Category Archives: Lets Change our World

Benefit of the Doubt: Mel Gibson vs Heredi

I found it very interesting that the People of the Second Chance chose Mel Gibson as their latest Never Beyond Poster Series choice… but after all the controversy that he’s caused, not so surprising.

His first movie, Passion of the Christ caused a large uprising of emotions, followed by his anti-semantic rants which made him a complete outcast around here…. Israel that is.

Yes, I live in the one country that probably hates him the most.

And to be honest with you, most of that hatred comes from one particular group… the Ultra Orthodox Jews (Heredi).

His new movie, the story about Judah Maccabee, has only outraged them even more, and to say there is no love lost between Mel and the Heredi is an understatement.  Sadly, second Chances are NO WHERE to be found on this side of the ocean.

Which leads me to my question of  “Who do I struggle to give a Second Chance to?”

…and the answer ironically is: them. The Heredi…

Living in Israel, I have seen and experienced first hand the struggle to love and show grace to this group of people.  The very same ones who are furious with Mel for his bigotry and hate-filled Jewish comments repeat the pattern by showing bigotry and hate-filled comments about various groups outside of the Orthodox Community.  I have seen countless videos, news reports, and with with my own eyes have witnessed the wrath of the Heredi.

So what makes Mel’s bigotry any different than the Heredi’s? Is his hatred any different than theirs? Should I give them the benefit of the doubt when they are throwing their stones?

Although I struggle in showing them love and grace, I know I must.  HE sacrificed everything not only for me, but for them.

Especially for them. and for Mel too.

So, they both deserve a second chance. And a third, and a fourth, and a fifth…..  Because how many more chances have I received from HIM!?!

Back to Work

As you can see from my previous post, last week was a week off for me. The week was filled with leisurely travel, relaxation, and celebration…. but as we know, all good things must come to an end, and such is the tale of my week vacation.

If it’s back to work I must go, then this was a perfect way to go back:

First, a field trip to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem with some of my refugee kids.  It might not exactly sound like work to you, but trust me…. a zoo filled with hundreds of crazy kids running around from animal to animal can drive you to the point where you’re ready to jump in with the lion and take your chances! (but we did have lots of fun too!)

Second, an afternoon in the park playing basketball.  I was finally able to hook up with one of our Professional Basketball Players in the Israeli league (we’ve been trying to put something together for a while now), where he could come down and play with the kids.  It was a huge success, and the kids absolutely LOVED him! The weather is finally nice enough again where we can resume our basketball outreach, and I honestly forgot how much I really do enjoy spending this time with the kids.

Overall, not too shabby for my first two days back after holiday! 

I’ve posted all the pictures from the Zoo field trip and our Afternoon of Basketball on our Shine Facebook Page…go check them out! 🙂

It’s not about you.

I had a bit of a wake up call last night.

I was watching Secret Millionaire online (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great show… cried through most of it) when the call came. It was from HIM.

You see…. I’ve been frustrated. Being called to missions in a foreign place isn’t always a cup of tea, but sometimes we add our own problems and issues on top of that.  I’ve been trying to set up a “presence” for Shine to build up supporters.  Facebook. Twitter. Blog. etc etc etc.

And I guess if I’m going to be honest, I’ve been disappointed.  Not only disappointed in the lack of response, but disappointed in myself. I’ve been caught up with the newsletters, support, finances, updates… things that we think we need to focus on; but really they should only be add-on’s to our mission.

But it wasn’t until last night that I realized what I was doing.  The “secret millionaire” went undercover to volunteer with non-profits to see where the real need was, and surprised them in the end with a huge check.  It wasn’t the huge check that got my attention, it was the org’s.  All of them were small, and unknown (except within their community).  They weren’t worried about who knew what they were doing or what publicity they were receiving…. they were concerned about the people they were helping.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

And while I adore all of you, I won’t be trying to gain your praises any time soon.  I’m re-focusing my attention on them…. (and I’m still hoping one day you’ll join me) 🙂

Monday Nights are for Basketball

I am getting ready to branch out and start something new.  Next Monday will be the first day of an Outreach I’m putting together for all the refugee kids in the South Tel Aviv area…. Monday Night Basketball.

There is a huge park in our area where ALL the refugees hang out, and it also has basketball courts. I have a couple of friends helping me out, and I’m pretty excited to see how it all unfolds.  At the same time, I’m a little nervous too.

I have no idea how the turnout will be or how the kids will respond.  I’m hoping that we will have lots of kids show up, but there’s just no telling if that will happen.

So here’s my request: Could you all just say a little prayer for this new adventure?

* An awesome turnout.

* Safety.

* Communication. I’m the only one who speaks Hebrew out of the group, so it might be a bit challenging for me at times.

* Open Doors. I’m really hoping that this outreach will open doors for future endeavors.

* Fun. Overall, I just want to bring some fun and enjoyment into these little lives.

What a Week!?!

Wow! I don’t even know where to start but to repeat the title: What a Week!

