My older sister went to Israel to help missionaries. She lived with the missionary family for one year. It was a time a long time ago. So when I asked her to share with us what she remembered about the trip she shied away. She would have talked your ear off if she saw you in person, tons of great stories, but writing the experience took a bit of little sister prodding. A lot of bit.
|Myra and Mary - Photo by Mary Vee|
"Pahleeze," I said. A few more beggings, the kind only younger sisters can get away with, and she finally said yes.
She tells the story in a wonderful, pure way.
By the way, her name is Myra. So, please say hi to Myra.
A Life Changing Experience in Israel
Mom stipulated that, before her daughters married, we four girls needed at least a year of Bible college. Dad agreed.
My three sisters graduated from Bible college, two finished their Master’s Degree. Me, I got out of the entire thing. I’m the oldest and should have paved the way for the others, but I didn’t want to go to college. I needed something to do for at least a year before my boyfriend would graduate with his degree.
Our church had a Pioneer Girls program, (like Girl Scouts, but at church). The leader suggested I become a camp counselor the summer after I graduated from high school. Little did I know, leaving home for that summer to care for others was a step towards what God had planned for me.
I had eight girls in my tent each week. I really enjoyed the work and spending time with the girls. One week especially stands out in my mind. All eight girls received Christ as their Savior. I was so excited!
While I was at camp, my dad read about a need in a missionary newsletter. Wayne and Carol King, Child Evangelism Fellowship Missionaries in Nazareth, Israel posted a request for a missionary housekeeper. The person would come for one year and care for their three boys, (with another on the way). He mailed the clipping to me. I didn’t think I would be chosen, but I applied anyway.
In my letter to the Kings, I told them about my counseling experience at camp, especially the week when eight girls received Christ as their Savior. Out of hundreds of applicants they chose me. I had no plans for the fall so, with passport in hand and my church to back me I left for Israel in October of 1971.
I babysat for their boys ages 8, 6, and 4, did laundry, and housekeeping. I learned how to siphon water from the white load into the washtub to reuse for the dark load since water was so expensive in their desert country.
The Kings gave me opportunities to learn about life in Israel. I shopped for fresh vegetables at the open market and picked out live chickens for dinner. I gestured to the vender by drawing my hand across my neck to show I wanted the head cut off and doing the same at my ankles to show I wanted the feet removed. The worst part was putting the warm, newspaper- wrapped bundle in my basket, but I loved shopping in the outdoor markets of Nazareth. I learned my way down the winding streets easily on these daily trips.
My favorite part of the day was helping the boys with their homework. They went to the Arab school in the morning and were homeschooled in English in the afternoon. I helped with the Arabic math. I can still count from 1-100 in Arabic and wrote an Arabic dictionary for my own use.
Mr. and Mrs. King came to Israel ten years earlier to be a witness to the children through Child Evangelism Fellowship. When they arrived, they discovered a law prohibiting anyone from speaking the name of Jesus to any Jewish child. They asked God what He wanted them to do. He opened the door for them to speak to the Arab community. They lived in Israel until they retired a few years ago, leaving the ministry to the Nationals they had trained.
In my year of living in Israel, God gave me many unique opportunities. I sang in a choir that performed Handel’s Messiah throughout the country, traveled from Dan to Beersheba, and climbed Mt Sinai. I walked in caves under the Wailing Wall where I saw Jewish men worshiping, and gave tours of the cave where Jesus lived as a boy. I ate booza (Arabic for ice cream) and lots of falafel sandwiches. And I learned how to sing “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” in Arabic.
I came back to the states for my future husband’s (married now 43 years) college graduation. Yes, my mom said a year in Israel counted for Bible College.
I thank my mom and dad for allowing me the life changing experience of Israel.