Inside Israel – 15 Jan. 2012 from Jerusalem

Hi and welcome to our Sunday look inside Israel. Today J of Jerusalem shares about her “birthday”,  transportation, and more! God bless you and thank you for your prayers for Israel  and for our sister J!  Now here’s J . . .

The 15th of January is the date that I look forward to more then any other day of the year.  Perhaps it is selfish…but it is my true Birthday…the day of my second birth…birth into Yeshua…birth from the flesh to The Spirit…birth from death into life.  For me today is an alter to the event that began me on this path 37 years ago tonight when The Lord, Whom I didn’t believe in, (although I had NEVER heard His claims…nor the ‘story’, the offer of His Life) stepped into my life which I was about to end by my own hand, and laid claim to me…may I never cease to praise His Holy Name!  THANK YOU LORD!!
So…I’m celebrating this day, most special to me, by writing to you…which is an answer to prayer.  The prayer that I have been praying for the past 3-4 weeks as I was laying these letters out before Him and seeking to know if I were to continue writing them…if they were glorifying HIM Alone…if they were really His will for me to write.  I put them on the alter as He seemed to me to be restraining my hand from writing and examining my motives for writing them.  I believe that He is releasing me to continue writing and I am happy to begin again with this ‘birthday’ letter.
Although the specter of Iran and events in our region hang like a heavy cloud above us, this is NOT the main subject of conversation in Jerusalem right now.  It is the weather…and the public transportation belegan!  The weather is COLD and wet.  The wet is wonderful (although we need it to continue manifold!) but the COLD… is a problem.  Those of you who know where I come from might wonder why it would be any problem for me, or for my family.  Well…where we come from we had warm houses, wonderful wood fires, suitable clothing of fur and skin and down.  Here, the stone houses are quick to retain the cold.  We are not alone in living in an older building with inadequate heat.  We receive central heating from about 3pm until 9 or 10pm, but my morning it is FREEZING in the apartment.  Brrrr!  My boss told me that when he was in the army he asked a friend from Siberia, why in the world the cold bothered him of all people.  He answered ‘Siberia is cold…but nothing like this!’  We agree!  So…the ‘cold’ is the first topic of conversation! ‘Cold!’  comes the comment.  ‘Cold!’ comes the answer.  So we greet one another.
But it isn’t long before we launch into topic number 2…yep…transportation!
It is almost poetic justice that the ‘new system’ was officially cast upon us in total on Friday the 13th.  I will reprint an article below from an English speaking local web site.  English tries to make things user friendly.  If you think that THIS is ‘strange’, you should see the directions in HEBREW!  Have a taste of this with me…pay attention and do try to follow along:
There are significant changes to bus service in Jerusalem effective Friday, January 13, 2012. Click here  to see maps showing the new service pattern.
Jerusalem Bus Map Version 5.0 has been RERELEASED in light of changes to Routes 28 and 39 at Shaare Tzedek Hospital that were not included on the first release
Changed routes: 5, 9A, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21/21A, 23, 24A, 27/27A, 28/28A, 33, 39/39A, 50, 104, 150

Discontinued routes: 24 (see route 14 for replacement service), 26/26A (see routes 9A, 20, 21, new route 24, 24A, new route 26, 27, 27A, 33, new route 69, and the light rail for replacement service)

New routes: 13A, 24, 26, 69 (NOTE: The new 24 and 26 are entirely new routes and have no relation to the routes previously using those numbers)

In addition, the following routes have new numbers, but the routes themselves are not changing:
29 >>>> 54
40 >>>> 36