I had honestly been planning on blogging throughout my One Bowl of Rice Week, but due to some MAJOR technical difficulties (like my computer crashing on me) that just didn’t happen.  Not only was my body going through a week of eating barely nothing, my mind was also going through an internet-deprived week as well. Let’s just say it was a bit rough at times.

Here I am though, surviving through the ordeal and feeling good.

The first two days of eating just a bowl of rice were rough, I’m not gonna lie. That very first night I even tormented myself before finally nodding off, debating whether or not I should just get up and eat anything I could grab.  I guess my self-controlled side won out, because I managed to get through the entire week only eating one bowl a day (except for day three when I ate 1 1/2 bowls).

As far as the computer issue is concerned, I also ended up winning. My parents SCRAMBLED to get me a new computer and send it along with my friend who arrived yesterday.  Not only is it a new computer, it’s the new MacBook Pro, which I’m completely in love with now.  The only glitch is loosing information that wasn’t backed-up on my old MacBook. 😦

All in all, I learned some valuable lessons from this ordeal:

1. I can totally survive on only rice. (especially cooked after frying a bit of garlic in the pan first… yummy!)

2. A week with no internet only reminds me that I spend way too much time on it anyways (I read 4 books, 2 being over 800 pgs. with my spare time).

3. Seven days without communication with my family is NOT fun at all!

4. I’m a MAC girl, through and through!!!

5. I’m sooooooo ready for some FOOD! 🙂

Project One Bowl of Rice

(photo by georgereyes)

One bowl of rice isn’t much to eat.  Usually its enough to accompany beans, chicken, or a slab of meat; but a bowl of rice by itself…. ummmm, not so much!

Now imagine that bowl of rice being the only thing you eat ALL DAY!

Hard to even think of, but to about half the population of this world we live on, that’s ALL they get!

I remember when I was little and hungry, I would use the phrase, “I’m starving!” (ok… I still use it today) The truth be told, I have NO idea what starving is really like.  Most of us from West don’t.  I don’t think it’s a BAD thing that we don’t know the feeling of starvation, but I also don’t think it’s a GOOD thing that we don’t think about those who actually are.

The difference between sympathy and empathy is this: understanding through experience.  Until we ‘walk a mile’ in someone else’s shoes, we cannot empathize with them, only sympathize.  It’s something I battle with on a daily basis, literally seeing starving families all around me, but only on a sympathy level.

So, I’ve decided for ONE WEEK, I am going to see what it’s like to empathize.  I am going to only eat ONE BOWL of rice a day throughout the upcoming 7 days.

Sure, I know it’s not the same as truly living in poverty and not having a choice about how much to eat.  I can easily choose to give up and eat more during the day.  This isn’t  a special diet or trying to starve myself for poverty’s sake, its more about putting myself in someone else’s shoes for a week in order to gain a better perspective of what true poverty is. I know its not going to save the world, or even a portion of it, but even if it brings an awareness to myself and others through the experience, it will have served its purpose.

Hopefully, I’ll be blogging about how it’s going and what I’m learning throughout the week, so stay tuned.  And if you want to join me, even if only for a day, please feel free! That would be awesome!


A True Meaning of Hospitality

Yesterday I went to the house of one of the refugee girls, who I am working with, to speak to her parents.  Her dad is Ethiopian and her mom is Eritrean.  I originally went to make plans as to what time I will pick up Rivkah each morning, but I ended up staying for much longer…

…They live in a TINY 2 room apartment, all 6 of them.  There are 4 children, all under the age of 10.  Rivkah is the 2nd oldest at 7. She has an older brother, 10 yrs old, a younger one, 4 yr. old and a 6 month old baby sister.  And they all live in that 2 room apartment.

One room consists of 2 beds and a couch with a couple plastic chairs while the other has 2 more beds, leading into the kitchen (which is technically the same room).  There is a ridiculously small bathroom, which they all must share. There is no art on the walls, no decorations brightening the place, and certainly no “extras” as we all tend to have in our lives. They are all ‘refugee status’, but haven’t been given work visas yet.  This is the main concern of her dad, as he cannot provide for his family.  Looking around, my heart is breaking, but I must remain positive for them all.  They are beyond poor, not even having diapers for the baby.

YET, the first thing Rivkah’s mom did when I entered her place was offer me coffee.  She barely has enough food in the house to feed her 4 children, but she is concerned about my well-being and me feeling welcomed.  At this point I was almost in tears, thinking about this gesture of hospitality.

As I left their humble abode, I will admit I felt ashamed, angry, and sad. Ashamed for all the times I complained about where I live, what I don’t have, and how difficult life can be. Angry at how society perceives the African Refugees in Israel and how they are treated on a daily basis. And Sad because of the situation, not only that they were in, but for the other 20,000+ families who were in the same boat.

What I walked away with yesterday was this: It doesn’t matter how much you have or don’t have.  It doesn’t matter how much money is in your pocket or in your bank account.  It’s not about what car you drive or the size of your house.

It’s all about how you treat others.  Years from now the details of their apartment will probably be forgotten, but I will never forget how I was treated and welcomed by them.

A lesson I need to constantly remind myself of….

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