Encouraged by Christians behind the wall
Prague – The European Baptist Federation training program, Horizons created for Christian youth workers was received with great interest in the West Bank. This was the experience of the EBF Youth Leadership Training Coordinator, Dr. Jeff Carter (Prague), on a recent visit to the region.
In three sessions he trained workers from local Palestinian Baptist churches on how to use the internet-supported materials. “Horizons” is an on-line training resourse for equipping young youth leaders. (http://www.ebfhorizons.com). Among the several languages that Horizons is offered in, Arabic proved to be the one that was the most useful for the context. Carter was impacted by the spiritual life of Christians in this part of the world, separated by "the wall" from Israel: “In the midst of a climate of uncertainty, the believers trust God and leave nothing untried in order to reach children and youth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Never before in his travels around the world was he so emotionally moved, because he had never before experienced what it means “to live behind a wall”. He called for prayer for believers there, that they would be able to be a witness for Jesus Christ “as a light on a hill”. In the living example of Christians in Palestine he gained a new experience of what sacrifice and dedication mean. “Believers in this area show acts of mercy and kindness and charity to those that live around them, rather than malice, anger or suspicion - even to those who might hate them.”
Over 50,000 Christians live in the West Bank. The 15 evangelical churches have joined together to form the “Evangelical Council in the Holy Land”. All are Baptist in character. The program, which consists of 24 modules, was developed by Carter himself. Its strong point is that it uses the latest communication technology, while at the same time it is supplemented by trained local mentors. Currently, the program is used in several European and Middle Eastern countries.
Carter also recently presented the program to the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe at their meeting in Warsaw, Poland. This meeting was important since up until now there has been noofficial connection between EBF and the Council. Carter was encouraged by the great interest the training program aroused. He hopes that these contacts can be expanded and that youth in Europe “regardless of their religious confession” might be encouraged and equipped.