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Dear Friends, late that evening.


Early on Wednesday morning, October 19, I left Amman [in Jordan] for Gaza via Egypt, arriving You cannot imagine the relentless stress suffered by church leaders in a small, crowded area like Gaza (140 square miles). They are isolated from the rest of the world, surrounded by 1.7 million [people], ruled by Hamas, and oppressed by the extremists and the even more radical Salafi sts. Every day, they battle depression and hopelessness. My fi rst visit on Thursday was with a couple, students of mine at Bethlehem Bible College, who lead a home Bible study. For hours, we talked about the unique ministry challenges they face and sought God together to fi nd ways to serve better and to reach out to the territory’s tiny Christian community. I counseled another leader who has been stumbling and became isolated from the ministry. By God’s grace, he and his wife are once again leading worship in a home Bible study. On another occasion, I spent a very productive time supporting and encouraging a couple who leads worship in a church.


There is much sickness in Gaza, a lot of it caused by the stress of daily life in addition to the diseases and Infi rmities that we all face. I visited a family who just lost their father to cancer. He was only 52 years old and had been a classmate of mine growing up in Gaza. I shared some memories with them about their dear father; we read the Scriptures together and thanked God for His comfort.


In another home, I ministered to a mother who is struggling to overcome pancreatic cancer. And at the hospital, I praised God for saving a man who had a brain clot. He is a physician and a member of Gaza Baptist Church. But the number one disease in the Gaza Strip is worry. So this was my main topic when I shared in home Bible studies and when I spoke to the teachers at the Lighthouse School and with other church leaders, besides preaching and teaching in the church on two Sundays.


One day I walked into a pharmacy and my heart nearly broke as the owner, who is a good friend, broke down crying uncontrollably the moment she saw me. She could not believe that I was actually there. She was able to share the oppression and pain she is suffering and later told me how the Lord used my visit to comfort and strengthen her.


Poverty is great in Gaza and unemployment is still very high. But thanks to God’s grace and the generosity of friends like you, I was able to help 27 families – Christian and non-Christian – with food and medicine. Most of these families live in the Deir El Balah refugee camp (nearly 20,000 people packed into 39 acres). Each package included olive oil, corn oil, different kinds of beans, rice, sugar, and other supplies, worth about US$60 (we bought the food in Gaza).


God willing, my next visit will be in January. At that time, I hope also to teach a course on the Gospel of John through the Gaza extension of the Bethlehem Bible College.


Please pray for:


■ The people I visited, that the Lord will continue to heal, encourage, and comfort ■ Those we helped with relief work, that God would multiply the “loaves and fi shes” ■ My sister, who had blood clot in her leg and continues to need costly medical attention at home ■ A desperately-needed second car ■ My upcoming January visit


Thank you very much for your prayers and partnership and for standing with us in these increasingly diffi cult days. Gratefully,


Hanna, Suhad, Joyce & Jolene November 9, 2011


Letter from Gaza


Teachers at the Lighthouse School in Gaza


Hanna Massad is pastor of the Gaza Baptist Church in Palestine who, because of violence and threats, lives much of the time in Amman, Jordan


26 BAPTIST WORLD MAGAZINE

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