Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Celebrating Independence Day

A few weeks before Independence Day here in Israel (April 25th-26th), people started hanging the Israeli flag from their balconies.  I haven't mentioned this yet, but we are living on the 8th floor of a 14-story building.  And, it seems that pretty much everyone in the city we are in live in buildings  as high as ours. 
Patriotic balcony

{Photos above and below from the internet}
Hubby and I started casually looking at flags in shops, knowing that we would need to buy one too, but apparently it got to be too much for our 7-year old Nate, who didn't want to be left out.  One day, we went out onto our balcony (which is closed in with glass) and this is what we found:
For Nate's sake especially, hubby bought a large flag for our balcony, but personally, I still like Nate's version the best. {smile}  We also joined the "club" and put one on our van, as you can see in the picture below.  (We didn't want to be the only ones without one on our vehicle too!)
We met Shimon and Olga (in the above picture) last year and became fast friends.  They lost their only son and his fiancee in combat.  Now with no children and no hope for grandchildren, our kids have gladly tried to fill the void that is left in their hearts.  In fact, our Davey has started taking piano lessons from Olga on Tuesdays, and he loves it!  We met them in an entirely different city, and God orchestrated it to where we now live in a place where we can look from our balcony and see their apartment building in the distance... a long walk but a quick drive to their home.  We know that God dearly loves this couple, and He loves us too for placing us in such a strategic place during this three-month stay here.

Being newcomers to this country, we really had no idea what a big deal Independence Day is here.  We are also still getting used to the idea that everything starts in the evenings, when the sun goes down.  We had heard that there would be "some fireworks" in the center of town that evening and decided to take a stroll and see if we could see them.  Nothing prepared us for what we found:

We were shocked at all of the people!  We seriously wondered if anyone stayed home that evening.  With all of the festivities and the late hour it was, we were also sincerely surprised to find such a family atmosphere on the streets that late at night (we were out until midnight).  We saw absolutely no drinking anywhere and no one selling alcohol either.  The people were having pure, family fun!

Yesterday, we went to an Israeli officers' academy to congratulate these soldiers on their Independence Day.  Hubby spoke to them for 10-minutes and received huge applause at the end of his speech on why American Christians support Israel.
At the beginning of his speech, David introduced our family and let them know that our children had gifts for them.  Davey passed out our family's picture, Nate passed out notes from you {my readers!}, and sweet little Brianna passed out sugary-sweet lollipops!
My heart is full to the brim of gratitude for those of you who took part in helping us put together some awesome words of support and congratulations to give out to these soldiers.  And, we have only begun, folks.  America {and the rest of the world} recognizes Israel's Independence Day as May 14th,  so we still have lots more benevolence to bestow on these worthy young men and young ladies.  As a people who live with enemies surrounding them on all sides geographically, they are genuinely grateful to anyone who shows favor towards them.

Our hats off to you, Israel, for 64 years of Independence.  There are people in America and around the world who stand on your side! 


  1. Wow. Truly enjoyed this post. Wish I had been able to write a note to them as well!

  2. Wow, that is Awesome! I love all the info, so do my children! What an Amazing thing to have all those people together and no Alcohol! That would be great to see here in America! We pray for more Of God's Blessings for your family and Israel! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Love, The Fox Family in Cali.

  3. We stand with Israel too. So glad you are there and being a blessing and encouragement to them.

  4. What a tremendous witness. Love the photos of the attentive audience -- and the opportunity to meet Shimon and Olga. May they continue to receive blessings from the children.

  5. Great job, Nate! That is so sweet of him! I about wept at the picture of your children handing out gifts to the Israeli soldiers! Keep up the good work there in Israel!

  6. Jolene I love keeping up with your family with your blog! What an encouragement to know that all our support and prayers are going exactly were God wants them. Love the flag! Andrew said it was 'awesome'. He said he wished he could visit y'all in Israel. We do hope to see y'all again. But until then we will keep reading the blog. Keep up the good work!! We love y'all.
    Richard, Stephanie, Andrew, and Daniel Way
    Psalm 25:22

  7. Ryan Thompson (through David)Wednesday, May 02, 2012

    Let Jolene know I really enjoyed the blog post she updated about the
    Israel Independence Day. What a blessing to see the group of soldiers you
    were able to speak to. It is amazing all that you are getting to
    experience and participate in there in Israel! What a blessing. Please
    greet the kids for us. We look forward to seeing you later this year.

    Your friend,
    Ryan Thompson

  8. Wowww That video is NEAT!!! Like, there's a LOT of ppl!!! WOW!!! Sorta scary tho -- I mean, like how easy it is to get lost or separated!!! Hopefully none of that happened hehe (; But way to go y'all for what you did for those soldiers:)))) !! That's great -- very nice:))) They deserved it!!! <3

  9. Thank you for sharing! I am always encouraged to read your updates.

    Keep up the great work!

    Nola Holmes

  10. Моё сердце радуется и плачет одновременно... радуется потому что мой народ может праздновать и празднует НЕЗАВИСИМОСТЬ, а плачет от того, что я не могу быть там со всеми чтобы разделить эту радость... Пусть Господь воздаст Вам во сто крат и более, за труд который Вы исполняете для Него, и для моего народа! Благодарю за Вас Господа мои дорогие! Вы в моих молитвах!!!!

  11. Jeremy R. BinghamWednesday, May 02, 2012

    Great stuff! I am continually amazed at the doors God continues to open in Israel!

  12. That is so neat that your husband was able to share with the officers for a bit. :) I also wanted to mention that I really enjoy the music on your blog. How nice that I did not have to shut off my volume as I usually do. :)

  13. I just realized that the music was coming from another blog. Sorry about that. It was enjoyable at least. :)

  14. What a blessing!!!! Thank you for doing that.


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