Melissa Seely

Class of '13

Place of service: Tent of Nations, Right to Movement, National Community Church

Why I Serve

I choose to serve because Christ served first. I choose to serve in the field of peace and reconciliation for a number of reasons. The first is because Christ calls all believers to be peacemakers. The second is because peacemaking challenges me. It does not come naturally or easily to me. Because of that, serving in peace and reconciliation allows me to grow and mature both in my faith and as a person, more than I ever thought possible. Finally, I prayed awhile ago that God would break my heart for what breaks his. In turn, he sent me to a conflict zone. I think it’s safe to say that God answered my prayer.

How I Serve

I went on a peace and reconciliation mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank) in March of 2015. The point of the trip was to become educated on the Arab-Israeli conflict, partner with organizations seeking peace, and encourage local Christians that are being persecuted. The ten days I was there consisted of meeting with former Israeli soldiers that now work in solidarity with Palestinians towards peace, visiting a Christian Palestinian farm working for peace, meeting members of Christian peacemaker teams who act as human shields against Israeli settler violence, working in a Palestinian refugee camp, and running an activism marathon to highlight the restriction of movement in the West Bank and Gaza. The trip was organized by National Community Church and the race was put on by Right to Movement. Here is a part of the race manifesto: We run to manifest our Right to Movement. We run for those and with those who are deprived of that right. We run to tell stories. We run to build bridges instead of walls. We run to inspire you to do the same. Since returning home, I have started a discussion group in Washington, D.C., that educates people on the conflict and gives them tools to work towards peace. I continue to advocate for organization we worked with such as Tent of Nations, Grassroots Jerusalem, Breaking the Silence, Bethlehem Bible College, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and Right to Movement.