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09/15/2002 Entry: "September 13, 2002 Newletter #4 from Israel (names changed to protect identities)"
September 13, 2002 Newletter #4 from Israel (names changed to protect identities)
L'Shanna Tova (Happy New Year) from Israel!
Greetings brothers and sisters in Messiah Yeshua. We hope and pray all is well with each of you. I've composed several times in my mind letters updating you as to our adventures of recent, but it seems that it is action packed each and every day and it's been hard to find time to write. We experienced our first Feast of Trumpets here and honestly it was pretty quiet for us. I did hear a trumpet blast one morning as a call to repentance at about 4 am. I actually couldn't move my body but my brain activity was telling me "it's the middle of the night, it's a trumpet, your in Israel, DON'T SLEEP THROUGH THE RAPTURE!!!" Of course, it was me joking with me, I knew there was someone calling all the village to awake, but just for an instant I wondered......
Widows and the Fatherless:
Pure and undefiled religion is visiting the widows and orphans (James 1:27). We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to do this and as a family! We have three lovely widows surrounding our house, all from Tunisia. None of them speak English, and our Hebrew is pretty minimal, so we smile a lot and use hand signals while listening for that word or two we do know! Anyway, I want to share with you about Sarah. Sarah lives right next door to us in a two room house. She is considered unstable mentally and spends days on end screaming at her dead husband, or no one at all basically. We waved at one another once in a while and she's asked me the time before, I can see her front porch from my laundry terrace, and that was the extent of our relationship, until she became ill. She left one afternoon several weeks ago by ambulance. I was upset, sad is more like it and Paul immediately said I was to go buy her flowers and we'd walk up to the hospital that night (about a 15 min walk) to go see her. Get this, we still needed to find out her name that's how little we knew her! Anyway, praise be to the L-rd it wasn't serious and she was home by evening. Paul and the children went to her home and he prayed for her laying his hand on her shoulder and praying in Yeshua's name. The children have been visiting her faithfully ever since, even if just little Simcha all by herself with saying nothing, just sitting on her porch, but many times we all go, and she insits on handing us bread, and even paid Margaret 20 shekels once just for her sweeping up a little. Well, we noticed something recently, Sarah doesn't scream any more! The only time we hear her yell is if there is another person there, usually one of her sons giving her a hard time about something. We believe something happened when Paul prayed in Yeshua's name over her that her mind was healed. She also has had unconditional love from the children who actually enjoy visiting with her. Love doesn't need to speak the same language, it's universal all in it's own.
Cultural Mannerisms: (click here to read the rest - longer than usual)
For the holidays we decided to bless these widows and a couple of neighbors with bouquets of flowers for the High Holidays. Unfortunately we couldn't just give them away. some of it is superstition, some tradition, and some is just wanting to bless us back, but five of the seven neighbors had us in and gave us something back. There was chocolate and jewelry and shekel coins returned. All with smiles of course, and the kids enjoyed the chocolates but the best was finally getting to break ground at the chicken lady's house! The chicken lady is a tiny little sweet woman across the street from us who is one of the widows and she has chickens and lots of little wild kitties. Most of the cats here are wild, they are the village pests. This lady works out on her front porch all day long whether it's using her outdoor sink and cleaning / cutting vegetables, or haning laundry or slaughtering a chicken in the front yard with a stand and a large blue bucket. The kittens line up and down her yard every time this ritual happens. They line up tree trunks, sit up on her railings, slowly they prowl around her till she gets up with a big wave of her hand, or whatever tool she has in her hand and says something to shoo them away. I've seen her beat them with a broom once! We are not sure why we are so fascinated with this cute little old lady, but we are. The girls will be eating breakfast on our terrace and you can hear "Abba" "yes?" he replies, "Chicken lady alert" or "Chicken Lady 1 o'clock" it's become the family joke. So the day we went on to her porch to deliver the flowers Rachel says real loud, "we're at the chicken lady's house" "shhh" I tell her, then I think, she doesn't know what Em's saying anyway! Okay, enough of the "fun" stories for now, tune in next time to meet Natalie, the floor washing gal!
