Monthly Archives: December 2013

Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Pre-Celebration snow mop-up.

Oh may The Lord BLESS you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ,  The Light so humbly coming into this dark world and in His great mercy, we know Him and are part of His body.  How overwhelming.  May the wonder of it all be NEW and full of worshipful wonder to each of us this year and may He find that we have made room for Him.

Blessings to you and may He be blessed and glorified.

Could someone PLEASE tell me how potatoes, hanging in a basket at room temperature can freeze and turn stinky, while the chicken and fish in the freezer can thaw?  Because that is JUST what happened in my kitchen, during the 3 days we were without electricity.

Things are beginning to function again.  We got a phone line again today, a full week after the storm.  *[scratch that one…no phone line again]* Yesterday was the first day that I was finally able to get to work, walking gingerly on the ice and climbing over trees and dirty snow mounds.  The geography of this small but powerful city was starkly demonstrated in this blizzard by the delineation line between the east side of the mountain and the west side (we being on the west side).  The east side, which faces the eastern deserts, had substantially less snow and damage with just 1 ft or 1/3 meter and we had about 3 feet or a full meter.  It felt odd to take the train and bus to work in the morning and passing from a disaster zones into pastoral winter scenes.

My husband and I are still pretty tough, but some people suffered greatly from this storm which is the worst in Jerusalem for the last 150 years.  Yesterday an elderly man collapsed downtown and was rushed to the hospital where he died of hypothermia.  Although we have received much teasing about being Alaskans and this being a piece of cake for us, I explain to people that in Alaska we had wood burning stoves for heat AND cooking, kerosene lamps, insulated homes and very warm clothing, including furs.  We were both prepared for and expecting this kind of weather.

One of our patients, who just passed his 100 year birthday, was without electricity for 3 days but some people took him and his helper in and they were treated royally.  Another elderly man looked at me with misty eyes and put it much into perspective when he said, “What was HARD was 1948! Now THAT was hard!”

He began to tell me about his life, being born here in Jerusalem some 80 years ago (as were his parents, grandparents, and ALL of his generations back).  He lived on Kibbutz Ramat Rachel when the modern state of Israel was re-established and all of the surrounding Arab countries declared war.  At the same time the British were forbidding the Jews to have weapons.  He told me about the few living on the Kibbutz and how they fought for their lives against the infamous Jordanian Legion. He said, “THEN we were starving, freezing and hopeless.  But if it weren’t for our miracle we would all be dead.”  Yes, that put it into perspective all right.

Just as I was about to leave work today a man stopped by for prescriptions and asked how we had fared.  When I first met this man some 16 years ago, my boss told me he held the sad record of being the longest Israeli prisoner of war that had been in captivity and come out alive.  He had been held in Lebanon I believe, for seven years and severely tortured and is one of the most positive people I have ever met, always cheerful.  Again things fall into perspective.

The day before the blizzard I made notes to write to you about winter clothes as I think that I have a unique perspective in this area, too.  In the summer people from different ethnic backgrounds wear different clothing, but it pretty well blends in.  In the winter, however, I enjoy the colorful display of diversity that is represented on the bus and train. The rich assortment of countries that have given up their captive children of Israel through aliyah, have their handiwork displayed like a lovely bouquet. I see the intricately woven and designed sweaters and jackets from the regions around Kazakhstan and skin and fur hats and boots that I know are Siberian as we had similar ones in Alaska. There are beautiful rich Scandinavian knits and rich British wools.  There are Ethiopian fringed shawls and Moroccan and Yemenite designs pulled out of old trunks as people seek to bundle themselves up in whatever way possible.  What a beautiful exhibit of God’s work, a sign emblazed proclaiming, even singing: “I SAID THAT I WOULD BRING THEM BACK FROM THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH AND I HAVE BECAUSE I AM FAITHFUL.” Somehow it reminds me of the scripture in Exodus 12:35, 36

“Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

We bring some of the beauty of the places to where we were driven.  Perhaps I’m carrying this too far, but it is what I was thinking about as I sat on the train tracing the designs with my eyes bedecking the elderly woman across from me. I give thanks for the toasty clothes I am wearing, given to me as gifts from the body.  I pray that I may be clothed in items representing The Kingdom that I am part of, His heavenly kingdom, not representing this earth but with the clothes of a pilgrim.

