I'm going to break my "Gaza" stories into short bits so you can read them quickly without having to plow through a whole book lol
In 2009, after spending 8 years acquainting myself with the situation in the Gaza Strip and knowing that God wanted me to act, I was finally nearing an opportunity to go.
I still had no money or connections but I believed very strongly that this was the time.
As I wondered how I was going to make it happen, I remembered that it was God who called me and it would be God who would make it all possible. It wasn't for me to worry and struggle, it was for me to have faith and to lean in to whatever God had ready.
Once I had this epiphany, I sat on my living room floor and prayed. I held my hands out, palms down and I said, "God, my hands are empty. I have nothing - no money, no connections, no way of getting to Gaza and yet (I turned my hands over, palms up) I know that you have everything needed to fill my hands and get me there. You have all the resources I need. You don't need anything from me but a willing and obedient heart. I am willing and I am obedient. I am ready to go. I know that you have already prepared the way. Send me."
The next 2 weeks were like a whirlwind. Suddenly, I was introduced to a group who was going to Gaza, money came in from unknown sources and my plane ticket was purchased and I had enough money to travel. I sat there, stunned, as I watched God answer my prayer in a big way. And so quickly!!
Before I knew it, I was actually going to Gaza!!
My friend, when God calls us to something, He doesn't need our brilliance, our abundance, our anything. God does things in a way that there is no mistaking His miraculous hand in our life.
Stop struggling and learn to rest on Him. God will get you exactly where He wants you.
If you know He has called you, then know that He wants you to be faithful and obedient - period.
I was reminded of the words of that old hymn I sang since childhood,
"He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, I know that He will care for me"
The time has come for me to return to doing what God has put on my heart to do.
In 2010, I made my last trip to the Gaza Strip and, although I fell ill and had to leave, my work in Gaza has always been on my heart.
In his book, LIghtforce, Brother Andrew (God's Smuggler) encourages us to go to these difficult places in the Middle East and sit with our Christian brothers and sisters there to be an encouragement and support for them. We cannot imagine the challenges that they face in their everyday lives.
I'll never forget the look on Brother Andrew's face when we met at Gaza Baptist Church and I told him that I'd read his book, saw that he said to come, so I came!
One person knows that all too well, Pastor Dr. Hanna Massad, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Gaza Baptist Church and then work with for my 2010 Missions Fest seminar, "Surrender Beyond No Man's Land: taking a stand for Christ in the Gaza Strip"
In that seminar, we got to know some of Gaza's Christian community and learned a little about life literally between a rock and a hard place; between Muslim extremists and the Isreali army. Life is like a tightrope walk there, but God is faithful!
Now that we are returning to "life after COVID" I will be contacting churches and other groups to come and share this important message.
In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays for the unity of all believers so that the world may know that He is real.
We can't unit with brothers and sisters that we don't know about or don't care about.
Let's be obedient and open our hearts and our hands to our Family in the Gaza Strip.
If you would like me to contact your church, please let me know.
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