NYE ‘Feels’

The National Youth Event in Orlando, Florida – what an interesting few days! Minerva and I did not know what we were signed up for, but it turned out great. The relaxing atmosphere of NYE was a welcomed contrast to the intensity of each camp.

As the two Palestinian Peace Interns, we were paired up for a workshop together to talk about our life living under Occupation. We were given a conference room that seats about 70 people, and two workshop times for two days, an hour each. Our first workshop had about 15 people show up, most of whom were adults. This wasn’t very encouraging to us because we were at the National Youth Event! After all, we were to reach the youth.

Our next workshop had a better turnout with about 20 people, still a majority of whom were adult chaperones. Then that night I ran into Lisa. I shared with her our story as Peace Interns from Palestine, and asked if she would tell those she knew at the conference to find our workshop and experience it.

The next day our first workshop had people tell us that they were there because Lisa recommended it. We had a total of 40 people that time. Lisa, if you are reading this I just want to thank you for being so kind! You made the NYE week so much better.

At the end of that workshop, it was sinking in that we had only one workshop left after that one and that we had reached a total of 75 people at an event that was hosting 3,000 people – this was not nearly enough. So I told those attending this: If you honestly felt that you learned something here that is of any importance, please tell your friends to come to the next workshop because it will be the last workshop we have. It will be the last opportunity to share our story of living in Palestine with all of you at NYE.”

What happened next was beautiful

The final workshop was full and even had a few people standing in the back! Many of them expressed that they were there at the recommendation of a friend. There was even one boy who had been in the earlier workshop and stood outside the doors of our small conference room trying to recruit other youth to come in!  I apologize for not having the opportunity to learn your name, but sincerely thank you for your passion that day.

I thank God for the platform to share our story with so many people this summer.

I am thankful for finding those who developed a passion for our story by attending our workshop.

I pray that your passion goes beyond just that day and beyond just you, but also comes to life in the world.

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