November 17th, 2010 by admin


Peace Through Conflict

Peace Through Conflict

Sahar Qumsiyeh

At A Glance

Beit Sahour, West Bank, Palestine, November 2010

Raised near Bethlehem, only a few blocks away from the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Sahar Qumsiyeh intimately knows places that are considered holy by many religions. However, this significant area is marked by conflict and war, and as a Palestinian, Sahar faced barriers (both figurative and literal) to joining the Church. In this interview, Sahar describes how her introduction to the Church and understanding of the gospel enabled her to overcome the feelings of anger and frustration that accompanied her life in this turbulent region.

How did you convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

After receiving my undergraduate degree in math at Bethlehem University and teaching at an elementary school in Bethlehem for a year, I received a full scholarship for a master’s degree at American University in Washington, D.C. I was really excited and planning on going there, but then I saw an advertisement offering scholarships to Brigham Young University for Palestinians. Even though I already had a good scholarship to the American University, I decided to apply to BYU and was accepted to a program for a master’s degree in statistics.

Everyone, including my family, told me not to go to BYU. I had also heard strange things about the Mormons, which made me discouraged. Despite this, I had a feeling that I should go there, and although I didn’t understand why, I couldn’t walk away from that feeling. So I ended up attending BYU. I was scared, but I went and felt at home.

I wasn’t really interested in the Mormon Church, and the thought of joining the church never crossed my mind. I was raised Christian—my family is Greek Orthodox—although over the years, my parents lost interest in religion. I personally lost faith in God; because of many injustices that I had witnessed in Palestine. I thought that God must hate Palestinians because we were oppressed and the situation was really bad. I said my prayers, but didn’t think that God would listen or answer.


At BYU, one of my friends invited me to church and I went, but it was very different from what I grew up with and I wasn’t interested in returning. But then it was General Conference, and my friends told me that they were going to listen to the prophet speak. I thought it was really strange that the Mormons believed there was a living prophet on the earth. I called my mom and said, “Mother, do you know what the Mormons think?” But I was curious and I decided to listen to what the prophet—at that time President Hunter—had to say. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he referred to my land as “Palestine” and that was a really big deal to me. After the Israeli occupation, Palestinians lost our identity and few people around the world recognize that we have the right to a land or a country; a lot of people call this country “Israel.” My country, Palestine, doesn’t even exist on a map. The word “Israel” shows up in its place. So hearing an American call my country “Palestine” meant a lot to me.

After conference, I asked a friend to tell me about the Church. She told me everything: she started with the creation of Adam and told me all the details of the restoration. Other people in the room said that she was confusing me by telling me everything at once, but it all made sense; when you hear it all at once, it is simple and perfect. I started to show interested in the Church. One of my friends gave me an Arabic Book of Mormon and told me to read 3 Nephi 11 and pray about it. I thought that didn’t make sense to pray about a chapter in a book, so I decided to read the entire book instead. It took me a few months to read but I knew it was true; I didn’t have to ask Heavenly Father if it was true. I started going to Church and I decided to get baptized.

If other people had tried to convert me, I likely would have walked away. But my BYU friends just left me alone. That was good because I took my time to learn about the church on my own.

How did your family react to your decision to be baptized?

When I told my family, they said that the Mormons had brainwashed me. They said I was crazy to even think about getting baptized. Their reaction was very difficult for me, so much so that I decided not to go through with the baptism. But I attended a friend’s baptism and I knew that was what I needed to do. I was finally baptized on February 4, 1996.


I have now been an LDS church member for more than 14 years. Over the years, most of my family has accepted my membership in the Church. But my mom still tries to convince me to leave the Church. Others in my family think that I’m lost and confused, but they don’t say anything about it anymore. They know that I’m happy and they’re fine with that. I was so miserable in Palestine before I went to BYU. After joining the Church, I was scared to go home; I thought I would be unhappy again and I thought it would be difficult because my family wouldn’t accept my membership in the Church. But I have been happy, even through difficult situations and even though my family tried everything possible to encourage me to leave the Church.

What has been your experience as a member of the Church in Palestine?

