For those of you who do not know, in Arabic the name Bethlehem means the City of Meat. My dreams are fulfilled, all my life I have wanted to live in a city with such a wonderful name. Fortunately, this does not mean that there is meat hanging up all over the city (although the meat section of the market is quite odorific).
Sarah and I have woken up to the call to prayer from a nearby Mosque both mornings. Right now, I wake up just glad to be here and I see the call as a reminder of where I am. By this time next week I'm sure I will be grumbling and rolling over to cover my ears with my pillow.
My Arabic is woefully inadquate. Obviously I did not expect to be able to get around with what I know, but I hope that I will be able to live normal life and get around the city by Christmas time (this way, Hannah will have a competent tour guide when she comes to visit). Many of the employees at the House of Hope speak excellent English, but some speak no English, so I will be forced to learn. Al-humdilallah!
Yesterday, we got to sit down and have tea with a shopkeeper named Adnan. He speaks wonderful English and I believe he wanted to practice on us, he also wanted to sucker us into buying something from his kitschy little shop. It worked. We bought a beautiful rug for about 120 shekels (less than 30 dollars). Hopefully we will have to opportunity to visit him again and build a friendship. He is the first person outside of the House of Hope who we have been able to visit with for any decent period of time. Pray that there will be more.
Jason (for Sarah)
P.S. Once we figure out how to load pictures onto this computer, we will grace you with the view from our balcony and other pictures. Until then, just imagine it as best you can.