What Really Went Down in Bethlehem – Kailah’s Version
“I think tonight might actually end up being more of a children’s event than a youth event…”
My dad and I were stepping off the stage after a soundcheck in the West Bank.
“Really?” I looked around the room and noticed a few little kids climbing up the giant BMX ramp that our team had spent the afternoon setting up in the center of the event hall.
He might be right.
I was bummed.
I love talking to kids about the love of Jesus, but I had been hoping that tonight would be different. I’m seventeen years old and tonight I had been looking foward to sharing about the hope that I’ve found in Jesus with other teenagers from Bethlehem.
Were we going to miss the chance to reach MY generation of Palestinian young people?
I glanced over to the glass doors as I went to take a seat in the back of the room, and I noticed small groups of teenage boys and girls begin to trickle through the doors. Some girls were wearing traditional muslim hijab and others were in church t-shirts. I smiled slightly and exhaled deeply without realizing it as I watched them scatter throughout the room.
Some took seats at the few tables that were not stacked up with chairs, others stood, looking curiously at the large bike ramp that clearly did not belong in the large room that was obviously designed as a wedding reception hall. Still others sat in the two rows of seats directly in front of the stage.
Loud pop music began to fill the room and the Arabic words of the local anouncer cut through the vibration of the bass line. Someone dimmed the main lights and neon strobes started flashing around the room – our reception hall had just turned into a Palestinian nightclub.
And then our BMX riders rode out into the room, splitting the crowd into two rows of amazed teens.
One of our talented musician friends performed and, shortly afterward, we went on stage and sang, substituting Arabic phrases for several of our American choruses.
Once we had finished, an evangelist friend stepped onto the stage and began speaking to the crowd about the incredible love of Jesus, explaining how to enter into a real relationship with Him.
As he spoke, I noticed a young man in his twenties in the front row, he was listening intently, his eyes focused on the stage.
“God please show him how much You love him…”
I prayed silently, but I meant it.
But it was hard to imagine what was going on in his mind – he was seated with a small group of teenagers and several times I noticed him begin conversation with his friend to the left and the girl in a hijab behind him.
Maybe this wouldn’t turn out like I’d hoped…
Was I wrong? Had I misread the situation?
I glanced around the room, and I noticed how many teens had actually come out to this event. Teens from across this mostly Muslim area that had been invited through friends and connections throughout the weeks leading up to this point, had come, whether they knew it or not, to hear this simple message of the Gospel that can change any life.
Jesus says in John 6:44, “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…”
God himself had drawn these people here, and I knew that the decisions of every one of the teenagers, including the young man seated in the front row, were completely in God’s hands. And I knew that I could rest in this – I knew that God was able to draw the hearts of these people that he loved so much.
The evangelist was sharing the truth: how we’ve all messed up and put up walls between us and God, but how God, in His ABUNDANT love, sent his son Jesus to die for the sins that we’ve committed… How Jesus died willingly for us, defeating death… And how He rose again. He went on to explain that all of us can experience forgiveness by admitting that we’ve sinned, believing that Jesus is who He says He is, and calling on His name – that by saying “yes” to Jesus we can enter into – not just a religion – but a RELATIONSHIP with our Creator.
He then asked everyone to bow their heads and invited anyone who wanted to recieve this gift to raise their hand. I glanced up to see the response and I smiled to myself as I saw, among the many raised hands, the young man in the front row with his arm boldy outstretched to recieve the life giving gift of Jesus’ love.
I knew that this young man’s life, along with many of his friends’ lives, would change forever today.
And this is why we do what we do.
Over the course of our time in Israel and the West Bank, we saw hundreds of people from many different backgrounds respond to the incredible, life-changing message of Jesus, and we were deeply impacted by the love of God for these beautiful people. We’ve also had the privilege of watching God move powerfully over the last year. We saw thousands respond to Jesus in twelve nations and territories on five continents – now we’re just finishing up a packed few months of events in Israel, the West Bank, and across the American Midwest, and we’re preparing for some exciting opportunities to share the love of Jesus in France, Belize, Pakistan, and beyond. THANK YOU for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide.
Our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field. Thank you so much, friends, and God bless you! You can also listen to our latest CD, LOVE IS WIDE on ITUNES or SPOTIFY. Also JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – CLICK HERE for our full 2017 Ministry Report. Check it out and enjoy!
Kailah and White Ribbon Day
Also, check out our just-released acoustic collaboration with HISPOP HERE - filmed live in Malta!