We spent an insightful morning visiting with three families from the Calvary Church in East Jerusalem which is led by Pastor Steven Khoury. The testimonies of these saints told the story of God's grace, protection, provision and joy. One sister, Hala, has two challenged syblings to care for. The three of them live literally in two caves that at one time belonged to the palace of King Herod. Everywhere you turn there is history under your feet. God has used Hala to teach children for over four decades. Fifi, an Ethiopian sister and the other sister, Manala, also told stories of God's miraculous provision in the midst of need. The persecution they face is real. They are seen by Muslims as traitors to their faith and by Jewish folks as suspect because of their lineage. But they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must always see the Arab Israeli conflict as political but Arabs and Israelis as people who need a Savior. Pastor Steven shared the ministry of Holy Land Mission in general and Calvary Church in particular with us at the church and we shared lunch together. Many in our group saw this morning as the highlight of the trip.
This afternoon was free. Some went to the Israeli Museum to see the Dead Sea scrolls and Model of Jerusalem. Some others walked back into the Old City to see and shop. As I write this blog I am listening to the final songs of Shabbat being sung by observant Jews here in our hotel.