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Saturday, November 07, 2015

Rainy night in Jerusalem

Our last night in Jerusalem is filled with rain. It has rained off and on for three days.  Israel depends on G-d to bless the country with rain to provide the country with enough water for the coming year so it is always seen as a blessing.  Hopefully the Sea of Galilee will fill with water before the rainy season ends in the spring.

Tomorrow afternoon we head to the airport thankful that G-d has given us the opportunity to be here again, to meet people in need and touch lives.  It was certainly a high point of our time here to meet Meir and get to know him as we painted his apartment. We hope to see him again on future trips.

We ask you to pray for Israel and support this land in any way you can.  Scripture says Israel is the apple of G-d's eye.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Sand, sun and rain all in one day!

This is the way the postal system works here. These are bags of mail being taken to the post office for distribution.  Notice the neat postal uniform being worn by the mailman. Also, there is a bag of mail sliding off his cart.  Stop worrying - he came back and picked it up. Jerusalem Motto: Neither rain nor snow or sand storm can keep the mail from being distributed.

The sand was still heavy in the air as we walked to the Old City this morning. Even though you can't really see it in this picture of David's Citadel, we saw people going by with masks over their nose and mouth.  The airport was still closed this morning.

Thursday is the day for Bar Mitzvahs. As you can see from the picture above, a young man( in the gold and black coat) was celebrating his Bar Mitzvah with his family. They have the Torah Scroll open.  Several celebrations were taking place in different places near the Wall.  We were thankful the rain held off until they were finished.  Tomorrow the air should be much cleaner since it has rained hard this afternoon.

We had one last fling of hummus, falafel balls, eggplant, pita and apple cake. Tomorrow night the Sabbath begins and we will eat healthier.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

In the windy and sandy city of Jerusalem, sorry Chicago.

Today has been a strange day. We have had high winds, sand blowing off the desert and cool temperatures. We decided to go for a walk around the city today. Our first stop was the King David Hotel. We sat in the lobby, rested and discussed whether we should check in and dump our apartment. Tulips were displayed all around the lobby. But finally, we decided our apartment was much better and continued on our walk.
Our next stop was the Montefiore Windmill.  

It was the first time we have seen the wind so strong that it was moving the windmill.  
Then we made our way to the Mamilla Mall - looking but no shopping. We stopped for lunch.

Then, as we got back to Jaffa Road we shopped some more and took pictures of the sand storm. You can see it did not stop Israelis from shopping.  We joined them and also stopped for coffee before heading back to the apartment.

This is the view from our apartment tonight.  The airport has been closed all day and continues to be closed.  Tomorrow rain is forecast so we hope the air will clear with the rain falling. We saw several people walking around town with mask on to protect them from the pollution.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The best way to have breakfast in Jerusalem is to sit next to someone carrying a gun.

We met our friend at breakfast and then had her come speak to our traveling companions about her life. She has quite the testimony.  It was good to hear how G-d has worked in her life.  We have known Suzanne for more than 20 years. Great to see her again and catch up on what is happening in her life.

The wind began to pick up this morning and got stronger as the day progressed. Now we have a sand storm blowing in off the desert and it has started to rain a bit.  We went to the Jerusalem Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls but for some reason it was closed. Again - when all else fails we shop!! Tomorrow if weather permits we will visit the Dead Sea. Our time is quickly coming to an end. Please pray for our last few days here.  

Stormy day in Jerusalem. Hopefully it will be a peaceful day.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Monday in the city, from art to a gathering of old men.

Today was our day to work in the soup kitchen. We walked past the shuk, past the central bus station and on our way enjoyed some Israeli art.  The red in this picture is a giant poppy that opens up when a person walks by. Below is one fully open.  Very creative.

After we enjoyed the poppies we walked on to find the soup kitchen. After 45 minutes of walking and looking and a couple of phone calls to the manager we gave up and walked back to the shuk. We consoled ourselves with shopping and eating.

We saw this deep thought written on the wall above a shop in the shuk.  
Do you agree? Real eyes realize real lies. Not easy to say.

Then we moved on to a famous Iraqi restaurant, "Azura" and enjoyed a delicious lunch. Below is a close up of Musaka, a dish of eggplant and ground beef in a wonderful spicy sauce.

Across from the restaurant was a large gathering of elderly men playing cards and bat gammon. David joined them, looking over their shoulders as they played along with a few other on lookers. You can pick David out in the picture - he's much younger than the others.  At least 50 men playing games and not one woman in the place. I'm sure they are all home cooking and cleaning while the guys are out playing games.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Who loves to paint??

Selfie with Meir and the gang

We finished up our work project, painting Meir's apartment. What a joy it was to meet this man.  We hope to keep in touch with him in the future.  He has invited his two children to his apartment for Shabbat next weekend to surprise them with his newly painted apartment.  We painted every room, the salon, two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. He picked out the colors and we were a little shocked that he wanted one bedroom bright orange (Tennessee orange). He said that was the room his grandchildren sleep in and it looked like a happy room when we finished.  David quickly "Volunteered" to paint that room and  couldn't stop singing "Rocky Top" as he painted.