It was really difficult being a member of the Church when I returned to Palestine after being baptized in Utah. There were two other members of the church in the Bethlehem area, but at the time I didn’t know them. I felt very alone. Also, I couldn’t go to church much of the time, because I lived in the West Bank and the Israelis imposed travel restrictions on Palestinians living in the West Bank. I wasn’t allowed to enter Jerusalem and I often had to sneak into Jerusalem to get to church. Yet I had the Holy Ghost with me and that helped a lot; having that joy and peace inside took care of everything.

I grew up a few blocks away from Christ’s birthplace in Bethlehem. However, I never felt that site, or others in Jerusalem had any significance to me personally. I believed in God, but did not understand many things about the Gospel. I hated living in Bethlehem and thought I was cursed for being Palestinian, because we had very few human rights and were not treated with dignity. Even though I grew up in the Holy Land, I had to travel across the world to Provo, Utah to get to know my Savior. After I was baptized and returned home, my view completely changed. I felt blessed to be Palestinian and to have the opportunity to live where my Savior lived. Every tree, every site, and every street reminds me of my Savior and what He has done for me. Out of all the places He could have chosen to be born, He chose my little town of Bethlehem.

Even though I grew up in the Holy Land, I had to travel across the world to Provo, Utah to get to know my Savior. After I was baptized and returned home, my view completely changed.... Out of all the places He could have chosen to be born, He chose my little town of Bethlehem.

Can you explain more about the restrictions that made it difficult for you to get to church?

Before 1987, Palestinians living in the West Bank were able to travel freely to any area in the Holy Land. The restrictions imposed by the state of Israel started increasing gradually. At first they stopped allowing us to drive outside the West Bank. Then they stopped allowing taxis, then buses. After that, they started restricting individuals from traveling outside the West Bank at all. Many checkpoints were established on various roads leading out of Palestinian cities. Different checkpoints allowed selected individuals—such as women or men over age 50—to exit their cities (and go to Jerusalem, for example). The restrictions increased until no one was allowed to travel, except for the select few who worked in Jerusalem and were able to get a proper permit to enter Jerusalem. In 2003, Israel began building the separation wall:  a 20-foot-high concrete wall that surrounds many Palestinian cities. The wall was designed to control Palestinian movement through designated openings in the wall. Now, permits are given to very few individuals, and the checkpoints that were simply roadblocks 15 years ago are now bigger than an airport terminal. Because all travelers are searched thoroughly, the few who work in Jerusalem have to wait in line at checkpoints for hours each morning to get to work.

For many years, I didn’t have papers to enter Jerusalem—where the Jerusalem Branch (at that time, the only branch in the Holy Land) meets—and it was very difficult to get to church. During the early years, I was able to sneak into Jerusalem by climbing hills and avoiding the checkpoints the Israeli soldiers placed at the main roads leading out of Bethlehem. Later it became more difficult as soldiers and checkpoints were placed almost everywhere. After the separation wall was built around Bethlehem, it became very dangerous and difficult to get into Jerusalem. Even after entering the city, one had to remain cautious, because soldiers would stop people and ask them for their papers.

Do you still struggle to get to church today?

The last time I snuck into Jerusalem for church was in 2007. At that time, the only way to enter Jerusalem was through a small hole in the separation wall. The hole was small—maybe a foot or two wide—and it was located about 90 minutes from my house, so I had to take a taxi to get there. Soldiers usually stood guard on the other side of the wall, so I had to wait for the Israeli soldiers to move away before climbing through the hole. We went through the wall in groups and people were assigned to watch the soldiers and then they signaled to the rest of us when it was safe to go through the hole. I waited for about 30 minutes before the soldiers left, and then everyone squeezed through the hole. Then we had to run to another wall that was about 10 feet high and made of concrete. Someone lifted me up to climb the wall, and then I jumped down the 10 feet on the other side. It was rainy and muddy on the last day I snuck into Jerusalem. That day, I ran and hid behind a building, waited until a bus came, then jumped onto the bus and rode into Jerusalem.

Later, at church, a friend asked me what would happen if I were caught. I said, “I’ve never had to find out. I’ve been sneaking into Jerusalem to attend church for years, and I’ve never been caught.” A lot of times, I felt like I was invisible, because other people would be stopped and caught and I would get through. But that same day, as I was going home on the bus, soldiers stopped the bus. Two people—another man and I—didn’t have permission to be in Jerusalem. They took us off the bus and detained us for an hour. We were forced to sign papers that said, “I was found in Jerusalem on this date.” I was lucky because after we signed their paper, they let us go.

