Friday, November 10, 2006

 

Last day: the long journey into night

By: Jeff Vamos, Princeton, NJ

We begin today with worship, and a time to say goodbye to Prof. Gordon Mikoski, who is staying behind to spend a couple of days with Father Chacour at Mar Elias Educational Institutions. We owe so much to Prof. Mikoski, without whom this experience would not have happened. He added so much to our conversations--helping us to understand the biblical context of the land, and the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

We'll spend today "killing time", visiting areas around the Sea of Galilee, as we make our way to Tel Aviv for our flight (sometime after Midnight). We will have lunch on the Sea of Galilee, eating "St. Peter Fish," and will then make our way along the coast toward Tel Aviv. Along the way, we will take time to hear about the ministries of Rami, who has been our guide par excellance, and Christy, the person from the Middle East Fellowship who coordinated the planning of the trip. (We've been blessed with such wonderful leadership on this trip).

Another aspect of our trip that bears mentioning is the "division of labor" with which we've approached group life--I have felt that each member of our group has contributed out of their giftedness, and that has made all the difference in out "bonding" as a group, and maintaining a healthy group life: worship team, baggage team, pulse and temperature team, chaplaincy team, etc etc.

Lastly, as we look toward travelling back to our "old life," I think about how this experience has changed me--us. How can we return and express the strange, disburbing, hopeful, beautiful, anger-inspiring and challenging reality we have experienced here--with humility, and with faithfulness? One aspect of this trip that has been absolutely critical has been the spiritual practice that has attended our experience and our reflecction. Important to me has been the notion that we do not know what fruit our efforts will bear; we simply focus on what God is calling us to do, and allow for the fact that providence is a force we cannot predict or control. Ours is to be faithful, and to tell the story. May the Spirit be with us in that.

In peace,

JV

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