March 13, 2015
What a spectacular day the Hesed team and I had!
First stop was Caliber 3, a counter-terror and security academy. This was the first year that any Hesed team has ever visited Caliber 3. I was very excited, as I have always wanted to fire a weapon while in Israel. Today I got my wish!
Our instructor was Eitan Cohen, along with two assistants. We were shown different tactics used for different terrorist attack situations. Then we each, with a wooden replica of an M16, were taught the stance and position to use to neutralize a situation. We were then taught how to fire a 9mm pistol, and an M16 that fired 22 ammo. They then divided us into teams, and put up balloons as targets from a distance of about 50 feet. The team to burst all their balloons won. I burst my ballon on my first shot. I’m not sure which team won, but boy did we have a fun time! I didn’t realize two hours could go so fast.
March 10, 2015
It was during my “Up to Jerusalem” trip in 2013 that I felt God leading me to return to Israel as part of the Hesed Project. I felt so honored to have been selected.
On our first day at Kaplan I volunteered to work in the kitchen and was assigned to the dining room. The language barrier was definitely an issue at first, and the workers showing me the ropes seemed standoffish, but by day two attitudes changed, and we began working as a team.
March 9, 2015
“Modeh Ani” is a Hebrew morning prayer thanking God for a new day, and asking Him for the ability to soar to new heights under the shelter of His wings.
Wow, are we ever soaring!
In the past few days we have experienced nearly 3,000 years of Israeli history. Who can ever forget the Holocaust? Last Tuesday at Kaplan, we met Leeza, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor from a camp in Romania, who works three days a week as a volunteer. Next, while touring the Ayalon Bullet Factory Memorial, we met Yechiel, also 92-years-old, who fought in the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence. Yechiel was personally involved in the use of the tanks that were placed as memorials on the Burma Road that we had traveled.
March 8, 2015
It is hard to believe that we are halfway through our time with the Friends of Israel Hesed Project in Rehovot Israel!
The work of the Lord through our group has been, in my opinion, a beautiful thing to behold. In just one week’s time, the twenty-four members of our Hesed team have bonded together while serving our Lord in His beautiful Israel. We have begun to establish friendships with each other as we learn how each one of us came to have a heart for Israel. We’ve also learned how God has given each of us a desire to show God’s love through serving and building friendships with the Jewish people in Israel.
March 7, 2015
I am on the cleaning crew at Kaplan Medical Center. This past Thursday we were assigned to cleaning the auditorium. During the coffee break we were able to interact with the hospital staff as they came in for their breaks. We were fortunate to have a couple of English speaking personnel in the room, which helped us to fellowship and laugh together. Of course, there was also food. We had a great time.
When we were cleaning, we changed the words to the song “God Bless America” to “God Bless Israel.” It went like this, “God bless Israel, Land that we love, stand beside her and guide her, through the night with your light from above. From Mt. Hermon, to the Sinai, to the Dead Sea, and Galilee, God Bless Israel, your Home Sweet Home, God Bless Israel, your Home Sweet Home.” We had done some practicing before we went on break just in case there might be an opportunity for us to sing to them. You guessed it, we were able to sing it to them. They were quite moved by it. In fact, a few had some tears. They were very appreciative, with lots of hugs and words of thankfulness.
March 6, 2015
What a blessed day in the Lord today was! Our day began at 6:50 AM as we all boarded the bus for the golden city on a hill – Jerusalem. As we were riding in the bus I was thinking about what a difficult time it must have been to walk up to Jerusalem since the roads, even today, are very steep and hilly.The roads in Yeshua’s time were uneven and rocky, making it difficult to walk.
As we entered the city I got a lump in my throat thinking about the persecution, humiliation, and death my Lord suffered for me.
March 5, 2015
Yesterday we visited the Ayalon Institute. For three years after World War II, this secret, underground bullet factory made 14,000 bullets a day for the Haganah as they struggled to establish the State of Israel.
The 24 by 100 foot facility was built with plastered walls in three weeks, all the while British control of the area made it a crime punishable by death even to posses a bullet. Those living on the kibbutz, which was above on the surface of the factory, were unaware of what was happening beneath.
March 4, 2015
Yesterday was a wonderful work day. The cleaning crew worked together and cleaned almost all the Emergency Room Wing. We were invited to have break with the cleaning staff. We laughed, enjoyed food, and learned how to count to 10 in Hebrew We had great fellowship.
So today I had the same expectations. But, when we arrived at the cleaning station to get our assignments, I was taken to the Medical Records Department, and I didn’t have a partner. This department is in the basement of the building and is very small and crowded. There is a lot of activity going on, a lot of Hebrew chatter, phone calls, carts being moved everywhere, and papers stacked high. The department head told me to wash the shelves. I really didn’t know where to start.
March 3, 2015
What a joy to be in the land I have been reading about for so many years and with God’s Chosen People!
We began the morning with a hearty breakfast and great fellowship, as we do daily. Our team completed the 3rd day at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and it was awesome! My job is working in the kitchen, washing pots. There is a lot of activity associated with meal preparation, such as pots boiling, salad chopping, dessert baking, chicken frying, and dish-washing. Relationships are quickly forming, even though many do not speak English.
March 2, 2015
Shalom from Israel! This trip has been so incredible for me. Even though I have had my share of troubles, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Today I was able to work in the laundry department with Cathy. It was so much fun to be able to work with Rinone, a local Israeli. He started us off with Turkish coffee. Then a half hour later, he put us to work counting laundry to put in different metal bins. These bins were then taken to different departments in the hospital to be used by the staff.
March 1, 2015
I awake this morning with words of thankfulness to the Lord for being in Israel. As I complete my devotions by reading Psalm 117, the psalm simply, yet profoundly, begins and ends with the words “Praise the Lord.”
I have so much to be thankful for. In the quietness of my room, I start to praise Him not just for what He has done for me, but for who He is. Then it dawns on me, yet again, that I am in Israel. I am most grateful for being here, to walk where Yeshua walked, taught, lived, prayed and, most of all, loved.
February 28, 2015
Hi, this is Carol from Australia. I’d like to tell you how special it is to be on the Hesed tour, and summarize our brief time so far.
It all started at Sydney International Airport. We were having a quick coffee before boarding our plane to Bangkok when a lady who was wiping tables came and asked us where we going on holidays. We told her our story of coming to Israel to do volunteer work at Kaplan Hospital. She was just amazed at that, and before we could say anything more she rushed away and returned with an armful of toys from MacDonalds. She wanted us to give them to the children in the hospital in Israel from someone who lived in Australia!
February 27, 2015
I arrived at JFK airport on Thursday, February 26, 2015, with bags packed (heavy ones at that) and ready to go on an exciting adventure in Israel with other volunteers on Friends of Israel’s Hesed Project.
There were to be 24 of us, but three were already in Israel. Throughout the day I met each team member as they arrived at the airport. Despite snow in Boston (so what else is new?) and snow in North Carolina (who woulda thunk it?), by 3:30 in the afternoon all of our teammates had arrived. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for His faithfulness.