“You know what I love about living here?”
These were the first words I heard from Bryan’s mouth this morning. I peeked my head into our tiny bathroom area where Bryan was carrying out his morning bug massacre to hear his answer.
“I love how many problems we have here. It’s great.”
You might think this answer sounded Pollyannish, but I understood exactly what he meant. Of course, unlike our escalating bug problem, a few weightier ones we’ve been dealing with lately cannot be handled with a rubber flip flop and a showerhead. But we truly are grateful for all of these problems, big and small. They’re helping us to gain experience and wisdom that we know we’ll be drawing on for the rest of our lives. Yesterday we sat down and opened up Romans 14. We’d read it many times before, but this time, we were desperately searching for insight into a very sticky situation in our church. Hebrew, Greek, historical geography, and all of the other things Bryan’s been studying here all greatly aid our understanding of Scripture, but experience has a way of opening up passages like nothing else.
Bryan’s had the opportunity to preach at church every Wednesday night, as well, on top of his teaching responsibilities with the Bible school, TA work for beginning Hebrew students, and trying to solve his own syntactical/morphological/translational problems in the Habakkuk text of the Septuagint for his thesis proposal. We still don’t know for sure what Bryan will end up doing in life, but we feel confident that this season of life has been tailor-made for us, each problem and area of study directly preparing us for whatever the Lord has in store for us. As his wife, I’m learning to take bug problems in stride, to be content with simple living and cooking, to encourage wives at church, and to support Bryan in whatever ways I can, whether praying with him or editing his papers.
This month has brought several real encouragements and opportunities:
- God has helped Bryan to make what seems like good progress with his thesis, putting him into contact with the right people and the right resources at the right times.
- We got to visit IBEX (Israel Bible Extension of the Master’s College) where I studied for a semester six years ago. We spent the night at the guest apartment of my former professor and his wife there and enjoyed the peaceful time away from the city, as well as their fellowship and hospitality.
- An especially encouraging event was a ladies’ tea that I helped to organize for our church. To my knowledge, this kind of thing had never happened before. About a dozen ladies showed up and we all had a great time over scones, cucumber sandwiches, and the like. We even got to hear some of the Russian ladies’ testimonies through a translator, and two of us spent a few hours after the tea reading the Bible with Ella, a dear elderly Russian lady. Through this, I’ve been able to start a weekly Bible study with her over the phone which has become one of the highlights of her week.
- I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with our modern Hebrew class to the modern city of Haifa and the ancient site of Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned for two years.
- We’ve still been having couples and families over weekly, and are beginning to see some fruit from that. Coming to our apartment in the Old City is always a fun adventure for our guests. We enjoy getting to know church members and a few of Bryan’s fellow students at a deeper level across our wobbly dining room table.