Be the impact
As a child, being part of a military family, I have traveled to many places all over the USA. Being half Korean, also included international travel, having visited South Korea a handful of times. But nothing comes close to having visited Israel for the first time this past Feb 2020.
My heart for the people of Israel began 14 some years ago as my spirit was being awakened to the promises of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in my Scriptures. Seeds were planted and continued to grow right along with our young children at the time. I so wanted to visit Israel. I had brought it up occasionally but did not receive a favorable response.
So imagine my shock and disbelief when my “slow to come around” husband, calmly posed a question several months ago to an aching heart that had buried any notion of travel to the middle east:
“Do you want to go to Israel?”
I wasn’t sure what to answer, thinking surely, he is jesting. No, he was VERY serious. I don’t think it takes much imagination for you the reader, to guess what my response was.
Feb 20th, our whole family of 5, embarked on the trip of a lifetime. When the El Al flight touched down in Tel Aviv on Friday, Feb 21st, I cried. Little did I know, those first tears were only a taste of the many tears that would fall during our 13 days in the Holy Land. Plenty of opportunities presented themselves for emotions to overwhelm me. To walk in the Land given by the Almighty to the Apple of His Eye, the Jewish people, was simply awe-inspiring. My Scriptures came alive as we toured the country-side. History came alive as we saw Elah valley, Mt Tabor, Masada, the Dead Sea (and recalled the promise in Ezekiel 47; how this sea will be made new and teeming with life. It wasn’t a far leap to believe that would happen, seeing the miracle of Israel now, birthed from a dry wilderness, into the flourishing peoples that dwell there today. )
I didn’t think the trip could get much better than a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Masada, Tel-Dan. floating in the Dead Sea, City of David … until we stopped at 3 ministries scheduled during our tour: Neve Michael, Keren Or, and ALEH. MORE tears poured forth as we entered “sacred” ground” where the active heartbeat of God is manifest. On the last full day of our tour, we visited Keren Or and ALEH. To this point, I had worn comfortable and casual clothing, as our days were packed with walking. But this day was to be different. A deep stirring within, by the Spirit of God, moved me to raise the bar of my choice of attire. An exhortation welled up deep within: dress my best for what the world considers the least.
Our tour bus pulled up to ALEH, and Elie stepped in while we were readying ourselves to exit. As he spoke, his countenance exuded warmth, confidence and fierce love. He and another gentleman led us through ALEH, and my heart once again came alive. VERY ALIVE. We happened to peek in on a festive and lively music session for the children and young adults as they were gearing up for Purim. Purim: a story about the deliverance of Jewish people in the time of Hadassah/Queen Esther. These children and adults, also, are waiting for deliverance from their bodies or minds that don’t work right, for one reason or another. We all are waiting for deliverance too. For we all are fallen; we all are marred in some aspect. Some handicaps are simply not as noticeable.
I was increasingly moved in my heart as we continued the tour, but nothing could hold a candle to a young girl who was brought out by one of the guides as we grouped in a circle in the hospital wing of ALEH. (Which by the way, a hospital right on-premises is incredible and not heard of in establishments of this kind). She had leg braces on and when put down, toddled unsteadily around, falling at times, but picking herself back up again quickly. She went to one in our group of 50, arms outstretched, it warmed my heart as he scooped her up. She wanted down again and walked around more, going person to person. She came to me and her eyes locked with mine. She held her arms out slightly, inviting me into her world. I melted as I gently lifted her and brought her close to my heart. It was nothing short of magical. Even when I put her down again and we moved on, her memory worked itself INTO my heart, where it resides in a most precious and quiet place deep within.
We all left there, touched in some way or another. The impact for me personally, was life-changing. Sure, we have programs here in America for kids, but ALEH was different (like the other 2 ministries as well). Not sure why. Perhaps it was the children themselves. Perhaps it was the obvious love, caring and compassion poured out by so many of the staff as they interacted with the children and adults. Helping these children reach their full potential is noble and excellent. It is a goal each one of us should have for every person made in the image of God Almighty. Life is precious and is a blessing. We each left with a yellow ALEH bag with a token gift, a glazed ceramic dove that represented shalom to me, made by those at ALEH. A beautiful reminder not on what each disabled person cannot do, but what it is each CAN do. A reminder not on the hardships that caring for such people may bring, but a focus on the blessings that each person brings, regardless of their disability.
Returning home to Ohio in the United States, I visited the ALEH boutique to order more merchandise made by these children and adults at ALEH. What special gifts to give to others from the Land of Israel. Items with deep meaning and significance. In the coming days, I don’t ever want the passion ignited that day to simply fade away. I want to keep it alive and fan the flame.
I hope you are moved to action on behalf of those given less in life in many ways we take for granted. There are many ways you can take action! Purchase the fruit of their labor in the boutique shop, donate, volunteer, share this site with others.
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