Perspective is what we get when we look unto Jesus, Yeshua.  Then it ALL falls into perspective.  What a gift this Christmas season can be, if we put it ALL in His perspective.  May we give Him a greater gift of pure incense…prayer…at this time.  May we seek Him and to glorify Him with all that we give, and to all whom we serve, and in all that we do.

Before I close and go to bed, I want to share a very special secret with you. Thank you for those of you who prayed for me to know His will and do it. It is a secret from my children. But after MUCH wrestling and prayer, I have taken a leap of faith and bought an airline ticket to go to the Bay Area of California to see our children and grandchildren.  It has been 8 years since I have left the country and 1.5 years since I have seen the kids (except for little Ana who was with us for a month this summer by herself).  My ticket has me leaving Israel on 15 Jan and returning 27-28 Jan.

I APPRECIATE PRAYER FOR THE MANY THINGS INVOLVED.  And especially for our younger daughter who is dated to bring forth her firstborn 8 Jan and for my husband who will be here alone in the middle of winter. For our older daughter who plans to be our younger daughter’s doula. For safety traveling. FOR SALVATION FOR THOSE NOT WALKING IN HIM. Thank you so much for caring when you all have your own families and needs.  I hope to write again before Christmas, so I will just ask Him to bless you all and draw you near in your preparations.

Lovingly,

your sis J

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Imagine If

 

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Gospel For Asia sent me a new video entitled,  Imagine If, two days ago. It is one of the most creative videos I have ever seen because it depicts what happens in India almost everyday from an American viewpoint. It touched my heart because a vision of my daughter as a little girl abandoned on the streets of India caused us to sponsor six Bridge of Hope children.

The video is 4 minutes and 13 seconds long and can be seen here. I believe everyone should see it.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, God, Gospel For Asia, India, Poverty, Prayer

Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Grateful blessings as the season chosen to celebrate the birth of Hope and Light and Truth is approaching.  May you each be blessed and may THE LORD of all be glorified and blessed.  Oh, may He be SEEN!

Well, we joined the experience that many of you have suffered with extreme climate changes – God’s Hand calling people to attention, in my opinion.  Jerusalem (and most of the country) has been shut down in a state of acute emergency.  We were blessed with electricity this morning at 4:22 AM after 3 days of cold and darkness, but The Lord was with us and the country had a smaller number of deaths then could well have been expected in such a storm. Thank You Lord! There are still those experiencing distress so we remain praying for them.

I wrote to you at the very beginning of the storm.  It continued unabated for 4 days, totally paralyzing not only this city, but the entire country. Where it wasn’t snow, it was floods.  Weather records were smashed.  For us, in a city where two inches (5 cm) of snow is enough to halt the city, the approximately 3 ft (about a meter) brought about serious emergency.

By Thursday night our lights went out for the last time. 8 huge trees fell across the power lines on our street alone, crushing several cars, roofs and windows.  We had 3 medium size ones down around our apartment, one crushing part of the roof in our front room causing a leak.  The huge Jerusalem Convention Center was opened to take in the stranded or those suffering from cold temperatures.  But soon even police and emergency vehicles were finding it impossible to get around in order to find and bring people there.

Now, I survived the NYC blizzard of 1948 in which my Father almost died. (I don’t remember much, having been only 2 but there are photos of me being handed out the window.) I survived (and enjoyed, because I was young and knew no better) some powerful hurricanes during the 1950s and 1960s.  I have experienced baseball sized hail in Oklahoma, been around tornadoes (although not actually in the center of one), have been evacuated from the forest through a tunnel of fire by police during a huge California forest fire.

Then, there was 20 years in Alaska, with weather I can not adequately describe. Cold of -40, winds topping 100 mph, ice, snow, typhoons, earthquakes, and even a couple of volcanoes.  Indeed, when the big blackout of the 1960 happened in NYC, I determined I would NOT be stuck in a city again where you depend upon public services, even for water.  But here I was stuck again.