 As I said, "bright orange!"

Our quiz of the day, 
"How many people can squeeze into one tiny room and manage to all paint at the same time?

Here is the back of our rental car after driving through the flooded road in the Jordan Valley

Meir seemed very thankful as we left today.  We continue to pray for health for him and he battles diabetes. He has already lost on leg and his remaining foot is not in good condition.  Tomorrow we will be working at a soup kitchen here in Jerusalem.

Please continue to pray for us as we are in our last week here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shabbat in Jerusalem

It was a busy day in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher!  But we forged on ahead with the crowd anyway. It has been awhile since I have heard so many languages and seen so many groups touring.  Evidently the tourists are brave and continuing to come to Jerusalem even while the stabbings continue.  

Christian Quarter of the Old City

Border Police erected their own shade as they stood guard outside the Old City

It has been a beautiful Sabbath day in Jerusalem. The sun is shining again and the temperature is warming up.  We had a nice long walk to the Old City and came back to our apartment to rest for a bit.  Some of us had to recharge with food.

Some of us had to recharge with food.

Tomorrow we will begin early finishing our painting project in Meir's apartment.  If there is time we will attend worship services at King of Kings Congregation.  This will be our last week in Jerusalem. Please continue to pray for us that we accomplish all we are supposed to do while we are here. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rainbow over Jerusalem

I know I have already posted comments for today but I couldn't pass up adding this beautiful scene outside our window today after the rain stopped.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem

Another Sabbath in Jerusalem! How time is flying by and how wonderful our time has been!  After our exciting, gripping drive back through the flooded Jordan Valley yesterday we quickly walked to the Old City before stores closed in the Jewish Quarter. As we were walking thru the Jaffa Gate Jean tripped and fell splat on the ground possibly cracking a rib.  We have no pictures of the event, I wasn't quick enough with the camera and Jean refused to do a replay so we only have words and no pictures.  Hopefully her rib will quickly heal. We are thankful it did not slow down her shopping today.

We had a quick trip back to the shuk to buy food for the Sabbath this morning and took time to enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry.  Sheri and Ann got in some shopping too.  It is good that we are advancing the Israeli economy with our shopping.  We are looking forward to a quiet Shabbat tomorrow and hopefully will have pictures to share with you then.

Please continue to pray for Israel. You have probably seen on the news there were two stabbings in Israel today, one in Jerusalem and one near Ariel.  We thank G-d for His protection and continue to pray for protection for the people of Israel.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Excitement in the Galilee

NEWS FLASH!! Pensacola Woman Walks on Water at the Sea of Galilee

Hope you enjoyed the "walking on water" humor. We had a great day Wednesday taking a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee and Sheri posing afterwards doing her speciality, walking on water.  We visited a few sights in the Galilee afterwards such as the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum.  We also got to see the olives processed at the Olive Oil Factory.  We enjoyed another night at Verid Hagalil before heading back to Jerusalem today.

One special stop on our way was the Jordan River Baptismal Site.  Ann wanted to be baptized today even though the water was freezing and the fish were nipping at her toes.  It was a special time for her.

We didn't know what a treat we were in for when we left the Jordan River. We drove down the Jordan Valley Highway and it was raining - really raining. We have never seen so much rain in the desert.  We were stopped by the military for about 30 minutes to wait for the level of water on the road to recede and the rocks to be removed from the road.

Here you can see we were finally released to drive on.

Land on each side of the road turned into a fast flowing river, sometimes covering the road.
Crops that had been planted were swept away.

Who knew it could rain so much in the desert! It was good to follow other cars and buses so we could see how deep the water was.  As we slowly drove through fast flowing water I remembered how many times we have watched the news on TV and said, "Why would anyone drive through that water and get swept away!"  We thank G-d for His protection. One soldier told us a car had been swept away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sea of Galilee as seen from Verid Hagalil

We drove to the Galilee today stopping at Capernium and finally ending up at Verid Hagalil, a horse ranch in the Galilee. From the ranch you can see the Sea of Galilee.  We stopped at a Druze village to have lunch and visit with an old friend, Fuad. It has been a rainy day but each time we came to a place we needed to visit the rain stopped and we were able to do what we needed.

Verid Hagalil is as beautiful as last time we were here. Tomorrow if weather permits we will take a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee, and tour the Upper Galilee.

We pray that these posts bless each of you everyday.  Pray for us as we have encounters with then people of the Land.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Faithful One - Sheri Williams!

