A Day in Haifa and Akko

On Friday, September 21st, 15 women joined Sabeel for a day trip to Haifa for a tour of the Baha’i Gardens. The breathtaking gardens offered serene tranquility and lifted our spirits. Our second stop was the Greek Catholic Church’s organization, “House of Grace.”We heard about the history of the church and the good works this organization provides for the community is an inspiration as well as a reminder of the importance of extending a helping hand to those in need. The church hosts newly released prisoners, offering them sociological help from a specialist and helping them attain the skills needed to return to live in the community.In addition, support is extended in some cases to the former prisoners’ families.

The aim of this visit was to highlight the ministry of a Christian organization that serves all people regardless of color, religion and nationality. We felt that the message this organization is giving has to be shared with our own community.

Our second stop was to Akko for an outstanding lunch of fish by the sea. The atmosphere with the rolling waves beside the restaurant was pure relaxation and a scene one would never tire of. After lunch, Olivia El Attrash,a guide from Akko, provided a detailed tour of the old city. The presence felt in the churches we visited was surreal, especially St. Georges Church and his tomb. Ms.Attrash took us through the narrow lanes of Akko and told us about the political situation in Akko, highlighting the difficulties the people there are facing in their daily lives as Palestinians living inside Israel. We were all shocked to see the dirty streets that reflected a system that neglected the Palestinian neighborhoods in Akko.

We learned how the Palestinian Christians and Muslims are living together and sharing the same struggle, both steadfast for their cause. One of the powerful signs we saw was “My house is not for sale,” reflecting their determination to stay on their land and in their homes.
Before we headed home we sailed in the sea and enjoyed the wind and the waves; we felt we needed to take a deep breath after a long day full of diverse visits. At the end of the day, we felt blessed to have the opportunity to share fellowship with such lovely ladies in a part of the world where most people only dream about visiting. It was a day of total peace and a reflection of still more of God’s great work.