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 glorified and blessed, and may you who are His be blessed and encouraged.
Two weeks in February feel longer somehow then two weeks at other times, but it has actually been three difficult months, months of challenges. I have learned that every challenge brings the choice: will I stand in HIS way or will I look for a different way out. This time I learned that SOMETIMES I can THINK that I am taking HIS way, but am really standing in the flesh.
I’m am SO THANKFUL TO OUR FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL LORD Who is willing to bring us into a corner where we are forced to see our flesh yet again and cry out for His overcoming grace.
Hard times are not synonymous with bad times, IF they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
I made some notes over these past few weeks, things that I wanted to share. Now I stare at them and try to remember the point.
First I wrote Romans 12. What a challenging chapter to walk through after drinking in His Word. This is a wonderful chapter as they all are.
I stopped in a shop at the shuk for a new tablecloth. When I was a kid in kindergarten in NYC we used to have oilcloths. Do any of you remember them? I loved them for some reason because they felt good. Maybe they just felt like a big girl going to kindergarten, but I loved oilcloth. It MAY be available again in the States now, but for many years, it was an item in the recesses of my memory until we came here. Oilcloth is still not only popular, but a standard, and it still makes me smile to get a new one for a few shekels every change of season.
The rolls of oilcloth stood on the street like soldiers in front of the dry goods store and I saw one that I liked. I peeped into the store, which is run by Haradi (religious) twins. “Geveret! Efo at?” This literally means: “Maam, where ARE you?” But it is an affectionate way of saying, “Where have you been?”
It makes me smile. “I haven’t needed anything for awhile. Thank you for missing me.”
We smile affectionately at one another. It is a warm feeling to know that in Jerusalem a shopkeeper missed seeing me.
It may have been still very cold but there is no doubt that the seasons are changing. The birds changed. The cats howl. The days are longer, and even though we still have citrus fruit, the tomatoes and cucumbers are looking heartier and the red peppers are back.
I decided to take my daughter on a trip that I have dreamed about – back to the mishtala or plant nursery, where she worked before leaving the country 5 years ago. She had loved working there. It is a huge, lively nursery across from the Botanical Gardens. The plants for the Botanical Gardens as well as personal gardens, are cultivated there. It’s a delightful place and was so good for her to work there.
Now that they are home, I wanted to help her to get things growing, working a bit in the earth, putting down roots, and watching things blossom into new life. She was pleased and even more so when we walked in and the manager shouted out her name. Others came running, hugging her and oohing and aahing over the children. When she left here 5 years ago, she was still single. Now she was a sprouting tribe and they were all happy to see how she was doing. Eventually we began picking out starts and seeds and of course some small gardening tools for 3 year old Maya. I started talking to an older worker who was thrilled to see our daughter thriving. “Nothing like Grandchildren,” he grinned and we both nodded enthusiastically.
“How many do you have?” I asked.
“Twenty seven and we all live in the same village.”
I gulped. How wonderful it sounded as he described all of their homes being around his on the same moshav. “We aren’t really in each other’s houses all the time but come summer we are always outside together.”
Covetousness reared its ugly head!
And had to be dealt with QUICKLY!
There is no other way to put it: it’s hard for immigrants.
It takes a full generation to plant ourselves into the land, learn the language and the more subtle things of a culture. The generation of the “in between” has raw roots.
I began to thank The Lord for bringing us home and thought of Psalm 90:1 “LORD THOU hast been our dwelling place in all generations…”
My heart was immediately comforted and brought back into His perspective. HE is our dwelling place…a sure Home and everlasting Abode. But it’s good to remind those of you who so lovingly and faithfully pray for aliyah, which IS God’s plan, to also pray for the rooting and sustaining of those who come here because of the culture shock. So then a good root system can be formed.
On the train the next day I saw a lovely thing. Two young men, religious boys by their dress, got on the train and without embarrassment called to everyone, “Greetings! We are collecting money for a young immigrant couple that are getting married and have nothing. Please share with them?” They produced water bottles with the tops cut off and began to go along the aisle. Nearly everyone generously poured change into the bottles.
The woman next to me said, “What? What did he say? I didn’t hear him.” She cupped her hand to her ear.
“It’s for the wedding of a young immigrant couple who have nothing.”
She nodded her head. She understood. No one asked to see proof. I was touched both by their open gesture and by the quick sharing of the people. It was lovely. It was Jerusalem.
I recalled the story a volunteer told me recently. It is common here for people to go door to door collecting money for various needs. This volunteer shared that they had gone to the door of an elderly man and said, “We are here to help with home repairs for those who need help…”
Before they could finish the sentence, the man went to his change bag and pulled out several small coins and gave it to them saying, “Yes. Please help them.”
They were touched because it was HIM whose apartment they had come to repair.
It’s time for bed. Thank you for your prayers. The Lord is faithful! We are heading toward the beginning of the Spring feasts and the forerunner is Purim: the celebration of the book of Esther. I will share more next time, but thank you for praying.
God bless you dear family,