February 2016: Partnerships for Peace

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33a

Life in Israel/Palestine can often seem full of chaotic confusion. I have been working with the teachers, administrators, and staff in the schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). Schools serving Palestinians is the mission emphasis of the ELCJHL.

The schools focus on embracing and empowering students and families from all religious, economic, and social backgrounds. The schools have nearly an equal number of Christian and Muslim teachers, administrators, and students. Muslim parents choose to send their children to these Christian schools because of their reputation for high educational standards, and the curriculum includes learning about all religions.

The schools’ top goals are: 1) to integrate peace education and culture, reinforce democracy, and encourage tolerance, co-existence, love, and respect toward others, and 2) to ameliorate the communication process and encourage exchanges with local and international communities. So, together we have developed leadership potential and improved communication among school professionals for more productive interaction with each other, and with students and parents.

It is not unusual for the electricity to be cut off in the middle of the day or for water to be diverted, leaving the schools without these basic services. Despite the many difficulties and confusing situations that present themselves, the good humor of the Palestinians is reflected within the schools, along with their commitment to support each other with an attitude of strength. It is a delight to work with professionals who have such a passion for high quality education, and who so joyfully serve their students.

Teaching and learning about peace in a region that is often confusing and chaotic is a mission that changes those who are touched by it, and will influence generations to come.

Nadyne Guzmán served as a Short-term Volunteer with the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCJHL) in Jordan and Palestine/Israel. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.

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