Global Mission Support staff are copied on the e-mails and newsletters that missionaries send to their sponsors. I’ll share excerpts here as “Missionary Minutes.” Here is a bit of a recent e-mail sent by the Rev. Suzanne Shoffner, an ELCA missionary serving in Palestine.–Sue Edison-Swift
About Christmas…it lasts a long time over here! The Christians are in such a minority, but the “burbs” of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala decorate lavishly and the Orthodox Christmas follows two weeks behind the “first” one, so the decorations stay around a while. The YAGM came to our home for Christmas Eve dinner and then we went to the candlelight service at Christmas Lutheran in Bethlehem. Manger Square is just a wonderland of lights, singing groups and masses of people.
Checkpoints and Chipmunks
Our Muslim neighbors were happy for us and would call out to us, “Eid Said” (Happy Holiday) as they saw us decorating our windows and home with lights, a small tree and a beautiful star.
One night last week a neighbor family came over for tea and cookies and brought small gifts for Martin and me. They wanted to know if we had seen “chickpoints” and we felt sure they were asking about checkpoints. We told them the checkpoints have been particularly rough because we had gone from DCO to Gilo to Beit Sahour trying to get to Jerusalem the night before. The third checkpoint was finally the one that let us through.
The neighbor girls shook their heads and said, “No, not checkpoints, chikbunks, you know, Suzanne, little animals who talk and sing.” They were asking about a film on TV here about Alvin and the Chipmunks! We all laughed and laughed and laughed again.–The Rev. Suzanne Shoffner, Palestine