Easter Greetings from the Holy Land

Sami El-Yousef is the Regional Director of one of our partners based in Jerusalem. With access to holy sites becoming increasingly fraught, the recent election outcome, and the general situation in the Middle East, Sami wonders how many Christians will remain? How many will be killed and how many persecuted? How many will become refugees? Yet he remains hopeful. Below is an extract from his Easter newsletter. Do pray for and with Christians of the Middle East at this special time.
 
'We, the indigenous Christians of the Holy Land and the larger Middle East, are not here by chance! We have a long and proud history full of accomplishments and contributions to our societies. Our Christian institutions are our pride as thousands of them spread throughout our region continue to provide quality services to all segments of society especially in education, healthcare, and social services. 
 
During wars and crises, our institutions are a model for coexistence, respect, care, love, and support to those who are less advantaged than us. We never existed to support only Christians, and we never will. Our teachings give us a mandate to respect others and treat everyone equally. Thus, during this Easter season, we are reminded again of the dramatic events surrounding our Saviour’s life, death, and resurrection on the streets of Jerusalem over two thousand years ago, and we are again reminded that the Master never really had an easy life himself, very much like our own lives today. He taught us how to give rather than take, to be there for the weak and poor, very much so the path followed by our Christian institutions. 
 
Over two thousand years have passed, and the story is repeated again and again, and thus if we continue to face difficulties and hardships, if our life appears dark at times, if we suffer for various reasons, we only need to look back and be reminded how blessed we are to call this Holy Land home and continue to walk in his footsteps.
 
My youngest son is now 14 years of age, which was my age back in 1974 when my dad took me for the first time to attend the Holy Fire celebration to start my journey to carry the cherished banner every year and be blessed with that honour. It is my full intention to introduce my son to this family tradition this year, hoping that in 40 years' time, he will in turn introduce his youngest child, and hopefully the tradition will continue! 
 
Let us all keep the faith and hope alive. Happy Easter to all, far and near!'