Stories of Impact
We’d like to share some special stories about our work and how it has positively affected Christians in the Holy Land:
A DRIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE THROUGH HLCS
Inspiration to Become Involved with HLCS
I became involved when a former High School student of mine, a Christian Palestinian from Bethlehem, asked me to help the Christians still struggling to survive in the Holy Land. I knew, somehow, that I had to find out more. When I learned of the challenges and needs of these Christians living and working in the place of Christ’s birth, I realized how important it is to preserve the presence of these “Living Stones” who are living out Christ’s mission today. I also saw that the place of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection is a moderate bridge for peace in the region and needs to be secure for the region and the world.
CHANGING CHILDREN’S LIVES
The Creche Orphanage in Bethlehem
My most memorable experience while visiting the Holy Land was holding two infants in the Creche orphanage in Bethlehem. One was found abandoned at the side of the road and the other in a milk crate with rags wrapped around him. Both were thriving under the care of Sister Sophie and her devoted caregivers. No greater example of Christ’s mission of love could be seen anywhere.
RENOVATING CHURCHES AND PROVIDING JOBS
St. Joseph’s Church in Bethlehem
I remember kneeling to give thanks in St. Joseph’s Church in Bethlehem that HLCS had recently renovated. This is the place where Joseph and Mary stayed on their flight into Egypt. The project employed local Christians in need and restored a beautiful chapel for people to use for years to come. What a tribute to Father Amjad who recognized the need to restore something in ruins for pilgrims all over the world.
The Good Shepherd School in Bethlehem
I was moved by the work of George Sa’adeh, Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem and Principal of Good Shepherd School. I remember listening to him tell how he works with Israeli families who have lost their children to terrorist attacks. This after he lost his own young daughter to the conflict as well. HLCS helped him build a library and computer center for his school, now named after his daughter.
PRESERVING CHRISTIANITY IN THE HOLY LAND
Overcoming Challenges During Ever-Present Conflict
The conflict and occupation have seriously impacted the lives of the Palestinian Christians, making it very difficult for them to sustain a living there. Many are separated from their olive trees, jobs, schools and places of worship by the road blocks and security barrier. Water is rationed and often not available when needed. Permits and clergy visas to enter Jerusalem are very difficult to secure. For these reasons it is very challenging for Christians in the West Bank, and many must leave the land they have owned for generations in order to maintain a livelihood to support their families. The Christian population has declined from 30% to less than 2% in less than fifty years.
– Interview with Co-Founder and President of HLCS, Mary Kay Turner