To be honest, writing all of this seems a little overwhelming right now. Well, “overwhelming” is not quite the word, but I feel like I have a lot to catch up on! 🙂 I’m not saying I don’t want to write – what I would give for a day with no homework and free time to sit and write! – but when I look at my list of homework I should be doing – studying for my Land and Bible quiz on Friday, reading out of my two textbooks for Life of Christ, working on my Regional Explorations reading or report which is work 10% of my grade – I feel guilty sitting here and doing what I love.
I’m going to do it anyway because in the future I want to remember what I did here.
Let me start way back at last Tuesday.
Tuesday morning was Bible study. I love it. We look forward to it and rejoice at its coming. We’re discussing faith.. I think I’ve told you this before. Oh, well. It’s worth saying again. It’s great!
[I’m really looking forward to breakfast, by the way…]
Tuesday evening was Mug and Muffin night with Becky and the IBEX wives. We ate muffins, monkey bread, and scones and had a nice little “girl talk.” Basically, the ladies opened themselves up to discuss the topics girls want to discuss but find it awkward to ask about. My favorite part was actually after the meeting when Shelsy and I got to hang out and talk to Stephanie Schlegel (one of the wives) about some deeper questions.
Funny story: When Chelsea first heard about the event, she thought it was called “Mug and MuTTin.” A few days later, she found out she was wrong. 😀 lol
[Caitlin: I know…701 BC, Sennacherib defeated Assyria.
Caitlin: Sennacherib defeated Babylon.
Ashley: No. … 701 BC, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, conquered King Hezekiah at Lachish. In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered King Zedekiah of at Lachish]
I have to say right now that it was after 11 sometime when that conversation above happened, and I include it for the chuckles that you may (or may not) have. We laughed; we roared actually.
On a more somber note, last Wednesday, we went to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum. I have to say it was the most sobering event of the trip. As we walked through the museum amidst Jewish people, watching footage, seeing pictures, and looking at recovered personal effects, I felt so much sorrow. Perhaps it’s because I’m known as one of the few of us IBEX’ers who actually have a Jewish background, perhaps it’s because I’m living amongst Jewish people, perhaps it’s because Israel is more than “some other country” to me now – I don’t know why exactly, but walking through Yad Vashem, I felt the offense against the Jewish people during the Holocaust so personally! I’ve never felt the hurt as a result of the event that I felt last Wednesday. At one point, I ran across a wall with the pictures and names of various Nazi officials, and I had to walk away. Did I feel a bitterness towards them for what they did? No. Did I hate? No, but I hurt. My heart ached, and looking at them left me wondering in disbelief how one human could do it to another. We then moved into a different part of Yad Vashem, into The Children’s Memorial. Inside, the room was completely dark with only electric candles lit for every child killed in the Holocaust. There were millions of candles. Over loud speakers, came a voice naming off the children’s names, their age at their death, and their place of origin. Before we’d entered, Randy had told us to note one name of our choice and hang onto it as we stood in the memorial. He said it would help us feel it more personally. I chose Abraham-Isaac Fastag, who was from Anvers, Belgium, and died at the age of 14. I also looked up Bricks in the database and found numerous Bryks, Briks, and Brycks in places such as Lodz, Kielce, and Lubin, Poland.
When we boarded the bus to go to lunch, then Yad HaShmonah, Randy gave us a little time to share our thoughts with him and the other students. Corey began with a quote he saw at the end that summed it up for him: “Not quite living but not quite dead.” (I’m quoting that from memory so that may be a little off.) I followed him and shared with them what God was showing me. My heart was broken. I ached for the people, the Jewish people, the innocent, the men forced to live like dogs, for Abraham-Isaac Fastag. Yet, I found myself reminded – reminded or learning? – of how much sadder it was to be the person, the people, who committed these atrocious acts. I was angry with them, but in fact, my heart should also break for them. It did, as I realized how sad they were and how deceived. After that, I spent a little time, silent and crying for both the victims and the perpetrators. That night, we watched Schindler’s List together in the miklat, and once again, we were reminded of the precious value of just one life.
We ate lunch at a large, 3-story mall. Randy gave us 20 shekels each. It wasn’t much but it got me a falafel that I could hardly finish it was so big and with one extra shekel, a bottle of water. Rachel and I spent some time talking and walking around the mall. 🙂 I found something I want to get you, Dad. 🙂
From all I can remember, Thursday was a normal day – classes, homework, and random other tasks I can actually do because I don’ t have any afternoon classes. One of those tasks was cleaning the miklat. This is somewhat a frustrating task, as no matter how much I clean that place, it is constantly producing record amounts of dust-bunnies and dust-pans’ worth of dirt.
