It’s the end of January which marks the beginning of the last half of my stay here in Palestine. The time goes by quickly for all of us on Team 38 of EAPPI. Even though Sunday is the start of the work week for most of Palestine, it is also a time when services are held at the 4 Christian churches in Nablus. Our sending organization is the World Council of Churches and we are encouraged to attend services of our choice when there is an opportunity to do so.
We took a bus to Nablus which is the second largest city on the West Bank of Palestine. Then we took a taxi to Rafidia Street where there are four Christian Churches right in a row. Today we decided to attend the Latin Orthodox Church. The service was in Latin and so the connection for me was the music…..some of the melodies we familiar to me. The order of service is also familiar and we were handed an English version of the Scripture readings for today. As it turns out they use the same lectionary readings as what was read 8 hours later in my home church (Peace Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD).
It’s raining today and this is good for Palestine as they have not received the expected rainfall for this time of year. We dashed between puddles and downpours as we found our way to the bus station for the trip back to Tulkarm. Later in the afternoon I walked over to visit one of the Christian families as it is walking distance from our flat. Mouna knew I was coming as we had talked earlier today. A visit to her home is always filled with conversation and gracious hospitality. My ability to converse in Arabic is limited to a few phrases and they only speak a little English. We still manage to communicate and have a good time. Mouna’s mother was sitting in a chair by their small open fireplace which is a very hot charcoal grill. This is their only source of heat.
Several family members stopped by during the visit including her brother, Samir, another brother and sister-in-law and their 4 children. The children age 6, 8, 10 and 12 study English in school so they were able to talk to me. For dinner we had a meal of bulgar wheat and lentils. We eat with our fingers. We had several sweet taste delights and a banana followed by her delicious Turkish coffee. They also have two cats who really like their spot underneath the little stove.
Mouna was happy to have one of her little cats back after it was missing for the past month. Besides being very kind to her pets, she is a loving caregiver for her mother as well as her extended family in this area and in the Gaza Strip.
|Mouna (in red) and friend|