49A >>> 59 
Ok…did you get that??  OFCOURSE…it turned out that these were only PARTIAL changes.  (please note: I highlighted in yellow the most humorous changes:  there were 5 lines –not just the 3 posted- that did NOT change route…but…just so that no one felt ‘left out’ of the belegan…their NUMBERS were changed, just to confuse you a bit more!  This is really quite a sight!  We all have little, cryptic booklets that were handed out for us to study the changes.  Also…there are maps and signs at every bus stop.  UNFORTUNATELY… none of us can really understand how in the world to apply it all to ‘real life’, so there are confused mobs of people gathered everywhere.  When it gets really bad, we just find a kiosk, sit down and have a cup of coffee until we gather the strength to confront it all again.  There are many creative activities springing up.  On Friday morning I noted that a mentally retarded young woman whom I know from my bus stop, was collecting all of the booklets that people had thrown down.  Today as I stood with her trying to answer the questions of another woman who was completely lost trying to find her way to work, this girl reached in her bag and said ‘Would you like a map booklet?’  She was so pleased to be helpful.  It was really quite resourceful.
But has the lite rail ‘helped’ the situation, you might ask.  Well…let’s see.  One man at work told me that he used to take bus 27 to the hospital.  He now needs to take a bus to the train and then the train to bus 27.  That means instead of waiting for 1 bus he waits for 2 buses and 1 train.  Hum…PLEASE PLEASE do NOT share any of this information with our enemies.  All I can say is thank GOD we are not existing by our own wits, but by the strength and mercy of The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!  Perhaps this whole mess is to help drive us to Him!
Doubtless this is a small thing in the total picture, but in the daily life of Jerusalemites it has proven an exhausting turn of events…including mine.  I have good stories to share, but for tonight I felt to share with you the overview.
Next week the yearly ifi (Intercessors for Israel) prayer conference begins.  This is the one conference that I participate in yearly (as I also attend the Friday morning meetings).  I am usually only able to attend a couple of the conference meetings but this is always so encouraging to me as it is truly a “prayer” conference where we spend much time in prayer and I am greatly encouraged praying with sisters and brothers from around the world.
It is very late now and I must go to bed, but I would like to ask for prayer for our son in law who has been waiting for 5 years for his citizenship.  Tomorrow he has a meeting with the ministry of interior to begin the final stage of his application.  I am asking for prayer that there be no hang-ups or delays and that he is given real and evident FAVOR and a speedy judgment with full citizenship.  Thank you!
I know that this letter is a very awkward one, but it is written with exuberance and love…mostly love toward Him Who calls us, confirms us, equips us, walks with us, conforms us to His Image for His glory, may HE ALONE BE GLORIFED!  And may we be His faithful witnesses.  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 8:51 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – of trains and bombs Aug. 20, 2011

Hi everyone and thank you for stopping by for a look inside Israel today. I haven’t heard from J of  Jerusalem for a few weeks, so would appreciate your prayers joined with mine, for her health and welfare and for that of her family too.  And thank you always for praying for the peace of Jerusalem and for Israel.  Here is an earlier letter from her that didn’t get posted at the time.  God bless you and yours today! Now, here’s J . . .

The juxtaposition of news events here always gives me a bit of a humorous pause… No matter how dramatically BAD events around us seem to be…no matter HOW hopeless…SOMETHING always seems to pop up for a bit of ‘lightness’, even ‘comic relief- so… with the latest terror attack followed by eight funerals, we still read: 

