Last Day in Israel

Monday, May 02, 2016
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv District, Israel
Lena had sent Bri off to the airport, safely in a taxi. I had breakfast with the Britts. A few days before, they found a wounded pigeon on their patio, one wing hanging lower than the other, afraid of the youthful cat that was once owned by one of their neighbors. They've known the cat since he was a tiny kitten and have trained him to be friendly to people, unlike the thousands of strays that people feed and care for from a distance all over Tel Aviv. That morning, the bird had managed to perch itself on the edge of a potted plant, drinking water from the air conditioner. Too traumatized and hungry from its encounters with cats in past days to care about us, the pigeon sat and drank, and even ate from Danielle's hand. This was a new experience for both of them. I managed to catch it all on video.

There's a part of me that has always wanted to live and work in a city where I could walk to work and stop by a local coffee shop in the morning . Tel Aviv fits that locale in my mind. I was able to take a short walk around the corner and up a few blocks to a cafe where locals stop and chat over a cup of espresso before they finish their commute to the office.

I got mine to go because I knew we had to leave soon if we wanted to get Lena in enough time to meet Danielle's friend in Jaffa for a repeat of the tour my final companions had missed when they were too busy preparing our amazing Night To Be Much Observed meal in the park. This time around I didn't laugh at as many of the tour guide's jokes since I had heard them all before nearly verbatim. I did, however, manage to record one of my favorite stories he told about the clocktower and the only man in town to own a watch.

Throughout the past few days and even this last day we spent together in this unique place, Steven and I pondered about what future opportunities God may have for His servants to preach in every land "and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14b). In Israel there are already plenty who understand and believe as we do, but lack a community, a family to grow with. There are at least a few who Steven and Danielle have met and talked with. The friend who met us in Jaffa that day who has sought the truth, despite being in the midst of personal turmoil, since her youth, and somehow ended up living in Tel Aviv. A young man who has lived in Israel his whole life and discovered God's word because, by chance, his unbelieving father had a Bible in English and Hebrew . There are many more, and in many other places in this world. Who will care for them before Christ returns?

It's moments like this in lands far from home when I recall reading stories of men traveling to places I only dreamed of. I thought I would somehow stay closer to the small town I grew up in and the places more familiar to me. God knew my heart and the desires I had to see the world and all the people in it. He has blessed me greatly time and again in this way.

After walking through the close quarters of the flea market in Jaffa, we found the place where they make the best hummus in the world, and ate our fill. We capped off the afternoon with coffee and milkshakes from a shop so cheap, a person could survive off the goodies there if they had to. There are actually two separate chains that sell everything they offer for 5 shekels ($1.32 according to Google), Cofix and Cofizz. You can find them both everywhere in Israel . We parted ways with our new friend and headed back to the hostel to get one last bag and one last nap in the comfort of the best chair I've ever sat in (and no it's not a hammock).

After a while we knew we had to head back home to Alabama and would miss our friends in Tel Aviv. The entire trip was a wonderful success for everyone involved and it wouldn't have run so smoothly without their help. We prolonged the inevitable with late night snacks.

Steven walked with us to the bus station close to midnight so we could catch a bus to catch a train to catch an extremely early flight to Germany in time. The rest is a blur of barely comfortable chairs and nearly delicious airplane food broken up by bouts of sleep and the occasional connecting flight. The pretzels in the airport in Frankfurt were quite good, but Lena says the ones I make are better. We hit all our flights just perfectly and arrived in Huntsville in time for Jim and Nancy to return our little dog to us, and get us home before we crashed. We were definitely asleep in our own bed by dinner time.
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