The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Child 406

'The pain, with love, we will make it something for others'

Sometimes the indwelling Christ is crystal clear in a human life. Sometimes it shimmers with the holiness to which all are called and the breathtaking beauty of the One who calls. Take George Sa’adeh, for example. Take him to heart.

George is the principal of a Greek Orthodox school in Beit Sahour, immediately east of Bethlehem just south of Jerusalem. Beit Sahour means “house of the watchers,” where shepherds have tended flocks for centuries. Now George keeps watch over several hundred children—and over his own tortured soul. He does so by telling a single story.

I met him at a student art show at his school. One work included a photo of a young girl with a gentle smile and magnetic black eyes. She drew me back to gaze and wonder: Who is this girl who glows?

That’s when George approached me with his story. “Her name is Christine,” he told me. “She is my daughter. She was 12. She’s child 406.”

The day before Easter 2003, George, his wife and two daughters were driving near the center of old Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers, then occupying this Palestinian town, mistook his car for that of a terrorist and poured 300 to 400 shots into the vehicle.

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February issue


Embracing diversity