For the members of First Baptist Church in Palestine, Texas, sharing names with a Middle Eastern territory has led to a connection with Christians on the West Bank.
Pastor Jay Abernathy said a BBC news team taking a Sunday detour from President Bush’s ranch in Crawford gave him the idea to capitalize on the shared name.
“We invited (the BBC team) to our church that Sunday while they were out at the President’s ranch,” Abernathy said. The team asked him if the people in Palestine, Texas, ever associated themselves with Middle Eastern Palestinians. Abernathy said he had never really thought about the name connection.
“That was kind of a catalyst,” missions committee Chairman Breck Quarles said of the BBC visit.
In 2005, a church member alerted Abernathy and Quarles that a Palestinian minister was traveling in Texas and wanted to know if he could speak at their church. After a brief meeting, church leaders at First Baptist agreed.
That Sunday, Munir Kakish spoke to First Baptist in Palestine about needs among his ministries overseas. Kakish lived eight years in an orphanage in Ramallah, located ten miles north of Jerusalem, following his father’s death. After traveling to the United States for college in 1967, he returned to the Holy Land and began ministry there with his wife, Sharon, in 1978.
First Baptist Church showed Kakish overwhelming support.
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