Our weekend in Netanya was so perfect. God showed me that I was in the right place and answered prayers over the three days, you’ll have to ask me in person what I mean. The three of us went to a Messianic Jewish congregation on Saturday, after having an amazing Shabbat dinner the night before. It was so cool to experience Jewish traditions mixed in with a belief in Yeshua as the Messiah. During worship we were asked if we wanted to dance, when Laura looked at me hesitantly,  I said “when in Rome, ” and we timidly weaved our way to a circle where girls our age and younger were dancing in a circle. The dances were so elegant and beautiful. I couldn’t believe that I was in Israel dancing with Jews who believe in Jesus. It was a moment I intend to remember my whole life. A pastor joined in with us for a moment, and probably having remembered that we were from Canada from the introduction we were given from another pastor on stage, he said “you’re an English speaker,  yes?” As to which I replied, “can’t you tell by my feet?” And he laughed.  I was definitely inferring that they are two left feet and I was an awkward dancer, but not that anyone cared in the moment.
Now there are five of us in Nazareth and the rest in Haifa,  volunteering our time. We are serving in the only evangelical school in the country, Nazareth Baptist School, and it’s such a pleasure. Google the school and you will see that it has such a fine reputation for excellency. Nazareth is an Arab city that is 2/3 Muslim and 1/3 Christian. Because the education is so good at NBS, about 25% of the students are of Muslim background. Interpret what you will about that fact,  but know that God has certainly found favour with this school.
Oh man, this country is noisy. The first I noticed when my jet lagged body woke up whenever it felt like it,  is the car horns and the birds. People are very familiar with the horn in their car, which might not necessarily man they are aggressive drivers. It sounds like NYC but with less sirens. Israel is a migratory path for all kinds of birds, so there are many, and some wake up at crazy hours. In Netanya they made sounds I didn’t think were possible. Church bells are definitely a thing to be heard but it depends on what city. Nazareth and Jerusalem are more religious cities than Haifa and Netanya, so you always hear bells and the call to prayer from mosques. These calls to prayer are unlike anything I’ve heard. They are haunting and hypnotic to the ear. All mosques call at the same time of day, 5 times a day, and each time sounds different. They are placed in different parts of the city so they echo in different directions no matter where you are.  Synagogues don’t have identifiable sounds, which is funny because Jews make up the majority of the population so you’d think therec would be something audible. We have heard fireworks a few times, which we usually mistake for guns firing. Apparently they are from Arab brides’ wedding parties (there is a different party for men). Another very common sound is the sound of cats fighting. All day and night. Cats cats cats. (Arabic = bise, Hebrew = chatool). Another sound you have to get used to is the harsh “hhhh” sound in Hebrew and Arabic. Kinda like someone hawking a loogee (If that’s how you spell the crude expression). It is shocking to the Canadian ear at first but it definitely normalizes. Both languages require sounds that we are not used to making in English.
Wish me luck this week! We’re painting the lines of the outdoor sport courts in 26 degree weather. Gonna get cooked!

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