, Church of the Resurrection. I have come to realize the importance of relationships; staying here for another year and a half would allow me to continue to build on the ones that I have made these last three years.

The program at Wheaton would give me an excellent background in mission/development work and in working with people of different cultures. Because it doesn't have much in the area of social justice/conflict transformation, I would love to attend the the Summer Peacebuilding Institute ( at Eastern Mennonite University in VA this upcoming summer. Some of the credit from this would transfer towards my degree and I would be able to gain some valuable training in this whole area.

All this is on the path towards eventually working in Israel/Palestine, Insha'allah, God willing.

Meanwhile I continue to study and review my Arabic and to build friendships with Arabs in my neighborhood. About once a week I am able to visit some of them in their shops and restaurants and speak in Arabic. This has been SO fun.

On a side note, the US (surprise, surprise) is making a push for a Israeli/Palestinian peace conference in late November. Be praying that Hamas will be included in the negotiations (and negotiations without them is doomed to failure) and that other Arab countries would throw in their support.

Allah ykhalikom, May God keep you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Requesting prayer for guidance

As the end of my undergrad experience at Wheaton rapidly approaches so do many decisions. Some possibilities have begun to materialize, but much still remains to be decided. Presently I am looking into the possibility of doing an internship with my church, Church of the Resurrection, in prayer and social justice. This would allow me to get some more ministry experience as well as to deepen my ties in what I consider my home church, a place I have come to really love. Also, it would be a time to explore the possibility of getting ordained through its denomination: AMiA (Anglican Missions in America).

My second tentative plan is to also begin a masters in Intercultural Studies at Wheaton. This would be great training in cross-cultural work, as a prepare for eventually moving to the Middle East. There is a fair amount of flexibility in the program and so I would seek to add in some classes in Conflict Transformation (possibly from a Mennonite seminary or university) to prepare for reconciliation work, something needed in almost every country of the Middle East (partially thanks to our foreign policy).

In all of this it is really easy to become quite anxious: "What am I going to actually do in the ME?" "Is this the best path to be taking?" "Am I rushing into this out of fear?" etc etc.

I request your prayers in this time for these decisions and also welcome any advice regarding these steps (especially regarding graduate work).

In all this I try to listen to Christ's words to me: "Don't worry, I'll be with you." May this be an encouragement to you as well.