Friday, November 2

A Cup of Water and a Helping Hand

"For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink, because ye are Christ’s, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. " Mark 9.41

We had a chance to do a different version of passing out water here; we were able to pick olives for people that usually aren't able to.

As you probably know, the Israeli government has built a 'separation barrier' between Israel and the West Bank. More often than not Palestinians are not allowed to cross this barrier. They have to apply for permits to be allowed to cross the separation barrier. Well, lots of Palestinians own olive orchards, and often this is a major source of income for the entire family. What happens when families aren't allowed to cross? They lose their harvest for the season. Not good.

The local YMCA here has an Advocacy Office that tries to help remedy the situation (for more on the olive picking program click here; it's pretty interesting and worth reading about. You can also visit the homepage for MCC's partner, the Beit Sahour YMCA). For one week during the harvest season people from all over the world come to help pick olives for the families that usually aren't allowed across. The problem is that generally the entire extended family will come help pick olives, turning a job that would take one family a week into a kind of family reunion for the day. The day we went some of the family members received permission to cross with us. As you can see, they lead a pretty different lifestyle than we do...

Overall it was a great experience. At the end of the day we were a little tired, but it was great to be able to actually DO something for people that are so in need. A lot of times it's frustrating to be here and see all of the injustice and indignity that Palestinians are forced to deal with every day and not be able to do anything about it. It's great to be able to meet a need in such a tangible way for this one family. At the end of the day, there were plenty of olives off of the trees and in the family's buckets. That was the main goal for the day. But it was also great to be able to connect with people and let them see that the situation they live in every day isn't being completely ignored by the rest of the world. Often people tell us that if the world really knew what was happening here, the international outcry against the situation would put a stop to it in a matter of months or even weeks. Keep track of what's happening here and we have no doubt that God's Spirit will move you to concern (and eventually action) for the regular people here who would just like to live a normal life in such an abnormal situation.

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