WCC NEWS: Words of steadfastness ring from the rubble

WCC NEWS: Words of steadfastness ring from the rubble

“We won’t leave Gaza as long as there is a standing church.”
“We will not be the last Christians living in Gaza.”
“We lost everything, but we can’t lose our mission and our belonging to this place dear to our hearts.”
“Christianity started here and will continue to be here.”

These are the words people are uttering as Nader Abu Amsha, executive director of Department of Services to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches (DSPR-MECC), triers to help them simply survive the next day.

Abu Amsha estimates there are 400,000 people in northern Gaza, including about 800 Christians in the Holy Family Latin Church and St Brophyrous Orthodox Church. All of them are hungry.. “People are eating whatever they find—they eat grass, tree leaves,” he reported. “Despite this unbearable situation, the voices we hear from brothers and sisters in the churches are heartbreaking; they share signs of steadfastness and incredible patience.”

The DSPR-MECC coordinates church-related assistance to Gaza, offering medical support, psychosocial counselling, and food and nonfood support. 

“In the two churches, DSPR-MECC is supporting the Christian community of around 800 persons, who took refuge in the churches since the beginning of the war on Gaza, as well as their neighboring community,” described Abu Amsha. “DSPR-MECC is enabling them to secure the basic needs such as food, drinking water, medical and hygiene needs, as well as fuel to help keep the electricity generator functioning.”

DSPR-MECC also coordinates activities that help reduce the impact of the traumatic situation on people’s mental health.

“In the southern part of Gaza, mainly in Rafah, where more than 1.5 forcibly displaced people are taking refuge, DSPR-MECC is running a primary health care center, covering most of the specializations, offering free medical treatment, medicine, dental services, and medical laboratory services,” Abu Amsha said. “The center is serving an average of 500 patients a day.”

To reduce the spread of communicable diseases, DSPR-MECC is offering health awareness sessions for groups of women and distributing hygiene kits to enable them take care of themselves and their families.

“The situation is northern Gaza, where the churches are, is really catastrophic,” said Abu Amsha. “In the last week, the fight is intensive in the surroundings of the churches, which makes it impossible to move to search for food and relief resources.”

Many people are suffering medical complications due to malnutrition, unsafe water, and limited treatment. “We witnessed the attacks of Israeli tanks on the people gathering to receive some food and assistance; they are preventing by force any food convoys or relief assistance from reaching north Gaza, and even targeting trucks daring to go to northern Gaza.”

As he continues to help people hang on, Abu Amsha would like the world to pray for Gaza, and he used the words below:

Pray for ceasefire now.
Pray for stopping the famine in Gaza.
Pray for the protection of the living stones in the churches in Gaza.
Pray for the mourning mothers in Gaza.
Pray for the starving Children in Gaza.

Learn more: WCC Easter Initiative 2024

Pray for all of us to know the truth, and the truth will make you free”. (John 8:32)