Sorting through discord: Update from Jerusalem

Group 236

A YAWG group explores their surroundings, here at a cave in Petra, Jordan.

A YAGM group explores their surroundings, here at a cave in Petra, Jordan.

“People here have said that if you’re here for a week, you want to go home and write a book about it; for a month, you want to write an article; for a year, you’re too frustrated to write anything at all,” relays Michelle Steiner of her experience in Jerusalem with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program*. But she tackles the task in her latest news update (dated March 1, 2012).

“Every day that I am here is another day of experiences that fills out the ideas of ‘occupation’ and ‘conflict’ in my mind, adding more and more facets to my awareness of the situation. As much as I feel obligated to convey my experiences and observations of life here, I also feel obligated to not rush to judgments without a full understanding of the context, or at least as complete of an understanding as is possible over the course of several months,” Steiner writes.

Striving to be “neither watered down nor sensationalized,” Steiner describes with words and pictures the political situation in which she is immersed.** Read her observations in her full update (pdf file).

* Steiner’s home congregation is Good Samaritan Lutheran Church in Lanham, Md. Each year, YAGM sends about 50 young adults to serve through an accompaniment model of mission with churches around the world. Steiner was selected in April 2011 to serve in Jerusalem/West Bank for the 2011-2012 cycle of the program.

** Steiner invites questions regarding the observations she’s shared. “I will do my best to provide an answer or point you to a resource that may be helpful. You can do so by going to the ‘questions’ page on my blog ( and leaving a comment.”