Inside Israel – Reflections

Hi and thank you for stopping by for a look inside Israel. J. and I really appreciate your prayers for Israel and for her and her family. I always forward the comments on to her and she is so blessed. Thanks again and now, here’s J. . .

I do greet you in The Name above all names, Yeshua h’meshiach – Jesus Christ. May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed!

Just when I didn’t think life could get much more intense…it does. ‘Just keep walking’…’Yes, Lord!’

But ASIDE from that…I will share a ‘bus story’.

Thursday morning, as I got on the bus, the bus driver was smiling. This is no longer a common occurrence.
‘Boker tov’ (good morning) I said. ‘hofshi hodshi b’vakasha? vatika.’ (monthly bus pass please? senior citizen). I gave him the money and he gave me the change.
‘Count your change’ he told me. ‘I trust you’ (I did but I was also tired and didn’t feel like counting yet). ‘No no!’ he protested. ‘Count your change!’ Authority! I obeyed. Obviously not responding the way he expected me to he said joyously ‘THEY LOWERED THE PRICE!!! You are saving 13 shekels and a regular fare saves 26 shekels! Isn’t that great?’ I definitely had to agree! ‘Toda l’El!’ I said (sort of like ‘Praise The Lord!’) and smiled back at him.

That was Thursday. Friday was different;

I had noticed that there was a sign on our bus stop saying that the #17 bus was going to ‘be canceled’ the next day. ‘Huh’, I thought. ‘That is a vital line…wonder what will happen’. I was soon to find out (although I am sure that this is NOT the end of the story).

Friday morning the bus driver was livid with rage! So were the riders.
There was a big discussion in progress when I got on the bus. Ok…the 17 bus was now replaced by the 28… but… not along the same route! ‘It will take me FOUR BUSES to get to work today and there is the wait for each one!’ one distraught rider cried. The bus driver topped him; ‘It took me SIX BUSES’ to get to work!!! WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!?’ On and on the obvious was being re-stated, it is a belagan. I taught you that (great) word a long time ago, but in case you forgot, it means…hum…total confusion, mess, even chaotic, upside down, disaster. Yes…9 years the city has been working on the ‘lite rail system’ to ‘make traveling around the city easier… and at this point…it remains a total mess! Since my husband has been taking the 28 across town to the hospital 4 mornings a week for heart rehabilitation, I was concerned. ‘Does the 28 still go to har h’tsofim?’ I asked the driver; ‘No. He has to take the 26’. I told him ‘That won’t work. The 26 begins at 9am and he has to be there at 7.’ I fell silent. A few minutes later he turned to me; ’68! The 28 to har h’tsofim is now the 68. They re-named the route!’ Everyone on the bus chuckled…they are used to such craziness, but I remembered a time when I wasn’t.

It was my first week in my new country…I was as green as they came.
Fresh off the boat, so to speak, I knew nothing but that He Who is faithful would see me through. AND HE HAS! But that day in the scorching heat of July, I knew no Hebrew, no people in my new homeland, and I didn’t even know the name of the street that I was living on because the spelling was so alien to me that I couldn’t figure it out. I DID know that I was to take the number 8 bus down town…and I knew where to get off and where to get on.
All went quite well UNTIL I was to go home. I waited at the bus stop…and waited…and WAITED…for over an hour.
Then I burst out crying. ‘Mah k’rah??’ people ran to me. ‘I DON’T SPEAK HEBREW!’ I blubbered through my tears. One kind person struggled with English to try to figure out why I was crying while others tried to pour water down my throat. (overheating is a common problem in hot areas… perhaps that was my problem, they thought) ‘I have to take the number 8 bus back home and it isn’t coming and I don’t know where I live!’ (that is the nightmare of children but I was nearly 50 years old at the time.) The kind person translated and they all began smiling and patted me. Easy to solve! ‘Don’t you know? Last night the number 8 became a number 6! Just take the 6. There is no more number 8…it has a new name!’

And THAT, my dear sisters and brothers, is the middle eastern logic that I have finally become accustomed to!