Friday morning we arrived at Regional Studies class all ready for our hike only to find that Bill had a pinched nerve in his back that kept him from being able to walk and move correctly let alone hike. So, instead, he sent us on our individual, student-led hikes. We split up into small groups and divided up the available hikes. My group included Praus, Whit, Lindy, and myself. We originally wanted the hike that had numerous caves on it, but another group claimed it and we were “stuck” going to Ein Limon (Lemon Spring). (Can you really be “stuck” hiking anywhere in Israel?! It’s Israel!). I have to laugh thinking about this hike because none of us four are great with directions. In fact, Lindy and I told the guys right at the beginning of our trip that we were both awful at directions, so we had to depend on them. They weren’t too worried, but you should have seen Lindy and I packing our backpacks, joking that we should take an inflatable blanket, a roadflare, and other things we’d need if we were caught out on the trail after dark. =)
We thought we were doing pretty well as we walked our first 15 min walk to Abu Gosh. There we were supposed to find the old police station and make a right there. The guys were supposed to have listened while Bill gave us directions to this location, but as it turned out, none of us remembered much except that we had to take a right and another right (the second right being hard to find) and eventually we would come to the highway and an underpass underneath it. We had to call Bill. After all, none of us can read Hebrew. =) We all try and a few of us are better at the aleph-bet than others of us (myself being part of the “others of us”). Lol We all felt kinda stupid calling him after 15 minutes, but after that, things went a lot better. We proceeded through the underpass, found a nice place to eat lunch, and dangled Lindy over the edge of the cliff to retrieve two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Praus dropped over the edge and which were now dangling from a barbed-wire fence that hugged the face of the drop-off. (She accidentally dropped them further down, but it was okay because they were more easily retrieved that way.)
As we went on, we faced numerous forks in the road, walked through someone’s yard; climbed around in an abandoned/under-constructi
There were two ways back. If we’d turned around and proceeded the way we’d come, it wouldn’t have taken us very long. However, where’s the excitement in that? We would have known where we were going! =) So, we proceeded farther down the nature reserve trail, knowing that it would eventually lead us to an Israeli village, then to McDonald’s (non-kosher!…not that any of us had money…), where we would have to find the other underpass to return to the opposite side of the highway and find our way back to Yad HaShmonah. We found our way, after numerous forks in the road that we discussed and decided on, and even ran across a dead horse/mule/pony complete with eyeballs, a hoof, and some remaining hair on the top of its head (kinda gross). We also created our own Ein Clementine out of a clementine from Lindy’s sack lunch and one of the large puddles on the road. Lol…that probably sounds rather random to you, but we had a lot of fun, laughing and joking around the whole time. Seriously, put the four of us together, and it’s a serious party!
We took the wrong way back after we stopped at McDonald’s for the 4 ice cream cones for 10 shekels deal Praus treated us to. We were supposed to cross the highway, but we didn’t realize that and walked along the highway for about 35 minutes, enjoying a varying amount of walking space and laughing as we discovered too far down the road to turn around that we were definitely going the wrong way. Oh, well. We made it before dark and treasure great memories from it.
On Shabbat, we went to the assembly here on the moshav. It was a good service. The speaker taught on Psalm 37, which I thought was interesting because that was the passage I had chosen that week to meditate on. Particularly, he spoke on delighting in the Lord. I was really convicted because often I think incorrectly regaring Ps. 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ve focused too much on the second half of that verse. Here I was desiring the blessings of the Lord, yet I was so convicted that I have failed in delighting myself in Him. How much do I delight in Him if I’m not even faithful to talk to Him daily, to spend time in His word, to delight in His ways. I am not consumed with Him as I would be with something that I delight in. How much does He consume my thoughts, my conversation? When was the last time I was found delight in being in His presence and sharing with Him, dwelling on His character or learning about Him? I do not delight in Him as I should, so how can I claim the second half of the verse as if I do. I’m still convicted, and the Lord is graciously helping me reprioritize my life, not so I may reap the benefits of the second half of the verse, but so that I may truly glorify Him as He deserves.
Following the service, we went to the Old City (Jerusalem) split up into teams with 100 shekels to spend. This event, called BargainMaster, challenged us to find the best deal for our money by haggling and good shopping. My group (Matt, Brittany, Lacey, Joe, Tiffany, Daniel, and myself) had a few options but they weren’t something we all wanted to do, so we continued looking around. We eventually haggled and purchased a jeanie lamp for 30 shekels (down from 39), bought and enjoyed some Cokes and a cappuccino at Christ’s Church café, and bought snicker bars to eat later as we shared our little BargainMaster skit. After we’d returned to the moshav, we met in the miklat with the rest of the groups to display our purchases and defend why they were the best deals/purchases. One group bought 2 kilos (somewhere between 3 ½ to 5 pounds) worth of chocolate; another group bought 7 shirts for only 70 shekels and spent the rest on snacks; another group bought a fish for IBEX and named it Dog (because they’d first wanted to get a dog and also because “dog” is “fish” in Hebrew) as well as a glass vase for it, food for one whole year, and rocks and decorations for the bottom of the bowl; and the other group split up the 100 shekels and bought individual souvenirs. We went second and to prove why our group was the best, Daniel appeared in extremely tight pants, an open vest (no shirt), and a turban-like wrap on his head – our jeanie. He held our jeanie lamp and explained how our group had haggled for the lamp then rubbed it. Then, he explained, he had come out and granted us three wishes. The first we’d asked for was coke and fellowship (what we’d enjoyed at the café) and the second was for him to get up and explain our day to the judges (which he was doing right then). Then, he explained to them that we’d promised him his freedom would be our last wish. Suddenly, Matt yelled out that he wanted candy. The rest of our group joined in until finally I specified that I really, really wanted a Snickers bar. Poof! Out of our shirt sleeves and pockets, we pulled our Snickers bars and enjoyed them. =) Although all the judges agreed we hadn’t gotten the best deal, Abner gave us his “pity” vote. Since he was the final voice and the deciding voice, we won. =) We all laughed, because we all knew we didn’t have the best deal, but oh, well, we’d had a lot of fun.
