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Christmas 2011

Alex e & Brenda Awad

“Jesus Christ is the Same—Yesterday, Today and Forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Dear Friends and Family,

We want to celebrate Christmas:
Not because great things happened some 2000 yrs ago but because the miracle of God’s incarnation is never ending
Not because choirs of angels sang over the skies near Bethlehem but because Jesus is born in our hearts today and every day
Not because of the majestic gathering of baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the inn keeper and shepherds in a humble place around a manger but because at Christmas we are reminded that Emmanuel is always with us
Not because of Mary’s tender love for Jesus but because the Christ of Christmas continues to forgive our sins
Not because of the dramatic story of the three wise men who were led by the stars to see a king born in Bethlehem but because the light that brightened our dark planet on the first Christmas continues to shine in our hearts and lives today
Not because everyone else is doing it but because the great joy of the first Christmas is our delight
Not because it is good for the economy but because God’s priceless gift on the first Christmas is always ours!

A Joyful Occasion
It has been a good year thus far, one in which we give praise to God for his many blessings and loving kindness towards us. The year started off with our son, Basem, getting married on January 9th in Thailand. Many family members and friends from the USA and the Middle East attended the wedding. Basem met his wife, Pimwadee, in Maryland while she was studying at the University of Maryland (Baltimore County). They will be living in Thailand for the foreseeable future. Pim is working in the computer field and Basem has been both teaching English and studying Thai.

Family News
In August our family had reunions in Thailand and India. It was great to be with our daughter Christy, her husband Dave and their son Skylor (4 years) and also with our son Basem, his wife Pim and our youngest son, Randy. In India we stayed in the town of Vashisht in the foothills of the Himalayas and enjoyed the beautiful setting, in particular its close proximity to mountains, hot springs, scenic views, and waterfalls. We were quite amused to see cows walking in the streets and to pass them on the mountain trails. We attended an indigenous worship service at a church in nearby Manali. The church is part of a hospital mission. We were inspired by the message of a local bishop teaching on reconciliation and forgiveness. We spent one day in Delhi prior to our departure.

In January, Alex was invited to Holland by the Netherlands Missionary Council (NZR) to share in special venues regarding different topics relating to theology and the Christian community in the Holy Land, his main topic being, Christian Witness in Israel/Palestine. The topic explored challenges and opportunities for the church abroad to be engaged with the Christian communities of the HL. In July, he attended a conference in Malaysia to discuss the growth of the church in Asia and the Middle East and in October, he traveled to Sweden to speak on topics related to the church in Palestine. He also traveled to Hong Kong and Canada in October and November to represent Bethlehem Bible College at churches, schools and universities. We thank God for giving him good health and for blessing his speaking endeavors.

Ministry News
The church in Jerusalem has undergone transitions. Some of our dear members finished an assignment and have left to other assignments. Brother Mackson and Sister Mary Chasowa and daughter Tupo from Malawi relocated to South Africa. Also, our dear sister and brother Evelyn Lotz and David Poley from South Africa returned home after several years in Jerusalem. We also miss Nick and Philippa Young and their five children from New Zealand. They were a blessing during the short time they spent with us. Currently, we have a nice expatriate congregation with a few Palestinian families. We also welcome visiting groups from all denominations so on any given Sunday we may have from 40-70 congregants worshipping together. We are currently seeking to have an interim assistant pastor from North Carolina who has served with Youth with a Mission in Israel/Palestine for a number of years. His name is Rev. Jeff Hoover. Please join us in praying for him to get a clergy visa to stay in the country.

We are thankful that our church is able to continue its outreach to the international and local community through its services and ministries. We now have a blog page with a few sermons and other items posted: www.ejbc.wordpress.com. For published articles, please visit: www.comeandsee.com or www.sojourners.com and search for Alex Awad.

Beginning in July of 2012, we will be traveling to the United States for our tri-annual home assignment—a time when we plan to visit all of our United Methodist church partners and family and friends.

The enclosed letter and flyer share some of the activities and ministries of Bethlehem Bible College and the Shepherd Society throughout the year. United Methodist Advance #’s for ministries we serve are: Alex Awad (10825Z), Brenda Awad (10826Z), Shepherd Society (3020439), Bethlehem Bible College (12107A) and East Jerusalem Baptist Church (14907N). For more information, please see: (http://new.gbgm-umc.org/Advance/).

May the blessings of the Christmas child born in Bethlehem be yours today and always!

Happy New Year!

Alex and Brenda Awad

Address Information: Bethlehem Bible College; PO Box 17166; Jerusalem 91190; Israel
Email: abawad@p-ol.com, alexeawad@yahoo.com Website: www.alexawad.org
Telephone: 972.2.676.6479