One day on my last tour in Israel we visited the Kotel, The Wailing or Western Wall. It was a very special Jewish Holiday and thousands of people had crowded into the area. As the women and men split up to go to their separate areas for prayer, I chose to stay back with my Arch Bishop to wait at our pre designated spot to meet with everyone. I would soon be returning to Jerusalem for an extended stay and would visit when it was not so crowded. I have been here and prayed before. We traveled quite a distance to the women’s restroom and stood in line for a long time waiting. While at the restroom entrance there was pushing and shoving to try to get past each other, as the hallways were narrow and packed with women. I was relieved to return to our meeting area and wait for the rest of our group. As I stood there and watched the crowd and individuals, I noticed an elderly, slender, short woman in the crowd. She was one of our group! She was alone! The Spirit within me spoke, and said notice everything you can about her right now! I did, I look to see how short she was compared to the people around her, I looked at the color of her cloths, noticed the greyness of her aging hair. I absorbed every detail I could about her as I watched her disappear into this sea of people. I also knew where she was headed and knew the struggle of the women in that area. Finally everyone had arrived at our meeting area. The guides soon started taking count and found we were short people. There was more than this one elderly woman missing, but all I cared about at the time was her. I told the guide I had seen her headed to the restrooms alone and I could go find her and bring her to us, but he said no. After several offers I talked to Arch Bishop and explained what I had seen and how the Spirit had prompted me to take close notice in detail of her as she walked away. She said yes I could go get her. So I took her friend from Texas, we grasp hands and I told her, pray like this precious saint stands out to us like an angel, Don’t let go of my hand no matter what, and pray in the spirit as we walk. So off we go, my right hand holding a dear woman’s hand who is following close behind, as we walk through this crowd single file; because that was the only way to get through. I began praying in the Spirit and put my left hand in front of me. As I began to walk something began to happen. The sea of people in front of me began to split. It seemed like they were moved by an unseen force. The crowd continued to open even further in front of us until I could see a clear path for several yards in front of me. About half way down the long walk to the restroom, our eyes met and she had the biggest smile on her face, I reached my hand toward her and she reached her hand toward me. We grasped hands in just a few seconds and a few happy steps. We had found each other, both our hearts felt relief. Our smiles could have lit up a room the moment our eyes met. I put this precious woman between her friend and myself and we grasp hands as tightly as before. Again I put my left hand forward and began to walk and pray and the crowd opened up to let us through all the way back to our group. How wonderful was the greetings when we all returned together in just a few short minutes. Everyone had been praying for us and was so excited to see their prayers had been answered. As I let her hand go, she turned and looked at me with great gratitude and love. What a blessing for my soul. We spoke different languages, but her eyes spoke a million Thanks in that split second glance. I am so happy I was able to hear the Holy Spirit that day and was obedient. Yes, because I was able to bring our little lost lady back into the fold, but more so because I witnessed a miracle that day. I watched the power of God as He opened a sea of people before me. My heart is blessed and humbled to know I serve a Great God!
Learning a new language has been quite an eye opener for me. Do you know how many components are involved in learning a new language? Well I’m going to tell you. A LOT!
Because I teach a Hebrew Roots class and I will be spending a lot of time in Israel in the next year, I have decided to take a couple Hebrew language classes. The first is a Biblical Hebrew class, and in December I start my conversational Hebrew class. I have a few weeks of my Biblical Hebrew class under my belt, and was I surprised at the amount of steps it takes to learn this.
#1. You have to learn the shapes of each letter. In Hebrew they read and write from right to left. This is so backwards compared to what I have done for 60 years, but my brain doesn’t seem to mine. This has been easy so far. Hebrew letters shapes are not close to the English shapes, so there has been a lot of memorization in this area.
#2. You have to learn the name of each letter. In the title I write Alef, Bet, Gimel, this in English is A, B, G. They don’t have a C as we think of C in English, and the G comes before the D-Dalet in Hebrew.
#3. There are also new sounds to learn. CH is a Bach sound like the ending of Bach. It’s a back in the throat sound and not very easy to do. Just clear all that flem out of the back of your throat and you’ve got it. There is the TS like the end of cats, and Hebrew words start with this sound. Try to say a word right now starting with this sound. It just doesn’t feel right. Now to top it off, there are two silent letters, I guess just for grins and giggles. Their R is a rolled sound, which isn’t that uncommon in foreign languages, but difficult for me to do. Several of the letters sound the same, so you have to learn what letter is used in what case when writing. I’m just learning how to read Hebrew for now, so I don’t have to worry about this yet, but come December I’ll be learning how to write.
So far I learned the letter shapes, names, and sounds. I’m thinking to myself, this is great, I’m almost there, and then I realize…
#4. They have a totally different vocabulary! What do you mean, Father is not spelled F-A-T-H-E-R? In Hebrew Father is ABBA, spelled Alef, Bet. Two letters, that’s all! So now comes the hard part, new vocabulary. After learning the new words, I have to learn the definitions.
Well that about sums it up. Learning a new language is fun and exciting, and truly exercises the brain. But it’s also challenging and time-consuming. I believe there is always victory behind every challenge so I’m going for the gold!
I have a granddaughter in kindergarten and a grandson in preschool. I see there little minds in a new light. It is amazing how their brilliant brains work. They accept this challenge with no thought of what it takes to accomplish what they are doing. They come over and rattle off the ABC’s as if they were born with this talent. How often we ask them to do this without realizing the process behind it. These all-absorbing brains are an amazing gift from God. By the time these children are 6 years old they will be writing and reading words like prose.
I’m glad I’m studying a new language, and I’m glad I’m exercising my brain daily, but most of all; I’m glad God gave me a reason to do it all!
Shalom and Blessing sent for a wonderful day!