Inside Israel – A Time of Sharing / Part 2


Hi and thank you for stopping by for another look inside Israel today!  Our sis in Jerusalem is sharing about what she observes with a heart for Him.  God bless you as you read and pray! Now, here she is .. .

It is now the night of the 18th and I began this letter two days ago.  So much is going on in our country and I am clueless as to what is known on the ‘outside’…and if things from here are being reported, how they are being displayed and interpreted. 
Currently our yet-to-be-formed government is in a real crisis.  Our system is a mystery to many of you and indeed, it took me about 10 years to get a minimal grasp on how it works.  Although Netanyahu was elected, he was elected to form the next government and given a time period of just under a month in which to do it.  To do that, he must negotiate with the many parties who won seats in our Knesset (Parliament or Congress) and have a majority join him (thus forming a ‘coalition) and that is just not happening.  If it does not come together soon we will have to go to new elections again.  It is quite serious. 
We also have a new ‘scandal’ over a previously unidentified ‘prisoner – x’ who apparently committed suicide in jail.  He held duel Israeli Australian citizenship and an Australian news magazine did a major ‘expose’. He was a Mosad (Israel’s famous spy agency) agent and very serious security issues are involved.  The news media is aflutter with noise…and noise that is potentially damaging to Israel.  This is a dangerous diversion that we could have done without. 
The war in Syria has begun spilling over into Israel.  Two days ago, seven Syrian soldiers were brought to Israel having been severely wounded and are in a hospital here in our North.  The rebels seeking to take over Syria are of great concern to Israel. 
These are just a few of our current crisis’. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT OUR 7 YEAR WATER CRISIS HAS ENDED! THANK YOU LORD! The FUNNY news is that when the public announcement was made we were told in the next sentence that we were NOT having our water prices rolled back at all, much less the pre-crisis level, because we are now de-salinating water and THAT is expensive!    
And in the midst, God remains on the throne!  Does that mean that we will be spared the judgment that seems imminent to the nations of the earth;?  I, personally, do not see it that way.  But it is given to me to know Him and His voice and His ways, and to follow Him. I totally trust His judgment…He IS The Righteous and True Judge.  And how we get to focus on His ways again as the days of Purim rapidly approach.  Thursday is the fast of Esther.  We all seem to love the book of Esther where she is told ‘Perhaps you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this.’  I often think of that as I ride the bus or train or deal with people at work in sometimes such wonderful and fearful ways…but it is for such a time as this that we were each brought to the place in which we stand.  Esther was found faithful.  We read it now and it looks so simple…but the more I look at what it must have been like to really BE her, it the more extraordinary and rare that her faithfulness becomes.  Perhaps you will join with us and spend some time in this book?  Saturday night and Sunday Purim will be celebrated in the country as a whole.  I have been here long enough to watch it take more and more of a form that I am ashamed of…resembling the witches sabbeth or mardi gras more then a scriptural celebration.  The costumes have become generally awful and the drinking (which had a religious tradition) has become a free for all. It is so grievous to me. It is somewhat better for ‘Shushan Purim’ in Jerusalem, the ‘walled city’ which this year begins on Sunday night through Monday.  Perhaps you remember how I have shared over the years that according to the tradition, Purim is held for two days in ‘walled cities’ because Shushan was allowed a second day of Purim.  Since many religious live in Jerusalem, we still see modest Queen Esther and Mordachi costumes.  I do so enjoy watching the religious families with their ‘tribes’ of children, rushing joyfully from place to place happily delivering ‘mishloach manot’ (sent portions) baskets of fruit and sweets all over the city.  As it is recorded in the book of Esther, that the Jews ‘…made the day a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.’ (from Esther 9:19) and that continues through today. In the midst of it all, we stop and atleast some of us really are taking notice of the fact that ‘Great things The Lord hath done for us, whereof we are glad’ as David said in Psalm 126
And so, having taken so much of your time already, I will just quickly bring you up to date concerning our family. My husband was in great pain the night that the prayer conference began, and he was diagnosed with a ‘closed pelvic fracture’.  I have been 120% involved in medical things concerning him and the results are inconclusive, but he is much better.  He seems to be fine now…is walking and working although he has missed a lot of work due to dr. appointments and tests. He became extremely depressed and the weight of our children and Grandchildren leaving the country became very heavy again.  I was way overtired with all of the added responsibilities and came down with a stubborn case of bronchitis. It picked up a shovel and dug me a deep slimy pity-party-pit. His wonderful faithful Spirit battled in me and I repented of that sin and plan to stay in His victory.  I actually have much that I would love to share about that, but will end with a birthday gift that He gave me yesterday:
Perhaps some of you remember the wonderful gift that I was given last year at this time when He miraculously opened the door for me to go to Tel Aviv Yafo for a night and two days to attend a conference for local women lead by a sister from America whom I had never heard of (Dottie Schmidt).  I NEVER do anything like this, but I had an irresistible urge to go and recognized that it was Him.  I was deeply touched at that conference and the sister ministering and I had a special connection.  As the same time of year approached I began to pray about going again should she return, but this time the door was firmly closed. I prayed about it.  I received an email from a local sister telling me that she had driven this visiting sister to a congregation to speak that Shabat and Dottie had asked ‘Do you know a woman named ______ (remember I don’t use my name at all online) from Jerusalem?  She was at the meetings last year and I have been praying for her and was looking forward to seeing her’.  The sister mentioned the hotel that she was staying in before the meetings begin and it is within walking distance of my apartment.  Since yesterday was my day off, I prayed and though ‘What presumption! But Lord, if You want us to meet up, please make a way.’  I went down town and did my chores and kept lifting it up.  On the way back home I took a deep breath and thought ‘What can I loose.’ And committed it to The Lord.  I had a card to leave at the desk for her and was going to sit down and write in it when I thought; perhaps I’ll leave a message at her room as well.  I called up from the desk and she answered.  I was flustered.  She insisted that I come up and looked amazed.  ‘How in the world did you know that I was here?’ she asked.  Then she explained that she had only been in the room to sleep and that this was a 3 hour period that she had asked to stay back alone!  Indeed The Hand of The Lord had given me a gift as we shared and prayed together and I was deeply ministered to! 
AND…I have NO DOUBT that your prayers (and I do NOT say that as flattery or fancy spiritual words, God forbid!) play such an important role in my life and the path through this world to victory … for His glory!   
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all (or part) of this.  Thank you for standing with us.  Please know that you would be embarrassed if you knew how much I care about each of you…you are a blessing! 
May His grace and mercy draw each of us deeper into His Word and His Spirit…and may we have His discernment in these day!  Lovingly, your sis here. 
 ani b’derek
Published in: on March 3, 2013 at 9:13 am  Comments (10)  
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Inside Israel – A Time of Sharing / Part 1


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel! Today our sis in Jerusalem shares more of what she has been seeing and walking out.  Thank you for reading and praying!  God bless you! Now , here’s she is . . .