Light rail finally rolls in Jerusalem

Published: 08.19.11, 14:39 / Israel News
The Jerusalem municipality says a long-awaited light rail system is beginning operation after years of delays, inconvenient archaeological finds and political haggling.
The train took its first passengers early Friday. The project has been a decade and an estimated $1.4 billion in the making. (AP)
And so…as events heat up dramatically in the south and all around us…as we are burying our dead from yesterday’s attacks and responding to today’s…the traffic on our main Tel Aviv Jerusalem Hwy…Highway ONE…was blocked.  My daughter called me while I was at work this morning.  They were driving in to check up on and visit her Dad following his procedure yesterday.  “Mom…the highway is closed.  There is no entrance to Jerusalem…do you have the number for information?”  Uh oh.  I had been hearing helicopters and planes over head all day… also I knew that there were two funerals going on at the Mt. Hertzl military cemetery of young people killed yesterday… I was making a mental note of all that could have cause the closure of the main artery.  ‘Probably checking for terrorists.’  I thought.  “It’s stopped because of the ‘lite rail’.” she informed me, before I could speculate.  “WHY would THAT stop it?”  Couldn’t be right!  After all…our HUGE controversial EXPENSIVE ‘overpass’ was built so that the train would pass ABOVE the traffic entering the city.  I reminded her of that fact, but she told me, none the less…that is what the radio said…road would be closed for an hour…probably a ‘ceremony’!  (You can NOT imagine how crowded this area is on Friday!)  So, our new, improved, transportation system prevented them from coming to visit.
I, however, was on one of the first runs!  Having spent all day Thursday at the hospital (from 7:30 am – 9:30 pm!) I did not make it up for ifi prayer meeting this week, so I missed the ‘maiden voyage’ of the train at 5:30, giving preference to a bit more rest.  I felt like a traitor passing my bus stop and crossing the street to the train stop, newly scrubbed of the graffiti and decked with instructive signs to await the first train.  Happy young people were putting on tee shirts with the symbol of the train as they began their new job of patiently instructing the public how to use the lite rail.  I received a little booklet and a calendar (our new year is again approaching) and I noted that one plus is not having to climb up to board the train as it is even with the platform.  It was nice and clean inside (ofcourse…it is brand new) and everyone was smiling.  It is ‘free’ for the time being as they haven’t been able to get the little machines that check the ‘smart card’ to work properly.  (a DEFINITE plus!)  I noted another ‘plus’; the ride was ‘smooth’.  We weren’t being bounced around like bowling balls!  With two or three plus marks on its side, I got off at the shuk and made my way to my bus (a minus…now instead of ONE bus to my work, I will soon need a train AND a bus as the buses along the train route are to be closed down) On my bus, people were grumbling ‘the TRAIN is running!  Do you think it will improve the traffic?  We’ll have to wait and see…just like we have been waiting…’ Everyone agreed…‘Just like we wait for Messiah…’  Messiah!  Everyone nods and looks wistful.  Perhaps you remember the song, popular a few years back that I used to hear on the bus…’for two thousand years we have been waiting for You…Messiah’  That brings to mind another minus…no radio on the train.  Another bridge to cross…How to TELL themso that they hear ‘MESSIAH HAS COME AND IS HERE AND WILL COME AGAIN!’… 
So, as the lite rail appears, once again so does terror and blood and war and retaliation…The report on the 6:30 news this morning said that 17 bombs, rockets and mortars had landed in Israel overnight with several more injured, but, since then I see on the news that they are falling now at a rate of several an hour.  We retaliate.  Accusations fly.  Egypt re-called their ambassador today; an ominous sign.  The count down to the Palestinians declaration at the u.n. of a Palestinian state within Israel with Jerusalem as its capitol is ticking toward the stated date of 20 Sept… and the ‘economic uprising’ is declaring a silent vigil tonight…NOT for the economic conditions, but for those who lost their loved ones in the attack in Eilat.  This week the American ex Fox news reporter, Glenn Beck, a Mormon but apparently with a rather deep understanding of scripture I have been told, and also apparently a sincere heart to stand with and strengthen Israel, is holding much publicized meetings here this coming week.  Please pray for him to be a blessing to Israel and perhaps have the wisdom to stay clear of getting into political and social debates as a few uninformed words misplaced can do a great deal of harm.  More then half of the Israeli population is conservative, but our economics and daily situation here is very different then in America, so if he sticks to strengthening Israel in her calling, he could do much good.   
And so, in the midst, I rejoice in Him on this day of rest.  Shalom.  Shabat shalom…the peace of the shabat…the appointed day of stopping, resting in Him…listening and hearing.  How very good He is!  I miss you all and send my love, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on January 15, 2012 at 9:54 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – Shalom from Jerusalem

Hi and welcome to our Sunday look at life inside Israel. J of Jerusalem is our eyes and shares from her heart, being called to be a witness . . .and a beautiful one she is!  Thank you and God bless you as you read and pray for Israel, J and her family. Now here’s J . . .