A lot of times, I felt like I was invisible, because other people would be stopped and caught and I would get through.

After that day, I was physically and emotionally exhausted from the stress of trying to get to church. For years prior, I sat in church thinking, “How can I get home without being caught?” and it took away from the focus of worship. I had promised Heavenly Father that I would try to go to church every week if I was able to, and I tried every week; sometimes I was able to make it through the checkpoints and sometimes I wasn’t, but I always tried. However, after that last time, I didn’t want to do it anymore. I prayed and said, “Heavenly Father, I am tired. Please provide me with another way to get to church.”

Not long after that experience, I started my current job with the United Nations as a database analyst. As a U.N. employee, I have proper papers that allow me to enter Jerusalem for work. Today, I go through checkpoints to get to church in Jerusalem, and they let me in. I am really privileged as a U.N. worker, because I can go through any checkpoint, whereas the people from Bethlehem have to cross at one particular checkpoint, where it’s always busy and you have to wait in a line for 3 to 4 hours. It takes me about an hour and a half to get to church now, depending on traffic and how long I have to wait at checkpoints.


I am currently the Relief Society president in the Jerusalem Branch. Our branch has many members from all over the world:  many BYU students, people working at the U.S. consulate and others working in Jerusalem. It is a challenge for us to reach out to the many members in the branch who live in West Bank cities and are unable to attend church. U.S. policy does not allow those working with the consulate from the West Bank into Jerusalem and the B.Y.U. Jerusalem Center rules don’t allow those affiliated with the Jerusalem Center to freely travel and drive their own cars into West Bank cities. Therefore, we have members living in the West Bank who have not been able to attend church services for over 12 years!

How have you found the inner strength to remain in the Church despite such difficult circumstances?

Knowing what it’s like to not have the gospel makes a big difference; I’m so much happier now because of the knowledge I have, so it’s easier to hold on. Heavenly Father has been by my side the entire time and has helped me through everything.

Amidst this conflict, I’ve been comforted many times. For example, one time Israeli helicopters were shooting at houses in my town. The electricity went out and the phones were dead, so we couldn’t call our relatives to find out if they were okay. My family and I went up to the roof to see which areas were affected. I left my family on the roof and went down to my room and prayed and I felt Heavenly Father’s loving arms around me. I knew that He was there and He was protecting the people I loved.

Dealing with the conflict has been a real challenge internally. I’ve seen a lot of injustices done to my people over the years: restricted travel and curfews, friends or relatives arrested or shot for no reason, humiliation, loss of identity, house demolitions. When I was 16 years old and attending Bethlehem University for my undergraduate degree, there was a demonstration on campus and some Israeli soldiers shot a student. The soldiers wouldn’t allow us to take him to a hospital. For two hours, he lay with a bullet hole in his head. That day, I developed feelings of hate towards the Israelis because of what I witnessed them do to my people. After I joined the Church, that hatred kind of dissolved, but I still didn’t love them.

One day when I was trying to go through the checkpoint to attend church, one of the Israeli soldiers told me to go back; he said I wasn’t allowed in. I looked into his eyes and remembered a scripture I read in Matthew that morning in which the Savior said, “Love your enemies.” It occurred to me that I didn’t love the Israelis, and it really bothered me that I could not obey one of the Savior’s commandments. I struggled with that and didn’t know how to overcome those feelings. I came across a scripture in Moroni—chapter 7, verse 48—which talks about charity as the pure love of Christ. It reads, “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love.” I decided that this was the only way to gain love for my enemies; I couldn’t love them through my efforts alone. I needed help from my Savior who had perfect charity for everyone. He was able to love and forgive the very soldiers who crucified Him. If anyone knew how to love, He did, and I knew He could teach me. I decided to ask Heavenly Father to help me because living with anger and hatred damages the soul.

The Savior said, “Love your enemies.” It occurred to me that I didn’t love the Israelis, and it really bothered me that I could not obey one of the Savior’s commandments.

