Incredible poverty limits outreach in Gaza

By November 14, 2006

Gaza (MNN) — Christians are struggling in the Gaza strip. Palestinians are caught between sanctions and military attacks from the outside world and violence from within. It’s a never ending cycle of hopelessness that pushes people to die for a cause. Suicide bombers are borne out of this hopelessness.

Out of the mire, is an emerging church that’s bringing hope to the hopeless. It’s supported by Open Doors and Brother Andrew — God’s Smuggler.

Over the weekend as the world was remembering persecuted believers on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Open Doors was helping the Gaza Baptist Church dedicate a new church building. Open Doors USA’s Carl Moeller, speaking from the Bethlehem Bible College in Israel, says “It’s a beautiful building that was built with the investment of the Palestinian Bible Society and others that have invested into a place where the Christian community can have a witness in this terrible environment.”

According to Moeller this church is already a testimony. “It’s the only evangelical church in a population of 1.5 million Palestinians located in the Gaza Strip.”

Moeller says economic sanctions have hurt everyone in Gaza. Unemployment is at 70 percent. “Everyone has a job, but no one gets paid. A doctor I know hasn’t been paid in nine months.”

According to Moeller, Christians are suffering the most. “The U-N doesn’t help them first, it helps the Muslims first. The Muslims don’t help the Christians and the Israelis don’t help the Muslims or the Christians because they’re all Palestinians. If there’s anyone who can stand up and help them, it’s the American church.”

Funding is the about the only thing that can help the church right now because of the sanctions. “Their Muslim neighbors know that when things are hard, they go to the Christians in the community. But, here, even the Christians have no resources whatsoever to share. There are goods and services available, there’s just no money to buy those.”

Despite that, Moeller says, God is using the church. “This church is not backing down. They’re sharing their faith, witnessing to Muslims, seeing Muslims come to faith in Christ and to see the Gospel proclaimed.”

If you’d like to help Open Doors USA support the Gaza Baptist Church, contact Open Doors through their information listed here.

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