Mission Crossroads

SPR 2017

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/776898

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12 Spring 2017 degree at Columbia eological Seminary (CTS) in Decatur, Georgia. It was at CTS that I discovered the rich and long mission history of the PC(USA) and decided to join the Presbyterian Church. I attended an annual mission conference at Montreat and began to learn about the transforming power of mission worldwide. at mission happens not only through professional mission workers but through everyone committed to playing a role in God's mission. In 1973, through CTS, I was connected to First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta and began my ministry directing a church- sponsored after-school program for Spring Street Elementary students. I witnessed the transforming power of volunteers touching the lives of children every day as they took time to care, play and teach the children of our community. I also witnessed the transforming power of the gospel when First Presbyterian began a Bus Ministry to assist older residents of our community with grocery shopping. en I saw the transforming power of the gospel in the lives of junior and senior high school students who traveled to Israel and Palestine with Herb and Mary Archer ". . . you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of earth." —Acts 1:8 J esus is calling all of us to be his witnesses at home, work and every place we visit—to be his change agents and for the gospel to transform us and transform the people we are working with. For me, two women transformed my life: Adlah AbuAkel, my mother, and Dr. Doris Wilson, a Scottish missionary serving in the Middle East. Because of their witness, they nurtured in me a calling to mission service. I was born 25 miles northwest of Nazareth in Galilee to Palestinian Arab Christian parents in the village of Kuffer- Yassif. I was 4 years old in 1948 during the war that the Palestinian people call al-Nakbah, which means "the catastrophe." e only thing I remember is running around with my father and five sisters and two brothers looking for my mother as Israeli troops drove us from our home. Suddenly, when I looked up, my mother was standing on the flat roof of our house waving goodbye. She stayed behind while we went up east to the mountain. We were put in makeshift tents in a Palestinian refugee camp. After several months we returned to our home and found my mother still alive. She said if the Israeli troops had wanted to kill her, they would have had to kill her at home. She wouldn't leave our home, our land and our church. Upon our return we discovered that five Palestinian villages next to our village had been completely destroyed. In 1948–49, the new state of Israel destroyed another 530 Palestinian villages and towns, exiling nearly a million Palestinians who became refugees. In the midst of war, destruction and occupation, what was the transforming power in our lives? It was the love of parents and family and my mother's faith in Jesus Christ. As a Palestinian Arab Orthodox Christian believer, my mother wanted her children to pray, read Scripture and take it to heart through memorization. She grounded my faith from the time I was young. My faith and call to mission were deepened by my connection to Dr. Doris Wilson, a medical missionary from Scotland, who came with Ruth Lenox and rented the second floor in our home in Kuffer-Yassif. Doris worked with the Anglican church in our village and opened a medical clinic. Doris and Ruth transformed our village through their lives and witness. Because we did not have any Bible college or seminary in Israel, I came to the U.S. to study, arriving in Lakeland, Florida, on January 29, 1966. After college I earned my Master of Divinity Mission at our doorstep The Great Commission begins at home Fahed AbuAkel As a Palestinian Arab Orthodox Christian believer, my mother wanted her children to pray, read Scripture and take it to heart through memorization. She grounded my faith from the time I was young. That mission happens not only through professional mission workers but through everyone committed to playing a role in God's mission.

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