JERUSALEM – Yesterday, an American Evangelical Christian woman was the only passenger without an Israeli passport on an El Al flight from Miami to Tel Aviv.
The El Al staff were confused.
“Why are you going to Israel?” they asked her. “Don’t you know what’s happening over there?”
Of course, she knew, she told them.
But she has a daughter who is married to an Israeli.
She came to be with them, pray for them, and join them in their work for a humanitarian aid organization.
SEVEN DUFFEL BAGS FILLED WITH RELIEF SUPPLIES
She brought with her seven duffel bags filled with specifically requested items, having cleaned out multiple Walmart shelves using her own money, as well as $13,000 raised from friends of her Florida community within just 48 hours.
I interviewed her within hours of touching down in Tel Aviv, after a scheduled 12-hour flight that only took 11 hours.
It was as if the jet stream was cooperating, helping the flight get to Israel faster, knowing the passengers were in a state of urgency.
When I asked if I could share her story on ALL ISRAEL NEWS, she agreed, so long as I didn’t use her name.
She said there are many reasons she wanted to come, but the main one – besides helping her daughter and son-in-law – is because as a follower of Jesus, she believes from the Bible that Israel is her spiritual home and inheritance.
She feels responsible for Israel and all her people there.
She’s also grateful to be the physical hands and feet of those in Florida who long to show their sympathy and support.
She told me that the Lord confirmed to her over and over again in prayer that she could come to help in specific ways.
Even the cancellation of her original flight on Delta Air Lines worked out for the good, she said.
She knew El Al wouldn’t cancel.
And they offered the ability to pay for more pieces of luggage than Delta allowed.
“God sent me people to help with the 250 pounds of supplies in my duffels, and He gave me strength to carry them when no one was available!”
YOUNG ISRAELI FAMILIES ARE RACING HOME TO BE WITH THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS
The flight was nearly full.
Though she expected it would be only soldiers reporting for duty, she found that half of the passengers were young Israeli families, many women with small children and babies.
All of them were coming home to be with their family and friends here and stand with their country in its darkest hour since the War of Independence in 1948.
On the check-in line, the woman met an IDF reservist who lives in Miami, traveling with his father to report to his unit.
She asked him if he had a personal water filter, and when he expressed regret that he didn’t think of it, she dug into her carry-on bag and gave him one.
Another young man she met said his name was Paz.
When his IDF service ended two years ago, he left for Alaska to become a wildlife photographer.
Paz said he hadn’t seen his family in two years.
His mother even told him that now is not the time to come back.
But Paz said he knew he needed to go home and help however he could.
All his family is here, living in the Galilee.
“You know you’re named, ‘Peace,’ right?” the woman, a fluent Spanish speaker, told Paz.
He did know, and the woman promised to pray that he would truly experience God’s peace, and that his country would soon know peace, as well.
A friend in Florida had given the woman a stack of cards with Bible verses and quotes that she had written in calligraphy.
She handed Paz one of them with a verse from Psalm 100.
“Remember that God is always watching over you,” she told him.
A SOMBER MOOD IN THE AIR TURNED TO APPLAUSE WHEN THEY TOUCHED DOWN IN ISRAEL
During the long journey, passengers were subdued, unusually quiet for anyone who is familiar with the typical rowdy flights to Israel.
There was a pervasive sense of melancholy.
One baby cried.
Everyone seemed exhausted.
People pulled out their sleep blindfolds and pillows immediately and attempted to get a few hours of rest, knowing rest would be more difficult on the ground here.
An announcement was made that the crew would be serving limited food on the plane because vendors were redirecting supplies to soldiers.
Pasta, two meatballs, pita, and hummus made their rounds.
Upon approach to Israel, no special instructions were given.
People were now awake, craning their necks to look for signs of rockets or the Iron Dome interceptors out their windows.
By God’s grace, they saw none.
The sky was blue and clear.
And when the plane’s wheels touched the ground, applause broke out among the passengers.
They were finally home – in a war zone, yes – but in a country they love.
Lynn A. Rosenberg is a writer and Bible teacher with a Master’s degree in leadership and theology from Western Seminary. She is also the co-founder of The Joshua Fund. The wife of the founder of ALL ISRAEL NEWS, she and Joel are dual U.S.-Israeli citizens and live in Jerusalem.