What would you do if a family member were in trouble? What if an elderly aunt were sick and needed medicine, or a brother was out of work and needed money?
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
What would you do if a family member were in trouble? What if an elderly aunt were sick and needed medicine, or a brother was out of work and needed money? What if a dear cousin and his wife were struggling to keep a roof over their children's heads? The question is almost silly, because the answer is so obvious. You would help in any way possible.
But the truth is you do have family members in need of help. Right now, as we celebrate another Christmas season, your brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering in the Holy Land. The soaring unemployment rate in Palestine is throwing many families into the nightmare of poverty, forcing them to go without the most basic of everyday necessities. These fellow Christians live in substandard housing, but cannot afford to make even minimal repairs to the walls falling down around them. Parents can no longer afford the tuition to send their children to Christian schools. Soon, even the Christian schools themselves may close down.
Poverty is not the only hardship for our brethren in the Holy Land. Many of them are living with the burden of Israeli-imposed travel restrictions, including denial of access to places of worship. In a land where personal security can be jeopardized at anytime by an outbreak of violence, fear is a daily part of life.
The tragic result is that many Christians are leaving the Holy Land. They continue to emigrate due to deplorable living conditions, but HCEF offers hope. The mission of HCEF has always been to preserve Christian faith and heritage in the Holy Land. We have accomplished many great things through a variety of HCEF Programs. For instance:
" The Child Sponsorship Program has helped support many Christian school systems in the Holy Land and provide better educational opportunities for thousands of students. In 2005, the program awarded over 560,000 sponsorships to benefit needy school children.
" The Fr. Anton Buzo Senior Citizen.s Center has become a vibrant outlet for over 125 eligible seniors in Birzeit, where they enjoy social, community, and recreational activities.
" The Christmas Gifts Program has enabled over 3,000 children to receive gifts that are distributed through local churches, schools, and community groups.
" The Holy Land Gifts Program has helped Christian families support themselves by selling their products and crafts in the United States. It has generated over $200,000 in much needed income.
" The Living Stones Housing and Rehabilitation Project has raised over $250,000, and provided affordable housing for many Holy Land Christians. The program employs Holy Land Christians who use their vocational skills in the construction and restoration of homes.
" The Living Stones Pilgrimage Program has had great success in uniting Western and Palestinian Christians through visits to the Holy Land. These pilgrimages have been life-changing experiences for many Western Christians as they toured the land where Jesus lived, met with Christians in Palestinian communities, and came away with a deeper understanding of the many challenges their Holy Land brethren face in daily living.
" The Journey to Bethlehem Program has allowed thousands of Palestinian children to participate in a pilgrimage to the city of Jesus. birth.
More information about these great programs can be found on our website at www. hecf.org.
But what.s most important to know is that none of these programs would be possible without your help. Your love, compassion and generosity have provided a better standard of living for many, many individuals and families in the Holy Land, including real people such as:
" Maher R., a 33-year-old man whose job with HCEF helped pay his water, electric, and school tuition bills for his two children; or
" Yousef A., a father of two daughters whose collapsing roof was repaired through HCEF's housing rehabilitation project. Although we have been able to help many brethren throughout the course of this tireless work, there are still many more Christians suffering under these conditions in the Holy Land. Your continued support is urgently needed.
One important way to support HCEF is by becoming an Ambassador of the Mother Church. As an Ambassador, you will be an important member of the Holy Land Christian Support Network that provides the ongoing prayers and essential funding needed to continue our work. Being an Ambassador means that you will become a voice for those who are voiceless, and that you stand committed to preserving the Christian faith. You will not only be preserving the heritage of the Holy Land, but your own Christian heritage as well.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, please remember your family in the Holy Land this Christmas season. Complete membership levels are included on the enclosed envelope. But whether you join with a pledge of $15, $25, $100, or $250, please know that you will continue to make possible all of HCEF.s life saving programs.
On behalf of the Living Stones, I thank you for your generosity. I know that together we will continue to work towards replacing despair with hope, fear with security, and humiliation with human dignity.
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS
P.S. – Family members in the Holy Land are suffering and need your help. Please consider becoming an Ambassador of the Mother Church today so they will get the desperately needed support as soon as possible. Thank you.
Help Us Keep
Our Holy Land Christian Heritage Alive
Although Holy Land Christians include members of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches, they always recognize each other first and foremost as Christians. They stand together because of their unity in Christ. In the same way, Western Christians are called to support Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ. You can help support the Living Stones and preserve the Christian heritage in the Holy Land in many ways:
1. Pray for Holy Land Christians, and that the work of HCEF will continue on their behalf.
2. Become an Ambassador of the Mother Church. Funds are always needed to support Arab Christians and the programs we make available to them. By becoming an Ambassador, you are helping to provide desperately needed, ongoing financial support for these educational, housing, and employment programs.
3. Spread the word about the plight of Holy Land Christians to family, friends, and church members. Give out HCEF's website address, www.hcef.org, and other HCEF materials.
Your support of HCEF means that more brethren in the Holy Land will have the benefit of:
Warm, safe, renovated homes
More job opportunities and income to support themselves and their families
A better chance for education
HOLY LAND CHRISTIAN ECUMENICAL FOUNDATION
6935 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 214 Bethesda, MD 20815
Tel: (301) 951-9400 " Fax: (301) 951-9402
Email: email@example.com " Web site: www.hcef.org