Dear Sisters and Brothers, friends,
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!   All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
I wasn’t sure how to start this letter…except in my heart.  As I began to search the scriptures for the words “bless The Lord”, the verses welled up my heart and overflowed, but this one from Psalm 22:23,24 stood out in particular: I declare YOUR Name, Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus, in the midst of the assembly of my brethren.  Those who fear The Lord and all of the descendants of Jacob are exhorted to praise HIM.  It is an exhortation to me, and so prayerfully I begin to write in the hopes of glorifying Him, edifying His children, and being a faithful witness of those things and events around me.  Bless The Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His HOLY NAME! 
And that is exactly why I HAVEN’T been writing; I have been stuck in a nasty pity party pit and it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a blessing to The Lord from there…and we are not much good to our brothers and sisters either!  The Lord has forgiven me and I ask you to forgive me too.  I will share more personal stuff at the end of the letter
Yesterday, (Friday) on my early morning trip downtown, I finally found a blessing in connection with the train: It was warm and no one could get on and open a window!  That’s right.  Our ‘train’ is so modern that it has an automatically set ‘climate’ (along with everything else) and no windows that can be opened without a sledge hammer.  Along with everyone else, I was NOT happy about having vehicles with windows that couldn’t open, but this winter I am blessed by them.  I tend to suffer a great deal from the cold.  Added to that our apartment is cold and so is my work place.  I have suspected that one way in which The Lord tries me with this, oh so common scenario:  I have been waiting at the bus stop and am cold.  The bus finally arrives and I get on and…ahhh!  It is warm!  None of the windows are open (atleast not near me) and it is cozy! I am able to sit down and, davka, at the very next stop someone gets on and announces ‘Mah zeh!  Hom meod poh! Ain avir!’ (‘What is this? It is so hot in here! There is no air!’) and immediately they begin to open windows, beginning with the one in front of me. Now I am stuck with not-too-nice thoughts…and the battle is on; flesh vs spirit! Does my ‘nah nah nah’ win out or can I be like Paul and Silas, who must have been pretty uncomfortable bound in jail?  I am sure that we all fight this particular battle.  Funny, but it is one of the few things in our lives over which we really DO have any actual ‘control’: How will we respond to what is in our path. Daily, minute by minute, we have this choice and I continue to fight this battle. I listen to far greater more spiritual brethren discussing passionately the times and the seasons and I am still trying to walk through daily life with His Peace characterizing my every word, action and thought! Kita aleph (grade 1) perhaps, but I dare not move on to the next until I get THIS one down!
The battle of the mind; As I was passing through the shuk last week, a man carrying a huge wooden tray of fresh pita on his head rushed past me.  This is a common occurrence which I usually take no note of anymore, but I was very suddenly reminded of how unique it looked to me…how ‘picturesque’…when we first arrived.  I began looking about me and noticing afresh what people here wear on their heads.  In the Middle East it is often easy to know much about a person’s probable lifestyle by what they have on their heads.  I began to list them: there were kippot’ (the small ‘cap’, ‘beanie’, ‘yarmulke’ worn by religious Jewish men but what stream of practice they follow can be identified by many things: is the kippa ‘knitted’ or is it material? Is it satin or velvet? Is it black or colors? There are religious women with all manner of head coverings, each style also identifying her with her practices.  There are some with scarves, some with hats, some with wigs, and some with turbans.  Moslem women have their style of scarf, tied differently then the way that the Jewish women tie them.  Then there is the keffiyeh that Moslem men wear, the checked head wrap, also distinguishing identity, position and belief by the color of the check and the twined rope used to hold it.  I am not even going to begin to mention beards and hair styles, also prescribed for different groups of both religious Jews and Moslems.  Add to this mix the secular, who often distinguish themselves by proudly shaving their uncovered heads (both in the case of men and women) if being simply uncovered isn’t distinct enough.  I thought about head coverings a great deal during this wonderfully rainy season too, as I noticed afresh one day all of the Haradi men (I neglected to mention them in the ‘hat list’.  They wear black hats…velvet, fur, felt, again identifying much about them…and their hats, being very expensive, are a specially prized possession.) dressed in ‘plastic bags’. Yes, I mean that literally.  When it rains the hats are covered with a plastic bag from the market.  It works…but I was reminded how ‘funny’ it looked to me when I first arrived in the country. I was also reminded of how we used plastic bags in Alaska to line our boots and it was a wonderfully practical addition (particularly to ‘moon boots’) both for dryness and warmth.  I know that many people, when finding themselves suddenly exposed to the weather here, will line their coat with plastic bags.  I have done this myself and realized that it is surprisingly good insulation. 
So much for a ‘winter survival lesson’! 
This began with what was going on INSIDE of my head, where it counts.  No matter what manner of hat we dress ourselves in it won’t change what is in our heads and hearts. Funny…it might ‘identify’ us to one another, but God has eyes that see through all of that. 
It is now 17th Feb…my birthday in the (swiftly aging) flesh and it is a real joy to be spending this time with you!  I want to continue with the thought I left off with last night…about what was going on INSIDE of my head…and I wondered how different we are then those who identify themselves by their ‘head covering’.  What IS ‘my head covering?’ I wondered.  Am I as ‘kind’ as I appear?  As ‘nice’?  As ‘wise’?  As ‘spiritual’? Are these ‘coverings’ or ‘identities’ misleading or announcing me to be someone whom THE LORD does not see me to be when He uses His ‘searchlight’ in my spirit? Wow…that is heavy.  I am reading through both Isaiah AND Jeremiah and tremble when The Lord addresses those who do things in secret and that in the temple!  That is what we are…His temple…and what is done within the secret place of my thought life…am I sure that it is not offensive in there? 
All of this came about from ‘head coverings’. May our heads be covered with grace and filled with minds washed by the water of the Word, letting this mind be in us which is in Him!
your sis in Jerusalem
continued next Sunday . ..
Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 9:02 am  Comments (10)  
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Inside Israel – From the Negev


Negev Desert

Hi and welcome to this look inside Israel! Today our sis in Jerusalem shares about the trip her and her hubby took  back on January 1st.  Praying that it blesses you and thank you for reading and praying!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

