We started work this morning and it is going great. We are clearing an area for a garden, which involves taking off the top layer of soil which is overgrown in thistles…such tedious and back breaking work! The team has been working very hard though and the people here are already impressed. Our day started at 5:30 and work began at 6:00. The Lord has been good to us. Everyone has been healthy and I think we have all recovered from Jet Lag. Our accommodations are like a 5 star hotel compared to Boot camp. Everyone has a bed and we have warm showers!!!! You have to love that. The staff and students at Hope School have been so nice and gracious to us. Last night, a gentleman stayed late into the night hanging lights outside for us. After our devotions this morning, many comments were made about how lucky we are to be here and to have the opportunity to spend time in God’s Word overlooking the Valley of Elah, the battlefield of David and Goliath. The school is located on the top of a steep, high hill, so we also get to look down on Beit Jala and Bethlehem…incredible vistas! The Bible is literally coming alive before us. We walked down that steep hill yesterday to exchange money and give the team a chance to buy a soda or other delicious treat. Going down was DEFINITELY easier than going back up! The entire hike is either downhill the whole way or up hill the whole way. There are no flat points to give your legs and lungs a rest. We all made it though and most managed to have fun while “feeling the burn”.:) I asked the team yesterday, “If you could say anything to your family right now, what would it be?” and these were their responses. Hope you enjoy!
“It’s beautiful here and it feels like home” ~Michalla
“It’s neat to learn about different people and their cultures and I am enjoying my time here.” ~Thomas
“I love it here and I really feel like this is where God is calling me.” ~Rachel
“Beauty can’t describe and a picture would not do the Holy Land justice. I’ve have no culture shock since arriving. I’m loving it!” ~Christa
“I love and miss you guys so much! Can’t wait for you to see the new me.” ~Sarah K.
“I love you all and miss you. I am doing fine. Israel is a beautiful country and I can’t wait to share what God has been doing when I get back.” ~Sara W.
“It’s beautiful here. I love everything!” ~Leisha
“So far, it has been a really good experience bonding with my team. I can already tell that my relationship with God is growing. The culture here is different but I like it.” ~Aubrey
“This is a really good experience. I am learning about God and myself.” ~Jacob
“Palestine is breath-taking and I am so happy that I came. My leaders are awesome!” ~Victoria
“Everything about Beit Jala is beautiful. I’m really excited to wake up each morning in view of the Valley of Elah.” ~Nellie
“I love you lots and miss you. I’m loving the weather!” ~Josiah
“Israel is amazing. I love and miss you all. I hope you are all doing great.” ~Bella