Power,Rappelling and Palestinian fun! Wednesday, Aug 12 2009 

Power would be the best word to discribe this day!
First we needed power to wake up and drag ourselves out of the beds,
then we had another heavy norwegian breakfast and ofcourse didn’t forget to prepare a Niste (packed lunch).

At 10:00 we had a lesson about power with Tormod Kleiven, where we learned about  Power and forgiveness.
After the class it was time to be powerful and face our fears.while some people did sports, others  took a hike to the  mountains and there on the top of the world with the beautiful nature around us and the fresh air after the rain blowing in our faces, it was time to do some rappelling ,one after the other we slowly made our way down while hanging to a rope, praying for braveness.
Our trip was really exciting, but unfortunately some of our palestinian  friends had to stay in  the kitchen to prepare traditional palestinian food.
but then again, even though they missed the activity it was really worth it, because the food was amazing!
After we all had a good shower it was time to celebrate a fake palestinian wedding,where we could all connect to the eastern traditions and experience new rythems. the colours,music, dancing and costumes where so exotic and dazzling.
After hours of dancing to arabic music and learning how to dance Dabke (tradtional arabic dance) we were all sweaty, tired and satisfied and crashed back into hour soft white beds and slept like babies!

Three nations gathered for bridgebuilding Monday, Aug 10 2009 

We are a part of a conferanse called Bridgebuilders. The four last days we’ve been gathered three nations in Norway. Jewish, arabs and norwegian beleavers participate.

The first day we met, we where a bit shocked. Because of the cultural differences. Norwegians are polite and a bit quiet and Middle east people are a little crazy and loud. This changed, after one or two days the whole group began to be like one nation. A little crazy and polite. Even the music style started to become the same.

The first three days we spent at Steilene Islands outside Oslo in a camp. It started raining. Even though it was pouring down and the tents got wet, some stayed and some went to sleep inside a building . But the rain didn’t stop the team building and the good fellowship. The Norwegians complained about the rain and the Middle east group thank the Lord!

For the Middle East group the amount of water was really fun. Because they are learned to save water, it was really fun to spend a lot.

Every day we had a Biblestudy and teaching. In that way we could focus on what we have in common. Jesus. We also had team building every day. We got to know and trust each other.

I’ve meet many different people in my life, conference, my work in christian hotel etc…  But I never spend time with Arab brother and sisters, this was my first time here and I was really shocked because there was no difference between us. I really beleave one day we will live together in peace and love !” Natasha B. (Jew side)

I have discoverd that people in Israeli side want a peace also , and that they dont like to use wopens ,they are sorry about the people that was killed. So we like the dialoge way compered to blaming. We  pray for peace .” Ivan A. (Arab side)

“Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

(1 John 4:7-8)

With Gods love
Ivan, Natasha and Mary

Actions and Attitudes Friday, Mar 27 2009 

There is an old tale with two versions about a church built of human bones. A Muslim man tells the first rendition. He espouses that the bones are the remnants of Muslims martyred by the Crusaders. A priest from Europe collected these bones and brought them to Prague where the church is erected. The Muslim proclaims that this priest exhibited true Christianity by showing love, peace and mercy.

The second interpretation of the story says the bones are the remnants of those who perished from the Black Plague. Fellow countrymen dug a mass grave and built a church over the grave as a memorial for their people who suffered a gruesome death. A church layman sprinkled soil from the Holy Land over the grave establishing it as holy ground.

Now, which of the two tales are ture? The second story. But what we learn from both of these renditions is that we cannot just believe everything we hear. We must look for the specifics in order to find the truth. We must also be careful so as not to just believe a story because it perceives Christians in a positive way. There are some acts in history carried out by Christians, which were horrible.

But, this story teaches us something so much more, epsecially in relation to working with youth. You see, this story speaks to us about actions and appearance.

This generation of youth are constantly looking at the actions of their leaders. They believe that if their youth leader acts a certain way then their behavior of following their lead is also justified whether it is right or wrong.

It is also important for leaders to practice what they preach. As a role model, it is just as important for your actions and words to be “seasoned with salt” in non-Christian environments as they are among the local church youth groups. Elements of our identity include our personality, community and faith.

For those of us who are youth leaders it is critical to instill these elements into the lives of the youth we are working with. We can implement the elements into our everyday lives. Through this we show our faith and to continue a positive and active spirit to encourage the youth to do the same.

As a youth leader I have to have hope and openness to interact with different people – in my church, family and among people who belongs to other religions.

So, in conclusion we learned how important it is to investigate and get to the bottom of thing rather than just believing what anyone tells us. It is important to be critical and search for the facts.

Our identity is not like having a passport, we can’t put it in our pockets whenever we feel like it and bring it out when we need to convince someone of who we are, but our identity should encompass our every being that when people see us our identity radiates through our speech, conduct and actions.

This is an exerpt from the youth leadership training seminar for youth leaders in the West Bank.

By Dina Schroeder

Welcome to Musalaha’s Blog Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

Welcome to our newly created blog. We hope to keep you updated on our thoughts on reconciliation, activities, excursions and conferences on a regular basis and how our work is transforming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians throughout the region.