The 10th annual Spring Fair at Christ Church, Jerusalem this year was a resounding success!

We raised almost £5,000 for the Church’s Mercy Fund which is great, but more importantly we helped bring together people from the Jerusalem community - including three Egyptian Coptic priests who posed with Her Majesty! There was a wonderfully happy atmosphere with music, lots of delicious food including English style home cooked fish and chips and juicy Shawarma cooked by Samir and truly delicious homemade chocolate! Bargains galore were to be had, alongside, jewellery and some lovely designer clothes! We were so blessed to have twenty interns from Calvary Chapel in the US and twelve interns from St. Aldate’s, Oxford, who helped us on the day and made the frantic early morning set up so much easier, lugging dozens of heavy bags and generally joining in the buzz!

Here are some thoughts from Team GB about their time in Israel!


I had the most amazing time in Israel. Even though it was my third trip out there, I never cease to learn and visit so many more new places and the Bible just comes alive to me all over again as I experience where Jesus lived and walked.

Helping with the Spring Fair is so rewarding, and spending time with Paul and Janey is like having your own personal tour guides for two weeks! Christ Church is such a special place to stay and the incredible breakfasts and home cooked meals were just an added bonus.

It was another unforgettable trip and I have come back refreshed and energised in my faith and knowledge of Israel.

Karen (and daughter Sarah)

Karen and her daughter Sarah helping at the Spring Fair and enjoying some traditional British fish and chips.

This was my fifth visit to Israel, but my first without Alan! Eek!! My tummy was churning but with my new friends in tow, I pushed on and actually made it there!!! And as I now look back on my time away, the fact that “I did it” is one of the highs of the trip. You always learn something about yourself when you go to Israel; God has a habit of prodding you and making you think and reflect. The way He put us all together, to compliment each other, to cover all the bases shouldn’t make me amazed, but it does. He works through everything. The laughter and more outgoing of us complimented the quieter ones. Those who could chat and get alongside anyone and everyone, did just that, while those who were shyer, were given the space to gently blossom. In our own little ways, we welcomed the time He gave us to take in the sights and sounds until……. whoosh the bags of donations arrived!!! Ten days in Jerusalem working and serving the LORD and one another! We played too! Up to our thighs in water in Hezekiah’s tunnel. A train ride through the Old City. And lots of meals in different places. But we were there to do His work, so work we did! Sorting! Mending! Making! Gathering! Selling – lots of selling! Talking! Smiling! Curtseying! Your Majesty! Serving and all the time being blessed. Blessed by each other, and by what we were doing. Yes, it was hard work. Yes, it was tiring. Very tiring – stamina was short on some days. But “we did it!” And some of us will go back another year to serve again with a smile and meet with our LORD in that very special place. Well done Team GB.

Alison

Alison looking around a local pottery shop during an afternoon off.

“My 7th Spring Fair. What a privilege to be working for the Lord in Israel; raising money for the Christ Church Mercy Fund; talking to locals and visitors; walking where Jesus walked; telling people about Him.”
“Next year in Jerusalem?”
“Yes please Lord”.

Tim

Tim manning one of the stalls in the Spring Fair.

At our first stop in Tel Aviv we were collected from the airport by Pedro Santos and taken to Beit Emmanuel, the guest house that was originally Peter Ustinov’s Grandfather’s Summer Palace. We enjoyed 3 nights there, exploring the area and finding out the history from Paul’s extensive knowledge. A walk along the front actually was reminiscent of my trip to Hunstanton in January! The sea was wild, and the weather in the UK was actually far hotter than in Israel at that point! Unfortunately one of our party was taken ill and needed hospital treatment, but Paul and Eurica stayed with him. Janey drove the rest of us up to Migdal near the Sea of Galilee.

Once we arrived at Beit Bracha the weather was beautiful. The first night, after stopping for food on the way we went to bed without seeing the view.

The morning revealed a most amazing vista of the Sea of Galilee, just breathtaking.

The food there was just wonderful, especially the breakfasts, including salads that we would normally serve for lunch! Whilst there we enjoyed a swim and a boat trip on the lake. The boat trip proved to be faster than most tourist trips as it was a speed boat. We went up to the Golan Heights and explored the tunnels last used in the 1974 uprising.

I wished we could have stayed there longer and I think that place is the most special in my memory.

Then, for the second week we were travelling up to Jerusalem so on the way we visited two baptismal sites, it was extremely hot by now and very interesting.