THE NEGEV!  Camels, Bedouin tribes, a wide array of wild life, dry ‘wadis’ (deep creeks), sand and hot winds…these are some of the images that arise in our imaginations…the imaginations of those of us who have not lived in and known the desert named the Negev.  There are other images that arise according to the things that we who love The Lord and know His Word have read; We know that the desert HAS blossomed and that there are now steams in the desert…we pray along with David who knew the Negev so well and cried out “As the deer pants for the water, so my heart longeth for Thee.” We have read of a dry and thirsty land where there is no water and the promises that HE will pour HIS (LIVING) water out upon it.  This is the place that my husband and I chose to visit…to witness for ourselves.
I mentioned that my husband and I have NEVER (in our more then 40 years together) done anything like this…not even taking a honeymoon.  Those of you who know us long, and through these years of being planted in our new ancient land, know that we have been very tired…exhausted really. I would have been very happy with a week to simply clean my house, which is dreadfully in need of my attention.  But we have found that our children leaving has actually been traumatic and we needed to get our bearings. Since my husband has NOT been walking with The Lord for quite awhile, the approaching holidays with no family seemed to loom in front of us like a huge black cloud.  I prayed for direct guidance.  ‘Lord, show me a way to walk through this toward Your victory!’ Just about that time two things happened: My boss told me that I still had a week vacation that I needed to use before the first of Jan. (all I could think of was a clean house!) Also, we received a gift.  The idea of going away for a couple of days sprouted and grew and I finally presented it as a ‘gift’ to my husband.  To my surprise he was pleased and suggested that we go south to the desert.  I have longed to go to the desert.  I have been there twice: once with my ulpan (language class) more then 18 years ago.  We went to the beautiful Mitzpe Ramon crater…a breathtaking sight.  I went there once again with friends who were visiting from abroad, and I road down with them for a day trip, but was so tired that time that I slept most of the way!
The Negev begins basically at Be’er Sheva (pronounced in most English Bibles ‘Beer Sheba’) The name means ‘seven wells’ and is named after the wells that Avraham (Abraham) dug in the area.  It is a huge area and is North of the Sinai Desert which is now in Egyptian possession. Our army has a lot of bases throughout the area that represents about HALF of our country’s land mass!  Our weather reports have reported rains from the north to the Negev, but it turned out that they have not yet received the rain.  When it does rain, there are flash floods that literally FILL the deep wadis apparently very dramatically. Each year people are rescued from the flash floods and some do loose their lives as the water comes up so quickly and almost without warning.  When the rains come, the plant life INSTANTLY bursts into dramatic bloom.  We did not witness it this trip but hope to some day.  The Negev is indeed home to many Bedouin tribes and also to many kibbutzim, towns, farms and ranches.  For all of that, it is still a sparse population and as we drove south from Be’er Sheva, the stress just literally rolled off of us.  We had initially looked for a place (according to friends’ recommendations) at Mitzpe Ramon, but were unable to get rooms for the days that we planned to go.  I continued to pray.  The only remaining place that I could locate with my very limited understanding of ordering a room on the web, was at Sde Boker Vineyard Farms (in English…the Hebrew would translate as Boker River Farm).  The photos looked ok, but ofcourse they were not going to put photos on their ad that didn’t!  Armed with our map and the prayers of a wife, we located a sign in the wilderness with an arrow.  We followed a dirt road to an electric gate with a sign telling us to ‘call this number to enter’.  I called…no answer.  We waited and called again. Uh oh!  We left, but it was only about 10 minutes before they called us and asked what we wanted.  THANKFULLY, they confirmed that we had reservations and could return. 
The gates opened and our first impression was…well…’TUNDRA’!  Ok.  Some of you don’t know that we are from Alaska.  Our weekly newspaper (when we lived in bush Alaska) used to have an illustrated column that taught one word in Yupik (the Native tongue). The ONLY one that I remember showed an Eskimo man ice fishing through a hole and his wife comes up to him and says “What have you caught?”  He makes a ‘0’ with his fingers and says ‘TUNDRA!’ (nothing!)  It was very funny and so we remembered it.  We looked at each other as we drove into our desert dwelling and both said ‘TUNDRA!’ and laughed.  Laughing is good.  We haven’t done much of it lately.  As we walked to our hut we asked where we could get something to eat.  Our young host stopped and thought; ‘Is this Wed.?’ he asked.  We assured him it was.  He said ‘No restaurants on Wed.  Only on weekends. You can probably buy some food at the gas station in Sde Boker…IF they are still open.  I think they close at 4 so you had better hurry.  We have breakfast here though.’ He brought us up to our cabin.  It was COLD (like our apartment) and my husband asked ‘Is there any heat?’ He flipped a switch and a heater came on.  We smiled.  NICE!  We can live with that.  There was a small refrigerator, microwave and electric pot (kumkum). No t.v.-no radio-no phone-… I smiled and relaxed even more.  ‘There are some games in that box’ he said pointing to a box with dominoes and games like that.  ‘Oh! I almost forgot!  The jacuzzi!’ We walked down a small hill and there under a thatched lean-to was an outdoor jacuzzi.  Now, I am not a jacuzzi fan…actually I have only had contact with them twice…but it was so silent and still there that it looked delightful.  ‘Do you have y-fi?’ (internet hook up, for the technically limited…like me) My husband asked.  ‘If you go back down to the bunk house, there is a red chair.  If you sit on THAT CHAIR…SOMETIMES you can get reception.’ I LIKED this place!  We ran off to get some noodles to boil down the road and came back to discover more about our surroundings.  We had hot running water on demand.  That was a real plus, (we don’t have it at home) but I wasn’t sure if my husband was as pleased as I was.  This was NOT a ‘luxury hotel’. ‘You know…we can always just leave and drive down the road.’ I said. ‘Well…let’s wait till morning.’ He suggested.  After our dinner he suggested a jacuzzi, so out we went.  Under the silence and with a canopy of stars, in the warm water, we began to thaw and really relax.  After a deep 12 hour (yes…when I say TIRED, I mean TIRED!) sleep, we woke to a crowing rooster, as we had done for so many of our younger years.  I could hear horses neighing, but nothing else.  I looked out over the desert and prayed ‘Lord, give me YOUR Eyes to see what You have placed here for me to learn.  Give me Your eyes to see the beauty.  Please don’t let me miss a thing.’
And He answered that prayer. 
After a farm breakfast in an open (cold!) hut, we started walking over the hills and into the wadis.  Our eyes became accustomed to the beauty of each rock and we began to pick out more interesting ones.  We found that the Negev is not sand, but ROCKS.  Serious ROCKS!   We heard a donkey and watched 4 Bedouin children with neither saddle nor bridle trying to round up a stray goat.  The oldest child on the front lead the donkey and the next older on the far back switched him to make him go faster.  Between the two older ones, they pinned the 2 smaller ones safely in between them.  We delighted to watch them! 
During our two nights and 3 days we drove to Mitzpe Ramon, explored the Nabatean excavations at Avdat along the ancient Spice Route that is so full of history (the 3 wise men from the east likely took this route when they followed the star) and which also is such a part of the ‘Back to Jerusalem’ vision among the Chinese believers.  I was blessed to see the very scriptures that I had read that morning in Isaiah on the desk in Ben Gurion’s home in Sde Boker identified as some of the scriptures that he kept on his desk through the years. But our BEST times just came in walking quietly in the desert, observing, listening, and breathing in the hugeness of it all.  He is so very very good to ‘confirm His inheritance when it is weary!
We spoke to the young siblings who were running the farm…a girl in her early twenties perhaps and a brother who is scheduled to go into the army in March. They told us that their parents usually run the place with them but their parents had taken a year off and were riding bikes across Europe.  We were deeply touched to see these young people left with the responsibility of caring for a vineyard, horses and chickens as well as bed and breakfast guests and cleaning and maintaining cabins!  Pretty impressive!  But then we were impressed with the quality of the people who live in the Negev in general.  They appear to be strong, passionate and practical in a unique combination.  We talked about moving down there…but we realized that we are just too old to begin again in this manner…just not physically strong enough anymore.  In my heart of hearts as well, I am committed to my fellowship and would have to know that it was The Lord opening the door! 
All too soon it was time to return to the city, but we have been deeply blessed.  I wish I could say that my husband used this occasion to find his way back to The Lord, but there is no outward move that I can share yet.  He Who works in our hearts IS All-powerful and Almighty.
My husband HAS asked me to ask all of you if any of you from our ‘past’ (Alaska or California) are coming for the prayer conference?  Please let us know if you are??
Thank you for enduring my ‘travelogue’!  Thank you so much for your prayers and your friendships.  Thank you for your letters, for the cards that we received, and for love that is such a reflection of HIM!  May God bless each of you in this new year with more and more of HIS Presence.  May He keep us all in the center of the path ahead as it grows narrower and darker.  May we discern what is HIM and what is NOT and choose HIM at every turn.  And may we have the fire of our first love lit afresh with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit!  God bless you and keep you, dear dear friends.  Lovingly, your sis here.
ani b’derek
Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (12)  
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Inside Israel – A Thank You Letter