I prayed for this for a long time, and I thought He didn’t answer, because I didn’t notice a particular change. But about a year after I started praying, I was passing through one of the checkpoints and I looked into the eyes of a soldier (who told me to turn back) and felt an amazing love for him. I knew that we were all children of God, and we don’t have to hate the people who do bad things to us; we can just hate their actions, but we don’t have to hate the people themselves. It was a tremendous comfort to me to learn that when Heavenly Father tells us to do something, He provides a way for us to obey His commandments.

The Palestinians and Israelis are seeking to establish peace. In order to do that, they have met at a negotiation table for years. I believe the only true peace has to come from the Prince of Peace himself, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The peace that the Holy Ghost brought into my life after I was baptized has remained with me during days of trouble and conflict. The Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Only He can soften hearts, provide feelings of charity, and supply that peace that my country needs.

At A Glance

Sahar B.Qumsiyeh

Beit Sahour, West Bank, Palestine


Marital status:

February 4, 1996

Database Analyst

Schools Attended:
Bethlehem University, BS; BYU, Masters, Middle East Technical University
in Turkey, Ph.D.

Languages Spoken at Home:

Favorite Hymn:
“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”

Interview by Barbara Christiansen. Photos used with permission.


  1. Blue
    11:48 am on November 17th, 2010

    What a truly remarkable story! It was an honor to read it. Thank you Sahar, and also Barbara. ♥

  2. Non-Arab Arab
    1:35 pm on November 17th, 2010

    If you read Arabic or can tolerate Google translations, Sahar wrote a similar article about a decade ago entitled “From the Intifada to the Embrace of Jesus: Why I Joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” at the ArabLDS site:

    Nice to see an update, Sahar like all Palestinians has been through a lot. But she just keeps on smiling :)

  3. Cheri
    7:02 pm on November 17th, 2010

    Thanks for your story of courage, faith, and hard-won charity.

  4. Nikki
    8:08 pm on November 17th, 2010

    This was a profound story. Thank you, Sahar, for an enlightening glimpse of the power of forgiveness amid so much sorrow.

  5. Doctor » Blog Archive » I digress…
    8:19 pm on November 17th, 2010

    [...] Read Peace Through Conflict [...]

  6. Tatiana
    9:36 pm on November 17th, 2010

    Wow, that’s amazing! Thanks so much for your story.

  7. Kalli
    6:03 am on November 18th, 2010

    That was really beautiful. Thank you.

  8. Jerry Evans
    8:32 am on November 18th, 2010

    Sahar, Thank you for sharing that. The time we spent at the Jerusalem Center was wonderful, but even then we did not completely understand all that you experienced. We were, however, very impressed with the kind and gentle Palistinian folks we met. May our Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings continue with you. Jerry Evans

  9. Jennifer (Jones) Pond
    11:03 am on November 18th, 2010

    Sahar – I love you so much. I told your story to a group of youth JUST LAST NIGHT. They were so inspired. You are an example of a true believer of Christ. You are amazing!! A big hug from Utah. Jenn

  10. Munk
    11:31 am on November 18th, 2010

    This is a wonderful article. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and story. I spent a little time in Jerusalem and love it there. Your faith and testimony give me strength and hope. Know that you are not alone. You are loved. May you feel the love of the Savior and the members of the church throughout the world. With much love, Maryanne

  11. kitmarlow
    12:16 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Stories like this make me feel very humble. I’m a middle-aged man who has in some ways grown cynical over the years, but then I read something like this, about this woman, and my cynicism seems to fall from me and I feel again as I used to when I was younger.

  12. Nicole
    2:07 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Great title! I see more and more how conflict and struggle are used to bring us peace by teaching us to be more like the Savior. It’s that pesky opposition in all things.

  13. Allison
    3:14 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Love to you, Sahar. Every time I hear this, it strengthens my faith to overcome the my less than Christlike tendencies. You are and will always be one of my heroes. Thanks for sharing this with so many. Your friend, Allison.

