A Canvas, Old City Jerusalem

The Holy Land

Each year our ministry leader, Joanne, announced that we were going to the Holy Land; then her voice dropped, as she said,  “This may be our last trip.” This statement always bothered me because of my secret obsession to purchase original artwork. How was I ever going to have enough money to pay for a painting?

How I managed to convince my husband Mike to give financial support for these missionary trips is still a mystery. His reaction was always the same because he worried about my overseas travels – not so much for my safety but of the expenses I would incur. Only through the providence of God was I able to make all these trips. Mike always supported my missionary efforts, but after the fifth trip to Israel, he took a different role.  He decided that he would only pay for half of the expenses of the trip. How the rest of the money came together is somewhat of a conundrum.


I was employed but my position was more of a volunteer, teaching Bible studies at several public schools. On the last  year of my employment, I earned  a total of $600! I also tutored after school, and for years I had dedicated one day a week to watching my grandchildren, also receiving a stipend. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by benevolent friends and family who graciously donated cash to help me pay for my trips. The money may come in at the last minute, but for us missionaries it always comes through.


Dov, Robert, Linda and Jim (our team)

The Guide

Part of our ministry was to carry the Cross down the Via Dolorosa in drama on Good Friday, so our travels were always during Holy Week. On this particular trip we were assigned a new tour guide, Dov, pronounced with a long O.  Dov was a tall, slim Jewish man who left a lasting impression. Since we spent so much time with our guides, we got to know them pretty well. Dov was different, as his gentle mannerisms and kind words filled with knowledge of the Holy Land made him unusual, even unique.

Dov’s eyes revealed his pain, and it took several days for him to share that he had recently lost his son to suicide. His pain was raw, but he knew to place it on the shelf when he came to work. Our group was different because we were in one accord, we ate the same spiritual food, and Dov was safe with us. We were praying for God to give him and his wife special graces to get through their horrendous trial.  We bonded because of his broken spirit, and our love filled his heart with hope. He was our physical guide but we were his spiritual balm to comfort.

Dov knew all the ins and outs of the Old City. We had just visited the Temple Institute, an organization that is dedicated to getting all the instruments prepared for the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Our team was in the gift shop when I asked Dov if he knew of any local artists. Dov said that he had a friend who was an artist, and that his gallery was within the Old City. I told Joanne that I wanted to go with Dov to the artist’s shop and her reply was to not take too long.

The Painting

For about  half an hour, Dov and I ran through the worn cobblestones of the Old City, passing all types of different shops. I had never been to this section of the Old City, but we were focused on reaching the art studio of Dov’s friend, so there was no stopping us.

By the time we arrived in this section of the Jewish Quarter, I was winded. As I was catching my breath,  Dov introduced his friend Eli Olayon. I looked around the art gallery until my eyes fixated on a beautiful painting of the Western Wall. I had a total of $200.  We still had a few more days in Jerusalem, plus an extension to Turkey. I thought to myself,  “I could sacrifice for this purchase and borrow a few dollars from other members of the team.” I picked up the painting and asked, “How much is this one?”  Eli answered, “$500.” I quickly set it down and asked if he had anything similar. He pulled out a whimsical copy of a painting on thick paper. “This one is $45.” I took a deep breath of disappointment and said, “I’ll take it.”

God’s Favor

As he was rolling up the artwork to place  into a tube, I told him that our ministry traveled to the Holy Land every year. I explained “For more than 30  years our  team has been coming here.” Then Eli  said, “Well if that is the case, why don’t you make payments on the painting that you really want? Give me your credit card and I will deduct $100 a month.” I looked over at Dov for approval. Dov looked surprised that I would question his friend’s integrity. I gave the stranger $100 cash, and much to my surprise, I  agreed to the deal. I was in shock and felt so foolish that I handed over my credit card information to a total stranger. Again, Dov reassured me that his friend Eli was trustworthy.

When we  returned to the group, it was well over an hour later. Joanne did not hold back about how inconsiderate my actions were. While she was berating me, her voice fell on deaf ears.  All I could think about was that I had given a stranger my credit card information. I told no one in the group about my foolish venture, not because I was being discreet, but because I was afraid of their criticism as well.

Return To The United States

After I returned to the United States, I’d check my bank statements every morning for any unusual activity, but all was well. As per our arrangement, Eli was deducting the agreed amount.

Happy Father’s Day

Before the painting was paid off, I received a package from Israel. It was Eli’s painting! The first thing I did was thank God that Mike was not home. Otherwise I would have a lot of explaining to do.

So on Father’s Day Mike received a beautiful original painting by Eli Olayon with a rather lengthy explanation. And, as usual, Mike  finished paying for the painting. He always does!

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank you for all the special graces You have bestowed on us. May we continue to seek You in every area of  our lives. Lord, shed light into the hearts of those who live a life of darkness. Deliver those who are addicted to any substance abuse, fulfill the longing in their hearts. Dear Jesus, be with all who are affected by war, bring peace to the wars in Ukraine and Israel and to the hearts of all mankind. Amen.

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