Sunday, June 24, 2007

The fabulous first week

June 19 – 24, 2007. The fabulous first week
Grace and peace to you from the Holy Land where troubles abound and so does God’s love.

John: John is busy at the hospital teaching the Surgical Residents and observing operations. He had two consults for patients with thoracic (chest) surgical problems. One of them is going to have lung biopsy on Monday. They have a very dedicated Medical Staff- both Christian and Muslim- surgeon, internist, Oncologist and nephrologist. This Hospital has a CT scanner and ultrasound, a good lab but no ER. They do not have surgeries on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Friday is a Holy Day for the Muslims, Saturday for Jewish people and Sunday for Christians. Most patients, nurses and residents come from the “West Bank” with permission from the Government of Israel. The hospital has arranged for a special bus to transport the staff and patients and yet they have to wait long at the checkpoints. So there is delay and frustration.

John in frront of the main gate of the hospital.

John with Rev. Mark Brown

Esther visited the 100 years old stone Church of Ascension on the campus and met with the German Pastor Mike Wohlrab whose grandfather was the first missionary to Tanzania. She is organizing a small group fellowship/ worship service on Friday evenings. Let us pray that it takes off. She went on an ICAHD tour, (Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolition) and learnt about Palestinians losing their homes unfairly. She also enjoyed volley ball/ food and fellowship with (mostly youth) 15-member group from the Southeastern Michigan Synod. On Wednesday, we treated ourselves to Okra - Minced meat Palestinian dinner at the campus café prepared by the volunteers, the proceeds to be used for charity. Esther has been asked to cook Indian food by two different groups. That should be fun. All the spices are available here.

Esther with Rev. Mark Brown, his wife Susanna and another friend Kristian from Germany

Rev Mark Brown, Director of Lutheran World Relief operations for this area is originally from Streator, IL and is a good friend of David and Claudia Nelson of our church. He and his Danish wife Susanna welcomed us and made us feel at home. On June 22nd we celebrated the summer Solstice with the typical Scandinavian dish ”Sushi”! prepared by all of us. John used his surgical skills to carve out the flesh of avocados and Esther expertly spread the rice on the seaweed. We met many dedicated people working for LWF, United Nations, World vision etc.

Esther helping prepare Sushi.

The sushi party

Our sightseeing included a visit to Ein Karem (home of Elizabeth and Zachariah) the Old city of David, the famous street - Via Dolorosa, one-day tour of the Northern areas- Nazareth, Capernaum, Togbah (where Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand) and finally, the Jordan River. We dipped our feet but did not get baptized! Our guide pointed out the Golan heights, the border between Israel and Syria and the Jordan river which forms the boundary between Israel and the country of Jordan, the Mount of Transfiguration, Mount of Beatitudes, Cana, Jericho and the valley of Armageddon. We tasted fig honey and fresh dates. We met four Indian catholic priests from Rome! And we tasted the famous "Peter Fish".

A wonderful week indeed.
We met wonderful people and also seen some sad sights like the wall around Jerusalem and demolished homes. But God’s word provides hope and motivation not to be weary of well doing. God’s people are busy spreading hope here. We did something ‘naughty’ on Sunday. We will tell you about it in the next blog. We wish you well.
So long. Love
John/Prabhu and Esther/Kamali

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