  14. Chris
    4:15 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Thank you for being true to the light of Christ. You are a gentle and Christ-like spirit, an instrument in the Lord’s hands, and “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I’m honored to know you. Best wishes always, Chris

  15. Cheryl McClure
    4:35 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Wow!!!! Great minds DO think alike, because I was just talking about you to our Missionaries LAST NIGHT! I told them of all the trial you went through just to go to church, and they were very impressed by your faith and dedication. I’m printing this article out so they can read it! We love you and miss you so much, and are so thankful for your incredible spirit!

  16. Esperanza Blevins
    8:08 pm on November 18th, 2010

    I was truly touched by your story. In John it say, ” I can do anything through Christ which strengthen me.” I am also a convert I know how it feels to have trials. During those trials, the Lord has given me the strength not to give up. The Lord is letting us go through the fire of furnish because He loves us. He always keeps His covenants that He will always be with us like He promised Joshua. I love the Savior and Heavenly Father with all my heart and I am eternally grateful for all those trials because I felt His presence and love during those time. Keep up the good work Sahar and thank you for sharing your story. I will include you and your family in my prayers everyday. One thing I’ve praying for is for our Savior to come soon, of course we have to live that up to our Father in Heaven, His will be done.

  17. Vattikuti V Rao
    9:39 pm on November 18th, 2010

    Wow, I have same situation from India. I went to Bible college for two bachelor degrees and then I joined the church and went on a mission. My father was a penticostal pastor and he had two churches. He was not quite happy about my decession to join the church. However, after my mission my degrees does not make any sense in mormonis and I wanted to come to BYU to start from the sractch. But it took four years to get admission at LDS Business college after my mission to come and study aong with my wife one who is return missionary ( Served mission at the same time that I served)

    After reading about it, I felt that hevenly father cares for each and every one.

    Thank so much for posting on the web site.I has deeper meaning .

    Vattikuti & Laitha

  18. Jill
    2:21 am on November 19th, 2010

    Thank you for sharing your story so others can rejoice in the goodness of our Heavenly Father. Your testimony of keeping a commandment which seemed impossible or excusable really resonates with me and what I know of you. Every moment I get to spend here and learn from you and with you is a treasure to me!

  19. Jennifer Adams
    2:31 am on November 19th, 2010

    You are a chosen spirit, obviously. A pioneer for certain. There must be some way to put together a film about you and those in similar circumstances. It would help many of us who are allowed (for now) to worship freely realize that there are people throughout this war-torn world who are able to rise above the injustice and love those who abuse them the way the Lord loves all of his children. You are able to forgive these people seeing that they know not what they do. I am so happy my daughter found this link and shared it. How do we help you ? So MUCH money goes from the U.S. straight to Israel. It’s a huge lobby. I’ve always wondered why this is. Keep talking to us please. What a courageous lady !

  20. Brooke
    8:01 am on November 19th, 2010

    Oh Sweet Sahar,

    You are remarkable. Thanks for sharing your story and your testimony of Christ so freely. You have been and will continue to be such an example of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Thank you and I love you.


  21. Maureen Clayton
    12:08 pm on November 19th, 2010

    What an inspiring testimony! Thank you so much for sharing it for all of us to learn and be edified by it!! I feel so tremendously blessed to know you. You are a noble spirit of our Father in Heaven chosen to serve a mission of great consequence. Thank you so much for your courage and your dedication to the Savior. I love you!
    Maureen Clayton

  22. Emily
    12:19 pm on November 19th, 2010

    You are such a beautiful example to me. I appreciate your love and kindness more than you can know! This article came just in time for me, as I was just sitting here crying and feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to drive myself through the checkpoint from Ramallah tomorrow alone for church. Reading of you suffering and hiding and trying to sneak in week after week was a quick cure for feeling sorry for myself. Your devotion to the gospel and to your calling is very inspirational. I love you so much and feel blessed to have you for a friend.
    Love, Emily

  23. Christine Stinger
    12:59 pm on November 19th, 2010

    Sahar You and your story were such an inspiration to me when i was in Jerusalem and it still is now. It is such a testimony builder for me and all the people that I have shared it with. Thanks so much for the wonderful example and impression that you have left on me. I hope that i can be as amazing as you!! Much Love

  24. Amanda
    10:21 am on November 20th, 2010

    I loved reading your story. You are an inspiration to all women. I am Emily’s sister and I want to thank you so much for being a good example and friend to her. It means so much to me to hear that she has good people in her life caring for her when I can’t. Thank you!