We had a fun day together painting Meir's apartment. Sheri Williams, pictured above, has been with us on five trips and still coming and painting. She and Ann painted the kitchen and bathroom while we worked on the salon (living room) and hallway. The apartment was so tiny we could not all work in the same room.  We were entertained while we worked with Meir's stories of his life. He came with his parents to Israel from Romania when he was 3 years old. He has worked in many capacities, such as owning a bakery, running a hotel and his last job was tour guide. He now spends most of his day in a wheelchair. He has a very independent nature and loves to entertain.  Meir was very grateful for our days labor. We will go back next week and paint his two tiny bedrooms. We saw many things that needed repair and cleaning but he would not hear of us doing more.  I think it is much harder to receive help than give help.

Art class 101

Meir is hiding in the plants supervising David's painting.

This was a wonderful way to spend a rainy day. I know it meant a lot to Meir. Please pray for Meir. As we were getting ready to leave he hit his eye on the corner of a sharp ledge on the wall and his eye was immediately turned red.  

David has had enough. He is ready to go.

Tomorrow we head to the Galilee. Rain is predicted for the rest of the week. We are still working out the details to take a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee for Wednesday.  If it is stormy we may not go. We have not yet perfected walking on water if the boat begins to sink. Please continue to pray for us and all of Israel.

Yesterday I forgot to post this picture of an Ethiopian man entertaining us with an instrument from Ethiopia. No one knew the name of the instrument in English but it had an unusual sound.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Today has been filled with wonderful opportunities, stories that would break your heart and smiles of gratitude.  We started the day by going to the local "SuperSol" or grocery store and buying food for 6 families.  We bought six large bags of potatoes, six bags of onions, carrots, rice, pasta, juice, chickens, etc.  Then, when we got to the parking garage with carts of food and cars blowing their horns as they drove around us trying to park, we were trying to divide up the food so each family would get the same amount. We were feeling a little light headed from all the car fumes by the time we got the food divided. Then we set out to visit with each Ethiopian family and bless them with food for the week. In all six visits we found women supporting at least five children on their own. One woman's husband found it so stressful here he returned to Ethiopia. Another husband committed suicide.  Some women were suffering from depression and physical illnesses.  They were all such gentle, thankful women and deeply appreciated the food.  One Ethiopian lady invited us to sit down while she served us coffee. It wasn't just regular coffee. It was coffee beans from Ethiopia that she personally roasted while we waited and then served us from her Ethiopian coffee pot.
We saw beautiful handwork done by Ethiopian men. They sell these to support their families. They create their own designs and stitch the patterns, using mainly stories from the Bible.  As we left the community center it began to rain and the temperature began to drop.

After a quick lunch we drove out to French Hill to meet Meir. Meir has lost one leg to diabetes and may possibly lose his remaining foot.  He lives in a tiny apartment but has a strong will to be independent. He still lives alone.  We will be painting his apartment tomorrow. Please pray for us as we have the whole day to interact with Meir.  We are praying our work and words will honor G-d.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Shabbat in Jerusalem

Friday was another beautiful warm day in Jerusalem. We moved our table out on our balcony and enjoyed our Sabbath dinner looking at the moon and stars.  Today, Shabbat, was a full day. We walked about 20 minutes to attend a worship service. While there we ran in to some old friends we knew during the time we lived in Israel.

Then we walked back to our apartment, had a quick snack and we walked the opposite direction to the Old City to the Western Wall.  The place was almost empty of people. We mainly saw tour groups, most of whom were from Africa.  It was strange to see so few people praying at the Wall.

We call this the real oreo cookie

After dinner and meeting with a friend to finalize work projects for tomorrow and Monday, we walked down to Ben Yehuda Street. There was lots of dancing and music taking place. The men dancing were singing, "We want the Messiah Now!"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

First Day in Jerusalem

Our first day in Israel is quickly coming to a close. It is so good being back in "The Land." Life is always interesting here. Our fun began even as we left the airport and if our taxi driver hadn't been driving at the speed of sound we would have a picture to show you. We passed a guy on a small motorcycle buzzing up the hill to Jerusalem. We surmised it was a new motorcycle because his license plate was on a chain draped around his neck with the license plate dangling on his back instead of being attached anywhere on the motorcycle. We all thought that was quite creative but maybe illegal.

As we approached Jerusalem our taxi driver asked us if we needed to go to the east side of the city. He was not willing to drive to that area because of the outbreaks of terror going on. That was a first for us. He kindly told us he would get another driver to take us there if we wanted to go to that side of town. We assured him we were going to west Jerusalem. As we walked around today we have seen lots of police and soldiers patrolling the area.

We spent the day walking, buying and people watching.  While we were walking on Ben Yehuda Street we passed a large group of young men dancing, waving flags and singing patriotic songs to help build the morale of stressed Israelis.

As I mentioned earlier we enjoyed our time in the shuk. It's hard to call a halt to the buying when all the food looks so good. Our first stop was to get freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.  We came back to the apartment with our arms stretched, loaded with bags of food.

We have worked hard to keep our eyes open all day and not give in to afternoon naps. Hopefully the jet lag will be over soon and we will be sleeping through the night.  We look forward to tomorrow and another day in Jerusalem!