I did suffer from some culture shock during the first few years. I didn’t think that I would, but I did.
I want to share something about that. The sister, Mary Gardner, who was killed in the bombing downtown last week, has touched so many lives, as I shared before. To my surprise, I knew a number of people who knew her and or the ministry that she was serving with. One old friend had roomed with her at one point and I wrote this to her personally (I hope she won’t mind me sharing it)…I would like to share it with you:

…but it really IS amazing how deeply her death/ life seemed to touch people here…and apparently in England as well, according to a friend of mine from there. The scripture came to mind ‘except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone…’. It is interesting because she is certainly NOT the first believer to die in attacks of this sort…indeed recently two believers (one Israeli and one a tourist) were knifed and the tourist died… but apparently there was ‘something special’ in Mary’s life that, like the alabaster flask, when broken… out came the sweet fragrance of Yeshua Himself. That is my longing…that I would be able to make a difference in life, but also in death. It was Campbell McAlpine who challenged us so many years ago: why do we all seem to want to live for Him but die comfortably in bed? What about also dying for Him? That stayed with me…and I see it happened that way in Mary’s life somehow…and I am certain that the two (living and dying) MUST be ‘one’…you can’t have one without the other

Culture shock… my home is not of this world. I so want to walk through this world as a pilgrim. I have too much dust on my feet…the dust of this world. I suspect we will never know until our ‘alabaster boxes’ are broken…and then we won’t know either…and so we keep pressing in to Yeshua, and (hopefully) washing each others’ feet, and asking Him to make us more and more like Him and less like this world.
God Bless you! Thank you for keeping my family in prayer. There are some serious issues that I ask for help in praying about. LOVINGLY, your sis!

6 Comments

  1. Hi Deb,
    Thank you for giving me this connection to Israel thru J. Our daily prayers are with J, her family and Israel. I can’t imagine how anxious some Israelis must be due to the political developments that surround them. May God give them peace in their hearts. I take solace in knowing that all signs point to Yeshua coming back soon. It’s exciting to see Bible prophecy coming to life in our time. Shabbat Shalom

  2. Thank you so much Joe, for your understanding and heart for Yeshua and Israel. You are a blessing!

  3. Thank you, Deb…

    This simple line echoes over and over in my head “… my home is not of this world.”

    With all that’s happening, it’s a great comfort. The here and the now may have it’s fair share of distresses but it’s great to know the journey does not end here.

    Thankful to J for the encouragement and to you for sharing. Blessings in abundance to you both!

    En Route,
    ann

  4. That IS really comforting, Ann! Thank you for pointing that out, in your full of grace way. I sent your comfort and blessings on to J! God bless you on your way home.

  5. Oh, J! Your stories and experiences! To be lost in a foreign place and not know where you live and not speak the language…that would have been an awful feeling! I am so glad it turned out well. You do indeed have an interesting bus system there! That must just make you laugh and cry sometimes!

    Several things you shared really touched a spot in me. How true for me-I want to live for Christ but don’t want a miserable death if choices are allowed. I am glad you challenged that thinking in me.

    Also, your experience with culture shock and your conclusion that you are a pilgrim here-that resonates deeply with me. I have not experienced the culture shock of moving to a new country, but I have experienced another kind of dual culture shock in my own country and life. I feel at times like I have been hit by a personal tsunami and earthquake, too. I am still working on regaining my foothold and it has been a few years, but Abba is full of grace and mercy and help towards me and His other wobbly sheep, yes? Praise Him for this! I love what you said about us really being just pilgrims. I had forgotten that idea and it is very helpful. We really are just passing through.

    Thank you so much for all this encouragement and sharing. And you, yes, I am still praying for your family, your daughter, your life. With all that is going on in your own life, you make the time to share with us. You help us to see your part of the world and how God is working there. Thank you, and blessings, J!

  6. I forget about the being pilgrims part too, Angel. Your comment and prayers are so precious and needed. Thank you and God bless you. I sent this on to J. 🙂


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