My 80+ year old neighbor just said to me, “I don’t know HOW I did fine in all of those Siberian winters and can’t even get down the street in this one…”

Jerusalem is not built for this sort of weather. This is a mountain in a desert.  I have explained before that our houses are made of stone to keep them relatively cool during the long hot summers.  They are generally not insulated with just thin pane glass windows.  As electricity became more popular, people began to depend upon it for heat, cooking, and everything else.  So when it went down, the three issues facing many many thousands of people was cold, darkness and hunger.

My husband and I are relatively well prepared.  We have gas on top of our stove so we could cook soup.  We have tons of blankets and hot water bottles, and know how to wear a hat and gloves in the house.  We even were blessed by our kerosene heater last year, although we did not have enough kerosene.

Now for the good part.

Door to door people were saying: “How are you in there?”  “Can you use some soup?  Candles? Is anyone sick? Do you have enough blankets? Are there children there?”  Our neighbors are Holocaust survivors and I heard knocks on their door all day.

I dug out my battery operated radio, stashed with our emergency supplies set aside for times of war. All English language broadcasts were cancelled. It was only in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and Amharic (Ethiopian). Personal messages were being sent: “I’m stuck between Kibbutz______ and road #______.  Can someone come and rescue me?” “Magan David Adom (our Red Cross) has delivered 70 babies so far.” “We hear that the entire town of Tsfat is without electricity and there is a school full of children with no food and cold.” “The army and home front command will be going door to door.”

We went outside to walk around several times to see what was happening, joining throngs of house bound people checking on one another.  Everyone we passed said the same thing, “Do you need any help?  We have soup and you can join us.” We added our offer to people, “We would be happy to share soup and we have a kerosene heater and spare blankets and food if you need.”

Although it was shabat yesterday, the chief rabbis gave their blessing for the emergency crews to continue working and all day yesterday. We were impressed by the dedication of the electric crews that came to assess our neighborhood.  They brought chain saws and cut up the trees.  Then they brought snow plows to clear a path and dozers to push abandoned cars out of the way.  With driving snow and strong winds, the men climbed the poles and patiently restrung the electric lines.

At about 7 PM, after shabat had gone out, there was a knock on our door. A man with a bag of candles asked if we were in need of candles. “I have 4 that I can give you,”  he told me.  “Thank you but we do have enough candles.  Keep them for someone without.”

He moved on.  About an hour later there was another knock on the door.  Five strong, bright, soldiers, faces FULL of compassion, wearing yellow vests appeared. “Shalom!  How are you doing?  What do you need?  How many are in here?” I told him that there were just two of us older folks and we were ok.

“Can you use some blankets? Light? Is anyone feeling ill? We have hot soup.”  I was so deeply touched by them.  “We have enough, except I hesitated and they jumped with willingness at my hesitation. “Except bread. We are running out and I can’t bake any without the oven.”

Big smiles. “BREAD!  Get a loaf of bread! Can you use two?”

They were so kind and eager to help. How I longed to be joining them in checking on and helping people but I found that my aging knees were not allowing me to be part of the solution this time. I did not want to become part of the problem. Before they left they said, “Oh!  Give them a couple of emergency warmers.”

THAT sounded good!  I received two very innocent looking small white gauze envelopes, about the size of the palm of a hand that were very warm.  I brought them in and thought they were like those self warming hand warmers that we used in Alaska, but these were different.  Although they LOOKED flimsy, believe me, they WEREN’T.  I definitely want to know what these things are.  They are STILL hot and I mean HOT.  As tiny as they are they warm the entire body.

Hmm! Wonder if they are radioactive. :-\ They warmed our bed, piled high with blankets (AND our dog and cat) better then the hot water bottles. At 4:22 AM, it happened and the lights went on, just as we came to the end of the kerosene we had been rationing (2 hours heat, 4 hours no heat)

Again, I think of those in surrounding countries with great hardship due to this storm on top of war and civil strife. I personally know several of you with loved ones severely impacted by the recent huge tornadoes in Illinois and Indiana. I have relatives in Eastern America still trying to recover from last year’s devastating storm there and many Pilipino friends whose relatives were devastated in the Philippine typhoon.

