March 25, 2017
It was our final day in Israel for our 2017 Hesed Project. We had already said goodbye to three of our teammates who had left early for home or had joined the Friends of Israel Up to Jerusalem tour. The day was bright and sunny.
We joined together for prayer after breakfast and then went on our way to worship with Israeli and other believers at the kehilah (congregation) in Rehovot. The worship was uplifting, the message was challenging, and the fellowship was heartfelt. Many in the congregation said they were sad to see our team leave once again. The time always seems to go so fast.
A highlight of the morning was each member of the team receiving the gift of a t-shirt from the kehilah. On the front of the t-shirt is a map of Israel, with Rehovot highlighted, stating, “Someone from Israel loves me.” On the back, the t-shirt quotes John 3:16. Everyone appreciated receiving such a love gift.
March 21, 2017
My day started out as any typical day. I met Rami as I had other mornings. As he would receive orders from different clinics for sterile instruments, we would hook up our electric cart to a stainless steel enclosed wagon and take it up to the clinic. We would pick up used dirty instruments in a different stainless steel wagon and pull it down to the basement to be run through the autoclave.
Another one of our tasks was twice a week we would travel through the hospital picking up paper to be recycled. There would be several pounds of paper each trip. I enjoyed working with Rami as it allowed me to meet and visit with lots of different people.
March 20, 2017
It is a privilege to show support to the people of the land of Israel. God has used them to bless the nations of the world in so many ways – in technology, medicine, innovation. Of course, His greatest gifts to all people through Israel were the Scriptures and the Savior.
March 19, 2017
Sunday morning in Israel is much like a Monday morning in America. It’s the first day of the work week and most of us come dragging in after a short weekend. After a light work day on Friday, most Israelis are only able to take Saturday off completely. So we arrived Sunday morning with plenty of work to do. We joked that it was a mitzvah to not work on Shabbat. And, although we were joking, it seemed to us people took our statement seriously.
March 18, 2017
The morning ushered in another beautiful sunrise in these Judean hills, where we are staying while volunteering with FOI’s Hesed Project.
Following another scrumptious Israeli breakfast, we journeyed to the Kehila (congregation) where we are blessed to worship while here in Israel. The opportunity to worship with other believers here is a special time for me personally. It reminds me of a few scripture verses regarding unity among God’s people,regardless of any language barriers!
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity”(Psalm 133:1).
March 17, 2017
It seems that life in Israel, for seven of us at Kaplan Hospital this trip, is ALL about food!
We spent five days last week, scraping, cleaning up, serving or eating food. Ray and Annette are the legends when it comes to getting big, ugly, greasy pots clean, and you don’t even want to see the conveyor belt dishwasher. It’s as big and long as a small house! The Kaplan staff are assisted by five of us volunteers who do it all with a smile. We are also in the dining room/cafeteria, doing our best to make it tidy and clean.
March 15, 2017
This, for me, was the most memorable day of our journey so far.
After our work at Kaplan we headed south, driving not far from the Gaza Strip, where we were invited to visit Bikurim, a school of the arts for underprivileged high school students. The school is located 2 1/2 miles from Gaza and is subject to mortar and rocket attacks. Friends of Israel has supplied above ground rocket shelters through Operation Lifeshield, an organization headed by rabbi Shmuel Bowman. We were actually able to stand inside the shelters which are located outside the school buildings. Once an alarm sounds indicating a rocket has been launched from terrorists inside the Gaza Strip, an event which happens an average of once a month, people at Bikurim have only 6 to 15 seconds to get to the safety of one of these shelters.
March 14, 2017
It was not an especially busy day today. Nathan and I spent some time putting supplies into bundles of 10, 40 or 50 depending upon the product, and helped pack up a couple of dollies for shipping to other parts of the hospital. Those are important parts of the ministry, but more important was the time spent in building relationships, hopefully relationships that will last many years (if the Lord tarries).
There are a couple of guys in the warehouse who play soccer, and our manager is a sports fan, who loves soccer. In my younger more foolish days I also played soccer, and so we have much in common.
March 13, 2017
“What do you do in the laundry department?,” I’m often asked. My day starts with a hug from Ronen, a young man wearing a white uniform, kippah, tzitzit, and a big, welcoming smile. In fact all of the laundry staff greet us with smiles, pats on the back, and sometimes a snack. My teammate Pam and I help fill laundry orders from various hospital floors and departments. The orders might include blankets, towels, hospital gowns, and non-laundry items such as Huggies disposable diapers.
March 12, 2017
Our morning started with Revelation 5:12, “Worthy is the Lamb…to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”
H.G. Wells wrote, “Christ is the most unique person of history. No one man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher from Nazareth.” Rabbi Stephen Wise said concerning Jesus, “You will find that He is divinely human. It is no mean joy to us of the house of Israel to recognize, to honor, and to cherish among our brethren, Jesus the Jew, who has influenced the world more than any other man.”
It is true that we have and do honor important men and women by standing up and giving them honor. But it is also true that no one has the rightful place for us to bow down, worship, and adore other than Jesus Christ. He is fully man, and He is fully God the Lamb.
March 9, 2017
The Hesed Project 2017 is up and running. Fifteen of our team met at Newark Liberty International Airport. Some had their flights delayed due to high winds. Still, all made it safe and sound at Newark. It was good to see the familiar faces of Hesed veterans, and also to meet new ones who were joining us for the first time.
Before we checked in we enjoyed hearing a greeting from Bill Sutter, former Executive Director of The Friends of Israel, who also gave a greeting from Jim Showers, the current Executive Director. We then met with Lou Balcher, the Executive Director of American Friends of Kaplan Medical Center who wished us well on our journey, thanked us for volunteering to help Kaplan, and urged us to be Kaplan’s emissaries. He challenged us to let others know about Kaplans’s current project to build the nicest and largest cardiac center in the Middle East.