I can't believe I didn't blog for the last month I was in Israel. Well. I can believe it because I was busy working and running around the country, I just like seeing those moments here since it seems more permanent than my Instagram account. If you did not see those days, feel free to find me on Instagram eugena8411 and see them there.
I told my #village email group I would one day blog about the ways that the Lord provided while I was in Israel. The tangible ways that I could take a picture of. I made a list in my phone of the most notable ones so I could blog about it here.
So here goes. 6 months later. (Sorry!)
When I went to Israel I was limited in luggage for weight. So last minute things were taken out like my hair dryer and a few other things. My hair is fine to air dry but the problem is that I take a shower at night so I go to bed with my hair wet a lot of times if I can't blow dry it. Soon after I got to Yad8 I was digging around in my room and found a hair dryer that I got to use left by someone who lived there before!
Last summer on a trip to Ohio I set out on a mission with Bufanda to find a quilt. We headed to Amish country and looked high and low, but all we found was king size for $1200 plus or baby size quilts that were wall hangings. I left Amish country with an idea of what I would like to one day make or have made and that was all. When I got to Yad8 this was in my cabinet with a couple of fleece blankets. Like the hair dryer and other things in the room I was told if it was left I could have it. So I did. It is my favorite color and even has a soft cotton bottom on it. Whoever made it was not a pro, the stitching is crooked, uneven and in places coming apart, but that lends to greater appeal for me. Even better is that the thread used goes from silver to light blue on to darker blue. It is a cool quilt and I made sure I had space in my luggage to get it home.
pizza for breakfast
While at Yad8 they fed us 3 meals a day. Breakfast was the best- the same buffet that the guests have each morning. Lunch was very hit or miss, leftovers or some sort of random thrown together affair for just the volunteers. Dinner was before the guests and often was leftovers or the same sort of thing we always had. I am not complaining, but it felt like groundhog day after about a week and it was hard to get excited about eating there. I usually had a lot of salad items with hummus and some bread for lunch or dinner. Breakfast was usually some yogurt with granola and raisins, some bread with butter and homemade jelly, dates, and a few other items. While I am not a sweet food for breakfast gal, I did love this breakfast. The most exciting thing was when they had pizza for breakfast. As a savory breakfast eater it was a highlight. However they ALWAYS had kernel corn on the pizza! Most of the time I would pop the kernel corn out of it though. My friend Christina from Ecuador said that they always have corn on their pizza in Ecuador too. I do not understand this concept. She even picked corn the day we went to Pizza Hut in the mall. Thanks but no. haha
New Pillow and mattress
These two things go together... Yad8 volunteer beds are mattresses that are foam covered in a fabric. It's the same mattresses we use for extra beds in the hotel rooms. On a fold out wooden cot thing. I am a side sleeper and need a softer bed or my neck will end up hurting. This is thanks to an incident when I fell on my head in a ball pit during my college days while I was nannying. One day while I was in the housekeeping office our boss, Israel, said that I could get an extra mattress out of the shelter to use. There was a real mattress that we no longer use from the hotel rooms. He said because we no longer used those I could have it. If we needed extra mattresses for when we have so many extra guests I would need to give my foam mattress back during that time but I would get it back. The "real" mattress was too wide to fit down in my bed frame so I needed the foam one under it or I would sleep sideways on a hill. My life was dramatically changed and I actually could sleep for most of the night. The first few weeks were terrible between the mattress and my roommate on her phone til 1-2am (I had a discussion with her about this and she would leave the room at 11pm which was beginning of silent hours).
When my chatty roommate left I was making up the bed for the roommate we had coming in from Ecuador. While I was doing so I found that she had a nice Sealy pillow along with her other regular not so great pillows. So yep, I acquired that for my bed. I was sleeping so good by the time I left Yad8! haha.
When my new roommates Mayra and Joonye came they talked about how dirty our bathroom was. I showed them photos of the once orange color molded bathroom and how I had scrubbed it clean. (photo is after i had sprayed some red cleaner on it) The floor was almost black to begin with.
The remaining grey grout was just a side effect of the super old tile. Mayra talked about the toilet seat being dirty also. Well, the toilet seat wasn't dirty- it had been cleaned and scrubbed but because it was a billion years old it had discolored and pitted. Turns out that night or the next day when I went down to the volunteer laundry area I found a new toilet seat! The laundry area is under a dorm building and is the throw it under here place when people leave and do not want things. Every 6 months or so it has to get cleaned out because so many random things get thrown under there and rarely does anyone want any of it. I have no idea where the toilet seat came from! But I screwed that thing in and it was like Christmas up in apartment 42! Joy over a toilet seat!
