Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention brings blessings to the Nazareth Trust!News
Our participation at the Convention over the past few years has been a blessing to the Nazareth Trust and especially to SERVE Nazareth, our short–term missions programme.
Connections made at Bangor have become lasting friendships as 15 people travelled to Nazareth to work with us in partnership and SERVE the community. Over the past year our new friends have made significant contributions to the work of the Trust, offering helping hands and spiritual support to the people of Nazareth, and continuing our wonderful connection to the Northern Ireland community.
Our first blessing came in the form of a LIFT (Labour in Faith and Trust) team that began the renovation of our SERVE Nazareth accommodation. The work, in our 100–year–old Doctor’s House, involved taking down walls, putting up walls and installing new bathrooms and showers – not an easy task but they made it fun!
LIFT not only began the process, but also set a high standard for the work, as they laboured alongside our maintenance team to complete stage one.
LIFT teams came to the Nazareth Hospital in October 2015 and then again in March/April 2016, with a total of 12 people overall, some even coming twice! We’re looking forward to having a third team in October 2016.
LIFT provides amazing teams, both professionally and spiritually. It is such a blessing to receive them as our times together are not only about work but also about supporting each other spiritually. LIFT teams arrive steeped in prayer and each team member has a serving heart. It is truly amazing to see how much can be accomplished in a relatively short time.
Our next visitors were Les and Barbara Carnew who blessed us as they came to join SERVE. They focused on English teaching and chaplaincy, with some time spent at the Nazareth Village.
Speaking about their time in Nazareth, they said: “We were invited to teach English classes in one of the primary schools in Cana, the village where Jesus turned water into wine. We attempted to turn Arabic into English! We had fun encouraging four classes of enthusiastic young people in their English learning.”
Another area of ministry was a twice–weekly visit to patients alongside the chaplaincy team. Regular visits to patients on dialysis, massaging their feet and hands, gave us an opportunity to get to know some of them more personally and most were open to having prayer.
While at Nazareth Village, I imagined the young Jesus running and playing on the rough hillside terraces; perhaps, as an older boy, helping with the various harvests and then as an adult even making some of the farm implements, tools and machinery to help the local farmers.
These thoughts brought home to my heart the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was so very human. He came into our world, not high and mighty as a King in a palace but as an ordinary man dwelling amongst us, humbly sharing our humanity in all its aspects – joys, sorrows, hard work and leisure. What amazing humility! What love!
Emmanuel – God with us – in the ordinariness of our life.
Being in Nazareth deeply impressed upon my own mind that the Jesus of the Bible was no ethereal figure divorced from the toils, especially the steep hills, and joys of family and community life. Here He lived and worked as a very ‘ordinary’ real human being for up to 30 years of His life before embarking on those remaining momentous years of His ministry.”
The Trust was also blessed by the presence of Valerie Scott, on the Jesus Trail fundraiser. Valerie walked for five days through biblical sites from Nazareth right to the centre of Jesus’ ministry in Capernaum. Funds raised on The Jesus Trail were dedicated to the development of the SERVE Nazareth programme and put to good use by the LIFT teams working on the renovation.
These contributions to the work and ministries in Nazareth are a huge encouragement and support to the Nazareth Trust and also to local people. The interactions of each person with local staff evidences God’s love and commitment to them, that they are not forgotten or overlooked, in a country where they can often feel that way.
The Northern Irish have a unique insight into conflict between people groups and bring a wonderful testimony of God’s love and work in the midst of political tension. What a blessing to be able to share with each other how God is at work even through difficult circumstances.