Dearest sisters and brothers,
I greet you in The beautiful Name above all names, Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ.  May He be blessed and glorified and KNOWN, and may you each be blessed.  It is almost funny how much I love each of you.  As I write these letters I wonder if you know…individually. 
I have not been able to write for a couple of weeks.  Our difficult time with our younger daughter continues and I have run out of doors that I know of to find help, other then the One that she does NOT want.  She told me yesterday that she was ‘sorry to tell me this and doesn’t want to hurt me, but she tried, and there were no answers there for her and no help from Him…’  My heart broke, but I KNOW that He is bigger and that He is well able to draw all to Himself, so I will now heed those words but will keep praying.  I know that He has placed her on some of your hearts as well, and I thank you so much for your prayers.
There are those of you who are followers of the news in the middle east, and although there are others here in the body who do such a good job at updating you, I will include several recent articles that underline the rapidly increasing isolation of Israel…it is moving so quickly!  I will put them at the end of the letter, so please take a look if He has called you to pray for Israel with knowledge as well as Spirit. 
But as I have been given to be a witness, I offer myself to do this as faithfully as I can.  Recently a dear friend of mine was taking a group of tourists around the country.  They had been praying on the northern border and as they traveled back south they decided to stop at the first kibbutz established on the shores of the Galilee (I believe around 100 years ago).  The history of this kibbutz is both inspiring and heartbreaking and reflects the duel nature of the country.  They toured around, and proceeded back to their van when a young kibbutz member on a bicycle came by.  She looked at them and asked if any of them spoke Hebrew.  My friend said yes, and she asked if perhaps they would like to see something unusual.  Although they had originally cultivated olive trees, they were uprooted some 40 years ago.  Several years ago the vision of the olive trees resurfaced and they were replanted.  New olive presses were purchased and, having just harvested the very first crop, they were, at this moment ready to press their first batch of olive oil.  She asked if this group would like to witness the event.  As they stood there during this moving and emotional first pressing of the new olive oil, the profound significance of the event of the reborn vision stirred the heart.  After tasting this first fruits offering, they said ‘Would you like us to pray for you?’  With joy they asked (knowing that these were believers), and there the prayers in The Name of Yeshua were offered along with the first fruits of the reborn vision.  How this story stirred my heart!  Here, in the Galilee where The Lord taught in parables, He still teaches as He did…the reborn vision…may He forever renew His vision and His purposes within us for the producing of the pure oil for His glory! 
I have shared with you concerning our lite rail since the road was first being ripped up some 11 years ago, so, many of you have been along for the ride with me…the L-O-N-G ride!  I have held little hope for the success of this venture, and although I continue to believe that it was a wrong undertaking, I did see a few ‘pluses’ this week.  The system began to collect money (sorry, potential visitors, it is no longer free) on the first of Dec.  There were very presentable fliers everywhere explaining the system and potentially user friendly machines for purchasing tickets at each station.  Each citizen has been issued a ‘smart card’ with which we can purchase numbers of rides according to our needs.  Gone are the days when you could argue with the driver that you really ARE a senior citizen or that your child is tall for his age (allowing you to have tickets for discount prices).  Gone are ‘punchy cards’ where you could tell the driver ‘punch one for my friend too’.  ‘Smart card’ contains our birthdates and issues discounts accordingly.  