Late yesterday, several of us arrived in Giv’at Yearim to begin preparations for the team arriving today. Most are already in the Land visiting friends, catching a bit of shopping or touring, but they all arrive here today. With only a couple exceptions, everyone already knows each other, so this is more like a family reunion than meeting strangers.
Kelly, Silas and I drove in from a great weekend in Tiberius and made our first stop at the little shop here in the moshav. Elie and his wife were so happy to see us, and we them. They had just closed the shop for their midday break, but quickly opened it upon understanding we needed some lunch fixings.
Tzemach was not back from some errands, so we just took up residence in his little garden spot and prepared an impromptu lunch of fresh fruit and wraps made out of some tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, hummus and lunch meat from Elie’s. It was really tasty as we sat in the warming sun.
While waiting for our host, his father, David, walked up and was very excited to see us again, greeting each with a kiss and then hurrying off. A few minutes later he came back and signed to us that he wanted us to come to his house for coffee and tea. He and his dear wife served coffee, hot tea, hot bread, cookies, nuts, and dates. Having just eaten lunch we were overwhelmed but felt the palpable warmth of this special family. I still marvel at how Abba connected us three years ago and how this friendship continues to grow and develop.
After dropping our bags in the main upstairs room of the house, we headed off to the Rami Levy for the first of several grocery runs! The poor rental car was LOADED coming back and we had not even had a chance to get to the little market where we like to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. This week’s dinner menu includes Spaghetti, salmon for fish tacos, lentils, roasted Greek potatoes, BBQ chicken and lots of fresh fruits and salads. Hardy breakfasts include fruit, yoghurt, cereal, mueseli, dates, boiled eggs, coffee (lots), tea, etc…
What was exciting to see while shopping that I’ve never seen in the US is pallet loads of matza. In the US, and probably most of Europe, we are lucky to even have a selection of brands, yet here, in preparation for Pesach, it is done with real intent by a huge majority of the population. That means lots of choices and BIG boxes of matza! We loaded up on wine, matza and a few other Pesach preps, but much more of that, especially the meats, to buy this week.
Yesterday evening we waited anxiously for the first team member to arrive, Stephanie, who flew in from Indiana, US. An adventurous recent Bethel College grad who is an American Sign Language translator for the deaf. This is her second trip to Israel and she is looking forward to exploring the country during our tour days. When asked how she heard about Ani Yosef, she replied that she saw one of these articles shared on Facebook. We are glad she is here to serve and know there are so many others who would love to experience Israel in a very intimate, personal way while having the opportunity to serve and be a blessing to this wonderful Land and people. Please, if you think what we are doing is special, share our posts and story so others might have the opportunity to join us for Sukkot this fall or next year!
Stay tuned for lots more from Giv’at Yearim. The adventure begins!