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Mar Elias

May 12, 2009


Tuesday, 11:45 pm local time


We’re spending the night at Mar Elias, an elementary school in Ibillin. There is so much to write about, and my body won’t let me stay awake long enough to do it justice. I will be talking more about this place in the coming days, even though we are only staying one night.

This elementary school is part of a larger Catholic school project in this town. Ibillin is a Palestinian town within the borders of Israel proper; this place is a minority within a minority. Gordon started a non-profit years ago to support Mar Elias called “The Pilgrims of Ibillin,” and under the leadership of Elias AG (he laughed and said his name was too hard for Americans to pronounce) and the indirect visioneering of Archbishop Chacour, it has flourished. The student population is only 30% Christian – the fact is that there just aren’t enough Christian students to fill the school – but as the mission of the school is to seek reconciliation, shared understanding, and love, this is an asset rather than a hindrance. We will get to meet some of the children tomorrow morning – this might be even more exciting than Masada for me.

It is late, I am tired, and I have many more stories to tell, but I will share this one that just unfolded my eyes as I was wrapping up this post: Gordon, because his non-profit helps support the school, knows some of the people here quite well. As he was typing a letter to his wife Nancy on the computer in front of me just now, the security guard/night watchman/custodian/all around nice guy whose name I believe is Ammar, came to him and, in the Palestinian way, loudly greeting him and hugged him…and then sat down and wanted to email Nancy himself. Gordon took about 25 minutes walking Ammar through the process of emailing, even showing him how to check and send email on his own account. English, of course, is not Ammar’s first language, and Gordon can only say a handful of words in either Hebrew or Arabic, and yet the bond between the two men as one learned from the other was quite amazing. This, I think, is the hope of the future.

I will dream about hope tonight, even here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shaun Sass permalink
    May 12, 2009 9:52 pm

    Isn’t it funny, so different, yet so alike. This is a taste of what it means to be created in His image. When all we have to give is ourselves, true humanity arises as God intended. Hope is rising.

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