No sharing allowed.  Good news; the price of the bus and train are the same and the tickets are interchangeable.  THE BEST THING THAT I HAVE SEEN SO FAR IS THAT THE NEW SYSTEM HAS BROKEN THE ICE…THE SILENCE… ON THE TRAIN!  EVERYONE is talking to EVERYONE again!  J  “HOW do you do this?!?”, “Where do I put my money?”  “I bought a ride, but my card won’t pass!”  “What do you do when you want to transfer to the bus now?”  Everybody is friendly again…and ‘friendly’ in that peculiar Israeli way.  Once again we are like a pile of children.  You think that people might be disappointed at having to pay, particularly in today’s economy.  Not on your life!  This is Israeli curiosity at its peak!  Also, there is a sense of justice.  After all…everyone was worried about WHO WAS PAYING FOR THIS FREE TRAIN?  Rhetorical question; we KNEW that every citizen was paying for the train and that the bills were piling up!  There are shockingly patient inspectors in each car teaching people how to use the train and answering questions.  They have VERY smart little computers that can check your card against the entry device to see if your card registered as paid or not.  EVERYBODY wants to check their card!  It’s funny to see people of all ages and walks of life: students, professors, religious Moslems, religious Jews, tough kids, middle aged working people, people in wheel chairs, waving their cards for the conductor to check.  It has to do with something I never understood until we moved here; we Jews are, generally extremely curious people by nature.  We can’t seem to resist the question; ‘how does this work?’! 
So the train is up and running, even more frequently.  Non rail traffic remains ridiculously snarled in its smaller lanes.  What is to come is yet to be seen, but, as you can read in an article below, there remain some ominous signs. 
It has gotten late, but I want to quickly share one more story. 
Yesterday was our anniversary.  I passed a store and saw that they had very warm looking slipper sox in a nice smoky grey hanging right outside the door.  Although, sadly we have never done much to celebrate our anniversary, I decided to buy them.  As I picked them up and walked in to pay, I saw also WOMAN’S slippers looking equally warm and in the same color.  That would be nice to get us a ‘pair’. Deciding to peruse the card counter I immediately found one of those ‘children’s photo’ cards of 2 children kissing that said in Hebrew ‘I wanted to bless you and to kiss you ‘.  Perfect! I bought that too.  I put all three items on the counter.  The 35-40ish man looked at my two pairs of grey slippers lined up neatly beside one another and my ‘two children kissing card’ and raised his eyebrows and looked at me…and said…”HUMMM!  INTERESTING…!”  I broke up laughing and said “It’s our anniversary today!”  He looked again (respectfully) and said “How many years?”  I rounded it off to an even 40, for convenience sake, NEVER expecting the response that I got!  He looked shocked and awed!  “What? 40 YEARS??  THE SAME MAN??  You just don’t HEAR of such things!  WHAT IS YOUR SECRET??”  I was totally shocked.  First of all, it was just so SAD.  Such a commentary on the state of divinely ordained marriage!  Secondly…he had asked me to share something very important and he was listening … and I needed to think quickly.  I prayed for a meaningful answer.  I told him ‘You need 200% portion of FORGIVENESS because there will always be lots to forgive!’  I told him you needed a sense of humor and you needed to be brave to walk THROUGH alot of pain.  I told him that it is alot of work…and not always easy, but it is worth it.  And finally…I told him that God had to have His place…that marriage is a BRIT (covenant) before God.  He looked as if he had just met some celebrity idol…it was so sad…and such an eye opener to me.  It never occurred to me that this might be an opportunity to share with people hungry for Truth and Security.
It is late and I still have dishes to do before bed.  I will copy some headlines for you and the links to the stories.  Thank you so very much for your prayers for our family and our nation.

