2012 Memories: Three Visits That Will Never Be Forgotten

Posted on August 29, 2012

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Becky is seen here just before going out to meet with Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem. The below pictures show Becky with three of these dear people.

By David Ettinger

Becky Emond minces no words when it comes to her feelings regarding Servant’s Heart.

“Everything about the trip was very meaningful and life-changing,” she said. “It was evident during the trip that the Zion’s Hope staff had spent countless hours planning out every detail.”

The Servant’s Heart outreach was directly preceded by “Journey to Jerusalem 2012,” a ten-day tour of Israel. Some team members were part of the entire tour; others joined only for the time of service. Becky was blessed to be part of both.

“From the outset, as we met at the airport, we immediately bonded with fellow believers,” she said.

It only got better from there.

“The first part of the trip gave us an overview of Israel as it is today, and the historical sites helped us to relate to life in Jesus’ time,” Becky said. “Many times as we rode the bus for a long-distance trip, we thought about how Jesus and his disciples walked to these places. The trip would have been very tiresome with no motels or restaurants along the way!”

Such musings added to the joy of being on the tour, which in itself would have been a wonderful enough experience for Becky. However, as she was soon to learn, the best was yet to come.

“It was hard to imagine anything better than the first part of the trip,” she said. “However, the Servant’s Heart portion was the icing on the cake.”

One reason for this sweet analogy was the attitude of the volunteers.

“The group had one purpose in mind – to minister to others,” she said. “Everyone was willing to do whatever job was assigned. Apartments were painted and repairs were made, the needy were fed, and Holocaust survivors were visited and given flowers, candy, and food.”

Additionally, Becky said, volunteers helped minister at a daycare center for cerebral palsy patients, artificial grass was put down on the balcony at the Jerusalem Assembly (the church Zion’s Hope supports), and the homeless were fed. Such outreaches proved encouraging.

“At times we watched the Jewish people repetitiously praying at the Wailing Wall [in the Old City of Jerusalem], and others standing at bus stops dutifully reading the Psalms,” Becky said. “[Despite the praying and readings] it seemed hopeless for them. They seemed to be wandering in such spiritual darkness without real answers. However, seeing the work done in Israel by the Jewish Assembly and Zion’s Hope creates rays of hope. It is a slow process, but God is working in the lives of the people of Jerusalem.”

Though Becky cherishes every moment she spent in Israel, several stand out.

“Meeting with Holocaust survivors was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip,” she said. “A group of us went with John Theodor [Field Director for Zion’s Hope in Jerusalem] to visit three survivors and their families. We had a Christian lady along who was our interpreter. We could not speak the same language, but love was spoken with hugs and smiles.”

The Servant’s Heart team was immediately welcomed.

“The first lady we visited took out her best china and silverware and served us tea and a delicious dessert,” Becky said. “She showed us a picture of her family right before they were taken to the concentration camp. She was only eight years old; she never saw her mother again.”

Then came day number two.

“The second lady we visited was 92 years old,” Becky said. “She had been sent to a concentration camp with her four-year-old son. (He was at the apartment when we visited.) They managed to escape and then travel through snow and bad weather to safety.”

The woman’s daughter was also at her mother’s apartment.

“The son and daughter cooked us a full-course meal, which was delicious,” Becky said.

The third visit was as emotionally stirring as the first two.

“We visited an elderly gentleman,” Becky said. “He was bedridden and on oxygen. He was so happy we were there. When we were ready to leave, John prayed a wonderful prayer. The gentleman then wanted us to pray again, so our interpreter prayed in Russian. It was so touching. I could really feel God’s presence. Somehow, our host managed to get out of bed and walk with us to the door to say goodbye.”

Becky was profoundly touched by her three visits to the Holocaust survivors.

“We need to really pray for these survivors, asking God to work in their lives,” she said. “I was thankful to God for saving these precious people from certain death. Now, I pray that God will open their eyes to know that Jesus died for their sins and can give them eternal life.”

Another wonderful experience was the day the balcony at the Jewish Assembly was completed and the children came to celebrate.

“The Servant’s Heart men had put down artificial grass,” Becky explained. “Earlier, railings had been installed for safety, because the congregation is on the fifth floor. There were several areas set up for the children in which to play and have fun. What was so great was watching the children’s faces. It is such a blessing to know that this balcony – with its wonderful view of Jerusalem – will serve children and adults in so many ways.”

Becky said that she will never forget the final night of the trip.

“We all shared in a farewell dinner on the balcony,” she said. “It was a special time as we were treated to a fabulous meal and a concert. As I watched the sunset, I knew it was a real time of reflection. Thinking about all of the work that was accomplished in five days was amazing. We accomplished so much because we were people who truly have servants’ hearts. What a blessing it was to be a part of the 2012 Servant’s Heart ministry. It was truly a life-changing experience!”

Posted in: Israel features