Accompanying the Struggling and Hurting

Accompanying the Struggling and Hurting

Written by: Rev. Victor Makari and Sara Makari, who serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

Dear Friends,

We hope you are doing well and are fulfilled in your lives and work.

Since the 7th of October 2023 we are living a surreal existence. The Israeli assault on Palestinians in Gaza, now in its fifth month, amounts to ethnic cleansing. Israel and the US continue to reject international efforts to bring about a ceasefire. With the world’s attention focused primarily on Gaza, violence across the occupied West Bank and in the region is spreading and intensifying weekly.  Beyond the Gaza Strip, which is devastated and destroyed, and whose remaining population is in dire need of food and all manner of humanitarian assistance, the crisis has reached most of the West Bank, as well as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. 

Despite occasional suggestions to tone things down, the U.S. has made it clear that it supports Israel unconditionally.  The U.S. has given it full backing diplomatically and with funding to conduct its military campaign at will. While we are still largely safe in Bethlehem, multifaceted tragedy abounds. 

The general atmosphere around us is depressed. There is no tourism and no talk of it returning in the near future. Those Palestinians who used to have permission to work in Israel are now at home idle living on ever dwindling savings, if they had them. Nothing on the horizon looks hopeful or promising and Israel’s far-right government keeps tightening restrictions on Palestinians although for years a percentage of them have been part of the workforce that has kept Israel’s economy going.  Understandably, in the face of all these factors, there is much despair.

Our own ministry with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) remains one primarily of accompaniment to buttress and support its work; there are six congregations in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jordan.  

Although daily life is greatly constricted by the current circumstances and we are largely confined (as foreigners however, we can get in and out of Jerusalem again, 8 kilometers away, albeit with some difficulty). We perceive our call to walk alongside those who are struggling and hurting.

With this letter we request you, our readers, to pray first for the cessation of warring confrontation and for finding and pursuing a path of peace toward a just and permanent resolution to a decades-long conflict.  Pray for the faithful witness of the Church, for the courage of our neighbors and friends, and for all the peoples of both Israel and Palestine to discover a way forward of mutual and beneficial coexistence.

We thank you for your prayers and support for our work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land over the years.

Cordially, in Christ,

Victor and Sara Makari

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Victor and Sara Makari’s appointments are made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.