Befriending Bethlehem Believers

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Three dozen adults from Christian Reformed churches across North America traveled to the West Bank in Palestine this past summer to encourage Christians there.

Led by Bart and Pat DenBoer of Calvary CRC in Holland, Mich., and Jeff and Karen Blamer from Third CRC in Kalamazoo, Mich., group members hailed from British Columbia, Ontario, Washington, California, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan.

They served alongside believers in Bethlehem, working at a refugee camp, helping local farmers, assisting at medical clinics, and more. They also worshiped with Palestinian Christians.

Marcel DeRegt, youth pastor at Cornerstone CRC in Chilliwack, British Columbia, said the trip, organized by IDEA Ministries, changed his mental image of the area. “It took all my childhood imagery of Bible stories and shattered it—the trip rebuilt the stories,” he said.

Pat DenBoer said she now has a greater understanding of the culture and geography of what used to be “just names” in the Bible.

Jeff Blamer recalled watching a farmer in the West Bank being squeezed out by Israeli settlements. “It was heart-wrenching,” he said.

“The very presence of other Christian believers from around the world encourages these Palestinian believers,” said Bart DenBoer.

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