In my last email I shared the verse from Psalm 119:105 – “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.”  

It is funny how that verse served me through this entire time – and I spent much time in The Word, as much as my eyes would allow me.  Last week I had found the old Maranantha song by that name on the web, and I have been singing it ever since.  It brought warmth to me in the dark and cold that His Word is INDEED, the Light, the lamp to light our way – and it warmed my heart.  We had no phone service, no internet, no postal service, no bus, train, car and my dreaded nightmare of not being able to communicate with my children.

But there I had His Light…His Word…and I knew that my children also have His Word…and He Alone is our eternal connection. Greater then snow and stronger then natural disasters – He IS The orchestrator of all events. So I found my greatest challenge personally was just to remain at peace and be KIND in the midst.

My boss just called to make sure I was coming to work tomorrow. So I must give it a try.  As we approach the Christmas season and remembering well the frenzy of it, I join with you in prayer that God, Who sent His only begotten Son, Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ, will be glorified through each of us, this year.  May we be found of Him in His peace, doing His will for His glory.

I send you my love,

your sis in Jerusalem, J

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Greetings, Dear brothers and sisters.  May The Lord be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed.

SHELEG!  SNOW!

A big joint gasp went up from the people on the bus this morning as the driving winter rain SUDDENLY turned to big white flakes while I was on the way to work. Three of the mentally challenged regulars began to giggle with joy and their faces filled with real wonder and delight at the beauty. They expressed it with their mouths as well: “SHELEG! NIRAY! SHELEG! EZEY YAFFAY!” (Snow! See! Snow! How BEAUTIFUL!)

They ran to the front of the bus and then the back looking out of the windows. I sent my boss a text message: “Should I go home?”

Jerusalem is very excited when we get snow and also very unprepared, although the city always boasts our readiness and displays our snow plows the night before.  It is not a frequent occurrence and we often go for years without seeing any although we all prepare for a “once a year” occurrences. To see it once is great joy and twice becomes a double joy, but this early is a rare event.

Usually if it comes, it is in January or February. As a matter of fact, just several days ago we had all been commenting about the unusual dry heat that we have been having so late.  We had gotten up in the night to look out of the window, but there was still driving rain, as it was in the morning when I left the house and the radio had already said that schools would be open. That eventually changed.

Like the rest of the world, we have been experiencing the changes and shifts in weather patterns and intensity, but we have so far, mercifully been spared the disasters that others have experienced.

When snow is predicted for Jerusalem, it is announced on the national news.  The mayor is shown smiling beside the snow plows and inspecting the salt, tenderly petting each vehicle with pride and assurance.  “Sheleg!” is the focus of every conversation the day before. “It will SNOW tomorrow,” one says. The other replies, “Nah! It won’t snow!”

But everyone is on tip toe.  We were told of this strong and large weather system entering the region on Tuesday.  I had stopped at the market to pick up some groceries and it was FULL!  That is, full of PEOPLE.  The shelves were already pretty empty. People were buying EVERYTHING.  The check out lady asked the manager. “What is happening today?  It’s TUESDAY not THURSDAY (the day when people shop to prepare for shabat). What is happening?” His answer, “Sheleg!” “Ahhhh,” she answered, “I’d better get some food too.”

Usually our snow falls at night when it is coldest.  It was an ominous sign to me when it BEGAN at sunrise and it was coming down heavily.  Surely it won’t stick, I thought.  This was the second day of the predicted country wide (from the Golan to Eilat) 4-day storm and the streets were rivers of water, everything saturated. Trees were down, electricity out much of the night, but before I got to work it was not only sticking but was already several inches thick.  I sent another message to my boss.  No answer.

Two hours later he called.  It would just be he and I today. No one else could make it in.

I told him that there had been no calls, no messages, lots of snow. “Can I just go home?” (I live across town)

“No…wait for me…I’ll be in. It will be fine.  If the buses stop I’ll get you a taxi.”

I asked, “And if the taxi’s stop?”

Silence. “Then I’LL drive you home.”

That was NOT very comforting because if the buses and taxis can’t get through, can he?