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel. Well, today we look inside our Sis in Jerusalem’s heart as she thanks all of you for reading and commenting and praying like you do!  I second her  . ..Thank you and God bless you! Now, here she is . . .

I am sorry that I am writing this from work.  I would so rather sit down with some quiet time and space and really share (or try to) the thankfulness in my heart for you.  Alas, there is no quiet spot at home right now, (my husband’s injury has added many demands.  As he is backslidden, he is also very depressed and I would be ever so thankful for prayer for him to return to his first love)  so if it is to be done, it will be done this way, and I ask for your grace.
For more then 18 years I have written these letters to dear friends…the changes – having come to the center of the world from the ends of the earth (a small village in Alaska) – at not-a-young age…were dramatic, and it was given to me to share what I was seeing, hearing, experiencing as HIS.
Over the years, so many of my friends have ‘moved on’ and I often feel a sense of ‘disappointment’ or even ‘loss’ as I hear from people less and less.  Then Deb began to re-post my emails.  I can not tell you how moved I have been by your responses.  They are fresh!  They are real!  So many of those whom I write to now have come on tours and read much and really know more then I do about so many things.  They have met other people from here and receive other newsletters…and suddenly I get responses from YOU.  And some of you say ‘I never knew this’ or ‘I wanted to understand this’, and my heart literally flutters with joy that there is still a reason to share what is still so amazing to me…and what I will still be learning until He says ‘It is finished’…and then we all shall STILL be found learning!
I have been so encouraged by your encouragement.
Thank you!
I am not NEARLY as ‘spiritual’ as some of you seem to think :-[  I am just a sheep trying to do what I am told…like all of you.
Thank you for ‘receiving me’.  You are really a blessing!
lovingly, your sis (from work)
ani b’derek
Published in: on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 am  Comments (9)  
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Inside Israel – 8th Day of Chanuka


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today. I didn’t receive a letter from our Sis in Jerusalem this week, but had an older one that hadn’t been shared yet, from back in December.  Thank you and God bless you for reading and praying. Now, here she is . . .

“The entrance of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”  Psalm 119:130
We have just lit the final candles on our Chanukiah…all eight lights are gleaming, lighting up the room so brightly.  It is beautiful and peaceful and ushers in the final day of Chanuka. We went to a wonderful Chanuka shabat meal last night at my pastor’s home with most of our congregation and we sang about The Light of The world.  When we came home we heard about the tragic shooting in Connecticut USA where so many little ones were killed.  How distinct Light is from darkness, and how grievously evident its fruits!
I want to share with you that I got to share about HIM and His Light and peace this Chanuka, and I would like to tell you a bit about the young woman with whom I shared, hoping that you will pray for her.  Her name is Molly and she is a new secretary who works along side of me several days a week.  When I met her it was a little bit of a shock.  She is big and tough looking, (not what you generally expect a dr. secretary to look like) and in her early twenties. She was a police woman and I found out that she is now studying criminology.  Wow!  That is quite a subject.  As I thought about it, I wondered what it is like to stare at criminal minds and study them.  I spend my life studying the mind of Yeshua… staring at Him, knowing that as I fix my eyes on Him I am changed more and more into His likeness.  I remember having a good friend in California years ago who was a police man.  He had told us that he and his wife went on required ‘psychiatric retreats’ periodically through his work to ‘debrief’ them.  He said that after awhile you see so much evil that it affects you and you must be brought back into balance and reminded that all people are not like that.  I found myself thinking quite a bit about Molly’s line of study, so I brought it up again several days later.  ‘Molly, I was thinking about your studies in criminology and thought how you must have to guard your heart as you study.’ (The word that I used was not ‘heart’ but ‘nefesh’… a Hebrew word that is more like a combination of your heart, soul and spirit) She was interested; ‘Well, I know and I try to.  I actually study it because most criminals are depressed and I have been very depressed and there is much depression in my family.  As a matter of fact, we have learned that depression is a severe problem in Israel.’  This had really opened a door!  ‘I have noticed that Jewish depression seems to be an ancient problem’ I said. I wondered if this would lead to speaking about how turning from God to sin and darkness brings such depression.  I told her that I get up every morning at 4:30 to ‘Study God’…to read His Word and to stare at Him.  She was interested and it opened a door.  ‘My father died very suddenly 5 months ago and I could not get out of bed I was so sad.  I quit my job and would have killed myself but I couldn’t do that to my family.  I am the oldest of 4 sisters and our father had a heart attack and went into a deep coma.  For one week we all sat by his bed and our Mother cried.  It was awful.  We were so sad.  I prayed and said ‘God…if you are real…please either heal my father or take him home but don’t let him live this way.  Then, right away, he died.’  Suddenly I knew with a deep ‘knowing’ that I had to tell her about The Lord.  Thankfully, the office was miraculously quiet. ‘Molly…I want to tell you something about myself that I don’t usually share here at work.  I am a messianic Jew.’ She said ‘What is that?’ I was hoping that she would know.  ‘I believe that Yeshua is our Messiah.’ I said. ‘Oh! yeshu!’ This is a bad word for HIS Holy Name.  ‘No.’ I said…’His Name is YESHUA.’ Thankfully she did not seem shocked or upset. She asked ‘Are you still Jewish then or are you now a Christian (Notzrei) and not Jewish?’ I told her that I am still Jewish and am a disciple of Yeshua.  All of my parents and Grandparents all the way back were Jewish and so I a, as well…but I follow Yeshua.’ I began to share my full testimony with her…including how I was hospitalized having been (among other things) suicidally depressed and how He came to me Face to face when I had never heard about Him and how He changed my life and flooded me with joy and peace.  She looked at me deeply.  ‘The way you believe in Yeshua is how I believe in God.’ She said.  ‘When my father died and I prayed, when God answered my prayer, He did that to me.  I suddenly was flooded with peace that I knew was Him.’
At this point the office suddenly got busy again, effectively ending our conversation, but – again – I was flooded with peace and His Light seemed to fill the room.  Later that day Molly said to me ‘I am so happy to be working with you.  I have never been this happy to work with anyone.’  I do not know how this will continue, but I pray for her salvation.  Although my words were awkward, His ways are perfect and I know that His Word will accomplish what it is sent to do.  Should The Lord press Molly into your heart, please lift her in prayer, that she would be set free to turn her studies to The One Who is Light?
Having much to share and knowing that you are all so busy during this season of LIGHT, I pray for each of you to be blessed by His Presence. How precious is His Light in this darkening world.  May His priorities be yours daily.  I miss you.  Lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – Jan. 22, 2012


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today as our sis in Jerusalem shares from her heart about what is going on around her. Thank you and God bless you as you read and pray!  Now , here she is . ..

