In late 2009 I accompanied a group from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on an informational visit to Israel and Palestine in conjunction with Global Ministries, the foreign mission agency shared by the two denominations.
Many of the trip participants sponsored school-aged children in East Jerusalem via the Global Ministries’ Child Sponsorship program. For these people, the trip was especially meaningful as they were able to meet their sponsored child face-to-face and see the school to which they provided support.
The trip was also a chance to see the beauty and conflict that is Israel and Palestine. Peter Makari, Global Ministries executive for the Middle East and Europe, was the group leader along with very a knowledgeable local guide, a Palestinian Christian also named Peter (second Peter…)
The group visited traditional Christian holy sites, and was also exposed to many facets of details surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict and hostilities – the separation wall, Israeli settlements, Palestinian home evictions, and attempts at peacemaking in this often troubled land.