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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Royal Assignment

“Hey, remember Father God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It’ll be okay.” My roommate and I were walking towards town, my weekly letter home in hand.

“I know; I’m praying He is on the way to market with one right now. Once we buy the stamp for your letter, that’s it.” Both in our own thoughts, the rest of the journey to town was punctuated only by the cool morning birdsongs in the picturesque, Western Swiss village.

True, we had not even two francs between us; but, on the other hand, we were daughters of the King of Kings, right? Could there be any greater financial security?

Back at the worktable, my thoughts did a quick rewind, remembering just a couple of months ago when, early one morning, I padded down the corridor in a friend’s third floor flat in Northeastern Switzerland. I heard God’s still, small voice speak to me.

“You’ll spend Easter at the Garden Tomb this year.” My hand automatically fingered our one last penny in my jeans pocket.

“Oh, yeah? Would be nice.” Moving over to the window, I smiled at the beautiful fluffy, white snowflakes now falling. Easter was two weeks away.

“Tomorrow you’ll find an envelope on the dining table with 4000 francs. Go to Israel.” And, that’s how the Israel assignment began.

Indeed, we enjoyed Easter service in the beautiful Garden Tomb, but that was just a small part of all we experienced those incredible five weeks. There were two grueling days with that crazy rabbi in a 60’s hippy-style mini-van bumping us all over Israel, along roads others rarely traveled. Can anyone say, “Land mine?” Notebooks were filled with little-known facts shared by military top-brass, well-known rabbis, and politicos as our pens flew hours each day during a special conference. We rejoiced in celebrating Israel’s 40th birthday. We shared their grief over the Holocaust on the Day of Remembrance.

The fact-finding part of the assignment completed, we waited at the Western Wall where our Kingly Father urged us to write what we had seen and heard, then tour America. All with only our remaining five francs?

Abruptly, my reminiscing of weeks passed came to an end with Ann-Lise’s proclamation, “Let’s quit writing; time for lunch!” Soon the ringing doorbell interrupted our search for lunch fixings. Marianne lived about thirty minutes drive away; her infrequent visits were a pleasure. 

“How’s the booklet coming? Ready to return to Israel?” Our weeks as journalists for the Lord had yielded so much information about Israel and the people living there. Whittling it down to just 77 pages was no small task.

“Well, as usual, it is hard to cut anything. It all seems essential, or touching, or just plain interesting.” My struggle was familiar to those warm faces smiling back at me.

“Well, I thought of you two this morning when I was in Migros.” She had our full attention. Those joyful butterflies began their fluttering in my tummy in anticipation.

“Uh-huh, staring at the grocery store shelves makes you think of us?” We all chuckled at Anne-Lise’s question. Marianne reached down and lifted up two full grocery bags.

“As a matter of fact, that’s rather how it happened. I went to one shelf after another and heard the Lord tell me to take a kilo of this or a jar of that and, well, here it is.” Anne-Lise found the grocery list she had been adding to as the supplies ran out.

Marianne pulled out one item at a time, followed by a “Check” as Anne-lise crossed it off. When the bags were empty, we all rejoiced that not one item remained on the list. 

“Oh, what’s this?” I said as I folded the shopping bag. “There’s still something in this one.”

“Sugar!” Anne-Lise’s eyes shot up as she registered the kilo of sugar in my hand.

“Huh? It wasn’t on the list.” I was surprised to see Anne-Lise laughing, hands clapping, and her feet ready to leave the floor. 

“No, it wasn’t on the list because I forgot it! How wonderful that God doesn’t need a list!!”

Besides our daily bread (and sugar), our Kingly Father God provided finances, at just the right moment, to print and distribute hundreds and hundreds of copies of Isaac and Ishmael Today. The plane took us to America and a four-month tour including 26 States, covering more than 13,000 miles. At last, the exciting, 9-month Israel assignment was successfully completed. Haven’t ridden a Greyhound bus since.

Author’s Note: This is a true story, lived in 1988.

****The Vow, Coming Tomorrow

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