What a week this has been…and it has barely started…it is only Tuesday! I look back at the letter that I sent out and think about the incredible Joy that The Lord had filled me with and smile at how He is faithful to prepare us for the long road ahead, eh? 
So where should I begin?  With the elections today?  With the ifi conference? With being in the emergency room from 3pm till 3am last night? With the crazy window to Israeli society that I viewed on Sunday at the post office and other ‘lines’?  Hum. With God’s strength, and if it is for His glory, I will mention them all.
And…yes…I will get back to our full night in the emergency room update later on. Sigh. He IS ‘GOOD’, isn’t He!
Today is election day in Israel, and if the campaigning has been embarrassing and annoying, the day itself has been the opposite.  We have been here for more then 18 years now, and have participated in many elections, but something about todays election was ‘charged’. Election day is a full public holiday in Israel except for transport and medical services and who ever chooses to remain open.  With schools closed, family outings are considered high priority, and they usually begin at the polls themselves, where families arrive with their children (and even the family dog!) to experience the freedom of voting. It is fun to watch each parent explain the system in detail to their children. Although we are considered one of the ‘highest’ tech nations in the world, our voting system could be called ‘old fashioned’.  I like it.  We each received a card in the mail telling us where our voting station was and which room our name would be found it.  Early this morning we joined the throng walking in the road (since the sidewalks are still piled high with fallen trees and limbs) toward our local station.  My husband was using a cane (explanation below) and I was touched by how many neighbors whom I don’t know but whom he does, stopped him to ask what had happened.  At the Wizo center, we looked for our room and a kindly woman said, ‘Oh, let me see your card.  You are right here!’ she said smiling. Our upstairs neighbors, toting three children, turned around to visit with us.  Only one person is allowed in the voting room at a time, so we stand on line outside the room. One by one we entered the room and turned over our teudot zehut (id) cards, had our names checked off on a type written list, and were handed an envelope.  One by one we walked behind a plastic shield and faced a small table containing some 37 piles of cards, each one with Hebrew letters on it representing a party.  I recalled my first panicky voting experience when I was overwhelmed by all of the letters and couldn’t remember which one represented the party that I wanted to vote for!  This time I easily slipped my card into the envelope and deposited it in the cardboard box in the center of the room.  All of the votes are set to be hand counted by tomorrow morning at around 10am- polls closing at 10pm tonight.
So…I did NOT make it to the opening ifi meeting –which I had so looked forward to and which I expected my husband to come to – last night where we prayed for today’s electionsL. Since Shabat my husband had been complaining of lower back pain and it really seemed to get severe.  He did an x-ray yesterday, but when we could not get a timely orthopedist appointment, at 3:00 I suggested that we go to ‘terem’, the ‘pre-emergency room’ services that we have here. I packed my Bible, expecting to leave for the conference from there, however they were uncertain of what was going on and sent us to the emergency room.  I have described our hospitals to you many times in the past.  The system here is very different then that in America and many other countries, but we have gotten used to it and we went home and brought provision for a very long wait. Sitting in the large waiting room, one by one you go to triage.  If you are ambulatory, you return to the waiting room to be called back in periodically for this test or that, and if you are not ambulatory, you are sent to the ‘bed ward’. As yesterday dragged into last night, we were ‘ambulatory’ and so we watched a long parade of dramas carried out before our eyes…the interplay of human pain and compassion between a mixture of people…old and young, rich and poor, Arab and Jew, religious and secular.  There was a young handcuffed prisoner with leg chains, visiting for hours with his ‘guard’.  A number of soldiers came in.  Many people fell asleep and others ate and ate and ate or cried or played games on cell phones.  Everybody comforted the few ‘wounded’ children. By 3am it was finally determined, that my husband has a ‘closed fracture of the pelvis’. It came as a surprise and we are not sure how it happened.  Armed with pain killers, papers to take to the orthopedist and fatigue, we took a taxi home to digest the fact that he would, once again, be needing to close his business for a bit.
Huh! Changes.
I had so been looking forward to attending the conference on both Monday night and today, Tuesday morning and now I was not only missing both of the meetings that I could attend, but being faced with the changed reality of our situation once again. 
But isn’t this true of all of our lives, and not something peculiar to us here.  Stress, change, crisis…these are the tools used so skillfully in His Hands to change us and mold our character.  I tried to remember this as I quieted my heart toward driving fears away and resting in Him.  I missed my 4:30 am call to time alone with Him and didn’t wake until 7!  That dashed all hopes of being at prayer meeting by 9.  I had to get my husband’s breakfast, walk the dog, go to vote and get his pain meds purchased. (his doctors were not working today) I prayed for the morning meeting and took my quiet time with The Lord.  He is faithful. 
Now.  None of this is what I had planned to be writing to you!  Sunday morning I had to mail a box to our daughter.  That should have been a fairly easy mundane task that no one would consider writing about, but I had MUCH opportunity to remember that one of the VERY first things that we were told during the ‘absorption process’ when we made aliyah (immigrated) was that ‘In Israel you should never plan to do more then one task in a day.’ This had been a great mystery to us.  What on earth could they mean?  They explained that you do NOT, for example, want to plan to go to the post office AND the bank in the same day or you will be very frustrated.  It has taken me 18 years to FULLY understand this and laugh a hearty laugh, although things are MUCH easier now then they were 18 years ago!  Example:  I entered the post office and took a number and a seat.  Eighteen years ago there were NEITHER numbers nor seats.  You literally BATTLED for a place as there also was no such thing as a line. Shouts and fights were the rule of the game. We have gotten MUCH more user friendly.  I looked at my number.  97.  I looked up at the screen…it read number 48.  There were 2 clerks.  I looked around; yep! There were about 50 people crowded in to the room…and it was only 9am on Sunday!  A young man got up and kindly gave me his seat.  I took out a book. A half hour later I fell asleep for awhile.  I woke up and read some more.  An old man shuffled up to the clerk; ‘I just want to buy one stamp.’ A hew and cry went up ‘What is your number!!’ He got his stamp and left.  Israeli post offices aren’t just post offices.  They are ‘postal banks’, we pay our bills there, we change car ownership there, we file government forms there, and there is a whole array of services offered that I still don’t fully understand…and they can be very time consuming.  There are not separate counters for different services…so after 2 hours and 10 minutes it was finally my turn, and I thought about how much easier it is to do business at the post office now that they have numbers and seats…but it is STILL hard to need to do more then one bureaucratic task in a day without being exhausted!  It was now after 11 and I ran to the shuk.   
That was what I had wanted to describe to you BEFORE all of the rest happened.  I simply hoped to share a day in normal Jerusalem life amid the world shaking events swirling around us.
The polls are about to close here in Israel…another 15 minutes.  There is a strong sense of anticipation.  Will God be gracious to us or is His judgment also touching us in this way. We are not citizens of the kingdoms of this world, even though we vote here and pray for those in office.  We are citizens of a different kingdom and need to see with eyes of that kingdom.  I am in the process.  Here goes.  May we each walk in His balance, in this world but not be OF this world.  By the time you read this you will likely know who our next prime minister is.  He already knows.  God bless you and thank you for your prayers.
 Lovingly, your sis here.
Published in: on January 27, 2013 at 7:57 am  Comments (8)  
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Inside Israel – Overflowing Joy


