During our morning meeting, we were informed our director was preaching today at Christ Church which is the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. Crazy cool, right? So we decided to show our moral support and take the morning off to go to the service.
The Church/cathedral is absolutely gorgeous. It is very simple, which makes it even better than some buildings that go from ornate to gaudy. It is made of large cream colored stones and the ceiling has dark wood. There are also several beautiful stain glass windows. Today's service was a lot more traditional than services I go to at home. There was a lot of liturgy which I love and hate at the same time. I appreciate it because it is usually beautifully worded and allows all the believers to praise God in unison. However, I find that often it worshipers who have repeated these familiar phrases every Sunday for decades lose their enthusiasm. Today, though, I was so overwhelmed at the joy and beauty of the things we were praying to God! Elena and I had a long chat last night that covered a million different topics, but we spent a great deal of time focusing on heaven. The mutual encouragement and joy we received from that conversation has definitely carried over into today's work. We've decided this is a conversation that needs to happen daily! It is amazing how much easier the burdens of life seem when you are constantly reminded that this world will soon end and we have a perfect one waiting for us!
Jonathon did an excellent job of sharing from God's word, his testimony, and the story of Shevet Achim. Even though I have been here for almost a month, there is a lot of the history of this place that I don't know. We heard how he was first convicted to help Palestinian children after meeting one who was dying of leukemia. Later, he learned of hundreds more that desperately needed heart surgeries but lacked access to the medical facilities. Thus, Shevet began! Pretty cool. I know that's the abbreviated version, but the long version is long and I don't want to get any of the details wrong. Maybe someday he'll write down the whole story so that future generations will remember what God has done.
At the end of the service, the whole Shevet team was called up and they prayed for us. It was so strange to be recognized as part of this ministry. I felt so unworthy. I only pray that God will continue to use Shevet to spread his love and increase peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.