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Showing posts from February, 2012

May God bless your hand

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Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

In northern Iraq, 300 miles from Baghdad and 60 miles from Mosul, the informal headquarters for what's left of Al Qaeda, the city of Erbil feels safe.

Christians are a small minority here, many displaced by the overwhelming violence from Baghdad or other parts of the country. The Mennonite Central Committee Iraq office also moved here from Baghdad.

Much of MCC's work here is about accompanying the church. One of its largest partners is the Chaldean Catholic Church. Archbishop Bashar says one of his priorities is creating a climate where Iraqi Christians know they can stay, where they can find jobs and make a better life for their children. Building institutions that are are effective in transferring mission and values can make a difference in this community.

One MCC partner is the Kids House pre-school, a Global Family project. Five years ago, MCC helped by purchasin…

Christ at the checkpoint

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Do you want to be made well? (John 5:6)

I sat in the quiet of St. Anne's Basilica in in the old city of Jerusalem and remembered the story about Jesus in John 5. It was here, outside by the pools of Bethesda, that Jesus healed the paralyzed man.

"Do you want to be made well," Jesus asked the man? The man was incredulous. Of course, he wanted to be made well. He'd been waiting by the side of the pool for years but no one had been willing to help him in.

"Then stand up, take your mat and walk," Jesus told the man. And immediately the man was made well.

In this land where Jesus once walked, the geopolitical issues are complex. Caught in a web of conflict and violence, both the Jews and Palestinians think this land is theirs. Some Jews, fearful of the rest of the world and supported by American Christians, treat unjustly Palestinians who have also lived in this land for many centuries. And some Palestinians respond in kind.

And these dynamics spill ove…