Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 2 in Israel and at Home

The grape harvest has pretty much ended, so Paul and Abigail have been staying busy doing maintenance in the vineyards.
Below Paul is straightening and tightening wires.

Below a couple of the ladies are pulling weeds.

The ladies are preparing the Shabbat meal.
Most of the ladies got to go shopping one afternoon. One of the guys gave 12 of them a ride in his seven passenger van. They couldn't fit the fruit they bought in the van so they strapped it on top.

The guys doing a little dancing.
They've gotten to do a little sightseeing after work. Below they went and visited Shilo (the sight of the Tabernacle before the Temple was built.) They had fun jumping (or getting thrown) into a pool fed by a spring.
When Paul and Abigail arrived there was some kind of stomach bug going around and Paul caught it. He was sick for a couple of days but is feeling better now. Thankfully, Abigail has only had a touch of it.
Here at home we are doing great. The kids are missing Dad (and Abigail), but they are all pitching in and helping me out with Abigail's chores. Quentin and Joshua are handling all of Paul's "man chores". They've had it pretty easy so far because we've had a warm fall and haven't had to keep the fire going.

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Week in Israel

Paul and Abigail made it to Israel and they're having a great time.
Paul at the Anchorage airport awaiting their flight.

When they got to New York City, they decided to be brave and take the subway to downtown Manhattan.

They got off the subway at Penn Station and walked by the Empire State building.

There were a few more people on the streets than they are used to.

They walked through Central Park and by the time they made their way back to the airport they felt comfortable with the subway system and they enjoyed their day.
The trip to Tel Aviv was long and uneventful.
Some friends of the group they are going to pick grapes with picked them up at the airport and then took them to see the Dead Sea.

Abigail under some falls at Ein Gedi.

Paul's turn...
It probably felt good as it was 104 degrees there. Just a little hotter than they are used to...
On the drive back to Jerusalem their van broke down near Jericho. They pushed down a hill backwards to a gas station where they waited for the rental agency to bring them a new one. The rental agency wasn't too excited about coming because they were on the West Bank side of the checkpoint. But they came and they all made it home safely.

There are many camels everywhere.

Now they are doing maintenance in the vineyards. Abigail has gotten to do some weeding.
Paul says the fellowship is great. He has been learning much...
We are doing well here at home. We found Angel (the dog we are dog-sitting) again and I'm being more careful to not let her go. Hazel (the baby we baby sit) is much better now. We think the rash was due to the new all natural soap they just started using. The long distance is still out, but a few months ago we got cell phones in the village. They haven't gotten the equipment installed to enable us to use the cell phones for local calls, but they are good for long distance calls. So it's working, in fact I got a Skype to Go number that I can call Paul's cell phone on and it works incredibly well.
In other news in the village, David Martin got a job as the new City Administrator. Also, Paul is the Assistant Fire Chief and there is no Fire Chief right now. Whenever Paul is gone for any amount of time there is usually a fire in the village. Sure enough, one of the steam baths in town burned down a couple of nights ago.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paul & Abigail off to Israel

Paul & Abigail are taking a Father- Daughter trip to Israel. At the moment they are standing in the JFK airport trying to decide if they have enough time to ride the subway to Manhattan and back.
The trip came about from a desire for Paul to take a trip with each of the kids as they get older. Paul & Abigail decided to go to Israel. They will be staying with some friends and helping some small farmers pick grapes and olives for the first two weeks. Then they are going to head to the Negev and visit friends near Be'er Sheva.
Whenever Paul leaves we usually have some good excitement here at home. Yesterday, Day 1, the city called and needed me to shut off the water to the house and the apartments (cell phones are great; Paul is only a call away). We were without water for a few hours. Then Angel, the dog we are dog-sitting ran away, Hazel, the 4 month old baby we are baby-sitting has a rash that the health aid had to come by and look at and the long distance phone service in the village went out. It all seemed kind of crazy as Paul called for help with the shopping list and a request for me to call Delta and find out why they were trying to charge them $110 for four bags that were supposed to be free. It was a gorgeous day and we also managed to harvest the carrots, onions and beets from our garden.
Please pray for Paul & Abigail today while they are in New York City and for the next month while they are in Israel. You could pray for us here in Nondalton too!
It's Day 2 only 30 left to go...
(That sounded kind of pessamistic. Actually we are all very excited for their trip and are eager to hear of their adventures!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Festivals

The Biblical Fall Festivals begin with Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) or literally "Day of Shouting." It is the only Biblical holiday that begins on the first day of the month which is marked by the sighting of the new moon. To celebrate we had a salmon barbeque down by the lake and we danced and blew the shofar.