At 10:30 he arrived and said, “Well…go ahead and leave.  It is pretty thick.”

As I approached the bus stop a bus went past, and a snow plow.  That was a good sign that things were running.  I huddled with an ever growing crowd of people at the bus stop for 40 minutes.  No more buses.  Someone tried to call the bus company.  No answer.  I called my boss.  “Come on back. I’ll call a taxi,” he instructed.

I trekked back. No taxi places were answering.  As we began to drive across town we found out why, seeing taxis strewn across road after road.  We skidded, slipped and jockeyed as I gained new respect for my boss who drove like a true Alaskan, avoiding stalled cars, going the wrong way on one way streets, picking up stranded people.  It took almost 2 hours to get home, (normally 10 minutes by car) but I was thankful to watch people helping one another and the joy of children throwing snow balls in the streets. A car crowned with 2 snow men holding palm branches slowly made it’s way along the road. Most roads were completely plugged with stalled cars.  The train stopped.  The buses stopped.  The central bus station stopped.  The post office didn’t bother opening.  The bus company closed.

It’s a “PLAY day” for Jerusalem and so very beautiful, but a cold one. My heart goes out to those who can’t keep warm.  It is below freezing and supposed to be for several more days.  We are blessed with food, a heater, one another, but what of those without?  We have a caring country. People WILL go door to door checking on one another. What of the African migrants? What of all of the Syrian displaced people in camps?  And the old lonely ones.

I lift up a prayer, a weak one in the face of the immense problem, but when looking at our Immense Immense and Able God, I ask for direction how to pray.  I do what I can and check on friends, beginning with the weaker ones. And for some reason that I have not been able to understand, this deep sadness continues in my heart.

Wishing that you could all see Jerusalem in the snow and rejoice in this part of the beauty of God’s creation, I need to go and make a WARM dinner for my husband. May our hearts be warmed to Him and turned to Him and may we glorify Him alone.  I send much love!

 Your sis here

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path…”  Psalm 119:105  Yes, The Lord’s eternal Word…The Living Word, is a Light that will never go out…even when our eyes grow dim!  Halleluyah!

The last candle just went out on our chanukiah signaling the beginning of the last day of Chanuka. Even the tiny glow of the last fading candle cast warmth throughout the room which now sits in darkness of the winter night.  My favorite Chanuka greeting is Hag oorim Sameach (Holiday of light joy).

I’m sure that we have all sat pensively in front of some flame or other thinking about light and darkness, God having graciously given us these stark contrasts: dark and light, night and day, good and evil. They are before us constantly in such a creative variety of presentations.  It is as if He were saying: “These are simple children that I have made and I must remind them again and again, CHOOSE LIFE, FOR WHY WOULD YOU DIE?  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5)

I have been buffeted by much emotion over the past couple of weeks as there has been a wave of contrasting deaths.  A dear sister in The Lord, the wife of one of our loving Pastors from the past, went to be with The Lord.  She really did graduate, a saint who walked with us as a servant, there is joy around her departure, except for knowing the great loss our Pastor must walk through.  So, I pray for him as I pray for our current Pastor at the same time.  His precious father also died a different kind of death. One we Jewish believers find far too often in our experience as we pray and pray for the soul of our loved one, and speak as we are able and then they go…and we weep in a different way.  These two went in the same week: loved ones of my beloved Pastors, men of God whom I have been blessed with and whose loved ones I prayed for.  Two kinds of prayer. How to reconcile it and pray for them in the same breath.

And in the same week two plain old worldly Israeli entertainers also died.  Both of these were people who grew up with the country (now 65 years old) and delighted, encouraged and united people. One made it laugh when it wanted to cry, and one gently sang to it of the dreams and hopes of this collective nation.  I have never cared much about entertainment but it touched me to me to see how there was a collective grief as if someone close had died and people cried publically.  So this I was bade:  to enter in to an assortment of grief and ask Him how to partake and comfort. To witness grief without it touching you…well…that just doesn’t happen.

