The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Greetings from Bethlehem!
As the holiday season calls, all of the Christmas festivities are happening in and around Bethlehem, and it's been a great time. I've been fortunate to be able to go to many Christmas concerts, events, and parades, which I could not be happier to experience here in Bethlehem. The spirit of Christmas is so alive and well, and I am so thankful to be able to experience the holiday season here.
The most wonderful sight was seeing the Christmas tree lighting in Bethlehem, in Manger Square, at the Church of Nativity. It was an incredible event, with hundreds of others, in the joy of the Christmas spirit. There were first various performances with different singing groups, followed by speeches, peace balloons, Manger Square being lit up, then the Christmas tree. Soon after the tree was lit, an array of fireworks were shot up into the sky, and cheers were heard all across Bethlehem. I'm glad I got to experience the whole ordeal with two other Jerusalem/West Bank volunteers, Tim and Renee, who are also placed in the Bethlehem area. It was a great time, and an experience I will never forget.
Back at the Lutheran school...
My work at ELS (Evangelical Lutheran School) in Beit Sahour has been going very well. I've been assisting with the fifth through eighth grades and also the eleventh grade. Over the past three and a half months, I've started some beautiful and heartfelt connections with both my students and the teachers in the school community. I am so thankful to be in such a warm and caring community at the school. Seeing the students grow in their English and in their relationships with me, has been a joy to see.
With the YAGM program, we've been fortunate to be able to continue to explore other holy sites in and around the country, whether that be on retreat or in our monthly get together. In the last few months, we've gone hiking in Jericho, visited Nazareth, and toured around the Sea of Galilee. It's been a privilege to be able to travel around and experience these holy sites, where Jesus walked on water and see the birthplace of Mary. And it's always fun to be able to see these sights with the YAGM crew. I'm very grateful to be able to experience everything I've been able to see and do and I can't imagine the year going any better than it already is. I am so happy here and I love what I've been able to do both in my work and socially in my community.
I continue to pray for us YAGM's around the world, accompanying our communities and continuing to learn from those around us. While we are in the presence of those in our community, I hope that we can continue to be assured that we have a purpose for those we are with, and to continue to grow in the struggle and be content. We are called to be here, and here we are. Be with us as we continue to grow in Christ.
Samantha Ea is serving through Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) on behalf of the Saint Paul Area Synod & her home church, Christ on Capitol Hill. Learn more about Samantha & other missionaries here.