Dahar Nassar 2014 explaining The Tent of Nations to KIVU Students
Much is being written today about the Love Jesus calls us to extend to our neighbors and our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48) The days of the “Christian Country Club” are coming to an end as a new generation of Jesus followers are willing to risk reputation to love with exuberance.
But as many of us try to spread the word of Loving our Enemies, few of us have the opportunity to really put it into practice.
In America, Loving our Enemies is praying silently for a boss, while we get frustrated behind his back.
It often takes form when neighbors have conflict and someone prays, “God please change their heart” without any real honest evaluation on either parties potential fault.
It may even look like our yielding to the command that we “pray for our leadership in government,” but when the rubber really meets the road we badmouth them with our fellow political friends.
But what if that government came to destroy your property?
Imagine if you woke up one night, and the government came to destroy the family farm? Let’s imagine this farm had been in your family for nearly 100 years, and to add insult to injury, the same government that came to destroy your farm actually signed the deed to your grandfather who was the patriarch of the family business. What would you think if that government came to take away everything you worked for your entire life? Would you stand by and say, “Well, it must be God’s will” and cower to the corner of society? Or would you take initiative to figure out how to stop them? Maybe, you would take the high road and learn to love.
What if that government came to destroy your neighbor’s farm?
I know it’s probably a little far reached to think anything in America would happen where the government would commendear your property, but what if they came to destroy your neighbor’s farm? What if they bulldozed through all the corn fields, the bean fields, and slaughtered the cattle on your neighbor’s ranch? Would you sit idly quiet while everything your neighbor worked for their whole lives was gone up in smoke? Would you sit by and justify the actions of the government based on some offense your neighbor made against them, and thereby allowing it to happen?
Let’s say your neighbor has been nothing but kind to you.
Let’s imagine they have always abided by the law, they’ve committed no sin against the powers that be, and in fact; constantly invite people to come and dine with them with their fresh vegetables and home cooked meals.
Would you just stand by and say, “It’s God’s Will?”
What if your neighbor was a Jesus Following Man or Woman of God?
Would it change the situation if you knew your neighbor was following Jesus? Let’s imagine they committed their lives to following the principles of Jesus, they mentored young children by giving portions of their land to summer camp for kids from all over the world. They hired internationals to come and work the land and in doing so, created a ministry to teach others how to follow Jesus and love their neighbors and their enemies.
Would you now allow the government bulldozers to force their way in your God Fearing, People Loving, Peaceful Farming Community for no other reason than they cite immenant domain?
Maybe you haven’t heard, but this is EXACTLY what’s happening to my friend Daoud Nassar on his family farm.
A short film story of the Tent of Nations by my friend Porter Speakman Jr.
I’ve been to the Tent of Nations several times over the last few years, and when I take my friends it’s always their favorite part of the trip. The Nassar’s have always been so gracious to stop what their doing to accommodate our groups and tell their story of Loving their Enemy.
When you first walk on the farm, they’ve placed a large painted rock with the words, WE REFUSE TO BE ENEMIES!
And once you know the story, you see how impactful this message really is.
David’s grandfather started the farm. They have documented land titles going all the way back to 1916 and the Ottoman Empire, Jordanian Rule, British Rule, and even documented ownership by the Israeli court system. They’ve turned their farm into a sustainable olive grove/fruit orchard employing the brain trust of hundreds of nations to provide clean energy. And on top of it all, the Nassar family started a summer camp to teach Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children about peace and loving one another.
Since 1991, the family has spent an enormous amount of financial resources in government fees to produce the documents the Israeli court has asked for. Each time, they are found to be the lawful owners of the farm. But each time they’re met with resistance.
KIVU students hearing from Dahar about the way they produce on the land March 2014
The government won’t let the Nassar family improve the farm, build on the farm, or expand. Each time they apply for a new building structure or water sister system, the government conveniently denies their request. While Settlements pop up all over their valley with fresh running water, swimming pools for children to play in, and massive community buildings for the comfort of the Settlements; Daoud and his family are living within the earth worn structures they’ve always lived in, prohibited from growing into the 21st Century.
On May 19, 2014 8 government bulldozers rolled into the farm and destroyed over 1500 of the farm’s trees.
Imagine this guy rolling down your road with one intention: To destroy everything your family has worked towards for the last 100 years. How long would you stand in defiance of the anger, hurt, and rage that boils inside you?
Because when this guy gets done, your crops start looking like this:
This is a before and after picture. The first is the valley with a grove of fruit bearing trees. The second is the pathway for new construction aimed at removing the Nasser family from the premises.
Two KIVU students see a Greenhouse made out of Recycled Water Bottles at The Tent of Nations March 2014
The reason I admire Daoud and his family to date is their complete resolve to chase the reflex of hate out of their DNA. They REFUSE TO BE ENEMIES with those who seek to destroy them. They’re message is one of peace in the face of the bulldozer. They embrace the love of Jesus and wish to extend that love to all their neighbors, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist; they just want to get the message of peace and love out to the world where it’s needed the most. They live like Jesus.
I admire you Daoud and Dahar for showing the world how you can love in the midst of such incredible adversity.
Our family prays for you today.
And for you who are reading this blog today, I covet your prayers for my friends.
They have a long road ahead, and this must be a time of intense demoralization.
Would you join them in prayer?
You can find more information on The Tent of Nations on their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/tentofnations?fref=nf
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