One of the speakers at Fun in the Sun spoke on Tuesday evening about compassion, based on Matt 9:35-36
"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
He began by emphasing "all the towns and villages" - making the point that in real-life Israel this would be quite a mission, and the text doesn't do it justice. His mention of Israel caught my attention, as he's American and I wasn't sure what his viewpoint was. But then he went on to speak about the word 'compassion' and the fact that it was a new word, coined by the writers of the gospels. It means an intense emotion - a desperation for God to come and change things - and that genuine compassion occurs rarely in our lives.
I don't know about other people who took part in the conference, but this is the exact feeling I've come home with. A compassion for the Palestinian people, for a country that's broken and whose population is divided. The really difficult thing (and the thing I'm struggling most with) is what to do with this feeling and being the most effective. It's a massive challenge.