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Showing posts from January, 2016

No one can take away the faith in our hearts

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How long, O God? Will you forget me forever? (Psalm 13:1)
Earlier this week, I arrived in Lebanon from where MCC staff work with a dozen partner groups in Lebanon and Syria. It has been several years since staff has been able to work from Syria or even travel there, but we continue to support relief and peace building work in communities in both countries through partner organizations.
Lebanon has a total population of only 4.5 million people but hosts about 2 million refugees, primarily from Syria. You can imagine the enormous strain this has put on the infrastructure of this small country.
The director of our partner, Permanent Peace Movement (PPM), tells us that MCC was the first outside organization that understood what they were doing and supported them in building peace in Lebanon. Another partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), works in refugee settlements with women, children and families.
We visit a Syrian family in the Daouk settlement, a Palestinian gathering/…

Passing the peace to the world

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In your presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16)

It is a blessing to have the opportunity to step out of one’s own culture for months at a time, to experience another culture and to see one’s own culture in a fresh way.
For the next several months I will be living and working in Sarajevo and traveling from there to visit MCC’s programs in Iraq, Ukraine, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.
My first week in Sarajevo is largely filled with orientation with MCC Europe and Middle East area director Amela Puljek-Shank and with the Eastern Europe country staff. I’ve settled into a small apartment and have begun exploring the city.
Sarajevo has a rich faith tradition history. While the city is 95% Muslim today, there are Jewish, Catholic and Orthodox traditions present here as well. Yesterday, I was able to visit some of the oldest places of worship in the old part of the city for all four faith traditions.
I am quickly learning that the deep conflicts in this region that resulted in a war 20 …