In a little village in western Galilee, almost an equal distance between the Mediterranean coast and the city of Nazareth, the Arab Israeli Bible Society is nourishing the needy with the truth and goodness of God’s word.
“My husband and I have seen the hand of the Lord moving us from darkness to light. We came to the Lord twelve years ago through very difficult circumstances in our relationships as a couple,” says Raya, who lives in this village. Raya and her husband have three daughters and attend the Baptist church in their village.
As Arab citizens of Israel, Raya and her family are a minority within Israel’s population, part of only 20% of the country. Discrimination and inequality are still prevalent in many areas of life for Arab Israeli citizens. Furthermore, there are only 2% of the population of Israel who are Christians.
Raya and her family have been strengthened in their hard times by the work of the Arab Israeli Bible Society. “The conferences helped us a lot as a family to grow in our understanding and (how to) be wise in dealing with each other as a family. We were able to bring all of our needs, sorrows, loads and joys before the Lord every evening as a family. We experienced miracles in our home in all aspects of life.” Raya continues,
“I was encouraged by the workshops to perceive my children with a new perspective… To accept our children as the Lord accepts us. I have also learned the need to … become a good listener.”
Raya knows the importance of these conferences and has requested that more be held, “to help us to grow in our spirituality and psychology. To help us to become like Jesus and raise a new generation that loves the Lord and abides in him and his word.”
Nelly, a mother and grandmother in her seventies living in the same village, was diagnosed with cancer fifteen years ago. Despite the incredible difficulties, with treatments and surgery, she says, “My faith in God and his goodness was my comfort and steadfastness. For many years, I [have been] committed to the Lord and read my Bible on daily basis. The word changed me in all aspects of my life.”
During her illness, Nelly attended a Trauma Healing program run by the Arab Israeli Bible Society. “The program helped me to deal with my pain and be attentive to the pain of others,” she says. “I am praying more for others’ pain – and mine – than before. Also, (I am) realizing the power of prayer in times of need; physical, emotional, and spiritual.”
Nelly is confident of God’s hand in her life. She says, “Through this time my faith strengthened a lot and got closer to Christ. I praise God; it was a very difficult time, but I am encouraged, and I matured in my faith. I knew the Lord healed me and I feel very well. I thank the Lord every morning for allowing me to know him in a new, meaningful and deeper way.”
Nelly is very thankful for the Trauma Healing program and says, “I recommend the sessions to all who are interested to know the Lord in a meaningful way.”
The Arab Israeli Bible Society is a crucial presence in Galilee, as they advocate for God’s word through seminars, conferences and workshops, changing lives such as Raya’s and Nelly’s. Yet their supporters – Christian Arab Israeli citizens – are a minority, and the Arab Israeli Bible Society requires support to maintain their core presence in their community.