ani b’derek
Published in: on December 11, 2011 at 6:21 am  Comments (2)  
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Inside Israel – November in Jerusalem

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel today. J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer, writes to us about what is happening around her this month. God bless you as you read and pray! Now, here’s J . . .

The Lord is truly a Rock, unchanging and secure, solid, and in Him Alone we can put our trust! Living here among the shifting sands, this reality becomes more and more precious to me. I’m sure that it does to each of you as well as time seems to be speeding up while the road narrows and the days become darker. He is our Trustworthy Light, and the Path itself!

On Sunday I had a sudden urge to replenish our food staples. I lifted it before The Lord and felt that I should go ahead with it, so, asking Him for wisdom and guidance I began restocking our grains, beans and the like. I don’t want to project into this, but I DO want to be obedient…and to be hearing Him.

Vicki Binyamini came into the office yesterday to see the doctor. I have liked her since I met her some 13 years ago. I had asked my boss why she had a different last name then her ‘husband’, Mati Avrahami, and he surprised me by telling me that that they never married. She is about 65 and he 75. I was even more surprised to find out that she is Arab and he is Jewish. This is very rare to find a relationship here between Jew and Arab that endures. She has lived as a Jew, even taking a Jewish last name, however she is a believing Christian Arab. We have enjoyed some good fellowship together.

As we talked in the office with other people present, the conversation turned to the hottest topic of the day. No…not Gilad Shalit…not the rockets in the south nor the Palestinian bids at the un and not the mock trial in South Africa of ‘Israeli apartheid’(!)… but…the snarled traffic in this city!

For anyone using public transportation, it is hard to ignore. Vicki mentioned that she hadn’t tried the lite rail yet so I told her that I have ridden it a lot since it runs past my apartment. She asked what I thought of it…’This is a TEST!’ I thought immediately. ‘Grace!’ But when my description got to the unusual atmosphere that the train seems to have created, Vicki listened very closely. I hesitated before adding ‘I have also seen something I never saw before here. Gangs of Arab kids and other gangs of Jewish kids. I haven’t seen anything like this before. It is very intimidating.’ Vicki caught my eye and looked intensely at me and said ‘Listen. As the train passes by Pisgat Ze’ev and Givat Tsafatit the Arabs are throwing stones at it.’ (*you might remember that the train serves both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, actually tying the two together. It was designed during the ‘peace’ season and was supposed to be like a ‘peace train’)

I had known about the stoning and had seen some of the damage, but then her look became particularly serious and she said, using my name for emphasis, ‘___, DON’T ride the train!’ Then she repeated again even more strongly ‘Really, hear me, don’t ride the train!’ A shiver ran down my spine. The train has brought A LOT more moslem Arabs into west Jerusalem. Since this is NOT a time of ‘peace’ there has been a noticeably aggressive ‘feeling’. Most conversations touch on the fact that the train, jammed full of people, is a sitting duck for problems… I took Vicki’s warning to heart as from a friend who cares about me and was born among these things. May it be a vain warning.

But things ARE heating up. As the Palestinians received another un acceptance today, there is renewed feeling of uprising in the air. The world has bought lies wholesale and they are running gleefully with them. ‘Soon there will be no Israel.’ is the joyful line. I suspect that the Jews in Germany in the 20s and 30s had a similar feeling…’Surely the world will not stand by…the world will not believe this and take it … and could never take their part’. But the world did stand by and believe lies. Flesh seems to love lies. Perhaps that is why people don’t think of death…although we ‘know’ that there is only one exit from life. Our flesh likes to believe that it can live forever. Flesh lies and loves lies.

I have often looked at the warning in Romans about those who “did not receive a love of the truth” so their foolish hearts were darkened. How AWFUL and what a powerful warning to examine constantly our own hearts in The Light of The Word and also to honestly open our hearts to Him Who is able to search them and sift out the seeds of lies and even error that we might be accepting. Dangerous times…Faithful God!

Well, the weather here has cooled way down and our few hours of daily heat won’t start up again for another few weeks, so I think I will go and snuggle down into some warm blankets…and take a hot water bottle with me J Thank you for your prayers for our family and our nation…thank you for praying for our young soldiers…for wisdom for our government as the rockets continue to fall in our south. Thank you for being His body to me. I send you Love, your sis

ani b’derek

Published in: on November 13, 2011 at 8:36 am  Comments (7)  
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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!

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