United with Love- Peace Camp in Jordan, July 2018
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
On 9-16/7/18 a camp named "Set Apart" that icluded believing participants from all around the Middle East, was held in Jordan. 36 members of King's Kids Israel joined the camp, and took part in a very special gathering of love, unity and peace.
Heaven touches the Earth
A Lebanese youth group leads the worship session on the second day of the camp. The delicate, beautiful voices of the young girls usher the whole group of campers into an ardent spiritual atmosphere, where the connection between God and His family is tangible. Am I hearing right? After songs in English and Arabic, the language is switched to Hebrew, and the girls sing the song “Kadosh” (Holy). One of the young Jewish boys comes to me and whispers in my ear: “Ruut, now I know why I needed to join this camp a week before entering military service in the Israel Defense Forces; to experience Lebanese believers leading worship in Hebrew.” Our eyes filled with tears. (Perhaps it bears informing you that there is no peace agreement between the states of Lebanon and Israel, meaning that we cannot cross the border between these two countries for any natural human contact. Thus, our meeting in Jordan enabled something that could never have happened otherwise).
Preparing for the camp
About a month before the trip to Jordan it seemed extremely challenging to get youth from the Jewish side to join in. Fear, confusion, the political situation in Israel during the past summer, and many other anxieties filled the youths' and their parents’ minds. There was, nevertheless, a turn of events a couple of weeks before the trip, so that during a few days altogether, 12 people, 9 youths and three leaders signed in after all. In the end, the camp hosted 36 participants from Israel, the whole camp consisting of about 120 people including youngsters and leaders from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. Even a small group of Syrians was present. We witnessed many miracles as the Lord enabled the journey and the realization of the entire camp, both logistically and economically. A huge thank you to all of you who took part in making this possible with your gifts of love and your prayers.
The theme of the camp was, “Set apart”.; set apart from the world to serve and praise God, set apart for peace and justice. We approached the theme from different perspectives, through teaching, mutual activities, and serving. The campers were divided into family-like action groups for the duration of the camp. Each group was comprised of members of different ages, from children to adults, and each “family group” worked together during designated days for serving. Each “family” received responsibility for a specific cooperative project, either together with another “family” or by itself. The different services included practical work in the camping center, visiting a local church and organizing a program for children there, visiting families on a Syrian refugee camp, and meeting Syrian refugee children. The generations served together with a fixed common goal: declaring the gospel through words and works of love. The camp was the third of its kind, gathering participants from all the Middle Eastern countries, (of course) even Israel. The first camp was organized in 2012, the second in 2014 and the latest one was this year. A plethora of challenges organizing the camp lead to the longer pause between the last two. We hope and pray that the next camp can be arranged in 2020, with one for the leaders already planned in the next school year. We sense that this event significantly impacts the spiritual realm. We see and can also imagine wonderful implications for the youth and us, the leaders, as well.
"How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
The last gathering together included testimonies, worship, and prayer. At the end, as if by agreement, the youngsters formed a huge circle together. The eyes of most of the participants welled up, some had tears flowing freely. It is truly awesome to experience such unity and love. I don’t recall anything similar during the other camps I’ve participated in during my long life. Everyone seemed to suddenly understand the impossibility of the situation and how our Heavenly Father had orchestrated this moment. We were blessed to experience such spiritual unity across national borders, even as we heard grave news about week-long unrest on Israel's borders with Gaza and Syria...
”The things impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27)
A seed of peace was planted in all of our hearts. I believe it will bear fruit in the hearts of all the participants of the camp in our respective countries, congregations, neighborhoods and families.
Ruut Ben Yosef