"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
Late Thursday night I made it safely back home from Israel. We got out of Tel Aviv hours before the rockets started falling. My heart is full for the friends we made while we were there, hoping and praying for their safety. And my head is full of the things I saw on those city streets, evils that don’t go away just because we aren’t there to fight against them.
As I get back into the swing of things at the office, as the jet lag slowly wears off, I just wanted to put this out and let everyone know that my team is back safe and sound.
I wasn’t able to faithful update and post while I was in Haifa. My apologies and I’d like to plead spotting internet connections as my excuse. To sum up, we spent time with our American hosts and learned about some of the work they are doing with drug addicts on the streets of Tel Aviv. There are safe houses set up for the recovering addicts so they can be in an environment conducive to overcoming their struggles in addition to the state-run rehab programs. Our contacts have helped several people go from addiction and being homeless to working a regular job, having their own flat, and being free from drugs and prostitution.
It’s all about relationship and building trust so this work takes a long time to see any fruit from. And there are so many set backs. Hurting people from these backgrounds tend to relapse at least once and sometimes much more often on their journey to wholeness. Our contacts are truly amazing for having the heart to continue through the pain of watching their friends relapse and having an open-door policy for these hurting ones to come back “home”.
I wrote about our time at Door of Hope in a previous post. That was truly a life changing experience for me. Serving food and water on the streets of Tel Aviv was no less of a paradigm shift and much more of a shock. We were witness to many drug deals, prostitutes getting picked up, one room brothels being used, and even a stabbing. Downtown Tel Aviv is one of the most difficult places I have served, hands down. All of the evils that happened there are nothing new to me. These are realities of life for so many people around the world. But I’m used to the bulk of it happening behind closed doors. Walking down a street past rows of brothels isn’t the same as seeing the women, chatting with them, and watching them pick up clients throughout the day. There was so much pain there: the scars on the arms of cutters, the abcessed sores from needles, the crack pipes lying around everwhere. It was hard to see, harder still to want to desperately to help.
What helped the most was to just be there. Again, it comes back to relationship. To sit and talk with some of the women, let them share their stories, to strive to bring hope, and to tell them about the rehab centers that can help them escape life on the street. I met some men and women and had some amazing talks with them. I’ll share these stories over the next few posts.
I also was honored to share the home of a Palestinian woman for two night in Bethlehem. Between her little bit of English mastery and my little bit of Arabic, we managed to communicate quite well. And it was amazing to share in a day in her life, to hear of her struggles, and to become part of her family – beloved as a daughter. She’s in my thoughts and prayers daily.
So for now, I just wanted to say that I’m back, I’m safe, and I’ve got a lot to share. Those of you who supported through finances, through encouragement, and through prayers – thank you so much! Your resources were put to good use and I was so grateful for the opportunity and honor of serving these lovely and hurting people.