Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Julee and I are nearly three weeks now in Jerusalem, and settling in to patterns, habits, likes and dislikes. Actually very little to dislike: the calls to prayer (not because they are loud and often, but because they are not very musical or pleasant sounding…), some smells (exposed garbage at some times in some places, etc), the tension due to misunderstandings, sin and selfishness (more like a family feud gotten out of control, think Hatfields and McCoys).
But lots to like: the people we are working with, people we have met this trip and renewed friendship with from our last trip. I find myself way over-using the word “amazing”, as in “amazing country”, “amazing history”, “amazing culture”,” amazing story of survival and existence”, etc.
We love waking up to the roosters crowing every morning. I call them the “non-religious” roosters because they do not crow just in the morning, but pretty much any time and all times after daybreak. We love that first cup of coffee in the morning, checking emails and the Mariners and Rainiers scores from overnight, and then heading off to our extended morning prayer time. We love walking in and through the Old City of Jerusalem, shopping in the Arab markets where you find the best “deals”, weekly visits to the T@mple Mount. Studying the Bible is a totally unique experience here as we live and walk the ground where much of it takes place.
Last night we had the privilege of re-connecting with our landlord from our previous stay in Israel. Avi had invited us a week ago to Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner at his house. We were so happy to see Avi and his family once again! Since Avi didn’t tell them we were coming (his purpose wasn’t to surprise them; he confessed that he actually forgot we were coming), his children and grandchildren and his sister were indeed surprised to see us, and we had a very happy reunion. Avi taught from the Torah and the prophets after dinner, so we got to participate in that as well, which was a privilege. We love that precious family, and they seem to be fond of us as well. Language is sometimes difficult and probably tiring for them as they attempt to speak English for our sake while we are with them, but we definitely connect.
Our friend Shay got to come visit our house this past week, it was fun to have her see where and how we live, and then our little COD group went to dinner and brought her along, and we had a wonderful time (pictures below). We have plans to take the bus to the north of the country to join Shay for a weekend at her family’s home in a couple of weeks.