  25. Lewis Phelps
    11:49 am on November 20th, 2010

    Dear, dear, Sahar,

    Reading your story reminds me of the wonderful year my wife and I spent with you in Palestine. Sometimes you would arrive at the BYU JC a little late for services and I was tempted to interrupt the meeting and have our tiny congregation cheer for you. That you had arrived at all was a miracle.

    In my book you are one of the truly remarkable members of the Church. Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for your continued dedication. May our Father in Heaven bless you now and always.

    Love and cheers,

    Lewis Phelps

    P.S. If Jean were still here she would join me in sending this message — so listen carefully and you may hear her “amen” coming from above!

  26. gail conger
    5:51 am on November 21st, 2010

    Dear Sisters, With love and appreciation for the strength of women members of the Church, I write this message of both pride and concrn. I am proud to be a Latter-day Saint. I am a convert of many years and yet a discovered a substatial family history of church membership long before I was born. I am also a woman who has been involved in the arts all of my life. I have raised my family and now am enjoying my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I tell you these tings because in all that I have done I have learned from wonderful women both in th church and out.
    Here is my concern: We have just this past month received a letter of warning and council from the First Presidency of the Church. They expressed great concern about organizations formed for the purpose of “self-help”, designed to assist individuals in problems, and indcating “Church Support” by title or inference. Is this organization authorized to be a forum for women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints by our recoginzed leaders? If so, wonderful! If not, we must be very careful now to be carefully, carefully led down a path which none of intended to go.
    I wish you success if this is a Priesthood authorized forum. If not, please pray about being involved in such a “movement”.
    Respectfully and with love for the Sisterhood of Saints, Gail Conger

  27. Rebekah Call
    9:21 am on November 21st, 2010

    Sahar, thank you for sharing this. I hadn’t read it before. You really are a pillar of strength to all those around you. Hearing your story always lifts me higher.
    Love you!


  28. EmiG
    3:50 pm on November 22nd, 2010

    Beautiful story, Sahar. Thank you for your courage, your example and your willingness to love.

    @Gail Conger – The letter you reference has absolutely nothing to do with this site or others like it. The Handbook, now available online at encourages forums like this: “Members are encouraged to be examples of their faith at all times and in all places, including on the Internet. If they use blogs, social networks, and other Internet technologies, they are encouraged to strengthen others and help them become aware of that which is useful, good, and praiseworthy.”

    We are to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things our [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (Doc & Cov 58:27). I’d say both Sahar and the people behind the MWP are doing exactly that.

  29. Dave & Jan Peterson
    4:12 pm on November 22nd, 2010

    Amazing woman whom we love. Astounding character base in such a difficult environment. Would that all God’s children had the character of Moroni and Sahar. Love you.

  30. Jecia Hutchinson
    5:13 pm on November 22nd, 2010

    Dear Sahar,
    It is always a pleasure to hear the story of your life as it has been a pleasure to know you. I am grateful for your humble example, I have learned so much from you. God bless you and God bless Palestine!

  31. Stephen Wilkinson
    11:37 pm on November 22nd, 2010


    You’re still incredible! I love your story, and I love having met a true modern pioneer. You have done so much and are an example to so many. Surely the Lord carefully counts your faith and your service in His beloved Holy Land. We still pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Palestine, and all of the Holy Land. It’s great to get your story in writing!

    With humble respect,

    Stephen Wilkinson (Winter 2009)

  32. Katherine Jordan
    10:43 am on November 23rd, 2010

    Bravo MWP! Thank you for sharing Sahar’s story, it really touched me and made me reflect on myself.

    I have visited Palestine and witnessed a lot of what Sahar described. The daily humilations by the Israelis of Palestinians would disgust most Americans. However, little of this is reported by the main stream media. Palestinians have little in terms of human rights. Their land can be confiscated at whim, they can be arrested and imprisoned for years without charge or trial, they are spit upon by settlers at who appear to gain their manhood through humiliating Palestinians.

    God Bless Palestine and the Palestinians!!!

  33. Derek Farrell
    1:00 pm on November 23rd, 2010

    A wonderful and inspiring story and a testimony to how the Lord opens up opportunities for all of us.