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today. Our sis in Jerusalem shares some of what is going on in her country and in her heart! Thank you for reading and praying!  Now, here she is . ..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you from Jerusalem, where we are preparing for Elections this coming Tuesday.  It has been a grueling battle as our notorious political system exhibits its ‘colorful’ nature.  That is a nice way of putting it I guess.  The display of some 37(?) (I lost track.) political parties battling it out in the mud is something that grieves me. I try to listen to enough to be informed, but even more so to bring it to Him and find His direction, for certainly He cares about this country… these countries (yours and mine)…and we try to be good stewards…walking in the world but not being of the world.  The will of The Lord for this country, which is more then a country…a country engraved with a mysterious and ancient relationship with God…a country who is called to unfold prophecy today and to display His Name… what a responsibility! I am thankful that it IS HIS responsibility and not ours, but we ARE called to be stewards, and so we move toward an agonizing voting process and I do ask for your prayers.  Although ‘polls’ show an ‘easy win’ for Prime Minister Netanyahu, I do not trust polls, the media, nor do I trust the world’s ways…so prayer to Him Who knows the way ahead is our only hope through the pea soup of this crazy world. 
The annual Intercessors for Israel (ifi)(this is the prayer group that I participate with every Friday morning) prayer conference here in Jerusalem is scheduled to begin this year the night before elections (next Monday night) and of course it was set way before elections were called.  What perfect timing for a gathering of prayer warriors from around the world with a heart to pray for Israel!  Because of my work schedule, I will only be able to attend 2 morning meetings, however my husband has agreed to come to the meeting this Monday night, so I also thank you for your prayers for his heart to be warmed.  J
Thank you for having borne with my reports concerning our weather.  I had a lot of fun writing them! I was surprised (but shouldn’t have been) by those who wrote from ‘wet Europe’ saying that they hadn’t really thought of rain as a ‘blessing’ and thanking me for the reminder.  I had to stop and wonder…if I didn’t live in a desert would I be thankful for the cold torrential rains and snow?  I also lived in the California foothills during severe drought, but in Alaska we had abundant water (where I lived)…HOWEVER…we were subject to some very extreme weather conditions.  One of the ‘children’s songs’ that we sang at our fellowship back then, became a ‘stepping stone’ for me and I actually still sing it when I am particularly uncomfortable ‘weather wise’:
“It’s a happy day, and I thank God for the weather.  It’s a happy day, and I’m living it for my Lord, Halleluyah!  It’s a happy day, and things are going to get better, just living each day by the promises in God’s Word”
It’s just a little child’s song, but it moves my heart toward Him.  I was thinking these thoughts the other night after receiving some responses to my email and then the next morning (davka! Wouldn’t you know it!) in my regular morning reading I was in Psalms and read these wonderful words:
“He sends out His command to the earth; His Word runs very swiftly.  He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold?  He sends out His Word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters to flow; HE DECLARES HIS WORD TO JACOB, HIS STATUES AND HIS JUDGMENTS TO ISRAEL.”  Psalm 147:15-19
The following morning was my spiritual birthday!  Tuesday the 15th of January I celebrated 38 years in Yeshua… what a miracle! The day never ceases to ‘tingle’ me…to bring me to my knees… to humble me… to remind me that He found a literally barren waif on her way to kill herself with NOTHING worth redeeming and said ‘I will show MYSELF in this dark, filthy pit.  I will banish the enemy and display MY LIGHT where darkness thought it had the victory!’ And HE did!  As I sought to offer something to HIM as a token of thanksgiving…He instead filled me with such JOY this Tuesday… all I can say is that it was a ‘baptism of joy’! I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious, I just don’t recall such a feeling of every cell full of joy and thanksgiving!  ANYWAY…I began the day as usual in my time with Him by reading.  Currently I am reading in 4 places each morning: First covenant (OT), Second covenant (NT), Prophets, and a Psalm.  The night before I had shared from Ps. 147 with you (above) and here in Psalm 148, that wonderful Psalm of exhortation to praise, I read: (I am so tempted to write the whole Psalm here!)
…“Fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy wind, FULFILLING HIS WORD…”
Oh my!  What a picture!  It seemed to me that He was showing me that whenever I am REALLY in the center of the will of God…doing His will…what I am created to do…I am FULLFILLING HIS WORD!  Is that crazy and perhaps carrying it too far?  It just suddenly all made so much sense…His ‘order’, His ‘harmony’, His ‘shalom’… it is even witnessed in the weather… (dramatic weather or calm) – all of nature proclaiming His glory.  As I read the Prophets and see how often He told Israel that they would be dispersed in their disobedience so that ‘the land could have her rest’, I began to picture the quiet and order taking over from the noise and disorder…the balance being restored.  It seems to me that when we ourselves as His children seeking to please Him, walk in His will, there is a certain ‘balance’ that quiets us and worship is a ‘natural’ outcome. 
Uh oh, I have let my joy spill a bit too far over into this letter perhaps.  Will you take this opportunity to forgive me for my occasional ‘over exuberance’ and let it be turned into joy and thanksgiving for your own salvation?  This great gift that we have received, totally unworthy, this mystery… it is what has made us brothers and sisters and has put such a love in me for each of you!  May you be greatly refreshed today and may we each be renewed in our first-love for The One Who has done far more then we will grasp in this life time. 
I miss you, dear brothers and sisters.  I send love from dramatic Jerusalem.  Your sis

Inside Israel – Please Enjoy This With Us!


