It has been an amazing and blessed year. I am so thankful to the Lord for all He is doing in my life, to draw me closer to Himself, and make me hungrier for HIS kingdom come.

Some of God’s work in my life has been through the sadness of missing Rich in my life, and one of my best friends, Judy who went to be with the Lord only a few months after Rich. Rich had a special fondness for my friend. His alarm clock phone that went off every morning had a text message that appeared with the alarm: “Pray for Judy.” After he died, Judy was such a great comfort to me; and her parting this world another loss. I am so thankful for the precious memories of these dear people whom the Lord made a part of my life.

And then there are the simple joys of life, like  having a nice place to live in and a good landlord. The water boiler burst, and he had it fixed within two days—unheard of for most Israeli landlords. He has also been quite good with other basic repairs. I don’t have an amazing view, but as I’m sitting here writing, I can see the sun shining through a tree outside my window. The rain and unusually warm winter weather have brought out early blooms on the tree, and it is really quite lovely.

My work, which was initially (to me) quite boring, with little challenging to do, has now progressed, and I see that that first year of low key work was God’s grace to help me heal, rest, and readjust to life in Israel. I am now involved in some very important projects at our hospital, all related to consolidating information in English to attract donors and high quality physicians/researchers. The most exciting thing has been an outreach to the Christian community, to raise awareness of our hospital and its needs. Rambam has just finished building the world’s largest underground fortified (against conventional and unconventional warfare) hospital in the world (2,000 beds!) I am praying that the Lord will provide for equipping it soon.

It is very interesting that working in a hospital has led to my being more aware than ever of the threats facing Israel on every side. So much does not get into the news. The world doesn’t care that Hamas has already obtained chemical weapons; or that they are regularly announcing that they will not be satisfied until they have ALL of “Palestine.” Working in an extremely liberal multi-cultural atmosphere, the differences between freedom of speech in Israel vs America are also very clear. People here want to know what I believe, and ask for my opinion. Whereas, when I was at work in America, when people discovered my opinions, they could not be discussed. Here, we can agree to disagree.

Of course having a godson in the army has also increased my knowledge of what is going on. He is now a commander (promoted just before the war with Gaza). He can’t share a lot, but what he does share is enlightening. I am so thankful for these young people who fight to keep us safe… and equally aware of the danger they are in every day.

I underwent major surgery to repair a severe rectal prolapse. I mention WHAT the surgery was, because I had heard so much bad about this surgery. Statistically, the percentage of successful surgeries is still over 40%, but that is still not a high enough number to trust it totally. Everyone was praying for me, and I thank God that I was able to see a surgeon at Rambam who specializes only in rectal surgeries. He had an amazing team, and I am certain that the Lord guided His hands. I am feeling better than I have in years, and enjoying walking again. I had no idea how much my life was affected by this problem! I am so thankful!

I also had surgery on my eyelids, and that too was successful; I’m enjoying reading and my eyes no longer tire as much. They removed 1 cm of skin from each eyelid! No wonder they drooped so much.

On the family front: I had a wonderful visit to the States in June and got to visit with everyone: Lloyd, Kristina, Lloyd, Andrea, Emily, Ivy, Phil, Terry, friends from the congregation there, was blessed to see Andrea marry a fine young man, and spend time with both of them. I got to visit a cousin in Florida, visited a close friend in Colorado… I am so thankful for the amazing family God gave me through Rich. My daughter-in-law, Kristina is pregnant and it has been exciting hearing how she is doing, and following her adventures in pregnancy. I wish ALL babies were wanted like hers and Lloyd’s is. Surely each life conceived is precious.

I made plans to visit for Passover, to meet this new grandchild, and then got a phone call a few weeks after purchasing my ticket. Could I change it? Uhm, I don’t know… why? Emily is getting married… and another reason to be thankful. Emily, the youngest, has met a fine young man who also loves Jesus. They are getting married on May 25th. A long story short, I was blessed to be able to change my ticket for less than $200, after initially being told it would be between $280-500, depending on the cost difference of the new ticket. Even that little detail, the Lord has cared for!

Here in Israel, my goddaughter Noa had a birthday in the Spring. It took us a while, but we eventually went shopping to get some items for her guitar. She is playing clarinet in the young people’s “orchestra” in our congregation. She also plays the guitar and piano. She is very shy about playing in front of people, but is quite gifted.

My godson Matan celebrated his 13th birthday last week. He, a cousin of his Lior, and his best friend Gabe came with me to go bowling, out to dinner, and then an overnight party at my house. It was a wonderful time to get to know these boys better, and on a different level.

Just before my surgery, I had to lead the Chinese Congregation while Mr. Wong was overseas. We had some very interesting lessons on Joseph, and all of us were greatly encouraged. I am so glad to be able to be involved with the Chinese Congregation again. We are hoping to continue the English lessons, every other week.

Now I am preparing materials for the annual Christmas celebration at the Christian Chinese Restaurant in Haifa (Dec. 28). It will be a special evening in Chinese, Hebrew, and English. There will be a mixture of Christians and non-Christians there, ranging from very Jewish to atheists. The theme will be “Who is God Like Unto You.” I hope all who come leave encouraged in the God who compares to no other, great in compassion and mercy, identifying with us in our humanity, unto death, and imparting to those who believe, full forgiveness of sin, turning us from sinners into saints in HIS eyes.

I pray that you too can look back on the past year with thankfulness, seeing the many threads of God’s tapestry in your life woven into a garment of praise and joy.