On Sunday, we had our first work day here at IBEX. We met at 8am and split into three groups: Abner’s Animals, Becky’s Beasts, and Bill’s Bums. Abner and his two helpers worked on rewiring and working on the computer network here in the library and email room. Becky’s Beasts went with Becky to Jerusalem to help a lady move into her new home. Bill and his bums worked around the moshav doing various things like working in the Biblical gardens and weeding the volleyball court. I was actually assigned another job. Cassandra and I worked in the restaurant kitchen. We began by cleaning off the tables in the restaurant. Then Ammi, the manager, told me I was to work with the pastry chef David. All that morning I worked with David making carob/coconut balls, pies, turnovers, bars, and other kosher pastries for the next few days at the restaurant. It was hard work as the trays I had to lift were almost as long as I was, but it was so much fun! I learned a lot about how different Israeli kitchens are – for instance, how they clean (or don’t..) – how to make various desserts, and even how to communicate with people who HARDLY speak any English at all. David and I got very good at communicating with hand motions and one or two words. It was also funny because Cassandra and I are the two here with IBEX with some sort of Jewish background, and once he found that out, Artur, one of the restaurant workers, was trying to convince us to make “aliyah,” which means to recognize Israel as your homeland and move here and become citizens.
After lunch, David was done for the day so I joined Cassandra in cleaning up the dining room, setting up for the next meal, and “polishing” dishes and silverware (basically, we wet it and dry it again to remove water stain that result from air drying). It was really fun. When the new shift of restaurant workers came in around 3ish, we left because we could tell that they weren’t really wanting our help anymore. Most of the rest of the IBEX’ers were done with their work too, and we then began preparation for the work day barbeque: cheeseburgers, potato salad, chips, etc. Randy, Phyllis, and the other IBEX families made a mean meal, and we all walked away stuffed! Then, we all went to the miklat to watch The Fiddler on the Roof.
Monday was school. Boring. Lol Jk. The week started off on a great note with my God-given determination to be wiser with my time and to put Him first. Thankfully, I was able to spend time in the Word in prayer that morning and to focus on being wise with my time and not wasting goofing off on Facebook or just goofing off in general.
Tuesday was Bible study, but you know all about that. I could say it again, though…. Lol
I love Bible study.
Yesterday was our Land and Bible field trip to Shephelah. Wow! This was definitely THE best Land and Bible field trip ever!! Over the course of the trip, we stood in the valley where David killed Goliath, discussed Samson in the place where he slew 1000 Philistines, visited the hometown of Micah the prophet, climbed around on our stomach in pitch-black tunnels so small I had a hard time getting through, ate lunch in a Roman theater, visited an underground pigeon-holding business, stood at the place where Sylvester Stallone filmed Rambo 3 (lol…I’ve never seen that movie but you might get a kick out of it if you have), and sat in a tomb where they filmed the death and resurrection scenes in the Jesus film. Again, it was by far the best Land and Bible field trip we’ve gone on.
Today is Thursday. I had Life of Christ at 8am, Regional Explorations at 10:30, lunch at 12:30, then various tasks this afternoon. It’s been a busy day, and I’m happy I’m keeping to my schedule. You should see me, Mom. You’d be very proud. =) I feel like I’m doing well this week in managing my time and getting all I need to get done accomplished. My schedule for the rest of today:(It’s 3:17pm now)
3:30pm – clean the miklat
Between 5-5:30pm – study and email
5:30pm – dinner
6:15pm – mandatory student meeting with Abner regarding this weekend’s camping trip
6:30-9pm – work with Cassandra, Chelsea, and Jennessa in the restaurant for some banquet they’re having
9pm-12am – homework
12am – bed time!
Well, it’s time to go. Gotta keep to my schedule ;).
I hope I didn’t bore you again with this long post.
P.S. Regarding my note title, it’s a line from Josh Gracin’s song “I Want to Live.” I was listening to it as I cleaned the miklat – yes, I’m posting this after I did that… I’m still on-schedule! – and was convicted on how easy it is to “love” with selfish motivation. I love to be loved, I love to be popular, I love to look righteous. When was the last time I loved for the glory of Christ, loved with such abandon I was willing to risk all? When was the last time, if ever, that I loved “like I ain’t afraid to be alone”?