Palestinians practice “sumud” (steadfastness) even at great loss.

This is actually a house in Bethlehem surrounded on 3 sides by the WALL which has graffiti covering every inch of the Palestinian side.  The family doesn’t see the sun rise ever. The family struggles to hold on to this land.  We saw many many such strange sights while we made our delegation to Occupied Palestine.antasas

Two Updates from the Project Peace Delegation to the Holy Land

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Latest Updates

Sr. Paulette’s Sept. 18 post from Bethlehem:

We made several important stops in Bethlehem today including that of coming to understand Palestine Kairos better and visiting Wiam which works to help reconcile people with each other when there are conflicts. What worked on my mind and heart most today though was the street activity.

Friday’s the prayer day for the Muslims, and during the last days the Israeli military is making movement onto the Palestinian mosque threshold. Palestinians know from experience that this means perhaps some of this famous mosque will be handed over to the Jews and will become a synagogue. Then Israel yesterday said that the soldiers have permission to now use live ammunition for anyone who has thrown a stone at them. This has enraged the Palestinians who don’t have any defense nor voice to raise their concerns.

We escaped the tear gas, but lots of young Palestinians did not. Tomorrow will be a tamer day.

Sr. Paulette’s Sept. 22 post from Hebron:

We’re on the last leg of our journey and what a journey it has been! The nine of us now pretty much seem like a family…I mean you’d find the fussing among us that you’d find in a natural family. Everyone is helping to lead the group it seems!

We interviewed an Israeli settler who presently lives in Efrat settlement. He was so congenial and hospitable to us,but when we began to question him about all the information we received from the U.N., from the research water rights group Arij, and after we had walked through the refugee camps and had talked with the people of the camp, this settler gentleman said what all these people had said are lies.

Now in Hebron, it is tense because a 17 yr old young Palestinian woman was killed today and just recently a whole Palestinian family was burned by the settlers and they all died. We are on the eve of a holy day for both the Jewish and the Palestinian communities. That makes it tense here with many more soldiers and settlers out on the streets. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but all the people could use a prayer.

In just 2 more days we will be heading home. So many of the Palestinians have begged us to come to their homes to eat with them. How I wish we could have time to enjoy all their hospitality.

I shall blog one more time yet before we leave this land which MUST become more “holy.”

Much peace!

Sr. Paulette

Sr. Paulette reports back from Jerusalem – Day 2

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Sr. Paulette’s third annual delegation to Israel/Palestine arrived yesterday.  The nine travelers are beginning their trip in Jerusalem.  Here’s their first report:

Hello everyone from Jerusalem!

This is our second day and what  a day this was! First we met Sammie who heads the Pontifical Commission in the Holy Land! He showed us how the Christian numbers have gone down so immensely the last 15 years due to the Occupation of the Palestinian land. He showed us some hopeful movements by the churches, but the situation is still desperate.
Then we visited the Holy Sepulcher and the Ethiopian Community of monks and nuns  who live on the rooftop of this holy site.  How beautiful they are!
Of course we had a tasty Palestinian lunch and then began to make our way up to the Jewish Wailing Wall and over to the mosque where it is said that Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. That mosque is HUGE and is made Of the tiniest glittering mosaic pieces on the outside.
From there we were bused to Mt. Olives.  From this high altitude we could see how the WALL is snaking around Palestinian villages to kind of strangle their way of living.
Oh we also got a young Woman who works for the Lutheran Church here to tell about Victoria Hospital  l on Mt Olives.—it takes in only kids and adults from Palestine who are suffering from cancer or  diabetes–good work!
How varied the people we met! How hard some groups work to keep Christians living in this land of Jesus’ birth!  How unjust to take away people’s land and their source of livelihood! How much faith and endurance it takes to live over here! ….I just keep learning so much….I wish you all could be here!
Much love always!


event for Thursday, Sept. 10 set in Tiffin….Diplomacy, not War with Iran.

Give Diplomacy a Chance

On Sept. 10 at 6:30 on the Courthouse Square in Tiffin there will be a candlelight vigil taking place to persuade the people of Tiffin area that diplomacy and negotiations will work with Iran. Congress will return from their summer break and will vote on the deal very soon.  The people of Iran need to have the chance to do as they promise, and we the States need to turn away from military options to peaceful humane methods to achieve peace.  If more information is needed call 419.447.0435 ext. 136.  Alert friends to come with you.
Both a candle and a sign will be provided if participants would like them.  Hope to see you.

Sr. Paulette Schroeder

words from Mazin Qawasmeh…..a professor at Bethlehem University….speaker to us on delegation.

Here in Palestine in the past 7 years, I adapted methodologies and changed directions to push for change. I donated much of what I made working at Duke and Yale to Palestine. I was detained, arrested, and harassed but luckily much better off than 95% of other Palestinians with a conscience.
Now I spend a majority of my time “lighting candle better than cursing the darkness” and “having joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”. I am blessed to be surrounded by good active people, volunteers of all backgrounds and from many countries. Our email colleagues are in the tens of thousands. A luta continua – the struggle continues. I want to take this opportunity to thank those thousands of you who act for peace and justice.
You donate of your time and money but most important you give of yourself.  As the great Kahlil Jubran once wrote:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you
give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but
things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And
tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in
the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is
fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is
full, the thirst that is unquenchable?*

*There are those who give little of the much which they have–and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the
believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall someday be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.*

*You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.” The trees in
your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that
they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to
receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.*
And you receivers… and you are all receivers… assume no weight of
gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be over mindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.”*