We ate lots of good food!
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is 10 days after Yom Teruah and is a day of fasting and reflection; asking God to show you how you can be more pleasing to Him. In the evening about a half hour before the Day of Atonement was to begin, I let the kids know they only had a half hour to finish eating for the next 24 hours. My remark caused a stampede on the kitchen... The kids did great fasting. I even got them to quiet down and spend some time in prayer and reflection. Once Sarah came out of the pantry with a few crackers (we let her slide since she's only two). She took Benjamin (4 years old) with her and talked him into eating a couple too. Although I didn't get after Benjamin either, he had a guilty look on his face and he decided on his own not to snitch any more.

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) starts five days after Yom Kippur and lasts seven days with a sabbath rest day on the 8th day. The command is for all native Israelites to spend the week in booths to remind them of how God brought them out of Egypt. As ingrafted Israelites we want to remember too, so we celebrate Sukkot. We started building a green house this year and we thought that would make a terrific Sukkah (booth). So Paul tried to get a few moments here and there to finish it off.

He got the roof on and we spent the first night under the stars in our Sukkah. It was the first night the stars had been out for some time and it got cold. It was 27 degrees Fahrenheit by morning.
Sarah slept between Paul and I so I could make sure she stayed warm. I guess she did because at one point she did the "I'm riding a bicycle thing" in her sleep and knocked all our covers off. I think it was about then that Paul asked if I couldn't put her on my other side so he could sleep just a little (she tends to kick). Around four o'clock Benjamin started crying so I climbed over several kids to get to him and make sure he wasn't freezing to death. When I got there everything was all wet. Somebody forgot to make sure he had on the diaper he wears at night and rarely needs unless we forget! So, I took Benjamin along with Sarah into the house. After I got Benjamin cleaned up, I told him to climb in our bed with Sarah and he started crying again because he wanted to go back out and sleep in the Sukkah. I convinced him that it was almost morning and we could just take a little nap. An hour later pounding on the stairs woke me up. Apparently Paul's teeth had started chattering uncontrollably. I guess he really missed all that body heat I took inside with me. Paul said, "lets go inside" and everyone responded immediately so I guess no one was sleeping very deeply. We all took a nice nap for a few more hours. For the rest of Sukkot the kids moved the Sukkah to different locations. One night it was the basement the next night it was the living room. Although the kids would have been up for it, we didn't try sleeping outside again. Paul wants to go all out next year and put up a wall tent with a stove.
The night after we slept out, Lavonne and Josh decided to sleep out in their tent pictured below. They made a Sukkah in the trees by the creek, but they decided to put their tent right under the window of their apartment. They took their phone out with them and Josh called me several times before 11 pm. At about 11 pm though, he called with an obvious amount of urgency in his voice. He said, "Susan, there's a bear out here. I'm not kidding." I told him okay and hung up and related to Paul what he said. He gave me a look of disbelief, but I told him Josh wasn't kidding. So he hurried out with all of the older kids at a safe distance behind him. They looked around and didn't see anything so they gave Josh a hard time for seeing things and headed back to the house. As they crossed the road, they saw three figures by the neighbor's garbage bin. Upon closer observation they recognized a mama bear and her two big cubs. They all took off running for the house and the bears took off running up the hill. This summer is the first time we've seen bears in the village in the seven years we've been living here. There have been around seven sightings this summer in the village.
The Martin's built their Sukka behind the apartments, overlooking the lake. We took advantage of a beautiful day to do some impromptu worship, singing and dancing.

We weren't out there too long before the musicians fell into the shadow of the apartments. It is incredible what a difference that made on the temperature. We would have played a lot longer if we could have felt our fingers...Paul, Quentin, Joshua and Josh A. were across the lake and up the river, cutting and floating logs down the when we decided to have our impromptu concert. As they slowly made their way back across the lake, towing a flotilla of logs behind them, they could hear us singing and see the flags waving.

Below David Martin is helping the rest of the boys make a manger to remind us of baby Jesus' birth. Everyone agrees that Jesus wasn't born on Dec. 25th and based on Luke's Gospel account, 1 Chronicles 24 and other historical records, many people agree that Jesus was probably born during Sukkot. If you Google "When was Jesus born," you can find many articles that go into great detail describing how you can figure out that Jesus was born during the time of Sukkot.

Sarah put her doll in the manger to represent baby Jesus.
p.s. We woke up to snow yesterday morning for the first time this year.