Making Christmas more special in Bethlehem

ICEJ Aid relief-work

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9 Jan 2013
Making Christmas more special in Bethlehem

A week before Christmas, the streets of Bethlehem were surprisingly quiet. But as we reached the First Baptist Church in Bethlehem that bright Sunday morning, inside the church was bustling. Greeted by Pastor Naim Khoury, we found the church auditorium filled with children’s laughter and cheery Christmas music.

Now the largest Evangelical church in the Palestinian areas, Pastor Khoury started the congregation over thirty years ago, first in a one bedroom apartment and a few years later in a beautiful church building that can seat 400 people. Today, it also has several rooms for Sunday school, a small basketball court and a playground.

Sunday morning is when the children come together to study the Bible. Most adults come to worship on Sunday afternoon, since it is a work day in Bethlehem. But this morning the children are accompanied not only by their Sunday school teachers, but also by the pastors and many parents – as it is time for Christmas celebrations!

For several years now, the Christian Embassy has partnered with the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem to bring smiles to these children’s faces. The city, best known as the birthplace of Jesus, is not an easy place to live. Since over 80% of the city’s population is now Muslim, the followers of Jesus do not have much influence anymore. Many of the Arab Christians do not have jobs, yet they do not lose hope.

“We feel blessed to see how God is taking care of us,” assured Pastor Khoury. “We are grateful to the Christians from around the world who help us. This is especially needed in winter time.”

Several ICEJ staff from Jerusalem joined church members in distributing Christmas gifts to the children. The gift packages included warm sweatshirts, trousers, packs of socks and other winter clothing. The ICEJ purchased the goods in appropriate sizes for all the children thanks to an inventory done in advance by the Sunday school teachers.

Pastor Khoury’s ministry has been steadily growing and today is active also in the Old City of Jerusalem and in Jericho. The ICEJ sponsored Christmas gifts for children in these fellowships as well. Altogether, about 280 Christian Arab children were blessed in the Christmas distribution through First Baptist Church.

Thanks to our faithful donors worldwide, many Christian Arab children now have warm clothes for the winter. Please give to ICEJ AID to help us meet more needs like this. Donate at



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