Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Prayer for Prisoners and Jailers

For Prisons and Correctional Institutions

Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy's sake. Amen.
(from the Book of Common Prayer)

This last week, as I mentioned, I found out while chatting with one of my buddies from the camp that two of my close friends had been arrested by the IDF. Two days later (see the comment posted on my last blog entry) I found out that that same kid I was chatting with was also arrested! He was also a close friend who I played guitar with a lot when I was there. Today I chatted online with his brother. They don't know why they took him and he isn't even able to call home to tell them what's going on. I can't imagine. "it's ok" his brother told me, "we are all in one big jail anyway." I promised we would be praying for him and his family.

According to B'Tselem. an Israeli human rights group ( there are currently 8,800 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, furthermore there are an additional 850 held in
administrative detention." This is a fancy word for arrests that take place without trial. Individuals are held indefinitely and are not informed the reasons for their arrest. This is most likely what my most recent friend is under.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is a quick note to thank all of you who have played a role in my life this year, especially in my trip to Israel/Palestine this last summer. God has done much in my life, much thanks to you!
This last semester was a time of healing and redemption. My time in Israel/Palestine was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but God has brought great good and growth from it. Thanks to mentors and friends at Church of the Resurrection and at Wheaton I have been able to look back and process my experience. I am a different person because of it.

On a different and sadder note, I was chatting online with one of my Palestinian friends from the refugee camp where I stayed this summer and found out that two of my closest friends during my time there were arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) this last month. They were cousins, both 19, who had just graduated from high school and had begun college. I spent many hours with them playing soccer, joking and messing around. One of them I interviewed (if you have heard one of my presentations he is the one I have recorded on tape). This hit me hard and brought it all close to home again. One of them had just had his brother come out of prison (after 2 1/2 years) while I was there. Now him. Why were they arrested? Who knows really. These kinds of arrests are daily occurrences in Gaza and the West Bank (click, for example, on the Palestinian News link on the right sidebard). Sometimes they are because someone threw a rock at a soldier, sometimes because someone went to a non-violent protests, often for no reason at all. Please pray for mercy for Moatez, Fadi and there families during this hard time and for a quick release. (click here for the press release of this: )

Thank you again for your prayers, notes, and encouragements this last year. Blessings to you in this new year!

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

First Steps Back to Israel/Palestine

It's been quite an eventful week! A lot of the things that I have been praying all semester about were answered in one week.

All semester I have been thinking and praying about the possibility of getting ordained through my Anglican church here, Church of the Resurrection (Rez.), in order to eventually go back to Israel/Palestine as an ordained minister sent out from Rez. This last week I was finally able to meet with the pastor of our church who is in charge of the ordaining process. He asked a lot of questions about my vision to work in Israel/Palestine and ended up getting very excited about the possibility of partnering with Rez. in this work. Rather than go through the lengthy process of getting ordained now, he said that his and Rez.'s priority was getting me out in the world to do ministry. He said he would love to see me in the Middle East and soon. Later after some years of experience I could come back and get ordained. Wow! He recommended some next steps including writing a proposol to give to church leaders as well as getting together with another one of the pastors.

I sent this other pastor an email asking if we could do lunch in the next couple months. The next day I heard back saying "how about tomorrow?"! I then ended up having lunch with him on Thursday and he got really excited about the possibility of ministry through Rez. in the middle east as well. He committed to praying as well as talking with some of the big Anglican leaders to see how this could work out, given that it's pretty uncharted waters for Amia (the Anglican Mission in America of which Rez. is a part).

The last big thing that happened was finally hearing back from the Grad. school at wheaton and getting all my classes registered and everything for next semester. I hadn't heard back from them since i had re-applied in October. Long story short, I'm in and good to go next semester!

So in many ways the first steps in my journey back to the Middle East began this week. In around 18 months, God willing, I will have an intercultural studies degree and be back in the Middle East sent out from Rez. One part of this whole picture, that I haven't mentioned yet, is that after this last summer which was so hard and so isolating, I decided to not go back to the Middle East alone. Who I plan to go back with is Justin, another latin american MK who also is at Rez and who also has spent time in the Middle East. We have nearly identical life histories, though he is several years older. Our plan is to go together as a team sent out by Rez and to minister together in the Middle East. So here we go!

One thing that is still hanging in the air is sub-letting our city apartment for next semester when we move back to Wheaton. If we don't sub-let it, we can't move back. This would be a disaster. Please be in prayer that we would sub-let our apartment and be able to move back to Wheaton after Christmas! Thanks so much.


PS. Here's a link to one of my close friends' blogs:
He is also in the West Bank doing a lot of the same things that Idid when I was there. He has some informative posts about the situation there now.