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today!  I’m so blessed to be able to bring you this latest letter from our Sis in Jerusalem as she shares about the recent snowfall and rain they’ve been having.  Hope it blesses you too! Thank you for reading and praying.  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a privilege to be a ‘witness’ here – and sometimes it is more ‘fun’ then others.  This is one of them.  I will keep this short so that those of you who don’t care for long letters can enjoy it too:
My husband I take a weekly walk in a rural area that borders one of the local lakes that serves as a reservoir.  It has been dry for some time, and not ‘full’ for over 7 years.  Today, as we drove to park our car in the usually EMPTY area (if there are 3 cars we think it is crowded), we were shocked to see the area as full as any country fair grounds, or city park on ‘rides day’!  HUNDREDS of cars packed every open spot as young families and dogs made their way laughing and skipping toward the reservoir.  Because of my foot, I read until my husband and dog returned an hour later, laughing.  “You wouldn’t believe it!” he chuckled.  “All around the lake people threw mats on to the mud or mud packed grass and sat down with picnic lunches oohhing and aahhing over the full lake!  I mean…they were sitting in the mud and the cold gazing at the water as though it was… well… “; he couldn’t come up with the word.  ‘Miracle’ is what I filled in.  And it is true.  The ‘children of Israel’ DO pour out to see what God has done!  These are the ones who did not brave the traffic jams in the North as most of the country traveled north to see the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) full again.  There is utter joy and thanksgiving!  A dear sister sent me these two priceless ‘witnesses’ that you will enjoy more then my words.  But may the weather…something so totally from The Lord God Almighty, always remind us of His witness displayed before us day by day.  He is only Good, isn’t He!  Please read these (and see the photos – they ARE excellent!) and enjoy!  Lovingly, your sis
When it snows in Jerusalem
By Naomi Ragen
All over the world, when it snows, most of the time people take it for
granted. But not in my city, Jerusalem.
When it snows in Jerusalem, people in Petach Tikva and Tel Aviv pile into
their cars and head towards the capital.
Old folks (like me) go out at eleven p.m. to throw snowballs at their
husbands and to sit drinking hot cider in the only café open for business
Your kids call you from far away Rechovot begging to spend the night
You clean off your windowsills and put some of it in the freezer, to
remember when the skies turn hot and blue again, as you know they will
You can hear the children in nearby schools scream with delight, in a
chorus, as the first flakes fall
You get out your iphones and sms photos to your entire family
You watch people pile up more snow on their cars to take home to show the
You get to take out the clothes you bought the last time you were in a place
that has a real winter (i.e. outside the country) and wear them again
No one goes to work, or school
The streets are empty, except for the teenagers having the time of their
At the first forecast of snow, you look longingly at the sky, hoping wishes
alone might milk a little of the white stuff from the reluctant sky
And when it starts falling, you stand, mesmerized as the flakes transform
the familiar landscape into something so strange and beautiful you can hardly move
And even as it snows, you hope the sun won’t come out too soon and melt it;
that it will stay cold long enough for the roads to reopen and so the
grandkids can come and see
You get ready to walk to the Kotel no matter where you are, because it is a
sight no one should miss if they get a chance to see it in their lifetime
And when you get there, although all public transportation has been stopped,
the roads in and out of the city have been closed, and schools and almost
all businesses have shut down, you bless G-d for giving the city so much joy
You find yourself already dreaming about the next snow day in Jerusalem
Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.
YHWH bless you and keep you
YHWH make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you
YHWH lift up his countenance upon you and give you Shalom
ani b’derek
Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 8:52 am  Comments (17)  
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Inside Israel – Come Ride the Bus with Me?


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today!  Our Sis in Jerusalem takes us on the bus in this letter .. .always a beautiful experience.  God bless you and thank you for reading and praying for Israel and our sis there! Now, here she is . ..

Greetings dear sisters and brothers, in the midst of such a changing and shaking world…may we be found with His kingdom enlarging itself within us so that we might be ‘hidden in The Rock’ bringing others with us when the time comes. 
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed!
I grew up riding the NYC subways and the events of the past week caused me to think about them. As I rode to and from work over the past few days, I found myself writing in my head.  I wondered about the people that used to ride those trains when I was young.  I didn’t care about them, I’m sorry to say.  So I took a look around at those riding with me today.  Each one has his own story.  We see people daily on public transportation and then, one day they are gone from our lives.  I looked around the bus yesterday morning and almost laughed out loud.  What a motley bunch of characters ride that 6:30am bus!  I’ve told you before that I felt as if the bus has much more character then the train…and…well…perhaps I should have said many more ‘characters’ as well! 
I smiled as I was greeted by one of my favorite drivers yesterday.  Where most bus drivers set their radio to popular music, this driver plays CLASSICAL music mid-day…very unusual…indeed the only one I know of in the city.  However in the morning he dials his radio to ‘reshet gimmel’, (network 3) the ‘all Israeli nostalgia station’ that plays only old Israeli songs.  They are wonderful and the whole bus taps their feet or sings along.  It can get pretty emotional at times as this bus serves an unusually large number of ‘mentally different’ people.  Some are retarded and some are downs syndrome, but others are just ‘unique’.  They ride out to the neighborhood of Talpiot where they employed in a number of ‘sheltered’ jobs and it is really a very congenial bus…sort of like family.  (you generally don’t get many ‘new’ people on the 6:30am route)  So, what do you do with ‘family’?  You introduce them to people whom you love.  That’s you!  So, let me introduce you to those whom I ride with daily, morning by morning. I warn you…none of them have names.  You will meet them by the character that they openly display in the morning.
You have already met the driver.  He is a burley man, but shy.  Most drivers are rather shy and have A LOT of PATIENCE!  That must be a requirement for driving public transportation here.  In Israeli buses there are many signs.  They are not advertisements but little notices that are mostly ignored.  Right under the sign that says ‘Do NOT put your feet on the seats’ will be someone with their feet on the seats.  The front two seats have a special notice that encourages people to leave those seats for the elderly or infirm.  One sign is taken from the book of Proverbs exhorting people to ‘rise before the grey bearded’.  You will undoubtedly find young people sitting here.  BUT…Some older people (or infirm) (OR crazies) stand their ground!  On the 6:30 bus, the front seat is currently under contention: ‘The woman who had cancer treatment at the same time as I did’ (but like me, is fine now, thank God) loves to get on, set all of her bags and purse down on the second seat and begin to read.  She is relatively young.  She ALWAYS looks surprised and a bit indignant when ‘crazy newly immigrated from America Viet-Nam veteran’ gets on and demands the seat beside her.  She slowly (painfully slowly!) removes her packages, gets up, and has him scoot in.  He wears a series of striking tee shirts…all of them concerning the Marines in Viet-Nam and veterans.  He only wears one other tee shirt that says (and I quote) “You say the word ‘psycho’ as if it were bad!”.  He has a frighteningly hostile attitude and ANYTHING can set him off cursing and screaming, and even swinging.  He doesn’t know Hebrew and reads the Jerusalem Post daily.  I am praying much for this man and waiting for the right opening to talk with him…I feel as if he is one whom The Lord has put in my path.  Back in the 60s when my contemporaries fought in the war, I was a very hostile, aggressive and arrogant ‘peacenik’…and I have had a number of opportunities since meeting Yeshua to comfort some of those who fought.  Perhaps this man will be one.  He doesn’t hear well.  It is humorous to see him explain that in English to the retarded man speaking Hebrew who then says ‘My lips are curled so I don’t speak well.’  The bus moves on.  A very heavy woman sits down across from me and unwraps a HUGE sandwich, devouring it in minutes.  This is her daily ritual. A religious man who works as a security guard at the shuk greets me.  A friendly government worker who speaks an abundance of languages sits across the aisle studying Chinese and telling the man across from him that he is hoping to go to China for a visit soon.  A religious woman gets on and gives the newspaper to another mentally challenged man who sits behind me.  He is so grateful for it and reads it from beginning to end before he leaves the bus and hands it to the equally grateful driver.  An older religious woman caught my eye several years ago and we have struck up quite a friendship.  She is a master teacher at a religious grammar school and I love listening to her stories and insights.  She was born up north, on the border with Lebanon and has a naiveté about her that is so refreshing. She, on the other hand, is fascinated by my life, and I am praying for a time to share with her as well.  I have shared with her that my husband, as a Christian, was reading the Bible and suddenly said ‘It says here that all Jews should live in Israel.  You and the girls are Jewish.  We must need to move to Israel.’ (true by the way!) She was amazed.  May our conversations grow in depth and purpose!  There are a number of religious people who are reading Psalms in the morning and at certain points they stand up and face the Old City (Temple Mount) to pray.  We also have a number of Arabs, Moslem and Christian, on the bus. Such a mix and all getting along just fine, helping one another; teachers and mentally challenged, Moslems and religious Jews, secular and non secular…each one trying to start the day on the right foot and earn a way to provide for their families.  We smile at one another.
I have grown to love the people on my bus and I miss them when they ‘suddenly disappear’ from my life with no other name known to me then ‘The man who never combs his hair in the morning’ and the like.  So many people cross our paths.  Lord, help us to know and take advantage of every open door You give us!
On a personal note, I want to apologize for all of the letters that I owe to so many of you who have encouraged me.  This time of adjustment to the changes we are experiencing has been hard…and has taken a bit of a toll on my health.  I hope to be back in place of writing again soon.  Thank you for bearing with me, and mostly, thank you for your prayers for our family and for our nation.
 Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem

