Throughout the years, I’ve avoided speaking of my family a lot to protect their privacy. This is especially important when in ministry, where one’s life is already in a fishbowl. Nevertheless, people genuinely want to know how our family is doing, particularly in light of the fact that our entire family moved to Israel, interestingly, independent of one another. So, here’s an update on them:
Our oldest daughter, Amy, and her husband, Ephrem, live outside of Jerusalem. Amy works for Israel’s Foreign Ministry in international development. Ephrem had been volunteering for an Israeli non-profit that assists Ethiopia in sanitation and health issues. In December the agency sent Ephrem to Ethiopia to do some on-site training of student volunteers in the areas of monitoring and evaluation. His background is in these fields. Because of his work, they offered him a part-time job that began last month. It’s completely in his area of statistical analysis where he reviews data and drafts reports that enable the agency to more effectively administer their programs. Please pray for the job to turn into a full time one. His trip to Ethiopia overlapped Stacy’s birthday on December 24. On that particular day he was visiting one of the project’s schools. Because he couldn’t be at Stacy’s birthday party, he got the Ethiopian children to wish Stacy a happy birthday from Ethiopia. It made her day.
Our middle daughter, Jennifer, her husband, Judah, and their children, Silan and Eshel, live not far from us in Shadmot Devorah, a moshav, just outside of the village, Kfar Tavor. Kfar Tavor is mostly known for it being located at the base of Har Tavor (Mount Tavor or Tabor). Har Tavor is where Barak defeated Sisera in battle as recorded in the Biblical Book of Judges, and where the judge, Deborah, guided the Israelites. It’s also viewed by many as the Mount of Transfiguration in the New Testament, where Yeshua revealed his divine nature to a few of his followers. Judah works as a wine-maker in the Golan Heights Winery. After maternity leave, Jennifer was able to resume her job with an American consulting company in IT consulting. She has worked for them for the past two years. Silan is in gan, kindergarten, on the moshav. She loves it and is rapidly learning Hebrew. The kids love her. They speak to her in Hebrew, and she speaks to them in English, and everyone gets along, the reverse of the Tower of Babel. Eshel, well, he’s hanging out. I’m prepping him for a baseball career, probably tough in Israel, though. They attend Ohalei Rachamim Congregation near Haifa, where Judah’s dad is one of the leaders.
Our youngest daughter, Rebecca, her husband, Jonah, and their daughter, Lily, live outside of Jerusalem, actually one block from Amy and Ephrem. Rebecca works for a medical laboratory in Herzliya, on the Mediterranean coast, and works for the cousin of a member of our former congregation in Virginia. She oversees drug protocols, as they test new, various drugs to combat diseases, including cancer. Jonah works as a tour operator for one of the largest tour agencies in Israel, Sar El, owned by a Messianic Jew. He’s responsible for the increasingly large Asian market. It’s always funny talking with him about what different Asian countries are looking for in a tour, and the types of demands they put upon those organizing the tours. Like Silan, Lily is also in gan, although hers is more like a pre-school. She also loves it. Because she’s still learning to talk, she often merges Hebrew from gan with English. So, she’ll say, “ayfoh Silan,” “where’s Silan.” They attend a Messianic Jewish congregation in Jerusalem.
Stacy is the savta (grandmother) of the children and will begin taking care of Eshel once a week, beginning this week, while Jennifer resumes her job. In addition, she’s busy sewing for the grandchildren and other folks, teaching English and piano and managing me, no small task. The girls started a What’s App family group for us to all be able to communicate with one another. What’s App is an Israeli invention (phone app), where you can communicate quickly with text messages. So my What’s App is continually pinging, even when I’m in meetings, because everyone is communicating about our latest plans, as well as discussing politics, both American and Israeli. While life has its challenges here, it’s amazing to have our whole family together in this country.