Paul Calvert chats with Ken Moore in Bethlehem about his journey and the mission work he has been doing there as well as in Gambia.
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Paul: Do they have proper toilets like we have here or was it just like a hole in the ground?
Ken: It's pretty much just a hole in the ground, which was a bit of an issue for me, but you know it is what it is, that is their living style and they don't know what a proper flushing toilet is.
Paul: So this was very important work because although it's just chopping down trees its actually preparing for the future for a school?
Ken: Yeah, and some of the plans for the school are to have proper facilities for washrooms and stuff like that. So they are trying to change their system to bring in a better quality system for when these children are going to this school. Even though they don't have a lot they are still striving to get better and to have a better system.
Paul: So you said you went with Samaritans' purse, tell us a little bit about Samaritans' purse and what they do?
Ken: I wasn't really under their covering but because my sister Sherel has been to Gambia already with Samaritans' purse handing out the shoe boxes, which would open up an opportunity for the children that got these boxes. They would have an opportunity to start a school, they would learn about the Lord and everything about Jesus, but they would still teach them schooling. OCC would come in and train people to be able to do the schooling and be able to mentor the children and to start bringing change.
Paul: What struck you about being in Africa?
Ken: Oh my gosh.there is so much. I think even within what I see as poverty there is a sense of community of working together and just happiness. Even though they have nothing they still seem to be very happy, joyous, I don't know how else to put it. They are happy with what they have.
Paul: Have you learned a lot from the trip?
Ken: Oh immensely. I have learned to be thankful for what I have and that it is the blessing of God who has blessed me to have a lot, but I don't need it any more. You know, I am learning that even the short time I was there, to live with nothing I'm still happy. I can be at peace living there, I could live there full time and still be happy with what little they have, I would be sufficiently happy with that.
Paul: And then you have come over to Bethlehem, how has your trip been in Bethlehem?
Ken: I have always longed to come here and a friend of mine had been asking me to come and see Bethlehem in its reality rather than what I see on the news. Even with the conflict that is happening right now, to see it first hand, I have a different perspective between what I see with the Palestinian people and the Israeli people being on both sides of the border. Listening to the conversations on the street, I have a different sense of what the reality is and what the media is telling me. I find it very interesting.
Paul: While you have been here there has been a little bit of conflict as well hasn't there?
Ken: Yes, that is interesting to. As I say for me to experience firsthand. I watched the Palestinian youth and children as they were setting things up to burn, they are moving things like garbage cans in the road, they are slinging rocks, and they are fighting. The Israeli army are coming out with their weapons and at one point I am looking at a rifle pointing in my direction and I see the remains of tear gas bombs. Thank the good Lord I didn't have to experience it firsthand.
Paul: And have you been able to get involved here in ministry as well?
Ken: I have done a little bit but not so much because I am just learning the area and talking with a few people. But at the House of Hope I have been able to do more physical stuff like fixing, setting tiles, you know little things like that I can do around here. But mainly right now it's just to learn the area, to see where I can work if God's grace brings me back. I was very blessed today to go into a refugee camp where I can see my skill set helping there and doing ministry work in that camp.
Paul: Has this given you more of a heart for Israel and the Palestinian Authority?
Ken: I think for both, not just for Palestinian. But in general yes, I very much have a heart to minister to both sides because there is a need everywhere. So whether you are a Palestinian or whether you are an Israeli, there is still need for help on both sides that I see.
Paul: With all this that you have been doing, of course this was your first mission, do you believe that everybody should go on a mission's trip at some point in their life?
Ken: Oh absolutely beyond any shadow of doubt. Do the research, but go. You have to experience first-hand what it is like to be in a poverty situation. God says, 'the fields are ripe, where are my workers?' If you have a chance to go on a ministry trip anywhere, I strongly urge you to do it. Spend the time, learn what it is like to live that way, you will have greater understanding and respect for what is there.
Paul: You are actually meant to be flying out very early in the morning, is your plane still running? What has happened?
Ken: Yes we found out this morning that our planes are not grounded, they are as of right now still able to meet our flight time at 1 am in the morning, so yes we are going to be able to fly out on time. I think because of all the rockets and all the turmoil that is happening they've grounded all the flights out of the airport but right now, I am not sure if it is a cease fire but everything is very calm right now so the flights are still going as planned.
Paul: Yeah, we have had quite a number, maybe 400 or so rockets coming from Gaza into Israel and that doesn't necessarily affect here in Bethlehem, you probably haven't seen anything of that. But what are your family and people thinking about this back at home knowing and seeing this in the news and knowing that you are here in Israel even though you haven't really seen anything?
Ken: Yeah well I am getting a lot of notes and massages saying "Get home, come home, why aren't you coming home?, Are you OK?, what is going on?, are you safe?, are you being attacked?" Yeah so they are seeing what the media is showing them, I am showing them a little bit of what I am seeing in reality so rest assured, I'm OK, I am not in danger. It is very interesting they are very worried for me and they want me home as soon as possible, I keep telling them it's OK we are safe here.
Paul: You came at a very difficult time. Will you be coming back?
Ken: I will definitely come back, with more wisdom than I came the first time, so yes I will definitely come back.
Paul: What is your prayer for Israel and Palestine?
Ken: Oh my gosh, my prayer would be restitution, where Isaac and Ishmael can come together back as a family, the way God intended it to.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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