Busy is too mild a word, but is the only one that comes to mind at the moment. That, and blessed.
We have been very busy since arriving in Israel with three cleaning days and Yom Hakippurim behind us. Sunday most of the team arrived with
the first four South Africans coming through the door before 6:30 a.m. The last arrivals that day from the US were picked up from Ben Gurion after midnight. Many had already made connections via our MeWe group and were excited to meet in person. Excited voices chattered in German, Dutch, English and broken Hebrew as the 50 odd participants from
Australia, Germany, South Africa, Netherlands and the United States were telling their travel adventures.
Monday. 38 of us began the first of four cleaning days picking up trash outside Jaffa Gate and working outward toward Ir David. We were not in our t-shirts that day but were still stopped multiple times with questions followed by amazed thank yous. One lady jumped in and helped for awhile. Another beautiful young Russian student asked for information as she wants to join us the next time we come.
The results are clear… this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Abba has put His fingerprints on this endeavor over and over. Here is a quick before and after of one spot on Monday. One person made this difference in ten minutes.
We participated in this transformation over and over collecting a couple hundred bags of trash on day one. We knew our vision was too small when we ran out of bags before 10 a.m. and had to get creative in how to beg bags from shop owners and municipal workers…
We were much better prepared on Tuesday when we stayed in Giv’at Ye’arim and cleaned as a gift to our hosts. Again, we collected a couple hundred bags while our hosts provided water and rolls of trash bags. Residents vascillated between watching from inside the house or out in the yard to coming and thanking us or even engaging in conversation. The most touching response was a lady who came out with a tray bearing three small cups of glorious fresh squeezed pomegranate juice from thevtree in her front yard.
We retired early on Tuesday in preparation for Yom Kippur observance.
As we began our evening service, six residents of the moshav showed up and asked if they could worship with us. We were stunned and honored. I know Adonai was happy.
Yom Kippur was a restful fast day that ended with a couple hour service.
Most of the service was individuals standing to pray and confess the sins of our fathers against the Jews and to ask Hashem for forgiveness. We ended with rejoicing, singing and dance. Bobby Bennie brought his worship flags and was especially excited as we sang James Block’s version of Psalm 80. The evening was fellowship and rest.
Today, we are back in Jerusalem cleaning every terrace and stairwell all the way to the park. This time, our bright golden shirts, in stark contrast to the rosemary and olive trees, attracted many comments, questions and videographers. Again, the impact is visible.
Tomorrow we will clean around Mt. Herzl, Yad Vashem, and Jerusalem Forest to wrap up the cleaning portion of this trip. Sukkot awaits!
Due to lack of time and poor internet service in the building the larger group is staying in, most posts and pictures will have to wait for my return. My young photog son has taken a couple thousand pics, some amazing, that will have to wait until we get back.
Here are a few closing pics…