We are sooo thankful for every hour we are able to live here in the Holy Land. Thanks so much, especially to those who are benefactors, and to the friends and family who let us go for this "time for God".
Yesterday, we all headed to the local grocery store. Not so easy to decipher things like evaporated milk on the labels in Hebrew. Our friend from Cana, Mar Butros brought us a turkey, and he is on a hunt to find some cranberry sauce. See our video greetings at the bottom...
The ups and downs of community life have been putting us to the test: faithfulness in prayer, relationships, communication, and tough service as numerous pilgrim groups continue to flood into the holy site. Everyone seems to be feeling tensions in the air, and perhaps this is part of the spiritual battle lying beneath the combat that shook the country last week.
Hamas and other terrorist groups controlling Gaza fired over 400 missiles over the border, and Israel fired 100 back. We could hear some of the booms from Ashkelon, where some rockets landed 30 miles away from us. Here's a video of several rockets intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome, but then one that hits the city. This anti-missile system (click here) catches in mid-air almost all the missiles that might strike anything more than a barren field. Don't worry, we stayed put during the day-long conflict, and our monastery is a good distance from places that would be targeted or threatened. We pray for those on both sides of the border, especially the civilian victims.
What a privilege to continue to make Emmaus a safe oasis of prayer, peace, and hospitality. We have continued many projects here, such as handicap ramps to the chapel and museum, remodeling a breakfast/study/rec room for our young people, and turning an old archaeological shed into a guest room.
We do what we can on our own, and hire individuals or crews when need be. The crews are usually directed by the friend we mentioned, Mr. Butros. When he comes with his young workers, he joins us at the lunch table with his smile, encouragement, and advice.
May the Lord make this crucible of conflict a cradle for saints as well-among Palestinians like Butros (photo 1), Jewish friends like Shlomo and Sarah (photo 2), and even among our young pilgrim missionaries (photo of All Saints).
We're so thankful for your prayers, and we would like to request your support. We are working on our budget for next years projects, in particular, revamping a utility building and putting a second story on it for guests. We also hope to expand our programs for young people, especially for service commitments of 3 to 12 months.
Please consider a Christmas check of $50, $100, or $250. Also, consider making us part of your monthly tithe, with a PayPal commitment of $25 or $50.
Please also send us your Mass intentions!