We were very tired on arrival at Christ Church so couldn’t fully take in our surroundings. I was fortunate to have been allocated a room with a balcony, so that was special and hearing the birds sing early in the morning overlooking the courtyard was very atmospheric. We were welcomed by David and Carol Pileggi and they hosted a lovely Shabbat meal in their pretty garden.

So the following morning we set to work sorting the donations, a veritable black plastic bag mountain. This was all towards the big Spring Fair taking place on the following Saturday.

We mixed this with trips out, including Hezekiah’s tunnel which involved wading through the tunnel for over a kilometre. Couldn’t help thinking they should have a ‘Width Check’ for people at the entrance rather like a ‘Height Check ‘on rides for children. Seriously, if someone got stuck in there it would cause major problems!

We had a fantastic trip to the Dead Sea where Janey did her Woad Warrior impersonation, and Paul his Incredible Hulk impersonation and we enjoyed floating in this unique place.

The week culminated in The Spring Fair where a very successful £5,000 was raised for CMJ and a lot of fun had. Not least the Queen and her trusty bodyguard opening the event.

Sadly troubles erupted near the Southern border on our last weekend but this is normal life in the Middle East.

What an amazing experience, lots of good memories and the trip of a lifetime.

Margot

Good friends Pam & Margot

I was inspired to visit Israel when Janey and Paul came to our church to talk about CMJ a few years ago. My dream became reality as I joined this year’s group with my special friend, Margot. The reality was beyond our expectations: the vibrant markets, the tranquility of the Sea of Galilee, the light, bright intensity of Jerusalem, the history. I was reading Luke’s gospel on the verandah overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and as Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, so did I. Wow! 

Amazingly, the highlight of my visit was meeting so many people of different nationalities, for example, four Catholics from Ecuador; a Turkish Armenian lady; a French great grandmother who had lost her parents in the Holocaust; a secular Israeli young woman, in tears as I spoke about Jesus. People I will never forget and continue to pray for.

Janey and Paul were caring and inspiring leaders, and it was great to get to know and work with such a great team.

Pam


A compulsory ice cream just before going into Hezekiah’s tunnel!

I have just got back from another fantastic Spring Fair in Israel with Janey, Paul and Team GB 2019, and what a fantastic time we had. How you put such a trip into a few lines I’m not sure – but I’ll give it a try.

Israel 2019 - Beautiful weather, stunning scenery and great accommodation. We had the opportunity of staying at CMJ’s Beit Immanuel in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, where we celebrated Easter Sunday and then enjoyed seeing some of the Old City, and had some time doing retail evangelism at the market followed by some time relaxing at the beach.

We then headed to Galilee, staying at the equally lovely Beit Bracha where we had time to kick back and relax. We went to the Golan Heights and prayed over the surrounding countries, had a speed boat ride on the Sea of Galilee - a fantastic trip out, lots of fun and because the boat was smaller than the traditional tour boats we were able to get right up to the shore line – and then speed off again 😊

We then travelled up to Christ Church, Jerusalem, where we watched the Orthodox Churches and marching bands parading through the streets of the Old City. Amazing sights and sounds bringing even more culture and life to the already vibrant Old City. I felt so privileged to be able to watch it. Whilst we were there, we were able to watch and take part in Yom HaShoah, remembering all those that died during the Holocaust – an emotional event to witness and be part of.

The aim of our time in Jerusalem was to sort through all generous donations in preparation for the Spring Fair, we sorted through piles of books, many, many bags of clothes and a fantastic assortment of bric-a-brac, toys and jewellery. People were so generous and it was such great fun working with Team GB 2019. It wasn’t all hard work though; we were able to still experience the sights and sounds of Jerusalem – and have a lovely visit to the Dead Sea to rejuvenate ourselves. 😊

On the Spring Fair day the weather was beautiful and we were blessed with lots of help in setting up all the games and stalls. I worked on the ever-popular Tombola stall, which was a sell out within 90 minutes of opening the gates. We were also blessed with a visit HRH – the Queen and her side kick PC Hames😉. The Spring Fair is a great opportunity to mix with locals and see people as they really are, and show them love by bringing some British style fun to their country whilst raising some money for fantastic causes.

On the last Sunday we were there we visited Yad Vashem. This was my third trip to Israel but my first visit to the museum. Even now a couple of weeks later I’m still processing some of the things I read, watched and saw. It shows what happened in such a simple and straightforward way – but its impact is powerful. It’s definitely somewhere I would like to visit again – there is still so much to learn from it. It’s difficult to take it all in on one visit.

Israel is an incredible country – there is still so much to see, so much to learn and so many experiences still to have. I can’t wait for my next trip 😊😊

Naomi

Posted by Phil Bowell on .

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