Larissa is another secretary with whom I work.  I have already told you about Mali and I know of several of you who are praying for her, and now it’s time to add Larissa.  She is all of 22 and greatly feeling the absence of my own children, I have really grown to love these two young women.  Both know that I’m a believer and I have shared a bit as each one would receive.  So Larissa asked me to go to the Israel Museum with her on our mutual day off.  It sounded great and I accepted, knowing full well I would groan as the day approached, but I felt it was right and went.

had been praying for an opportunity to share more with her.  I had taught her to knit and she is preparing to go to art school and had been very interested in my past before Him, my hippie life.  It was fun being at the museum with her and she came back to our apartment for lunch and to see photos of my old art work and what I looked like as a hippie. As I shared with her about the snares of hippidom, the right opportunity seemed to arise to share my testimony with her.  I asked her to stop me if she didn’t want to hear anymore, but she didn’t stop me. 

What happened afterward broke my heart though.  I didn’t know that when she was younger she had gone to a girl’s yeshiva (seminary) and had received teaching AGAINST the gospel.  She began by telling me that faith was good, but it didn’t matter what you believed in.  By this time it was 5 PM and we had been together since 10 AM.  I was tired and she had 22 year old adrenalin.  Her challenges were theological, religious and philosophical and I could not express answers. My heart nearly broke.  I was NOT instant, in season and out of season.  I was tired. It all seemed like seed scattered by the wayside. But I do know that even now – or years from now – The Holy Spirit can take those seeds seemingly scattered and cause them to bare fruit for His kingdom. 

Should any of you have room on your prayer list and should The Holy Spirit bring her to mind, would you please remember Larissa in prayer? 

Soon after I was saved I went to visit my parents who then were living in a Jewish neighborhood in Florida.  It very suddenly occurred to me that there was literally NO one in their lives who might be burdened to pray for them. I suddenly realized that so it was with most Jewish people who were rarely in contact with gentiles.  The realization of that added weight to the burden that I had for them. 

One reason, I suspect, that I had been saved, was that being way out there in the world, I had brushed shoulders with many gentiles who were really believers who PRAYED FOR ME.  Thank You Lord!  Now I live in a nation where I am surrounded by people who may walk through their entire lives and never meet a believer.  But I am so thankful God is NOT limited by our prayers or lack of them. That makes our responsibility also a privilege to join with His Heart in such a hidden way.

Our apartment saga continues to be a bigger and bigger battle.  Our landlady has had an offer (too low) and daily she is bringing people through the apartment.  I have begun to peruse the local web site – yad 2 – for an apartment.  It is all in Hebrew but I know key words.  I enter our requirements and press “search” and get a daily list of what is available.  I have, by faith, raised our maximum rent level, but the results are still slim.

We have a few limitations.  My husband’s business as a self employed hair dresser is in this neighborhood. His personality is such that he would NOT be able to tolerate the travel to and from work as I do. So we are looking at this or a nearby neighborhood.  My knees are giving me trouble so I am asking for ground floor.  My one requirement is quiet.  I don’t tolerate noise well at all.

Last night we went to look at an apartment at the top of our “by faith” maximum rent parameter, but aside from the higher rent, all else SOUNDED good.  The size was right and the location was very near. The landlady wanted to rent to an older couple, pets allowed, long term lease.  Perfect!  It was pretty run down, but not much more then this one. Thus there was potential, but the 1st floor was 20 steep steps up, and the windows all opened onto the main street facing the train.  The noise level was HIGH.  It is also – like this one – a cold water flat and there is no heat. I am sharing this to ask for prayer that we will be led without too much more stress to His choice for us, and that WHATEVER His choice is, we will be satisfied.  I so want this victory in my spirit.  Thanks.

And so, with this move stretched out before us, our daughter is due to have our new baby on 8 Jan.  I have begun praying about going to help out for 7 to 10 days in mid January.  What do you think?  I am concerned about my husband here alone for that long.  Even one day is a struggle for him.  And there is the question of being given our notice to move while I am gone and then there is my boss.  So with all of this doubt and unbelief plaguing me, I am lifting up my shield of faith and asking to be able to be with our daughter to help a bit and to visit our Children and Grandchildren and to hold and (silently) PRAY over our new Granddaughter. And  I PRAY to also see some of you beloved old friends from California.  It has been SO many years and my love for you has grown and not dimmed. I don’t know how we can make it work, but will you pray with me?  I don’t want to MAKE it work…if it is His will that I go, then I know He will open all of the doors and make the way clear to meet you dear friends.

