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