The following is a personal message and appeal from our Palestinian Christian contributor “Matthew.”
If you would like to help “Matthew” meet the goal outlined below, send an email to [email protected] and we will put you in contact with him.
I was born in the Gaza Strip in 1994 to a nominal Christian family. I attended an Islamic school where I was taught day after day to hate all Jews and do whatever possible to destroy the State of Israel.
Despite growing up with this mentality, I was, as a Christian, nevertheless harassed and physically abused by Islamic groups trying to convert me, and responding angrily when I refused to do so, leading to more beatings and persecution.
Though I was a Christian in name only, I knew enough about Islam to make me reject converting.
At age 15, I decided to escape Gaza. As Christians, we would once or twice a year receive permits to visit Bethlehem or other “West Bank” towns. On Easter vacation of that year, we came to Ramallah, and I never went back.
At that point things went downhill as I got into drinking and partying and going out with the wrong people. I was stumbling continuously until one day I met a couple of strangers on the streets of Ramallah talking about the love of God, and that Jesus is the way and the savior.
I took these people for fools, but listened to them out of respect. They invited me to a meeting, and I thought to myself ‘what do I have to lose?’ So I went, and time after time the Lord changed my heart and filled me with love and compassion for all His people.
And He opened my eyes to a new perspective on Israel.
When I lived in Gaza, we were taught that the Israelis were our enemies and that we must hate them and fight to liberate Palestine from occupation. But when I came to the West Bank and started reading the Old Testament, I began to experience the love that God put in my heart for the Jewish people.
Soon, I had made hundreds of Israeli friends. I apologized for all the hate I previously held for them, and explained that I now understood that Israel has a right to exist as a nation and that God’s promise of this land to them is forever.
Holding such views has certainly caused me trouble in the West Bank, but it’s what I believe and I must share my faith.
Now I am embarking on a new journey to North Central College, near Chicago.
My time at North Central will help me in several ways. The course I will be attending is an English course, which will help me to more effectively open the eyes of those I speak to in the future. It will improve my English so that I can share the message of truth with a wider audience!
My calling is to spread the truth about the complex situation in this land, to open the eyes of many about the right of the Jews to this land, and to counter what the pro-Palestinian media tells the world.
The cost of my trip to the USA will be $6500 (tuition and flights). This does not include housing or personal expenses. The Lord has already blessed me with a family that will host me in their home for the duration of my stay.
I want to thank you in advance for all your prayer and support! Feel free to contact me by email with any more questions.
If you would like to help “Matthew,” send an email to [email protected] and we will put you in contact with him. This is to help ensure his safety.