Thank you so much for your interest in wanting to do something as you wrapped up your study guide series, From Peacetalking to Peacemaking.” (Context: we meet with a study guide focus group that met each week, working through this series and they wanted to do something. This was one of the options we offered). It has been so encouraging to see you wrestle with this important topic of a just peace in the Holy Land. I also am extremely grateful for your response to my offer of World Vision child sponsorship of a Palestinian child as a way to continue to wrestle with this issue of justice and to make it personal.

As requested by a few of you this evening, I am sharing a few words that might help describe World Vision’s work and purpose in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Local World Vision teams develop programs for teachers, parents and children that help them respond to emergencies, trauma and the stresses they are faced with daily. They also rehabilitate schools, build safe places for children to play, replace damaged water storage tanks and help imams and pastors work together to strengthen families and protect children.

As you may know, Palestine is a very stressful and traumatizing place for children to grow up.  World Vision’s “Channels of Hope” program brings pastors, imams and other faith leaders together to help tackle tough issues that impact children.  Here is a link that describes more about their focus on child safety, which is very active in the West Bank.  And, just this past year, World Vision built a playground at a school in Ramallah so that kids can play safely before and after school, staying off the streets and out of trouble.  They also invest in vocational training for women and provide additional training for teachers.

If you would like to partner with these families and communities in solidarity and support their resiliency, let me know. Palestinians are some of the strongest people around, but there are so many things that undercut their efforts. Let’s partner with them and change the face of America they are used to seeing. ???

Also, if you ever plan to visit the Holy Land, you can arrange to meet your sponsored child and their family while you are there.  I, personally, am looking forward to meeting Andy’s and my sponsored children in December for the first time.  One of the things we want to convey to Maysam’s and Mohammed ‘s families is that, as Christians and as Americans, we do not agree with what our country is doing and we are with you.

This is not about pity or helping from a place of privilege.  This is about partnering with these families and walking with them.  Building friendships through letter writing and encouragement, praying for them and learning from them as they work hard to build a place where their children can be safe and thrive.

Since Palestine is a sensitive context, children must be sponsored directly (not online), by filling out the sponsorship form or calling World Vision and providing the child’s ID number.  I am more than happy to send information on children I am seeking sponsors for, privately via email and can easily facilitate the process for anyone interested.

Feel free to forward this email and my contact info as you feel inspired or compelled.

With Peace, Cari Conklin