Having lived in the Holy Land my whole life I met many people, tourists, whom I did not expect to meet again. And I didn’t. Of course, one of the reasons a life-long friendship does not form is that we often meet for a very limited period of time that hardly leaves an impression. Also, when you meet so many people the experience becomes dull, not to mention that investing in emotions will result in painful goodbyes. There are, however, exceptions and this is the story of one of them.
In November, 2016, A group came with on the Olive Pickers tour which the CHLF arranges every once-in-a-while during the olive season. They had brunch over at my parents’ place in my home village, Eilabun. later that day they helped pick the olive in the olive grove that belongs to our team member Hanna. I accompanied them at both events and translated for them especially when my grandpa shared his heart. (Click here for video).
The day was over and so was my time with these people. They were wonderful people, and I had a very good time with them. But as I mentioned before I did not expect to meet any of them again. Some of them invited me over if I’m ever in their neck of the woods, and I kindly replied that I would. I had many people invite me to their place over the years but what are the chances of that happening?
Well, chances are my chances are awfully good. One of the couples, Ken and Susie Nelson, who were with the group were from the Indianapolis area where I were to visit later that month and they invited me to stay with them. The time I spent with them was wonderful to say the least. I met the family, each with their unique life-impacting stories. There was not one dull moment. But I think the person who impacted me the most was Ken’s 93 year old step mother who would walk into the grocery store on her own and bake cakes for people for their birthdays. Of all that she’s achieved in life she said her biggest achievement is that all of her children love the Lord. (See video below)
I went home with many fond memories of the Nelsons, the most profound of which is how much they love the Lord and want to honor Him. Ken expressed to me in our conversations about how much he wanted to serve the Lord, not just retire and play golf. He worked in television for many years and the Lord put on his heart to make videos that will help people know God better.
Six months later Ken emailed me saying that he will be coming within a few days to film for a project he is working on. When he came we sat down and he explained to me how much the lives of the people he met during his time in the Holy Land impacted his. He explained how worshipping with us in our little church was special to him. The stories he heard, the places he’s been and the interactions with his brothers and sisters in Christ touched not only his heart but also the hearts of those who heard those stories through him.
The lives of those Ken met in the Holy land impacted his life in as much as his life, and the lives of his family members, impacted mine. What I’m talking about is not mere appreciation of the lives each of us lead, but actual change in our lives or at least philosophy: why we do what we do. And it all comes down to a common denominator, Jesus Christ who lives in us, through us, and impacts others through our words, actions and love. I believe the less of me allows the more of Him and His life to impact those around us. While Ken and I each travelled thousands of miles to be impacted by each other’s lives, we should seek to impact and be impacted by the lives of our brothers and sisters around us. May our goal remain to allow Jesus to live through us so that we impact more people around us for His glory.