I Corinthians 12 “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body . . . There are many parts, but one body . . . If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
We often think of the persecuted church as far away. What happens to them is terrible, but it is not our problem. Right? How would our lives be different if we considered their persecution, to be our persecution as well? Their trials as our trials? Their losses and abuses as though shared with us? “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it;” According to I Corinthians 12, We are the persecuted church.
Recently in a speech from Rome, the Pope called for prayers for peace in the Holy Land between Israel and Palestinians. He also specifically asked for prayers for “persecuted Christians, kicked out of their homes, from the land” what he termed “persecution with white gloves – It is veiled, but it happens.” We are the persecuted church.
I Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Hope for Ishmael is very active in supporting the persecuted church. Connecting churches around the world, with the church in the Holy Land is a joy. A few weeks ago, three sisters in the West Bank were honored and blessed by a team visiting from the states. They are part of an organization called Heartland Ministries. They came with a skilled construction crew and a healthy dose of dignity and hope. These precious sisters are part of the less than 2% of Palestinian Christians currently living in the West Bank. None of them have ever married, or had any children, so the three of them have only each other. In a culture that relies heavily upon family support, this has proven challenging for them. They are however growing in their faith and meeting regularly with other believers as they study the word of God. Over the last few years, one of them has suffered debilitating health issues that have kept her bedridden for quite a long time, and with few resource opportunities from the community and no family, they were beginning to lose hope. Earlier this year, we were able to assist them by supplying a wheel chair, through our partnership with GAiN USA. This allowed our sister in Christ to get out of bed for the first time in a long time. However, their home wasn’t wheelchair accessible and they had no funds available to add on to the structure. This was where Heartland stepped up and supported another member of the body.
After less than a week the team had the addition to the home completed and ready for the three sisters to enjoy. Heartland was even able to get in a few days of sight seeing on their trip. This is one thing we love about supporting organizations in the Holy Land. Your group can plan the trip of a lifetime, while also giving hope to people who are in desperate need. Thanks to Heartland, and the many churches and organizations who give of their time and resources to support the Palestinian church! We ARE the persecuted church. And we are known by our love for one another. – John 13:35