Today was a high emotional day for me. I have been running on adrenaline for the last couple of days. Going to bed at Midnight and waking up with the call to prayer some time between 5 and 5:30 Am has really caught up with me. The culture and lifestyle here is so different than I’ve been use to. People stop you in the middle of the street and take you into their stores to drink tea and coffee. Everyone is extremely friendly and nice. This morning, Maoz took us on a tour of Old City Nazareth. We visited a few churches as well as walked through the market place. At one of the churches we visited, the English translation on the sign said that this is the church where Jesus ate a stone. Needless to say we all started laughing. As we exited and more people read the sign, one of the other people on the tour asked me, “Is that in the Bible.” I smiled and said no, that story is not in the bible. Looking back, it really makes you wonder what else is out there and what people are being taught.
After the tour, we went to Nazareth Village to volunteer in the afternoon. By this point we were all exhausted, and really had no desire to do a lot of hard work, today. (The weekend was a blast, but very tireing.) Â Which kinda worked to our benefit. The girls and Dave sewed for a while, until Evon came in and told us it was good but wrong. Khallas!!!!!!!!!!(finished in arabic). We were done at that point.
Then we were all called into the conference room, where Bethany and our group were thanked for all the hard work that we had done. After that we went back to Janelle’s and cooked Bethany her last meal in Israel for a while. “Maklubee” (which means Upside down). It was so good. (Rosemary thanks for the recipe.)Â
As we left Janelle’s and said good-bye to Bethany, I realized that tomorrow we would be leaving atÂ 1:30 friday morning. As I realized this I felt the tears welling. I really do not want to leave this place or this culture. There is something refreshing about the hospitality that is displayed here in Israel and Palestine. Whether it was meeting people at our hostel like our friend Erik from Switzerland, or going to our host families in Bethlehem and having them treat us as family from theÂ second we walked in, it all affected my life.
In the end I know that I will be back to this part of the world someday. Whether it is for another short term trip, a summer trip, or more substantial period of time. I have truly been blessed by the culture, by the sites, and by the people we have met along the way. God is truly amazing.
As this trip comes to a close, I am grateful for the new friends I have made. These friendships are across the united states and across the world. I am grateful for the challenges that God has given me, so that I could grow personally and spiritually. This trip has been packed with many challenging experiences, and I think that it will be weeks and maybe even months before I know exactly how this trip has fully changed my life. So as we prepare to leave, and say Goodbye to the friends we have met and will be leaving behind, I know it’s not forever, it’s only for a while.