Saturday, September 1, 2012


After being back in the US for just a little over a month, I feel like it's time to finally close the loop and update this blog. I'm back in the US safe and sound, but coming back pretty much broke my heart. I miss Palestine so very much, and not a day goes by that I don't think about returning.

The leaving wasn't too bad. I packed, got on the bus in Bethlehem, and headed for Jerusalem. I met up with the rest of the MCC crew there, and drove to Amman, Jordan. From there, we had a few days of debriefing, and then we flew to London, then Washington, DC. At first, it didn't really hit me that I'd left. I said all my goodbyes, but it wasn't nearly as painful as I'd imagined. The students had already left for the summer, and so I only had to say goodbye to the staff, many of whom had already left for vacation. It was only after I'd left that my heart started to hurt.

MCC's reorientation was fantastic. The Palestine/Jordan team (along with most of the Asia team) were picked up in DC and drove to Akron, PA, where we had a week of restful debriefing and reorientation. It was wonderful to reconnect with the other SALTers and hear all about the adventures that they had in their respective countries. Mennonite Central Committee had some great tips on how to handle reverse-culture shock, and trust me: there has been a lot of that going around.

I am so grateful to MCC for the opportunity to serve in Palestine for a year; I couldn't have asked for a better sending organization. I am so grateful to the MCC Palestine team for their support, faith, and incredible example. I am so grateful to Bethlehem Bible College for welcoming me and caring for me. Truly, I learned more than I taught, I was given more than I gave, and I was loved more than I would have dreamed possible.

Working for change is hard. Working for peace is hard. There were so many times when I got overwhelmed and felt like things would never change. Thank you to each and every person in both Palestine and Israel who proved me wrong. Things are changing. Slowly but surely, they are changing, and I feel honored to have been able to work alongside some unbelievably amazing people (Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals alike) who are all working toward one common goal: to bring peace, justice, and freedom to Occupied Palestine.

The question isn't "if" I'll return to Palestine... it's "when." Right now, I'm catching up with friends, looking for a job (I have an interview next week - cross your fingers for me!), and still trying to readjust to life back in the US. It's a challenge, but one that I'm ready for.

I don't know whether I'll pick this blog back up the next time I head off to the Middle East or whether this is my last entry. Regardless, I want to thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and encouragement over this past year. It has truly been invaluable. I am so glad to have had such an incredible network of people supporting me, and I am thankful for each of you.

Until next time,


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