  34. AlisonH
    8:08 pm on November 24th, 2010

    You are representing love and the light of God in that part of the world for all of us who, from our other places, wish we could do so to bring more peace there. We pray; you pray and you go and do. Thank you so much for telling your story and for the love by which you choose to live. May your words shine into many corners where fear hides, that they may do good beyond anything you can see now. The light leads ahead.

  35. ShannonG
    11:26 pm on December 5th, 2010

    I am privileged to know Sahar and call her my friend. Thank you, Sahar, for sharing your testimony and experiences on this website. I enjoyed reading your testimony and getting to know your heart better. I am grateful for the healing power of the Savior’s atonement to help us love the unlovable, lessen our pain and bring us peace.

  36. Lizbeth
    9:31 pm on March 6th, 2011

    Oh how I miss you Sahar! I love hearing your story…I wish we lived on the same side of the globe! Love you lots and miss you always… -Lizbeth

  37. Miss Mahasen
    9:01 pm on March 16th, 2011

    I have heard bits and pieces of your story while living in Jordan for the past two summers. I hope that one day, I will be able to cross paths with you in the West Bank or Jerusalem and learn more about you! Thank you for being so strong. I have found that it is very difficult to be a member of the church in Jordan and I cannot imagine how the Israeli occupation must further compound the obstacles. It gives me great strength to know that the Lord is no respecter of races, persons or politics. I know that the Lord will judge our people fairly.

  38. Marian Merkley
    12:20 pm on March 21st, 2011

    Dear Sahar,
    I appreciate knowing the truth of your experiences. It gives me a clearer perspective that was unknown to me before. I am humbled by your pure faith and courage. Thank you. I know Heavenly Father will continue to bless you.
    Love, Marian Merkley

  39. Karyn Anderson
    6:55 am on September 20th, 2011

    Dear Sahar,
    What a joy it was to be with you at the Middle East Humanitarian conference. Your story is truly inspirational. As you move forward as District Relief Society President we pray for your safety and protection .You are a great example to Mormon Women everywhere.
    We send to you our love from Lebanon,
    Jim and Karyn Anderson

  40. John Nicholson
    3:17 pm on April 7th, 2012

    Dear Sahar,
    (Ina meseehi min baghdad.)
    Thank you for your most inspiring story/testimony. I visited Jerusalem twice some years before the wall went up. We were previleged to be hosted by a Palestinian family: they treated us as honored guests! At that time there were two members in the Branch, young men who were priests who administered the Sacrament: one was Palestinian the other was Jewish!!!
    We were living in Saudi Arabia at the time and were very impressed with the strength of the Jerusalem Memebers – though they were few. Whilst in Saudi Arabia I chanced to meet the Branch President of the Khobar Branch: like you, he was Palestinian. But the Saints met in secret.
    It is apparent to me that the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a beautiful bridge between the Christians and the Palestinians, and does bring peace between the two peoples May God’s Spirit remain with you and fill your soul.
    (allah yi-barik fiki.)
    ibn al-noon.

  41. Beth
    7:35 am on August 28th, 2012

    A section of this story was published in the September 2012 Ensign “Loving My Enemies.”

    You read it here first!

  42. “I was Surprised to Find Love in my Heart for Him” | Latter-Day Miracles
    3:47 am on August 19th, 2013

    [...] to go on a full time mission and is currently serving in London.   She was interviewed by the Mormon Women Project, and told this story of finding the ability to forgive her enemies through the love of [...]

  43. Melissa Markham
    6:12 am on August 28th, 2014

    When I did study abroad at the Jerusalem Center in 1994, we grew to love the Palestinian people and grieve at the injustices done to them. I loved reading this and knowing that one, at least, has found peace and comfort through the restored gospel.
    Thank you, especially, for the account of learning to love the Israeli soldiers. It reminds me of one of my favorite passages from “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom where she is able to forgive a Nazi soldier who had persecuted her years earlier. I carry these stories with me as I face my own small challenges.
    The Beatles sang, “We all want to change the world.” People like you do this daily through the goodness of your lives. Thank you for changing the world with your faith, resilience, strength, perseverance, and faithfulness.

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