In Israel there is cheese. However the cheese they mostly have is an anemic sort of "yellow" cheese. It is okay as cheese goes but it is not cheddar. The Elvis Diner down the road is a good location for a yummy burger I had heard, so I kept saying I would go down there. I started working nights a lot and one week decided to head to Elvis for the burger and fries on the night of my day off. The night before I was working and a team had used a couple of rooms to just take showers after their dead sea trip before they headed to the airport. When I went in to get the towels and clean up the room I found a bag of P3 Protein packs. They had nuts and cranberries and other things in them. The best part? Several of them had cheddar cheese! You bet I was rejoicing picking those up to take to the fridge! I got my burger and piled those little cheese squares up on it and smiled while I ate it sitting at my little desk. In case you did not know- Cheese is a food group in my book. Yes, an entire food group.
My room was a big room with three beds. There were two overhead lights- one on the bigger side of the room where one roommate and I were and the other over in the little side where my chatty roomie was. We all had night stands and the two of them had little lamps on their nightstands. I did not. I was always sitting in the dark because the overhead like aggravated me because I would lie in my bed reading and it was perfectly in the wrong place to point in my eyeballs over my book while reading. I bought a $3 little led light that would work to read with but it was far from ideal. One day in the housekeeping office I was asked by Israel if I could put together some IKEA lamps for a room. I told him that I would gladly do that. He told me when I put them in the room to put the unbroken lamp in the storage unless I needed it. I told him I would love to have the lamp because I DID need it! He told me just to put it in storage later when I was leaving. Boom! Finally a light I could read with.
Funny thing is my new roommates and I would all sit in the dark or with our lamps on reading or on our phones every night after about 8pm. They both said it is cozy and they liked it. I agreed.
Salted Caramel spicy Chocolate
The regular night shift is a pretty sweet deal. I would clean the offices and the sauna each night. Sometimes for super late check outs I would strip beds or clean a room or two. Mostly it was running around doing things for guests like extra towels or a last minute extra bed. I worked 3:30 to 10:30. We had a few weekends when we had the entire hotel filled up with a conference . When this happened often people would just show up with their conference and we would have to add in extra beds or mattresses on the floor. This meant a lot of extra stuff and running around usually at end of the night. One night in particular the front desk asked about a room that we use for the volunteers and college students. I told them it was full of portable heaters and wasn't clean. Literally 30 heaters and dirty as can be. Well about 10:10 I get a call to ask if the room was ready. I told her no because she didn't ask me to clean it and move the heaters. So Here I am moving 30 heaters and cleaning for one guy who decided to notify the desk he needed a bed...5 hours after he arrived and went to the worship and service first. I didn't finish that night until after 11:00. She knew I wasn't happy about it since she didn't TELL me that I needed to clear and clean the room. So she bribed me with chocolate the next day I worked. I told her bribes are appreciated but next time don't do it! haha
I can talk about how I started being the luggage van driver for groups which provided a LOT of extra income. No one else could drive a stick shift, so I helped everytime with luggage. It allowed me to pay for my rental car and entrance fees for the last half of my trip.
I could talk about how I got sick and He provided simple things like apple cinnamon tea, extra breaks from my boss during work, and sweet nap times.
I could share simple things like waiting in a hotel for a friend wishing I had some water after my long walk through Jerusalem. Only to find the unopened bottle on the table in the lobby was unclaimed.
I could continue on by sharing how I was longing for comfort food like cheddar, only to find a pound in the grocery store my last two weeks in Israel.
I won't continue on for thousands of words, but close with this...
The very last day I was in Israel I finished my time in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb. I just sat and journaled about my time in Israel and listened to the relative quiet in that garden spot in the middle of Jerusalem. As I left I walked through their gift shop and got a few things. When I was checking out I saw some wooden nativity scene ornaments. I had been looking for some wooden ornaments for some friends and my sister. All the ones I had found were flat and quite boring. These were shaped like stars and were exactly what I had been looking for the past 7 weeks! It was a sweet gift.
I finished my time in Israel going about a tenth of a mile down the street from where I had lived for 3 months. It seems that the road to Emmaus is not so far from Yad8. So I walked over there and stood on the dirt road and just thought about my time in Jesus' home country. How I had encountered Him in new ways day by day. Even how my veiled understanding of so many things had been changed by the Holy Spirit and encountering Jesus. I cannot put into words so many things that I learned over 3 months in that place. I stood on that road looking across the mountain and valley in the direction those men would have been walking and just wept in gratitude and amazement. Thankful and longing for the day I will see Him face to face.
Sorry this is choppy and incomplete. There are photos missing. There are more stories to be told. After 6 months of being in the US I really just needed to get this out of my draft posts and get it out into the WWW. I wanted to just share a little bit about how He just provided some physical things during my time there. Grace upon grace as He provided daily for my heart and soul. I am continually amazed how He does that even here in the states. My prayer is that each of you would see His provision and care for you today.