Life in Israel

3 days left that is! Yikes! Where has the time gone. We’ve had guests here the past week and they’ve loved on Joanna quite a bit. Here are some of the pics they’ve taken.

One morning while we were getting ready, Joanna came up to me dressed in this…nothing but her diaper and tennies. Very funny guys!

Please pray for our travels home. We have a layover in Germany so we need prayers that the volcano doesn’t cause flight cancellations. Our flight departs at 5 am Israel time on Thursday (9pm CST, Wednesday). We have layovers in Germany and Chicago and will arrive in Omaha at 7:15 pm CST¬†on Thursday (3:15 am Friday, Israel time). Then it’s on to Orange City to sleep off some jet-lag. ūüôā


Sometimes I think Israeli drivers attempt the most difficult maneuvers when driving. Maybe they don’t feel like driving around another hill. Maybe the roads are too confusing and they get lost a lot. Whatever the situation, I’ve seen countless u-turns attempted in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. Take this one for example.

On a seemingly quiet afternoon, I was annoyed by the on and off beeping noise of a large vehicle going in reverse. Lots of vehicles here have those annoying beepers so I assumed it was another car pulling out of their parking spot in front of our apartment. Then it kept going, and going, and going. Soon there were horns honking. I decided to go check it out. This is what I saw…

The bus was indeed traveling right on this road. He must have forgotten something at home because he decided to u-turn on a busy 2 lane road. Luckily he was able to utilize the available parking spaces to just squeeze through. There must have been an easier way.

This afternoon I went on the back porch to hang up the laundry as usual. Then I heard this little jingling sound and looked up to see this…

If you can’t tell, there are 2 goats grazing on the hill just behind our house. Crazy thing is that the only thing up the hill is more houses. We’re not quite sure how the goats got there, considering it’s the equivalent of someone’s backyard. That’s Jerusalem for you.

Sorry I haven’t posted much in a while. Life has been rolling along at a quick pace and today marks 1 month from our flight back to the states. Brandon has been busy writing papers. Thankfully this semester had much fewer field studies than last semester so he’s around a lot more. We’ve been able to get together with friends for cards on the weekends and have enjoyed some relaxing and much needed¬†family time.

Today is also Independence Day in Israel. Last night we saw a great fireworks show from our apartment window and we’re told there will be even more tonight! Just before lunch the military had an aerial display above the Old City. Once again we had front row seats. Many people are off work and having BBQs. Plus, it’s 90 here today so it feels a lot like the 4th of July.

Timeline til departure:
This weekend – Brandon has a 3 day field study to Galilee with his History of Israel: 2nd Temple class.
Next weekend – We’re joining JUC¬†students for a hike in the Shephelah¬†and an afternoon on the beach in Ashkelon
Two weeks from now – Finals week for Brandon
May 8 РBrandon leaves for 6 day trip to Jordan
May 9 – Friends from NWC come for a visit and tour of Israel
May 19 – check out of our apartment
May 20, 5 am – Depart Ben Gurion Airport

Easter has come and gone in the Holy Land. Brandon was able to attend a Maundy Thursday service at our church. It started at 7 pm and he got home after 11. The service was a vigil to the Mt. of Olives and they had time of meditation near the garden where Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Quite powerful. On Friday morning he went to the Good Friday service at the Garden Tomb and on Sunday he went to a sunrise service at the Garden Tomb. He had to leave at 5 am in order to get a seat for the 6:30 service! Then we all went to the 9:30 service at our church.

I should also mention that we tried to get into the Old City on Saturday for the Holy Fire service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The first gate we tried was blocked by security officers and the second gate was too narrow for the crowd of tourists that were trying to push their way¬† in. We decided staying out of the Old City was a good idea for the day. Orthodox Christian tradition holds that God lights the candle in Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Only the Greek Orthodox Patriarch is in the tomb at the time of the lighting. This fire is then passed to thousands of worshippers gathered in the church. Each person has 1 (sometimes several) bundle of 33 candles. Many of them take this fire home with them as it is considered holy. They even have special containers for people to take the fire on a plane. You can read more here¬†or here.

Sunday afternoon we had a BBQ at JUC. Joanna participated in the Easter egg hunt. Each of the children under 4 was assigned a specific color egg to find. Joanna was very serious about finding her orange eggs.

Maryann and Joanna had lots of fun discovering what was inside their eggs. Thankfully neither one of them knew they were fingering all kinds of goodies. More for Mom & Dad!

And of course their dads couldn’t resist the egg toss.

He is risen. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. Due to a long week of adventures, Joanna and I returned home after church for some much needed rest. Brandon, Mom and Dad trekked with hundreds of other Christians along the path of Jesus’ triumphal entry. They walked for 3 hours, up and down many hills, and returned home quite tired. Here are some pictures from the day.

Lately Joanna loves books. We read to her each night before bed, but lately she’s been reading books to herself throughout the day. Her is “reading” is mostly a constant ‘mmmmm’ sound, but she’s trying. In anticipation¬†of the¬†really long flight in May, we’re working on sitting for longer periods of time (think 15 minutes). Last week I started pulling out a pile of books for her to read on the couch while I read my book next to her. We’ve been doing this just about every day and now she actually gets upset with me if I’m not reading my book. She can sit for up to¬†20 minutes this way! Today we sat outside since the weather was so nice.

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