Inside Israel – He Is So Good!


Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel.  Thank you for praying for Israel and  our sis there in Jerusalem, as she shares what He puts on her heart.  Now here’s J . . .

I wasn’t able to close my inner eyes for a minute last night but I am still too happy to sleep, so hopefully this will make sense.  Two things happened yesterday to replace my sleep with praise and worship throughout the night; One came through the loan of the English translation from Finnish of a book  by ‘Unto Kunnas’ called Kaarols Syvanto – Pioneer – Forty years in Israel.  It is the testimony of a man so led by God through shocking obstacles by way of a vision of the resurrection and final salvation of Israel…and let me tell you…I NEEDED to be reminded to get my eyes back up onto HIM and remember that not only is HE able…and not only is HE willing…but this IS HIS HEART…the salvation of this country!  I NEEDED my vision renewed.
The other testimony is LUBA! 
Over the past years I have mentioned this dear sister from Russia as she has needed prayer or as I have described our friendship.  Seven years ago she received a diagnosis of advanced cancer that shook her.  Her subsequent surgery, radiation and chemo were traumatic and plunged her into a black hole of severe depression and anxiety even though she was physically healed.  It was very difficult to be around her negativity, fears and doubt through this time, and yet she constantly sought prayer, counseling, and ran from this course on deliverance to that conference.  It was frustrating to us as a body because we all tried to help (I would call her weekly and pray with her and others too I’m sure) but nothing happened.  There it is…it WASN’T a matter of all of the things that she did ‘wrong’ or that were ‘wrong’ with her…but that WE were all faced with fervent’ … UNANSWERED prayer, and that for seven years!
A couple of months ago I noticed a difference.  Her facial features, which had been ‘flat’, were more animated. It SEEMED as if ‘life’ was seeping back in. Last night at women’s prayer meeting, it was her turn to share.  She called me about a week ago and asked for prayer as she was going to be the one speaking.  (Each month a different one of us shares) I prayed and called her on Mon night to pray with her.  I had a strong sense of anticipation…and it was not without reason!  She has been set free!  She shared in great detail about the path of her journey and I was not alone in weeping.  She said that each prayer, and many of the courses, tapes, and conferences helped…but it was a ‘process’ that she wouldn’t have changed now for the world, because HE took her into the desert to strip her bare, expose her and finally set her free into HIS fullness by sovereignty delivering her from besetting sins and bondages that she didn’t even know were there.  This sister is my age and is a widow with one daughter and 7 grandchildren. 
There were just 10 of us at this meeting.  One of the group was K. whom you also prayed for.  She had an epidural during the delivery of her last baby and now sits in a wheelchair while raising 2 young daughters.  We have prayed and fasted for her.  What HOPE she was given through this victory!  Another was A. who grieves so for four sons who are not walking with HIM.  There is C who has wonderful children serving The Lord, but one son and her husband come and then turn back again and again…each one of us has been ‘baring long’ with something painful the mystery of unanswered prayer… wondering ‘why’ and ‘how long’ and if we can continue to ‘walk in hope and live in faith’. 
And on top of that we live in Jerusalem…a city with promises in the midst of great battle.  How encouraged I am again to have my eyes on the One Who fulfills the promises instead taking notice of the dust of the battle!
Much of my ‘dust’ settles on me during my daily battles – the bus and train rides as you well know!  It was ‘right’ that I should begin this letter with the VICTORY of THE LORD rather then anything else.  It has been an interesting week… this time approaching the day when much of the West and most Christians celebrate the birth onto this earth of The Messiah, The Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua h’Meshiach.  We live half a world away from America here (as others of you reading this do in other countries) and yet the news of the murder of the children there impacted this country in a way that I didn’t expect.  The first day was of banner headlines in the Hebrew press ‘America Weeps’.  I watched as parents here hugged their children closer in horror of what happened.  The third day was what startled me.  Having gone through the last intifada when our front pages were decked with black framed photos of those who had been killed over the past 24 hours, here was our Hebrew newspaper with the photos of each child framed in black on the front page.  I wondered if other countries were doing this.  Perhaps.  I don’t know. On the bus people were somber looking at the pictures, sitting quietly.  Israelis are no strangers to grief…but our pain comes from an ‘enemy’…not from our midst.  Automatic weapons are abundant on our buses and trains and even in our schools, but they are not used except to defend the people.  Israel is known for it’s (I feel) extraordinary love for its children.  Golda Meir (one of our Prime Ministers) is known for having said (among other things):
Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”  And: “What bothers me most is not that Arabs kill our children, but that they force us to kill theirs.”
I took the train to the dentist and (with my mouth pried open :-\) listened to the dental assistant asking the doctor in thickly accented Russian Hebrew, ‘How could someone do this?’  Being in the dentist chair for a LONG time afforded me the opportunity to think about the strong Israeli reaction (that is continuing). Immediately groups formed to see how they could help those who perhaps were ‘falling through the cracks’ in America.  I heard of one group bringing cakes and baked goods over to the ‘first responders’ and explaining that they were themselves first responders and people don’t realize how much trauma those first at such a scene go through.  They went, at their own expense, to ‘be friends and support’.  I thought about this nation and the, perhaps, ‘peculiar heart’, tender and giving, and the way it is portrayed in the media… and I prayed. 
I understand that you are likely super busy right now.  I have some personal things to share and PLENTY more ‘observations’, and will do that in the next email rather then extend this one.  May The Lord be central in your day today, and bless your path in Him.  Thank you for letting me share my intense ‘awe’ at The Lord Who answers prayer and delivers!  I miss you all!  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
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