Our Story

THE PEOPLE

Living Stones. This is the term Palestinian Christians living in the Holy Land use to describe themselves. Many of these Christians trace their family lineage for generations in this land—back to the time of Pentecost! In 1948, Christians in the Holy Land made up about 30%. Now that number is a staggering 1.5% in both Israel and Palestine combined! According to Reuters, about 80% of these Christians identify ethnically as Arab (tracing their lineage to early Aramaic-speaking Christians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and later, Crusaders) and 50,000 live in Palestine, most in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem (Israel). Why the astounding decrease in the Christian population? Life is difficult in the West Bank. Simply put, there are better living standards and opportunities in other countries so they are emigrating. This is an agonizing decision for many families because they feel a responsibility to maintain the presence of Christians in the place where Christianity was born.

 

The term “Living Stones” is straight out of the Bible; 1 Peter 2:4-5 says “As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

 

OUR COMMITMENT 

As fellow believers, these Living Stones are our brothers and sisters. We are united by our common love of Christ. In Bethlehem and the surrounding cities of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, olive wood craft is one of the major ways for residents to sustain themselves. The tradition of carving olive wood has been passed down through families for generations. Our heart is to come alongside these artisans and invest in their lives by making their beautiful products available to people around the world. You may never have the opportunity to meet one of these Living Stones from Bethlehem, but you can help us directly impact their livelihood and lives.

 

THE RESULT

A VOICE. Your purchase makes tangible the voice of these Palestinian artists. Whether it is a bowl or kitchen utensil or a beautiful piece that sits on your mantle or hangs on your wall, every time you see it or use it, remember the hands that made it. Remember the land from whence it came. Remember the people who need our prayers and support.

 

HOPE. You’re not just buying a hand-carved piece of art. You’re investing in seeds of hope. Beyond supporting the income of the artists themselves, Hands of Bethlehem sets aside funds to pour back into the community through things like purchases of new equipment or assisting with unaffordable repairs for the artists, through helping a child attend Christian private school, through helping a local outreach to people with disabilities… the needs are endless. As your purchase enables us to help this community, hope grows.

 

SUSTAINABILITY. With your purchase of any of these works of art, you indirectly become the Hands of Bethlehem, reaching into the heart of these communities, investing in their future, and giving the Living Stones a reason to stay in their homeland, the birthplace of Christ.