Although I try to refrain from speaking about the situation here, I would be happy to forward to anyone interested what I consider to be good and accurate articles that come my way.  Please feel free to ask if you would like to read concerning Egypt, Iran, Syria or any of the surrounding nations and their situations and how it affects us.  There has been an alarming escalation of weapons fire aimed at our border soldiers along the North, from Syria over the past couple of days.  Rhetoric is hot and heavy on every border and the momentum seems to be increasing daily.  It FEELS as if we are sitting on a time bomb, but you have heard that from me many times over the years.  Temple Mount has been closed several times over the past few days due to stone throwing. There just seems to be ‘rumblings and grumblings’ everywhere.

So will we finally turn our eyes upward?  Will we, as a nation and as a people called out and chosen to follow The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, finally begin to hunger for The Word and let HIM interpret it to us instead of man  and OBEY Him?

The other day as I was reading His Word and was overcome with sadness thinking of what we could have been if our forefathers would have just have simply done what He said.  Obeyed Him?  Followed Him?  Is that what heaven will be like?  And those of us who love Him, can we REALLY DO that here and now?  Oh I long for that!

I am sure that you do too.

I miss you and apologize that these perhaps immature struggles have diverted me so much.  May we who call upon Him set our sites and our hearts to be steadfastly gazing at Him alone.  May our first love be rekindled and may He uncover all of our sins and harnesses’ that we might confess and forsake them, be forgiven and cleansed and walk in the Light as He is in the Light.  May we glorify Him and finish the work.

I send you much much love,

 Your sister J

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Chanuka snuck up on us this year for sure, but what better time to celebrate miracles and Light then during trouble and darkness!  Since we follow the Hebrew calendar here, which is a lunar calendar, the dates of the holidays fluctuate when compared to Western calendars.  This year it is very early and will not coincide with the celebration of the birth of Yeshua, but with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, a rare occurrence.

The approach of Chanuka here is signaled in a number of ways.  Some of our street lights are strung with blue lights and the 8 branched chanukiah or Chanuka menorah. The Lamp stood in the temple and was designed by God Himself, (and is now the true symbol of Israel AND of The Holy Spirit) is called the menorah and has 7 branches.

The one in the center raised above the others with three on either side.  The chanukiah or Chanuka menorah (the word menorah in Hebrew means lamp) often looks like the temple Menorah but has NINE branches, 4 to the left and 4 to the right of the raised center one which is called the shamas or the servant light. This one is used to light the others with one added each night. For example on Wed. night we will light the shamas and with him we will light the first candle all the way on the right. Thurs night will be the shamas and TWO candles all the way to the right and so on.  Every house has at least one Chanukiah, they are in shop windows and huge ones are on street corners and in public areas. And of course there are appropriate songs.

Although the Chanukiah is the main symbol of Chanuka there are other signs as well…foods.  Even before the lights went up around town, the soufganiot – a form of diet-destroying doughnut – appeared in all of the shops.  The traditional soufganiot is a deep fried soft fluffy doughnut filled with jam and topped with powdered sugar, but over the past few years the traditional gut buster has made way for an elaborate assortment of flavors and designs.  It seems that once the tradition is broken, the sky is the limit.

Deep fried potato pancakes called latkes, often topped with apple sauce, are also a traditional food.  The symbolism here is all in the oil because the miracle of Chanuka is found in the multiplication of the oil for the burning of the temple lamp – one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days until clean oil could be properly prepared. So, we eat tons of oil.

Foil covered chocolate coins (called Chanuka gelt) have replaced the giving of coins as gifts to the children, and the ancient game of dreidel is still played by the spinning of a specially designed top inscribed with Hebrew letters  ‫נ -ג -ה –פ nun, gimil, hey, pay – to represent the words nes – miracle, gadol – big, hiyah – happened, poh-here or a great miracle happened here. And of course, that is what Chanuka is all about.

