This morning, our Israel team went our own separate ways. We had spent the past 7 days getting to know each other – and we came to feel like family. It was difficult to tell them all good-bye.
Some were headed back to Miami. Some to Atlanta. Some to New York. Some to Los Angeles. A couple to Oklahoma. Others were extending their trip by traveling to Italy. And we were heading back home to Kentucky.
But, as I sat at the terminal in the Tel Aviv airport awaiting Kim’s and my first flight of the day, Martha came over to talk to me. (In the above picture, she’s on the front row, the fourth from the right.)
Martha is a very precious lady who Kim and I enjoyed getting to know. When we met her on the first day, we had no idea how deep our respect for her would go.
As each day passed and we got to know her more, we realized that she was special. Her knowledge of Scripture was impressive. Her heart for the Lord was commendable. She was always positive and had a ready smile. She showed in her facial expressions that she genuinely cares about each individual that she was talking to. And, even though she was 71 years of age and some of the physical demands of this trip got pretty tough at times, she never complained. Not even once.
When she came over to sit beside me in the terminal this morning, I ended up asking her about herself a little more. One of the things she told me was that she was under Hospice Care this past October. The doctor said that she had a very short time to live.
Obviously, she surprised the doctors and pulled through (for which she praises the Lord). But it left her with serious lung and vocal cord problems.
Rather than sit home and bide her time, she went on the trip to Israel! And, among many other things, was baptized in the Jordan River. She’s a woman that wants to squeeze the most out of every moment the Lord gives her.
Even though we did not swap contact information and I may never meet her again this side of Heaven, there are some very special memories with her that Kim and I will carry for a long time.
When she boarded the plane this morning and a young man sat down in the seat beside her for the flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, I wonder if he bothered to ask her about her story. I wonder if he realized that a person of incredible value was sitting beside him and he could be entertained for a large portion of the trip with a wonderful story if he just asked a few questions.
To be honest, there are many, many “Martha’s” that we rub elbows with each day. Let’s stop trying to impress others with our story and ask them about theirs.
Who knows – maybe someone will ask you about yours one day.