This week, please intercede with us for Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen from Palestine.
Established in 1988, the State of Palestine is recognized by 136 members of the United Nations. Though its designated capital is Jerusalem, it currently operates out of Ramallah. Most of the land claimed by Palestine has remained under Israeli control since the Six-Day War in 1967. Approximately 4.6 million people live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 79% are Palestinian Arabs and 22% are Israeli Jews. Around 93% of Palestinians are Muslims (mostly Sunni), while Palestinian Christians represent 6% of the population, followed by smaller Druze and Samaritan minorities. Recent announcements of Israeli plans to annex settlements in the West Bank have further strained Israel-Palestine relations and heightened anxiety in the region.
A Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, Grace is completing a PhD in Theological Education at the London School of Theology. As ethnic and religious minorities, Palestinian Christians face many challenges and few have access to theological education. Familiar with the additional obstacles encountered by Palestinian Christian women, Grace is designing culturally adept educational systems to support women biblical scholars and theologians throughout the Middle East. Grace also leads the Biblical Studies Department and teaches at Bethlehem Bible College, where her husband Michael, an ordained minister and United Methodist missionary to the Holy Land, serves as a chaplain.
In March, the pandemic prevented Grace from conducting field research in Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon. Please pray that she can safely reschedule these research trips soon. ScholarLeaders supports Grace’s doctoral studies through the Persevere Scholarship.
Grace shares the following message:
The past few months have been difficult for the whole world! The news we hear has been heartbreaking every single day. Still, we have seen the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives. First and foremost, my husband Michael and I are thankful that we are well and healthy. We are grateful that our family and friends back home are also healthy and safe. These are difficult times to be away from home, but we thank the Lord for His protection, care, and provision.
Here in the UK, we hear the birds singing every beautiful morning and we remember that “His eye is on the sparrow” – how much more does He care for us! These past weeks, we have found great encouragement in reading and meditating on the Lord’s living word, as well as spending time in prayer. Recently, we focused on the Gospel of John and experienced afresh, Jesus, the Light of the world, the Living water, the Heavenly Bread, the Way, The Truth, and the Resurrection and Life, amid news of so much death.
As for our studies, we try and make the best of all the resources available online, so that we can continue our research, and persevere in our reading and studies. We are progressing in our writing projects, and we ask the Lord for guidance, wisdom, and patience every day.
In Palestine, things are getting more complicated politically, unfortunately. With the news of the proposed Israeli annexation of the West Bank, the future is all the more uncertain. It is in these times that we need to firmly place our faith in the Lord, and to continually pray for justice and peace in our region. We cannot help but think of the prophet Amos’s prayer: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). We pray for hope and encouragement for ourselves and for our communities.
As parts of Palestine have started the process of recovery from COVID-19, we ask the Lord to continue working in hearts to heal brokenness, revive weary souls, and make every home a real sanctuary for Him. May this be a time where many in the Middle East encounter Jesus, the Prince of Peace, amid such hardship.
Thank you for praying with us and for us.
Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen