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 —
GLORY TO GOD AND GREETINGS WITH LOVE TO EACH OF YOU WHO HAS IMPACTED MY LIFE AND WALKED THE PATH FOR HIS GLORY. May God Alone be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and edified, and may we all grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him as we turn the page of time to 2017.
But of course, not here in Israel.
We do not go by the Gregorian calendar technically, but use the Hebrew calendar, however, the world is smaller and smaller and no country can be ignorant any longer of the fact that 2016 is swiftly passing into 2017. I, like you, pray that in the year before us we may be found in HIS peace on His path for His purposes.
Ok. I will share some light things. The times are heavy enough, but so many of you prayed for my cat scan that I feel you should come with me through it to taste some of the things here that might not be true in your home countries. Even though, my results will not be known for a while, I am okay with that.
And, indeed, there were some adventures.
Because we have the positive benefits of socialized medicine here, we simply make our appointment and wait and wait and wait for it. Most of the cost is absorbed by the health fund and our own lay out is very minimal. That takes much of the pain away from the procedure.
My appointment was scheduled at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospita for 5pm on the fourth light of Chanukah and I knew there would be a wait. I had asked for prayer because I have been allergic to iodine (the contrast dye) and so needed a two-day preparation of high doses of cortisone. I do NOT react well to cortisone in even small doses, so it was the preparation and any possible allergic reaction that I was concerned about, and your prayers were WONDERFULLY answered in that I felt, actually…wonderful.
I had high energy, got my house cleaned and to my amazement had NO PAIN in my body – the good side of steroids for a person with systemic lupus. I have not yet been healed from Systemic Lupus with which I have suffered from for years, and part of the consequences are a great deal of pain throughout my body constantly.
What FUN to be free from it, however temporary it was. Prednisone makes me particularly aggressive, so, having bitten no one’s head off, I happily arrived at the hospital early. Our government hospitals are like none that I personally have experienced elsewhere. Hadassah Ein Kerem, which has been built almost completely by donations from Jews throughout the world, sits on a mountaintop, with easy access to helicopters, with large landing pads on the roofs. I have had too many opportunities to describe the hospital to you in the past, but it is always worth remembering that it is extraordinary in its total and real integration of all races and religions. That includes the staff on all levels as well as the patients.
As my bus winds its way through the mazes of buildings, Medical School, cancer centers, etc., I alight at the mall and the hotel. Yes. Seriously. If you arrive at the hospital by bus, you enter past the lovely hotel (quite a blessing to family members or people receiving treatment who are not from the area) and through an excellent mall. Milling around the many shops and restaurants are doctors, surgeons in surgical gear, patients attached to all manner of tubes, visitors, happy families with brand new babies, people in casts and bandages being pushed in wheel chairs, people waiting for tests, etc. But this day was different: it was candle lighting time for Chanukah, so songs were sounding out and candles being lit in every possible spot. It was fun watching Moslem families joining in the singing and wishing their Jewish counterparts “hag sameach” (happy holiday). Happy young people were passing out the traditional sovganioat (REALLY FATTENING, deep fried jelly donuts!) free to everyone and again, Moslem families, dressed in full coverings, were feasting on them happily. It’s really quite a site!
It was the same in the CT ward. Shortly after I arrived, some young men began to sing the prayers and light the chanukiah, passing around more sovganioat, while on the TV screen, the news showed a 6 year old girl who had been in an awful car accident just before the lighting of the first candle, on Christmas eve. The car that she was in was under water and she had been completely deprived of oxygen for a full 6 minutes. She was in a coma and the country grieved for her until she WOKE UP, COMPLETELY okay. NO problem whatsoever, just before the 4th light. We all watched around the lights as the announcer spoke of the wonderful Chanukah miracle and the words were repeated through the happy ward: “A Chanukah miracle!! What blessing! The little girl lived, and she is even FINE, no brain damage, it is a miracle!”
Yes it is. Thank You Lord.
It is policy that although you have an appointment theoretically, all emergencies take precedence and there are ALWAYS emergencies. I came prepared to be there until 8. I was right. There were the car accidents. People came down from the emergency ward or surgeries. There was the prisoner standing across from some soldiers, all exchanging pleasantries. More sovganioat were passed around as the hours moved on. We all sat there with tubes in our arms exchanging stories as the chairs got harder, but our friendships deepened. One by one we were called in, and then told to wait again for our disc from our family doctor. The written report is made by a committee of doctors and takes several weeks.
Tired and hungry, I made my way to the bus in the cold rain… for which we are thankful. The wait was a full half hour for some reason, so the bus was crowded. It hadn’t gone far and we were still on the hospital compound when the driver managed to get the bus firmly stuck in the mud of a round-about. Twenty more minutes passed and another bus showed up, but alas, he was off duty and on his way home after a long day at work. We had all poured off the bus looking cold and bedraggled. The off duty driver looked at us and sighed and signaled for us to get on to his bus. He drove us nonstop, 15 minutes, up to the train station. What a BLESSING! We all thanked him and wished him a happy Chanukah. It was just a warm lovely end of a day that was, yes, perhaps difficult but made warm and lovely through the kindness of people.
Little did I know that the hard part would lie ahead. The WITHDRAWL from the high dose of steroids was unexpected by me and dreadful as my body was swollen and wracked with pain for the next couple of days, but it passed and I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!
But far more has been going on then my CT.
By this time, no one is ignorant of the situation between the US, Europe and Israel. It is on multiple levels with a big push to oust our Prime Minister. Such turmoil. Such is the TIME and SEASON that we live in. The Paris Peace Conference , which is part of “the situation,” is one of the final event’s that the outgoing American President plans to participate in. We need much prayer. The good news is that none of this takes The Lord by surprise and His plans and purposes will not be thwarted by the strength of man. The very depth of the season of adversity has given me amazing opportunities to speak with people about God: His purposes, His Word, His ways…far more then I have had over the past 22 years. I am ENCOURAGED by the fact that more and more people ARE looking to Him for answers, and I encourage them daily to read His Word.
At work, one of the patients began speaking to me. He is an older man, a bachelor, and an actor by profession. He struggles with depression and anxiety. He was telling me about it when he asked me what time I need to leave in the morning to be at work. When I said 6:15 AM he answered, “Wow! That’s EARLY!”
I smiled. “Oh that’s nothing. I get up at 4:30.”
“Why would you do that?” he asked.
The door opened. ”
Well, I also need peace and joy in my heart and assurance, so I need that quiet time to read my Bible in my own language, not like the rabbis say, but straight through and to pray and talk to God from my heart, not from the sidur (prayer book).”
He jumped up. “What? You are a true tsaddikkah (a righteous person). I was raised Haradi, of the strictest order, in Mea Sha’arim (an ultra orthodox neighborhood) – only going to yeshiva. Study study study, but the rabbis are wrong and you understand.”
I stopped him. “Whoa! I am NOT a tsaddikah. ANYONE can and should, oh we MUST, take the scriptures and read them because look at the days we live in and oh how we need LIGHT.”
He was excited and I pray for him that he WILL turn to The Word and HIS LIVING SPIRIT. I challenged him that true Peace really IS with God and then there is NOTHING to fear. He listened. I have been having more and more conversations like this.
And some funny ones.
Two women on the train were speaking English. “I know you. I went to your class for a while,” one said.
“That’s right, you were the woman who made aliyah,” the teacher said.
“NO! That’s a sore point! No aliyah! I can’t give up the leeks and garlic!” (referring to the children of Israel in Exodus crying for the leeks and garlic when they left Egypt).
The conversation got uncomfortable and the teacher sat beside me. The train got noisy so I whispered to the teacher, “I’m SO glad that I gave up the leeks and garlic some 22 years ago.”
She laughed, “Me too! Thirty seven years for me!”
We struck up a warm conversation and shared our aliyah stories. She was religious and when I told her where I came from she was suddenly taken aback and I SAW that she was one of those who had been warned about me.
I have come to know that the English speaking religious community know about me and are warned by others. It no longer freaks me out, but I seek His wisdom and protection. We continued in a lovely vain and she relaxed again as we shared the joys of the MIRACLE of KNOWING that this IS INDEED the work of God and that it is our job to seek Him and walk before Him.
We surely agreed upon this. When she got up to leave, a man with a thick Russian accent and a loud voice sat down. He was making very inappropriate statements with a halting voice and I thought that he was mentally challenged, but before I left the train I found out that he was a new immigrant from UKRAINE, here less than 6 months. He sang songs and recited the blessing for the bread and I understood that he was proud to be practicing his Hebrew. It was a JOYOUS exchange. When I left, he BEAMED and said, “ANI YISRAELI.” (I am an ISRAELI.) His ear-to-ear smile made me think of the extraordinary plan of God that man so hates.
I want to share with you a couple of verses from Malachi because the word that The Lord dropped into my heart for me to learn about in this new year was a strange one to me…it is “treasure”…as in “where your treasure is there will your heart be also’.” But I thrilled to the fact that He ALSO has a treasure.
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My special treasures And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.” Malachi 3:16-18
May you and I be found bringing pleasure to HIS HEART in this new year before us. It may be the ONLY thing that we can do. God bless you! I send you my love,
Your sis in Jerusalem,