Bet Sofer - House of Book:
Well, the yeladim (children) have started school. It was a struggle, since we had no status yet for enrollment, and we were struggling with the homeschool issue. We still may go back to that option in the future, but we knew for now this is what we were supposed to do. It was easier than I thought to let them go, I believe it is because it is what the Father wanted, so He gave me the grace to do it. First time in nine years my kids stepped out of my house for any length of time to go to school. Well, I can testify it was the right thing to do. Margaret is reading/writing Hebrew on a first grade level. We did have her repeat third grade since she was a year ahead for her age anyway in the States, and we thought it best due to the language barrier, so she is in third now. After only two short weeks of school (they really were shortened due to the holidays) she is fluently without hesitation speaking full sentences and saying loads of different things, like, Grandma and Grandpa are in the car, the book is on the table in the classroom, where is my bag? and things like that. We are very proud of her, and trying to help her to not be too tough on her self since she is a perfectionist when it comes to getting grades. She is lightening up a little understanding she is a new immigrant and to be patient. Simcha is also doing well in gan (kindergarden). She brings home a smile (which is now missing one tooth as of a few days ago!) and a word or two or three a day! Although, when I call her now she is answering me in Hebrew, so being totally submerged in it for five hours a day is a good thing. What I've enjoyed most is the girls coming home with their projects. They are making crafts that coorelate with the holidays, and biblical holidays!!!! Simmy brought home today a decoration to hang in our sukkah (tabernacle) and last week she brought home her own round challah and some pomegranate wine in a plastic bottle for Rosh Hashanna because it fell on a Sabbath. What is so cool about this is they are learning about the very holidays our L-rd observed, from people who come from a long line of geneaology in His Land, and although man's traditions and symbols may have been added to them, they are based on biblical truths, and we are so happy that for once our kids needn't be the "minority" when it comes to holidays any longer. We find it so much easier to place Yeshua in His rightful place in His feasts that were His to begin with when they come home in the afternoons rather than trying to explain why this certain holiday or that one was something man made up and was not G-D ordained and that is why we don't observe, ect. ect. Once more confirmation that we belong here. Which brings me to the next subject:
Aliyah, ken or lo? (Yes or no):
Aliyah is the term used for making citizenship. We got a letter one week ago from the time I am writing this. It was a very nice letter asking us to provide more proof, even with the word please in it. Well, at first we were crushed. We knew we gave them all we had. We provided a letter from our Rabbi, which the law states, provide original Jewish documents of your ancestors, such as a ketubah (marriage document) or birth/death certificates in Hebrew or a letter from your local Rabbi. Since neither of us had such items, we had a Rabbi write a beautiful letter for us several years ago. I had a most difficult time. I know in my heart I belong here, I know we are called, I know it is my inheritance, and I kept saying to myself, "I can't go back, I just can't". However, I held up my hands and said, "never the less L-rd..." Well, hopefully you all remember Rebeccah, the single mom I've been sharing with (and dancing with too). Well, I went to her house and I told her about the letter and also I said that we had no other proof I didn't know what to do. All the while, Paul was at peace knowing that is was an extra step but that it was going to work out. So, meanwhile, at Rebeccah's she says, "I have friend at Mizrad Ha Ponim" (ministry of interior). She says, "tomorrow, auto or lo auto, I am taking you" okay, I say, and after a few moments of having a friend translate to be sure this very sensitive issue was understood and peace was settled in our hearts, we decided on 8:30 am we were getting a taxi together because there was lo auto, gathered as much prayer support as we could (thanks to some of you who were on that team) and we went. Turns out her friend was the gal managing our case. She immediately warmed up to us. Not that we didn't get along with her before, but she was just business, now it was with a smile and a few laughs. She says to us, "your Rabbi is very good, we know him, but the letter needs to be more specific" It turns out they want us to be rabbinically certified of our Jewishness. So she gave me a verbal so don't get too excited yet, till it's written, but she said this: "I understand you don't have family records, if you can get another letter from the same Rabbi giving us what we want, then you can stay, ok?" and smiled. Bust my buttons I could have clicked my heels three times right there chanting there's no place like home! We got outside and the three of us were dancing. We came home and when it was a decent hour we phoned the Rabbi and explained what happened. He knew exactly what they wanted having lived here himself a long time ago while studying, and he said it was political, governmental wordy papers they want. He said as soon as the new year holiday was over he'd get right on it and send it to us, that means it is hopefully done this week. When we turn in the certification of our Jewishness, we could have to wait again for Jerusalem, but they say it may be quicker, or, they may be able to do it right up here in Israel, but we won't know until we turn it in. Please keep praying, but it is looking very good.
This little light of mine:
Margaret has already been used as a tool of displaying fruit. On the second day of school the teacher was handing out paper. Margaret said, "thank you"-I think in Hebrew, but the teacher stopped, took her to the front of the class and then chastised them all about how they need to learn to use manners and they should take lessons from her! All simply from a thank you, which I admit, is hardly heard in this country, and forget manners from kids. That was part of our struggle, but it seems if not to the kids, but the teachers are the ones our children are a witness too-they love them because they are "different"! Amen! Now please pray that our kids can stay that way, I know the world can tax one out and confront our faith and I'm not normally one who would put my kids in a position, but G-D led us to and I have to say we'll need His guidance and wisdom as to how to combat the worldliness.
