Love and Dance by Tamika Wyche Greenidge

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Dance and love are two universal languages that cross barriers of gender, religion, social status, and color. While in Bethlehem, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a dance class to a wonderful group of students at Diyar Dance Theater. As I prepared, I made sure I had all the right terms for the techniques I’d teach, and even tried to put together a short choreography piece to no avail. So to say the least, I was a bit flustered, because in addition to feeling totally unprepared I love to be able to have some sort of control over the environment I’m entering. However at that point, I had absolutely no idea what to expect and unprepared would be an understatement of what I believed to be the position I was in.

Prior to coming on the trip, dance didn’t fall within the scope of “things to do.” It wasn’t until Tuesday that I was asked to teach a class on Thursday. So you can just imagine the millions of thoughts that were running around in my mind. But three things I knew for sure: (1) I had rhythm and could dance well enough to teach a two step, (2) that God allowed me to be placed in that environment because I have such a love and passion for dance and people, (3) Holy Spirit was definitely going to have to intervene and take over due to the different language and possible cultural barriers I’d possibly encounter, and (4) I was all in.

Once at Diyar, I met with the students, who ranged in age from 13 to 17, and did a little probing. It was then I found out that these children didn’t just dance but they performed traditional Palestinian style dance. So of course, at that point, I began to question my ability and if God even really wanted me to do this. But I kept my cool, because by this time there was no turning back. It is in these moments we learn to trust Him more. So I had no other choice but to practice what I preach…. Go into my, “Jesus you’re going to have to do this,” mode because I really don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into.

You never think God will bring you to an uncomfortable place in your element, but it is there where He wants to become Lord. So in that moment I took a step back and allowed Holy Spirit to take a step forward. And as they say, the rest is history. Holy Spirit gave me instruction on how to teach and engage these children while at the same time allowing me to love on them, build them up and hone their skills and technique.

What we learned was that we actually had more in common than we had differences. With tons of love, encouragement, and a mutual love for dance we hit the ground running. My partner Chuck started us off with a great time of stretching, and then Angela, Chuck and Dan supported and gave the students a nice little laugh by getting into the groove with us from time to time.

I ended the class a bit early so that the students could teach me some of their traditional Palestinian dance. They were as excited to teach as I was to learn. Some were even surprised to see that I wanted to be taught and learn from them. Engaging others is never effective if it is only one sided. No matter how accomplished your are, how many degrees you have, or how old you are, you are never too BIG to learn from another. It also shows others that you love and care enough about them to come out of your own little world to get immersed in their world. To my surprise, I ended up being taught by a group that traveled Germany for 40 days performing their authentic Palestinian dance! LOVE and DANCE…. Two very simple words, yet you can touch worlds with Jesus when you use them.

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Both Sides of the Wall by Tamika Wyche Greenidge

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Since our arrival in Bethlehem we’ve been unable to escape the reality of “the wall.” A wall in and of itself is not a good or a bad thing until you place it in its proper context. Depending upon what side of the wall you’re on and how it has affected your life is what will determine in what light it is seen.

Being here, we’ve seen the impact of how a physical structure has shaped the lives of individuals and impacted generations. Although we tell ourselves, “we would never,” the reality of it is that we have. We’ve allowed walls to be built in our lives and we’ve even participated in building a couple of walls. At first glance, it would seem silly to allow a structure to shape what kind of person we are, but daily we encounter obstacles, situations, and people who help to shape the very fabric of who we are more than our relationship with God. And in return, we create, build and erect things in our lives that God’s stamp of approval is not on. When we allow this to happen, since we do not see a physical structure being built in our midst, it is a bit harder to assess the character and worth of what we’ve allowed to be built in our life until successes are obtained or losses are experienced.

While here, I’ve really been challenged to start examining and assessing the things I do and my approach to life on a daily basis. Does it build the character of Christ, and what’s its worth? 1 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) states, “The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.”

Each and every thing God does builds character, integrity and brings honor to Him. Despite what may come our way and no matter what side of the wall we are, on we should be able to see Christ in our works.

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Among the Living Stones

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Fall17 Glocal Trip – Our team arrived to the beautiful Holy Land, while this has become a second home to three of our team members, for two of us, it is our first time. The unknown of what the trip and country would be like has quickly been put at ease as the hospitality of our driver and the people where we are staying is so loving and caring. Our first official day started off by driving to several sites to see where Jesus walked this earth and began His ministry. We passed through the Judaean desert where Jesus fasted, moving to the Jordan river where Jesus was baptized by John, to Nazareth where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary announcing that she was with child. We witnessed where Jesus declared the prophesy of Isaiah and where the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish were multiplied. Our team was able to put our feet in the Sea of Galilee and look out to the beautiful home site where Peter lived. To be honest it was an amazing day of site seeing.

Day two started off with a statement; “many people come to the Holy Land to look at the dead stones but, little is said about the living stones.” This is where the Lord revealed the beauty of His work in what He is doing in and through His Church. This is not a site seeing trip but an engagement trip. I’ve seen first hand what domain engagement with some of the leaders in the city serving in the Social Worker domain looks like. We walked through a half-day training session with 13 social workers titled, “Resilience, The Power To Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities.” It was during this training and leading small breakout sessions where we were able to hear the hearts of the people. In the midst of what is taking place in this country there is a peace about the people and the work that each one of them engages in daily with helping others. It was humbling to think “who am I,” to be walking through a training session with these leaders in their field who are bringing comfort and encouragement to the hurting.

This morning, prior to heading out to the session, in my quiet time God revealed Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” I felt God was reminding me not to have the typical American posture of “we have it all figured out,” but to listen and learn from others and allow Jesus to lead the conversation. Today’s session was a display of God’s work, through His people, to grow relationships and to bring conversations to a deep and vulnerable state — showing that each one of us are allowed to walk through adversity so God can be displayed. Today was truly a display of 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Today, our team not only cultivated trust, teamwork, and a better relationship with the people of the Holy Land, we witnessed the living Lord working through us to serve and love-on the living stones that bless and love the city of Bethlehem by serving the social domain.

I can’t wait to see what Jesus does tomorrow!!!

Dan Worrell, Houston Northwest

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