SERVE Nazareth

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SERVE Nazareth just landed on Instagram!

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Follow our brand new SERVE Nazareth Instagram page

Good news, everyone!

SERVE Nazareth just landed on Instagram.

Make sure you follow our new page so you don’t miss out on any updates!

What can you expect on our Instagram page?

Practical information on the SERVE program, lots of photos and videos of what our volunteers get up to, exclusive interviews with our SERVERs and much more!

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A big welcome to Majdoleen Nawatha: SERVE Nazareth Coordinator

After former SERVE Director Christine Farah transferred to the Nazareth Hospital’s Pastoral Care Team, we were delighted to appoint Majdoleen Nawatha as SERVE Nazareth Coordinator on the 20th of September, 2022.

Welcome to the Nazareth Trust’s family, Majdoleen! Thank you for all your wonderful work so far.

Please read on to learn more about her:

Memories from Cheryl Gentle

My family connection to the Nazareth Hospital began in the 1950’s when my grandparents served there. My grandfather, Rev. Forest Eisenbise, was the hospital chaplain and my grandmother, Grace, worked with mothers and babies. She also supported student nurses. They lived in the lower level of what is still known as the Old Doctors House. When my parents and other family members first visited on a tour in 1993, it was one of the first places we wanted to see. At that time, there were still people in the Hospital who remembered my grandparents and their work there.

In 2012 I was able to return to Nazareth as part of the SERVE program under Christine Farah. I was blessed to work with the chaplaincy program, in the nursery, and in the sterile supply area. It really connected me to the work my grandparents had done so many years before. When I walked by the old house or spent time in the chapel, it had special meaning.

In 2018 I did the Jesus Trail which was challenging but very rewarding. There’s nothing like walking in the steps of our Lord. Back then, I was able to stay in the doctors house for the first time. Plans for the renovations were already underway.

It was a blessing for me to travel to the Holy Land for a fourth time. The first trip in 1993 had a very similar itinerary to the one last month and included my parents, aunt and uncle and husband. It was very special on this recent trip to remember my Dad looking out from Masada and my Mom going up to the Jericho tell. On that trip we read scripture and sang hymns while on our boat on the Sea of Galilee.

On my recent trip in October of this year it was exciting to see the beautiful work that has been done to modernize the old house. It is wonderful to know that current and future SERVE participants will enjoy staying there, just as I have. I love visiting the Holy Land, but being at the Hospital, school of Nursing and seeing old friends from my SERVE experience will always be the best part for me. It was wonderful to meet some of the same special people ten years later — they are still working there! It speaks to their dedication to teach and heal in the name of Christ.

Seeing the expansion of the School of Nursing was a highlight. As a retired nurse and one who called Nancy Martin a friend, it was very emotional to know that her legacy lives on. Bob and Nancy are so loved at the hospital and all of us can understand why. After waiting for two years for this tour to happen because of Covid delays, it exceeded my wildest dreams.

The living examples of service that we saw at the Nazareth Hospital, the School of Nursing and SERVE gave me precious memories that will last for years to come.

I can’t wait to see it all again!

Cheryl Gentle

South Jordan, Utah USA

December 2022




International Volunteers Day 2022

This Monday was International Volunteers Day, and we had a big celebration at the Doctor’s House in honour of this special day.

Our volunteers come from all over the world! Amongst those who took part in the celebrations, we had a group of 17 people and their two leaders from The Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel (NCMI) and our long-term volunteers from the UK, USA, Paraguay and Germany.

After spliting everyone into two groups, the games began!

Some of the challenges they had to go through included moving cups using a balloon, blowing a balloon to try knock over some cups, build a tower out ot cups… There was also time to play Bingo and a good game of charades, guest starring our beloved Olive Tree, which is always our preferred meeting point!

During the party, we also took the opportunity to celebrate the birthdays of two of our wonderful volunteers.

We couldn’t be more grateful for all our fantastic volunteers: thank you for doing what you do! Thank you all for joining us yesterday. We all had a blast!

Counting the days for International Volunteers Day 2023…

Do you want to get involved too? Get in touch today.

Earlier this month we welcomed Arnaud to the Nazareth Trust family. Arnaud is joining us from Lyon, France and we asked him to share his motivation for working with us and a little about his experience so far.

SERVE Nazareth provides experiences like no other. Our programmes are tailored to each volunteer providing a personalised journey and experience for each SERVEr. Each volunteer encounters something unique and special to them.

We were recently joined by a church group from Scotland. John from the group shares some of his experiences with us.

