Arab Christians in Israel reach out to Haiti - Word&Way

Arab Christians in Israel reach out to Haiti

DALLAS—When a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti in mid-January, Arab Christians in Israel reached across the world to offer help and hope. In spite of the challenges they faced themselves, the churches collected $3,500 for Haiti relief through Baptist Global Response.

“They were really struck by the tragedy in Haiti,” said Steve Thompson, director of the Center for Global Missions, a Dallas-based church planting ministry that has been working among Druze and Arab Christians in Israel seven years.

“They wanted the people of Haiti to know Arab believers in Israel were praying for them and willing to help them with relief ministry.”

Thompson said six or eight churches in Galilee contributed to the gift. The churches form part of a 28-church organization called the Convention of Evangelical Churches of Israel, which Thompson estimates includes 4,000 to 6,000 Arab Christians.

The donation was added to BGR’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, and Thompson said the receipt from the gift will be shared with the Arab churches to encourage them in their giving.

“They have a history of giving,” Thompson said. “During the Iraq wars, they gave money to the churches in Iraq to help them when things were really bad.”

In addition to sending the money gift, the Arab congregations also are setting aside time each week to pray for Haiti and its people.

Jim Brown, the United States director for Baptist Global Response, is confident the Arab churches’ concern for Haiti will be a great encouragement to people affected by the earthquake.

“When people are struggling, it helps to know that other people care and are willing to help,” Brown said. “It’s especially meaningful when you know the people helping you face significant challenges of their own.

“Our Haitian brothers and sisters will rejoice, knowing of the love for them coming from so far away,” he said. “It’s a powerful testimony to the love of Christ, when people who care connect with people in need.”

June Lucas is a collegiate correspondent with Baptist Global Response.