Here are reflections written by one member of the team who recently attended the 2022 Christ At The Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem, and who stayed additional days to meet with members of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel. The additional days were part of a Discovery trip, led by Rev. Charles Jones, to have the team grasp greater understanding of what life is like for modern-day followers of Jesus Christ. Visiting some parts of Israel/Palestine brought back poignant memories. Here are his words:
“Hi, everyone, my name is Blu. I wanted to share a bit about refugee camps. During our time in Bethlehem, we took a tour of one of the refugee camps, and I saw two children riding their bikes in small alleys. The joy on their faces took me back to when I was their age, and a refugee myself. I remember that life wasn’t easy in a refugee camp, but as a child, we had peace and joy inside just by simply playing and using our imagination. My younger brother and I would play with rocks and pretend they were cool toy cars. There were no actual toy cars for us to play with at that time, but we had fun and wished that one day we would have real cars of our own. In the year of 2002, a famous actor visited our camp and, along with her, came Christmas shoe box gifts for children at the camp. We were overwhelmed with joy when we opened one of the mystery boxes. In one of the boxes were toy cars and gifts. It was a Christmas miracle for us.
If you are responsible for filling these Christmas shoe boxes in 2002, some 20 something years ago, I just want to say thank you today. Children are always victims of conflict that grownups create, but a child’s nature is to be playful and have fun despite situations. I think God creates humans to be like children. From my experience, when there are borders or walls, there is conflict and injustice. Can we act as God’s children, and be the peacemakers we are called to be?”