Ymas and Amal in Bethlehem: First in a series of Advent mission stories
Ymas is a Puerto Rican rap-singing dog that moved to the Middle East to study Arabic and Palestinian culture.
Ymas is a Puerto Rican rap-singing dog that moved to the Middle East to study Arabic and Palestinian culture. Amal is a Bethlehemite dog that sings folkloric songs from her Holy Land ancestors. They met last year at the Christmas celebration of the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem, where Drs. Samuel and Nohemí Pagán serve as professors of Hebrew Bible and Spanish at Dar al-Kalima College. Ymas and Amal have been inseparable since that first encounter. It was love at the first sight!
Ymas means “word” and Amal means “hope” and together they have been visiting churches, schools and community centers talking about “words of hope” in the midst of a region full of tensions, difficulties, conflicts and wars. They have been talking, singing and dancing to affirm some of the most important Christian values: love, hope, forgiveness and reconciliation. They have traveled with the Pagáns not only to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, but they have also taken their message to the United States, Puerto Rico, and Panama.
In these photos are Ymas and Amal in the midst of a presentation at the Diyar Consortium theatre, performing with the Dar al-Kalima College dance company. Hundreds and hundreds of Palestinian children from the historic city of Bethlehem participated in the event, which marked an important moment in the 2010 Christmas celebrations.
Drs. Samuel and Nohemí Pagán are very aware of the social problems and political challenges in the region and decided to develop an educational program to encourage peace dialogues based in justice and dignity. In their travels in Israel and Palestine, Ymas and Amal have been dialoguing with children to affirm the importance of human rights and respect. Peace is only possible when people recognize these values and make reconciliation an educational and political priority.
Dr. Nohemí Pagán created the Ymas and Amal characters to encourage and to affirm transforming and liberating education in challenging spiritual, social and political contexts.
Dr. Samuel Pagán
Dr. Nohemí Pagán
Samuel and Nohemi Pagan serve with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the International Center of Bethlehem (of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem). They serve as co-coordinators for Leadership Development and Outreach.