Had lunch today with my dear friend, Canon Hosam Naoum and his family.

Hosam, his wife Rafa and his oldest two children spent a year and a half at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) for Hosam to earn a Masters of Theological Studies. While there, he came to Christ Church to speak to the then most recent group of Holy Land pilgrims.

He is now back at St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem serving as pastor to both the English and Arabic-speaking congregations.

I asked him what he misses most about Virginia. He said the seasons, the holidays - Halloween and Thanksgiving especially - and shopping at Target! He said, "Going to one store where you can buy everything you need, there is nothing like that here. And the decoration [in Target] changes every season!"

Over strong Arabic coffee and his mother's homemade cookies made with Turkish Delight, I asked him about the level of fear in his congregations after the recent deaths of Christians protesting in Egypt. He said there is great concern among them. His congregations fear that Christians in the West have forgotten them. We sighed over the irony that under the rule of despots, like Mubarek and Hussein, sometimes minority groups like Christians had more protection. Hosam said, "The Arab Spring may be turning into the Christian winter."