Population: 4.4 million (2011)
Official languages: Arabic
Major religion: Islam
IFES movement: International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)
Although it was recognised by the United Nations in 2012, the State of Palestine is still a disputed area in the Middle East situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the river Jordan. Palestinian Christians are a minority in a population consisting mostly of Muslims and Jews. There is freedom of worship for believers from Christian backgrounds but many Christians are emigrating because of the political and economic situation.
IFES in Palestine
- 11 universities and 32 colleges in the West Bank and Gaza
- 1 IFES group at 1 university; 3 groups meeting in churches (not allowed to meet on campus)
- 1 part-time staff member, 1 volunteer
- graduates help and pray for the ministry
- largest student group in Birzeit University (25 students)
- smallest group in Al-Quds University (3 students)
Currently CSPU has a number of Bible study groups giving students the chance to meet Jesus through studying the Word. The movement also holds leadership and evangelistic conferences every year, as well as fellowship gatherings, celebrations and other activities designed to impact students’ lives. The conferences and fellowship gatherings are typically attended by 150 to 200 students.
One of the distinctives of the ministry of CSPU is its spirit of unity in the Christian family. They maintain good relationships with different church traditions, even beyond the evangelical family, without undermining their evangelical identity. The various challenges the students face, from living under occupation to being a religious minority, empower the sense of unity among the students and give the ministry a unique identity.
View from the inside
The IFES staff worker in Palestine says, ‘I believe that I am called to serve the students in my nation and to be the light of Christ. The word of God keeps me excited about the work.’
He is inspired by 2 Timothy 2:2: ‘And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.’ He is also encouraged by the memory of the faithful leader who mentored him when he was a student.
- for Christian students to see new students coming to Christ and their lives changed;
- for spiritually mature leaders to disciple these students;
- for safety for students in a unstable political climate;
- for wisdom for the staff and the board to lead the movement.