The modern celebration of Chanuka is a half-holiday and is considered a children’s and family holiday.  Small gifts are given to the children (who are on holiday from school) and there are plays and fun activities, museums and events taking place daily all around the country.  People still work as it is not a Biblically commanded holiday, but there is a festive air everywhere.

We know that Yeshua observed Chanuka, as was recorded in John 10:22,23 – the time when THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD walked in the temple, still unrecognized, among the lamps representing the miracle of the multiplication of Light. isn’t He wonderful?

Since this is the second Chanuka for us without our children and Grandchildren, it is important for me to help my husband battle the depression which settles over him from time to time. This is an intense time of year for his battles.  As I look to The Lord for ways to surprise him with joy, American Thanksgiving presented an opportunity to gather friends from America around our table. That is rapidly developing into a day I pray will be filled with His Light and Thanksgiving and encourage my husband in particular.

When we first arrived more then 19 years ago, to buy a whole turkey was UNHEARD of. I have written at length about that often in the past: how groups of people would gather around my shopping basket in wonder, full of questions and OF COURSE comments and opinions, like, “NO one could eat all of THAT and who in the world has such a BIG OVEN to cook it in?  You are C-R-A-Z-Y!”

It HAS been funny!  But now, there has been an increasing aliyah from N. America over the past 5 years or so and the butchers have become educated to the art of having whole turkeys occasionally.  It is funny how PROUD they look to share their newfound knowledge. “Ahhhh!  Yes!  A whole TURKEY!  AMERICAN!”

The last time that I wrote, I surprised myself by writing about beggars, and so I have an addendum.  On Sunday I was approached by a young religious woman in her 30s.  I could see right away she was for real. She asked if I could spare any money for food.  I told her that I would and listened to what The Lord urged which was a fairly large sum.  I asked her what the problem was and she said with very sad eyes there was no money but that was the least of their problems.  As I gave her the money I knew I had to add, “I will pray for you but you must know one thing. I give this gift and prayer in The Name of Yeshua.”

I do NOT usually say this.  She stepped back and threw the money at me and said, “I will have NOTHING in The Name of Yeshua!” She ran off.  It saddened my heart she was so against His Name that she would not receive either the help nor the comfort He so freely gives, but I was the same way.  So I ask for prayer for this nameless young woman in need – He indeed knows her name and her heart and can meet her where she is as He can meet all of our loved ones for whom we ache and pray.

Ok.  I must go, but I do not write these things ignorant or ambivalent concerning the intense world events swirling around us.  Persia, Syria, Egypt, ancient names are raising their heads and are being granted last days power and being placed in strategic places.  I watch with The Word open. I remember the vivid dream I had in 1988 concerning Persia that I am more certain daily was from The Lord as it all unfolds and we are called to watch and pray.  May we be found FAITHFUL and NOT trying to sort it all out in our own minds with our own reason.  Not my might, not by power and not by humanism, but BY HIS SPIRIT ALONE may we walk before Him in the only Peace available on earth these days…as living and multiplied, thankful LIGHT.

I need to tell you…I love you brothers and sisters. (yes, I’m mushy)

Last addition:  (thank you for asking, caring, praying, loving) Our younger daughter lives in a small apartment close to our older daughter in the bay area of California near San Francisco. Their Baby Girl is due January 8 and her health is holding it’s own. Thank You Lord!  It does not look as if we will be there.

Several have asked if we are considering moving back.  Although our hearts would, there is no doubt that He moved us here.  That isn’t an option.  Our older daughter, a doula (birth assistant) plans to help at the birth. Our Grandchildren appear to be doing better.  Where as our landlady WAS showing our apartment at least 10 times a week, there has been no one to see it for the past 3 weeks. We feel that she is likely asking way too much for an apartment in this poor condition: answered prayer.  Although this DOESN’T mean: Yay! We get to stay,” my husband decided we will stop looking for another apartment until we get the 3 months notice.  The future is unsure to us but sure to Him.

I am at peace today,

Your sister J

If you are interested on learning more about Chanuka (or Hanukkah), click here.

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