House of Hope by Ann Pawson

 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matt 25: 35-36

From the bus stop we walked in the blistering heat through the streets of Bethlehem to our next interview, to meet the director of a children’s home. We were greeted warmly by Salim, the director, who took us to his office. In the cool interior we drank Turkish coffee and listened as he told us about the home. Through the window we could hear the thwack of balls, music, laughter and the sounds of children and young people at play.

We were then invited to meet the children, I reluctantly stepped out into the heat but  instantly my reluctance was replaced by overwhelming  joy and laughter as all four of us were each immediately surrounded by smiling children and young people greeting us with “hello” and “where do you come from”. This is the House of Hope.

The House of Hope was started in 1963 by a blind Palestinian lady, May Ladah known fondly as Aunty May, to care for the needs of vulnerable young people from Bethlehem and the surrounding area. This brave lady stepped out in faith, relying on God to meet the needs of herself and those in her care, a testament to the verse on the logo, In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.’ Psalm 31:1

Today the House of Hope ministers to young people and adults who are blind and children with special needs.

Their Mission Statement: Through the love of Jesus Christ we want to see the children of the House of Hope loved, valued and cared for. Our desire is to help develop in them the practical skills needed, giving them hope while building a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord; to be a benefit to their families and community.

The House of Hope carries out its mission through:

A day care centre for children who are blind and visually impaired from Bethlehem and the surrounding areas,

A boarding home for children with special needs and blind children and young adults,

A workshop that provides employment for young men from Bethlehem who are visually impaired,

A Guest House that’s open to visitors.

To meet the needs of the children and young adults in its care the House of Hope needs donors to cover daily operational costs, prayer partners to pray for their ministry to disadvantaged families and   volunteers to assist with children’s activities and general maintenance.

… Reluctantly we said our goodbyes and made our way darting cars and buses through the noisy, traffic choked streets of Bethlehem to our next appointment.

Visit www.hohbethlehem.org for more information.

About the author: Ann Pawson is a trustee of The Olive Tree Reconciliation Fund