Monday, July 11, 2011


I have never experienced the loss of a child.  However, I am a mother.... four times over.... and I can honestly say that losing one of my children is one of my biggest fears.  Just the thought causes tears to well up in my eyes.  Why?  Because my selfish, earthly desires are to have them near me forever.  And, I think if you are a mother, you probably can relate to those feelings.

The purpose of our recent trip to Israel was to comfort the Israeli parents who have lost a child.  These children were soldiers who were killed in action fighting terrorism.  There are several brigades in Israel, but the specific one we helped host an event for is called the "Givati Brigade."  Since this brigade's existence, 198 of their soldiers have been killed.  And we were there to comfort their families.

Each year these 198 families are invited to the Blue Bay Hotel on the Mediterranean Sea for a three-day vacation and memorial ceremony.  My childhood pastor and other American friends have helped support this effort for several years now.  Because of our Russian language capabilities, David and I were invited to help comfort the many Russian-speaking families who attended.  [It is important to remember that Israel is a "melting pot" of nationalities due to their dispersion throughout history.  Therefore, many languages are spoken in Israel, in addition to Hebrew.  It was mind-boggling for me to watch my hubby communicate with people in Russian, English, Spanish, and even sign language!  Ummm, yes... he's brilliant. {smile}]

Every. single. Israeli is required to serve in the army, including the young ladies.  In the picture above, our little Micah is enjoying the attention of some of these girls.
At sunset on the night of the memorial ceremony, the grieving families were walked down the grandeur steps of the Blue Bay Hotel through a lighted path, as they listened to our cheers and applause for their heroism.  This was a very touching moment for them... and for us.
(Above) The beautiful banquet area before the ceremony began
(Above) On one of the days of their paid vacation, several buses were rented that took the families to a few historical museums.  David is standing with our Russian Jewish friend, Shimon, at one of these sites.  Shimon lost his only son six years ago, and he and his wife are of the age that they cannot have any more children.  I simply cannot imagine such a loss.  I watched this man shed fresh tears as though his tragedy happened recently, when he spoke of his beloved son. 
(Above) Another day was dedicated to relaxing at the hotel and giving the ladies and children time to sit together around tables and work on crafts while they fellowshipped.  Even some of the men participated!  There was a station for making jewelry...
(Above).... A station for making "candy shishkabobs" (my personal, favorite craft there!  I made three to take home to my older kiddos - which they were very pleased to receive.)
By the way, we are going to be using this idea at our upcoming VBS next week.  Our Ukrainian kids are going to LOVE this!
(Above) ...There was a station for making mosaic wall hangings....
(Above and below)... And a station for painting glass wall hangings.

This precious mother (above) and her daughter (below) are the most recent ones out of this brigade to lose a loved one.  We sorrow with them, as their grief is still very fresh.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem...  Isaiah 40:1-2a


  1. Wow, Jolene. I was very touched by this post.

    I love the picture of Baby Micah with the 3 (beautiful) soldiers!

    What a unique ministry the Lord has given you in Israel. I was thinking the other day (looking at a picture of David when he was little): "Who knew God would use him in such a special way?!"

    I love you both and am SO proud of you!

    Hugs from far, far away!

  2. Praying for those families whose children gave their lives to protect them.

  3. Very touching, Jolene. Makes me want to pray even more for Israel.

  4. I really enjoyed seeing your pictures from Israel. I was there in 2004 and absolutely loved it. It's so beautiful, and it really helps me to picture the Bible stories so much more clearly. I hope I can go again someday, this time with my husband.


  5. How wonderful to be involved with Israel so much!!

    I love the candy Kabobs.

    Love ya, Mona

  6. Thank you for sharing and thank you for all you do to honor the Lord and lead people to Him. I think you are wonderful!
    Love you,
    Mrs. May

  7. I, too, have never lost a child, and I cannot imagine the sorrow this would bring. What an amazing thing this is to be a part of. God bless you both as your ministry reaches so many.


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25