Janey's Sabbatical - Part One
A bit of a blog! Israel Oct 5th 2015
Janey Hames is currently on Sabbatical. Here she shares a little of what she is doing: The time I’m spending in Israel now is part of my sabbatical (or busmans holiday!) from CMJ UK and when I was approached by another Israel related ministry in Israel with an invitation to work with them the answer was a no brainer!
I’m here with a friend who I’ve known for many years and except for being booked in to the L’Chaim prolife conference I have no fixed itinerary except to somehow respond to God’s prompting as to where to go who to speak to etc! This is very weird for me as usually when in Israel we have a group to lead and be responsible for and at home I’m fairly task orientated and always have a list or agenda in mind so it’s going to be interesting!
Having said that, already in these first few days I’ve experienced the results of not having a plan and ending up feeling like there actually was a plan - but not mine! I hope you understand what I mean! For instance both our flights were delayed so we decided to change our plan to drive straight to our pre - booked apartment in the pitch black (we’d have arrived at midnight in an area I didn’t know) so we stayed in Tel Aviv for the night ready to drive up the next day. The following day we met an ultra-orthodox Jew ‘L’ who told us a bit of her story of coming to believe that Yeshua was her Messiah - what an amazing story she has! When she said needed to travel north accompanied due to the risk of being kidnapped by Yad Lachim (Israel’s anti-missionary group) we quickly offered to take her!
On the journey we heard about ‘L’s heart for Arabs and Muslims to come to faith - calling them her brothers and sisters - she talked about their rejection and the desperate need to preach the gospel to them. As she spoke I recalled the dozens of times I’ve seen people make a bee-line for IDF soldiers and assuring them of prayers for their safety and at the same time witness the awful look of rejection on the faces of the Arab onlookers. We should be loving and praying for them too - this is what God wants, He has no favourites and neither should we - and I know it’s a complex situation - I lived here enough years to know that!
Anyway, I digress! We delivered ‘L’ safely to her friends and then called the landlord to say we’d be there in 30 minutes. “No you can’t come” he said – “we’ve had no notice that anyone is coming!! ” Arghh! No response to phone calls or emails for help so I called Beit Bracha who had ONE ROOM available - a “no show’”! In other words the guests who’d booked the room simply hadn’t turned up that night - yay!! Gratefully we ate the lovely Shabbat meal and drank some King David wine and relaxed! Next day I called the landlord again - still no word that we could get into the apartment and still no response to my emails & phone calls that would sort it out! Ok fine, Beit Bracha could have us another night if necessary and so we decided to drive to the address of the apartment to suss out where it was.
Trying to find the place was tricky as around here there’s hardly any street names or house numbers! It was so hot wandering around in 37* on the empty, dusty streets and then at last we thought we’d found it. As we stood there, completely out of the blue a woman approached us and asked if we could help her - she was lost and couldn’t find the apartment she was booked into! When she told us the name of the block I was able to point her to it straight away as I’d already spotted it earlier. She then proceeded to tell us her story of how as a Jewess now living in Jerusalem she’d met some French Christian women who had read that her family had been part of a horrific round up of children in France in 1942 (by the French police not the Nazi’s) and were sent to the death camps in Poland. They wanted to make recompense to her and they wanted to meet her at the apartment she now couldn’t find and she had spotted us wandering around also looking lost! As we talked it became clear that she was a messianic Jew - the three of us joined hands and thanked God for this ‘chance’ meeting, we prayed for her, for Syria, for reconciliation of Isaac and Ishmael, the refugee crisis in Europe and she prayed that we’d get into our apartment!
That evening we went for a coffee in town and ‘bumped into’ friends from Ireland and South Africa and had a great time with them hearing about their time in Israel. It really is a small world!
The next evening I got the phone call we were waiting for - we could get into the apartment now - as it was late we went the next day. The lovely older couple who own the apartment apologised profusely to us and explained that they were too scared to allow anyone in without confirmation as attacks had been known in such situations and given the awful terror attacks the last couple of days against Jews in Jerusalem they were doubly scared. How horrible for them to have such fear. I assured them ‘kol be’seder’ (all was ok) with us and were really happy to be in their apartment. She hugged us.
Next morning I came outside to find an elderly very tanned man sitting in the sun - Binyamin - I introduced myself and we got talking - he loves Jesus and has much knowledge and wisdom about the middle east and current world happenings! I could sit and listen to him for hours - and probably will! So, today is the last shabbat of Sukkoth and all is quiet - just a lovely breeze and sparrows chirping - a lot like our old English Sundays - lovely. All these things happened to us and we didn’t plan any of it; makes me think I should chuck away all my lists, strategies and agendas and go bohemian! Not sure my boss would agree though!
We do have some things to accomplish while here though - stored in our apartment are thousands of bibles in Hebrew and many different languages - beautiful gifts that we intend to distribute to those that God will guide us to! Other than a couple of ‘leads’, I have no idea of the where/when/how/to whom but I’m getting used to the idea of just seeing where He takes us - so far it’s been an eye opener just to go with the flow.
I’ll let you know how it goes - your prayers are very much appreciated!