Teaming up to share a festive birthday party, Bethlehem Bible College volunteers Kay Munayer and Walter Brynjolfson dedicated May 3rd to a night of fun, games and fellowship all directed toward raising funds to go toward two different charities.
Never having been keen on birthday parties where all of the attention lands squarely on him, Walter’s recent revelation (from a podcast he had listened to) suggested gearing a birthday party toward collecting funds to give to a charity. Knowing he shared a birthday with Kay, who also shares similar sentiments, they opted for a party that could both celebrate their special day, and simultaneously bless others around the world.
The vision stemmed from a previous encounter Walter had with a visitor to Bethlehem via Couch Surfing. Often hosting Couch Surfers, Brynjolfson opened his home to a Wycliffe Bible translator from Equatorial Guinea. Much of what prompted Walter to host this traveler was the location he was coming from, as Equatorial Guinea was where he was born while his parents served as missionaries there. Excited to meet someone that was serving in the same small country that he was born and spent his first few years of life in, he quickly welcomed Wycliffe worker Andrew into his home.
As if to meet someone from Equatorial Guinea wasn’t already enough of a coincidence, after a bit of conversation, they found out that Andrew works for the Bible school that was founded by Walter’s parents and their mission back in 1991. Andrew’s work from this location consists of helping people groups experience the Bible in their own language. Deeply connected to the place he was born in tandem with meeting, hosting and befriending Andrew, Brynjolfson quickly made the connection as to where his funds would be donated on behalf of his birthday party. The money raised would go toward Wycliffe’s efforts in the communities that Andrew works alongside.
The other half of the donated funds would go toward the charity of Kay’s choosing. Also with a large heart for the marginalized in society, Kay opted to put her fundraising toward the Bethlehemite organization Holy Land Trust’s Young Girls Empowerment Program. This program focuses on educating, developing and inspiring young Palestinian women into leaders rather than becoming disengaged, marginalized and oppressed people in the society. The layout of the program is to help raise a generation of young women that are empowered to become leaders within their community and their world.
The gathering was on the rooftop cafe called Jivana, on Star Street, near Manger Square in Bethlehem. Requesting that all guests in attendance wear silly hats and come with a donation for the charities in place of a gift or card, the cafe filled up with a diverse set of people. Complete with music, games, speeches, a raffle ticket drawing and delicious food, the evening was a success! The creativity woven into the night was boundless, and laughter was a staple to the evening. Watermelon was served in place of cake, and to the wishes of the birthday duo, the watermelons came as lookalike!
People from different walks of life and from several different ministries and work places around Bethlehem and Jerusalem came together sharing an evening of celebrating the lives of Kay and Walter, all the while helping enhance the lives of others both locally and as far away as Equatorial Guinea. It was a special evening that paid homage to both life and the desire to see humanity thriving within that given life.
Kamila is volunteering full-time with Bethlehem Bible College in the Communications Department. In addition to her love for writing and sharing stories, her endeavors in Bethlehem and greater Palestine involve facilitating cultural immersion programs for young adults from North America to see first-hand the realities that those living here encounter. At times deemed the “eternal optimist,” Kamila holds fast to the future hope of restoration and reconciliation of all things back to God. When she’s not writing, or organizing trips, you’ll catch her training and competing with the Ultimate Palestine frisbee team.