Jerusalem Update: December 2013

Jerusalem Update: December 2013

We walked to church last night, with plastic bags over our shoes. When we arrived, we found something missing from the picture. People. Well, there were two people. They also had plastic bags over their shoes. Aside from these two, pretty much all that we could see was the 15 inches of snow blanketing Jerusalem. Clearly church was cancelled. As we slogged back home, nodding to the few other pedestrians on the road, our hearts were filled with grim solidarity as we noted the swish-swish of the bags that also covered their feet. Yep, winter has come to Jerusalem. Snow and cold temperatures are nothing new back home (as you know), but somehow they seem snowier and colder here, where they aren’t as common.

The middle of December marks a transition for us, since my semester has just ended. A four-day field trip to the Galilee capped it off for me. I was part of a small, seminar-style class that was working on various issues in the historical geography of the Jezreel Valley. We each took a couple of sites (usually big mounds called tels out in the middle of fields, remains of ancient cities) and gave presentations on their function and prominence in biblical times. It involved a lot of rain, mud, and good group learning. Once, as we asked the bus driver to pull off the highway into yet another muddy field, he said, “Over there? You need a plane, not a bus.”

While I was away, Joey was able to spend several days just outside Jerusalem with the family of her former professor (from when she did a semester program here). Stephanie, the professor’s wife, is a very sweet and encouraging friend for Joey and helped to refresh her with lots of good conversation and kindness.

The break between semesters offers some much needed rest, but not too much. Now that my mornings are free, we’re switching to day-time modern Hebrew classes, five days per week, four hours per day. We are quite excited to accelerate our progress!

We continue to work hard at the church and we pray for fruit. It is often difficult to maintain hope for the future, but we continue to remind each other that God can bring good out of the most difficult circumstances and that we won’t know what he may do until we try. We remember Paul’s words, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.”

(Enjoy some pictures below!)

With Bill and Stephanie Schegel, Joey's former professor and his wife.
With Bill and Stephanie Schegel, Joey’s former professor and his wife.
With my class in the Jezreel Valley. The little hill in the close foreground is the site of En-Dor, where Saul consulted a medium.
With my class in the Jezreel Valley. The little hill in the close foreground is the site of En-Dor, where Saul consulted a medium.