Written by Gregg Brekke
|Children of the Rawdat el-Zuhur Center in Jerusalem are supported by the Child Sponsorship Program.
Lourdes Garcia photo
Participants in the Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program are touring sites in Israel/Palestine Aug. 30 – Sept. 10, meeting sponsored children and visiting mission partners and historic locations.
Ten trip participants have joined four members of the national UCC staff on this journey to Israel/Palestine. A key feature of the journey is a day visit to Rawdat El Zuhur (Garden of Flowers) School where some of the group will meet and interact with their sponsored child.
|Peter Makari Photo|
"Many of the more than 1000 sponsors in the program dream that one day they will meet their sponsored children," says Linda Lawrence, program manager of the Child Sponsorship Program. "Some of our group will make this dream a reality by traveling to far away lands to meet one of the 1200 children that has called them 'auntie, uncle or dear friend' in letters and drawings."
Lawrence stresses the impact of these encounters - sponsored children become bona fide people in the sponsor's life because a relationship that started with helping to provide financial support becomes a lifetime connection and bond.
Global Ministries Middle East and Europe area executive, Peter Makari, will lead the group to many biblical sites and introduce them to the work of mission partners and mission personnel. "We want everyone to get a sense of the context and engage with Global Ministries' mission partners, as well as others - Jews, Christians and Muslims - in the land often called holy," he says.
Marcy Dory, Global Ministries program associate for mission education and interpretation, is on the tour which has both work and personal connections for her. She'll be reporting on and producing materials for the mission interpretation office and will also be meeting for the first time the young girl she sponsors at Rawdat El Zuhur.
Peter Makari Photo
"Christian mission and service to some of the neediest children around the world is a huge reward while doing God's work," says Lawrence. "Everyone participating on the trip will come back changed in some way."
Global Ministries is the common worldwide witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the UCC's Wider Church Ministries. More information on the Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program can be found at <globalministries.org/get-involved/child-sponsorship>.