It had long been a dream of ours to visit the Holy Land, and our 40th anniversary seemed like a good time (only the visit came a year and a half later!) We weren’t drawn to the idea of an organized tour, with its hurry-up pace, and when friends mentioned Nazareth Village, we started investigating. We didn’t know about the 150 year old history of the Nazareth Hospital, or how it was started by an Armenian who, taught in school by an American, later studied to be a doctor in Scotland and ended up in Nazareth, sometime near the start of the American Civil War. Interesting stuff! So, after filling out some papers (we discovered SERVE Nazareth) and a Skype call with a couple ladies, we boarded the plane and arrived in Nazareth the week before Holy Week, 2018.

My work consisted in accompanying Simon, a chaplaincy volunteer, at the hospital a couple of mornings a week. He’s a born evangelist, and it was good to see him at work, delicately presenting Jesus to people belonging to 3 major religions

The next day (this sounds like the gospel of John!) SERVE organized a tour out to the Sea of Galilee and though still somewhat in our travel stupor, we were amazed/thrilled at seeing places where Jesus actually walked, called his disciples, preached and healed. (He probably ate and slept there too, but that somehow didn’t seem important.) We were also bewildered at the banana plantations near the shores of the Sea. The Bible doesn’t mention bananas, does it? Seemed a little out of place (though we later discovered the bananas were really good!).

The name SERVE Nazareth is really quite descriptive. We were there to serve, and serve we did, but the SERVE directors were always serving us, organizing trips, offering advice, showing us around, making sure we had lunch or dinner in the fridge, and just being friends. (Thank you, Christine and Jane! Getting to know you dispelled the “matronly” idea! You are now, a Brit and a Yank, “grafted in” to Nazarene culture.) Nevertheless, we did eat at the Hospital canteen, which in my American English means something different. They served more than drink, however, and the food was tasty – for a hospital! I think I had more cabbage that month than usually eaten in a year’s time!

My work consisted in accompanying Simon, a chaplaincy volunteer, at the hospital a couple of mornings a week. He’s a born evangelist, and it was good to see him at work, delicately presenting Jesus to people belonging to 3 major religions, all stuck in one place for a variety of health reasons. I couldn’t communicate much with people, but could pray! Judi was with the babies in the maternity ward. Being a nurse, she loved it, and not communicating wasn’t a big deal, since babies don’t talk. But they can cry!

The rest of the time, after figuring out how to fashion a turban out of a piece of cloth, I helped out at the Village as a villager (that seems obvious!), pulling weeds, being a shepherd, or just walking around acting like I knew what I was doing. It was kind of like being in my own little world, as glasses weren’t permitted (Jesus probably didn’t wear them either). But I met a number of wonderful people such as Samir, the general boss, and his wife, Abla, boss of the kitchen, Abu El Rabie, Shawkat, several other local youth whom I admire greatly, and a bunch of others. All of them have interesting stories! It’s not easy to be a Christian in Israel, much less if you’re young. Getting to know these people was a special blessing, as was getting to know Elias, a fellow “elder” in the Passion Play. We had a wonderful evening (and food!) with him and his family. Discovered he was a rabid Liverpool fan!

a very enriching experience, plus the travel we were encouraged to do in the rest of the Land, where on one excursion, Judi was baptized in the Jordan River

Judi’s Village time was mostly spent helping out in the gift shop, as her eyesight is worse than mine, and she really can’t do without her glasses. (She does have a lot of insight, though!) And then we packed the give-away lamps in little sacks. Everybody who comes to serve does that at some point! Tedious, but strangely enjoyable! We even discovered after getting home that they work! But with olive oil, not the “oil” stores sell for other lamps. That’s too flammable, as we found out!

The Village family was fascinating, a mix of cultures: locals, from experienced veterans to hard-working middle-aged to expectant youth, plus Americans, Europeans, and who knows what else, all with unique personalities, opinions, abilities and gifts, likes and dislikes, various strains of faith, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not, but all committed to working together. (Does this sound like a typical church family?) It was a joy to watch them and learn to drink Arabic coffee with them on breaks or at lunch.

All in all, a very enriching experience, plus the travel we were encouraged to do in the rest of the Land, where on one excursion, Judi was baptized in the Jordan River, a highlight for her. Mine was probably, while pulling weeds, listening to the lambs crying, which gave rise to a song of the same name.

Would we do it again? You bet! But next time with contact lenses for Judi so she can go out on the Land! Maybe we’ll come back and do the Jesus Trail or the bike ride. No, I take that back. Better stick to the trail!

Paul and Judi