Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest Post - A Very Different "Aliyah" Story

On my last trip to Israel just before Shavuot, I met a family of Christians who told me they left their lives, their loved ones and all their possessions in New Zealand to stand in solidarity with the Jewish people in Israel.  Naturally, I had the same two reactions that a lot of you will have when you read their story: A) Did they come to Israel to convert Jews? or B) Could they actually be Jewish and not know it?

I don't yet know the answer to either question, but I was so taken with the depth of the mother's telling of her story that I asked her to write it down so I could share it with all of you.  This story so inspired me because it's about a family who risked everything in their material lives in order to follow Gd's call to Israel.  And, since they are not Jews, they are not even entitled to the citizenship benefits and support to which I and my family are entitled the minute we walk off our aliyah flight.  This family is living in Israel on pure emuna.

Here is their story, in the words of the mother, Linda.

My name is Linda, my husband Christopher and our three children, Marcus eighteen, Zoë fourteen and Zara thirteen.  “Why are we in Israel?” that is what we have been asked so many times. People in shops, on buses, our new neighbours and others along the way. Our reply is simple. “We felt that G-d, called us to come. To encourage you and let you know you have friends who support you.  Friends that are not taken in by the media. Friends that say Israel has a right to exist. The look on people’s faces is all the reward we need. Late at night we chatted with a young soldier travelling home on the bus for Pesah. His face lit up as we talked, he said “Wow, you have just made my Pesah.”  Little did he know he made ours.

If this is just a three month dream it is the best dream I have ever had. If it becomes long term reality, well that would take a miracle. Only G-d knows the answer to that. We sold our beautiful home, cars and everything else we had. We were left with nothing other than a few keep sakes which we left with my sister and twenty seven kilograms of luggage each to bring.  We are a close family, leaving my aging parents and sister’s family was not easy. Also leaving good friends, neighbours and much loved pets behind.  All of this was very momentous, departing New Zealand for a land we had never visited.

Now you may ask me, “Why, are you Jewish?”  No. Well not that we know of, but I have suffered with an affliction that is typically Jewish. I guess you could call it a restless spirit. Not knowing where you belong. It calls to you day and night, year in and year out and in my case for decades. You cannot shake it off because it is part of you. Where you go it goes. To function normally, you build a wall around it but even then you hear its call. From my earliest days I was taught to pray, love, honour, and revere the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. My parents taught me all the wonderful stories from the Tanakah, every one of them felt like they belonged to me. Because of this I recognised it as the Holy Spirit’s call to go and also to do something, but where and what for? Now if I was Jewish, well that would be easy. Why Israel, it would be obvious, but being Gentile, not so. It could be anywhere.  In shear frustration I said to Christopher one day, “I cannot bear this, let’s go to Israel and seek G-d, may be there we will hear more clearly.” Then I understood, Israel was where we were meant to go! Maybe I was hearing the prophetic shofar, a sound to return and I had not recognised it. Not wanting to make a mistake and uproot our family, just because Mum was restless. The only thing that we could do was pray. Christopher and I prayed something like this, “Lord you have spoken in many ways to many people, you know our apprehension, but you also see our willingness to go. Please speak to us from your word. We decided to read whatever our eyes fell on.  As they say, my heart skipped a beat. It was Psalm 84 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” G-d had been very good and answered our request. Other circumstances also guided us along the way.

From the first thought of Israel to our departure it took five years. We had family responsibilities, educational needs for our children, health issues and more.

Eventually the time arrived we were leaving, but in the rush and push, of everything we hadn’t found a place to stay. We quickly booked accommodation for a week. As we were booking I felt that we would only need it for four days, as we would have our apartment by then. Guess what, we had our keys to our new home on the fourth day. All I could say was, “thankyou, thankyou and thankyou again.” 

G-d loves to do the impossible to show that he is Almighty. Faith faces fear. Just think of the Red sea for one and more recently Israel again becoming a nation. There is a prophetic shofar in the heavens calling his people, the Jews home.   May I remind you of some of G-d’s promises?

'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
Ezekiel 36:24

I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth
Isaiah 43:6

This is what the Sovereign LORD says:  "See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders”.
Isaiah 49:22

Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children.   
Isaiah 66:8                                       

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'
Jeremiah 31:10

As for my restlessness.  We had been in Israel about a month and travelling along the high way looking over the valley toward Jerusalem with its white walls closely knitted together, breathing deeply I suddenly realised the restlessness was gone. I was shocked, I did not know when it left, it just slipped quietly out the door, in its place a sense of quiet contentment.        
 
You may not know it, but there are a vast number of us Gentiles who cheer you on. As it says in Isaiah 49:22 “See I will beckon to the Gentiles...” This is a time of fulfilment of prophecy.  We need Israel to take her rightful place among the nations. You are G-d’s time clock for the coming events.

We cover you in prayer, love and support.
 
Thank you for reading our story.

6 comments:

Shalomis said...

Wow. I'm speechless. What an incredible inspiration. Thank you for sharing your amazing story of deeply activated emunah.

rutimizrachi said...

Wow. Hashem brings us fuel of faith in all different packages. The important thing is to open them, and to appreciate the gifts.

I accept at face-value your support, Linda, and appreciate the bittersweet beauty of your quest.

I bless Linda and Christopher and Marcus, Zoë, and Zara that they will serve G-d as He needs them to, and that they will find their answers. May their support of Am Yisrael remain pure, with "no strings attached." And in that purity, may they be treated as friends.

Mike Caplan said...

Wonderful story! Very inspiring!

Miriam said...

Beautiful! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for posting this. I cried a lot because as a gentile who loves Israel I feel the same way. As it says in Jeremiah 6:16

This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.

But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

I appointed watchmen over you and said,

‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’

But you said, ‘We will not listen.’

Andrew said...

I casually clicked on the link you left on the maale adumim yahoo group site. The link brought me to possibly the best aliyah blog I have read in the past two years since I moved to Israel with my family. Your words are incredibly inspiring. Thank you for sharing them. I wish you a continued great integration. For used cars, my friend at E-Car in Jeru, David Saraby, helps people find reliable used cars at good deals. Tel 02-6721977. Visit my blog at http://emunalaw.blogspot.com/