So, the man we subleased this house from arrived back in Israel from the States and came to claim his things. We had a very soft landing, having nice beds and couches and all the major appliances to come to when first arriving. We tried to buy some items from he and his wife since they are moving to a much smaller space and only here for six weeks. Apparently though they needed all of it, and told us that when you move in Israel you take everything including the lightbulbs, and they'd leave us the lightbulbs, and they did leave us the toilet brushes for cleaning. Otherwise, everything, showercurtains, small trash cans, everything left. What a blow, to have to start basically from scratch. We have been blessed by the body here though, and people are chipping in items they are no longer using and we were voted on by the olim board which is basically a board of believers who wish to bless new immigrants that we were to receive a large sum of money to cover a new washing machine! I didn't expect that, especially since our status isn't approved yet, but these folks say they see the favor of the L-rd upon us and there are witnesses testifying that it is obvious we are supposed to be here. I praise G-D for my friend downstairs, Catherine, who reminded me of the visions I had for three years of standing in this very house, and other supernatural things that are going on. The whole thing has been a miracle in the making and I'm still in awe that although there have been some difficul trials/moments/ect, His grace is carrying us through so supernaturally that even the toughest moments are still in His peace. We are really hoping for status to be approved soon so we can send for our things, start taking ulpon, and in the meantime we are trying to collect/borrow whatever we can find. I did find a cheap used stove, only $75 dollars, excellent deal, but I can't get it till the end of the month. So, we have a camp cook stove top and our toaster oven to get us through. It's kind of fun, I say, "we're camping indoors but we're in Israel, so it's all good" the harder part to be cheery about is the sleeping, we don't have beds yet, but I hear we'll have one for Paul and I soon. We do have foam mattresses, and a couch with foam, which is good for a night or two, but hard when on these hard tile floors. I hope to have something a little better for the girls soon till their beds get here, but they are not complaining, praise be to the L-rd.
Where the streets have no name:
So, how will we give directions to the man who delivers that washer? We don't know, since not even our streets have names! Our houses aren't numbered either, however, when called once by a phone company they told us we were #18 in their computer. We've thought of asking the landlord to put an 18 on the house! Anyway, the time we had the washing machine repair man here, a guy to see if he could deliver a fridge, the cell phone sales man and one other that is eluding me, each guy had a cell phone on him. He'd pull into the village and call us and Paul would go out on to the terrace and tell the guy which way to drive. If you've ever seen the cell phone commercial, "can you hear me now?" well, this is the equivalent of "can you see me now?" It works though!
Well, we should have our first set of house guests if it's the L-rd's will come Oct. A couple from Minnesota, who lived a half hour away from us and we've never met! I "met" them via email from a contact from my old home school group. They are friends and fellowship with these folks and she forwarded an email from them to me describing their trip and it sounded as if they'd be up north in this part of the country. So, I emailed them and sure enough, we are becomming friends via email and we will hopefully meet in just a few short weeks! Please pray for Ray and Cindy as they are coming here for their first trip and may they be safe and their kids be safe as they reside with family back home.
I want to specially thank Dr. Larry, our good friend, who is designing a web site for us. He is working on it in his spare time and we are not rushing to get it up and running yet due to maintaining a low profile. However, we will have these newsletters archived there for anyone who gets introduced to us at a later date and wants to "get to know us" and for any of you who would like to keep the byte storage down on their mail box, you can feel free to read these on line. When it's ready we'll issue out the address and you can go check it out!
Thanks again to all who morally and financially and prayerfully support us. We are ever so grateful to you. This country is very difficult to survive in to just meet your basic needs, no extravagancies. So, TODAH RABAH (thank you very much)! We appreciate all your emails, cards/letters, packages, it's all so encouraging to every one of us. We love each of you-and to my good friend Vikki, again, I blew not getting your birthday greeting to you on time, so in front of all my bomashiach freinds I wish you a belated happy, and I did intend on emailing you a greeting, but that was moving day the computer wasn't even plugged in. Hope it was blessed.
May all of you enjoy the rest of the feasts, and for those of you just starting to celebrate them, don't worry if your doing it right, it's the heart that counts, and think of me when you look at those leaves, fall is my favorite time of year, I understand that we don't get much of one here. How's that for a run on sentence from this homeschool mom??? ;-) Honestly, this laptop jumps around quite a bit, so please excuse the typos, I'm too tired to go back and correct them! [editors note - the touchpad on the laptop I helped buy is probably sensitive to the thumb accidentally touching it while typing]
Lila tov (good night), Mary, and for Dov (long 'o' - means bear), and all the yeladim. PS our almost two year old son now interchanges English and Hebrew words naturally-he's talking a lot!