We laid on the cold tile floor of cabin 41, heads facing the dusty ground as trembling hands covered the backs of our head. Silence, not a single word was spoken. The thundering hearts of fourteen girls awaited an earstriking, heart wrenching “boom” underneath the seemingly protected cover of a bunk bed. Just one minute ago soccer balls were flying every which way, water balloons were being dodged while little girls sat on benches braiding one another’s hair. Loud sirens sent the hundred children and teenagers inside the cabin they call home for the week.
It was the midst of the Musalaha Summer Camp, a reconciliation camp initiative to bring Palestinian and Israeli kids together, I was interning for the summer and counseling kids at the summer camp. There was a lot of uncertainty and concern leading up to the summer camp. The
2014 War on Gaza had just began and tensions were rising. Musalaha, which means reconciliation in Arabic chose to be courageous in the face of fear, believing God is the light that enters the dark places. It was a leap of faith.
It was a sound I had never heard before, it was a sound no one should ever hear or feel. As a small town girl from Texas, this is like nothing I had ever experienced. The sound vibrated the room. Every instinct within me wanted to jump up and look around the room and check if everyone and everything was still in place or take a look outside to see the destruction. But what felt like a backyard explosion was nearly ten kilometers away. I looked up, looked around the room and suddenly something extraordinary happened.
It started with the beautiful words of a ten year old girl, speaking to Jesus in her national language, Hebrew. Her soft voice was instantaneous peace. There wasn’t but a moment of silence until the girl lying next to her followed her lead, but this time it was spoken in Arabic. And suddenly a ripple effect waved through the room as every single girl lifted up her own special prayer in the unique language she familiarizes with God.
Peace overwhelmed the walls of cabin 41.
As the prayers concluded, another extraordinary thing happened.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, I am weak but He is strong…”
As I looked around the room at the ten young lives we four leaders were responsible for this week, it was as if a consuming cloud of comfort filled the room. We were His little ones. He was looking out for each and every one of us in this moment.
It was not as if we could do anything about the missile in that moment, or the three other missiles that happened that week. We were weak in a moment of power and destruction. But there was an overcoming power that took over, and that was the love and the strength of Jesus that held fourteen Palestinian, Israeli and American girls in His loving arms.