The director of a media, teaching and relief ministry in the Middle East urged British Baptists to learn more about “neglected, forgotten and rejected” Christians in Palestine.
“From my visit, I get the sense that people don’t realize there are Christians in Palestine,” according to Rami Fellemon, director of Jerusalem Evangelistic Outreach, during an interview with The Baptist Times during a recent trip to England. “My message would be just to learn a bit more about us. Just knowing that we exist would be a start.
“Know what we go through. Read about us. Brother Andrew’s “Light Force” is one book, but there are many others. Come and visit; that would be great. Help us fight for our rights.”
While the church is growing slowly in Israel and Palestine, the Christian population is significantly smaller than the Jewish and Muslim equivalents and has a battle to stand up for itself.
The situation is particularly difficult in the Gaza Strip, where there are around 3,000 Christians within the population of 1.5 million.
For the most part, Christians live “peacefully” among both groups, discounting the more extreme elements on both sides, but constantly feel “weak,” Fellemon said.
Many leave when they get the chance. “Although some are obviously very poor, Christians are generally from the middle and lower-middle classes over here, so many get the chance to leave, and they often do. It’s unfortunate, but it happens,” he said.
“They don’t want to always live with checkpoints, to be struggling to find work. They want better lives for their children.”
But many feel the call to stay, however. The JEO was founded more than 20 years ago and exists to equip the church.
It has two bookshops, hosts three or four events where it distributes materials and arranges visits to archaeological sites, such as Qumran, where the oldest known surviving copies of biblical documents were discovered.
It also undertakes relief work among people of any faith. Fellemon and his team speak to community leaders to ascertain who are most in need and then visit with food and other supplies.
“It’s God’s love in action,” he said.
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.