As content as I am learning to be with my life in the States, much of my heart still longs to return to Israel. In many ways, it is home to me.
I first went to Israel in 1966. I traveled there by ship and stayed almost two years; I would have stayed longer if my request for permanent residence had been granted, but God had other plans for me. I returned to the United States and became involved in the First Hebrew Christian Congregation in Chicago where I met and married Martin and inherited his three lovely daughters.
As a child in Germany, Martin belonged to a Zionist children’s group and desired to go to Palestine.” Hitler interfered with those plans and Martin and his parents escaped to the United States instead. After our marriage, we hoped and planned to make aliyah. However, Martin was diagnosed with brain cancer and died in 1986.
I still longed to return to the Land. In 1987 I accepted a volunteer position at the Institute of Holy Land Studies as an administrative secretary to the director at the campus on Mt. Zion. I accepted his offer and worked there for five years. While there, I also worked on the staff of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine and assisted in founding the Home for Bible Translators.
My belief in Yeshua made me too “messianic” to some of the Christians I met and my love for Israel made me too “Jewish” to others. Yet, I made many rewarding and lasting friendships that I cherish to this day. In addition to the Israelis, I also met and lived among people from Finland, Italy, Spain, England, Switzerland and the Congo. I traveled from the lowest point on earth near the Dead Sea all the way to the snow-covered Mt. Hermon; from the Mediterranean seacoast to the tropical Jericho; from verdant Galilee to the deserts of Eilat.
Were there problems and struggles? Yes, plenty! For much of the time I felt like I was lugging suitcases from one place to another. But I wanted to go wherever I was needed most. I had limited Hebrew language skills and some difficulty in obtaining extended visas. But I felt safer in Israel than I have in the States! During my various sojourns there, I witnessed two wars and two Intifadas and have vivid memories of rushing to bomb shelters and sealed rooms during the wars. I can still recall the urgent need I often felt to be vigilant because of terrorists.
Since I’ve returned to the United States, I continue to do whatever I can to show my support of Israel. I keep in contact with my precious friends. I give talks on Israel to various groups. I belong to Adat haTikvah Messianic Congregation in Chicago. I can’t help sharing my love for the Land and the people of Israel.
Yet I consider myself richly blessed that the Lord has granted me this little part among His people in the Land. I am trying to be content here for now, and though life in Israel was not easy, I have to say I would go back at the first opportunity!