During my first six months in Israel I lived in a house on the Mount of Olives owned by our family friend, the Keeper of the Garden Tomb. Sadly he had been killed in the Six Day War, fought just four months before I arrived in Jerusalem.
Every morning I would wake up and open the shutters of my large window, for a straight-on view of the Mosque of Omar. It was like a dream—hard to believe I was here…on the Mount of Olives—a few yards away from where Yeshua will stand when He returns.
In 1967, the Arab population was still in shock over the totally unexpected collapse of the Jordanian attacking forces. Instead of the Arab Muslim victory they were all expecting, the Israel Defense Forces defeated Jordan, Egypt and Syria and retook Israel’s ancient homeland of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Desert—in just six days.
I noticed the Arabs would drive their few cars very carefully and politely—so as not to anger any Israeli driver! I could walk all over the Arab-populated Mount of Olives and felt perfectly safe. That was then.
I used to walk north towards Mount Scopus—which is really just an extension of the Mount of Olives. I would walk around the Hadassah Hospital which had laid in ruins since 1948 when Jordan conquered the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. They had destroyed everything belonging to the Jewish population living there before 1948.
I loved to look down from the mountain towards the Dead Sea and across from there to the land of Moab. It was always a breathtaking view—Jerusalem situated on the cusp of the heights that separate the watered west side all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, from the desolate and barren Judean Desert to the east.
Believe it or not, I had brought my dog Mimi with me from the U.S. He was such a cutie that the pilot of the Alitalia flight invited me and Mimi to 1st class and insisted my dog could sit freely on the chair beside me.
So Mimi and I would roam the Mount of Olives taking pictures. At one point, I tied Mimi up to a pole of some kind, as the whole Mount was empty of anyone else as far as I could see, and I wanted to be free with both hands on my camera.
After a little while, I went back to get Mimi, but he was nowhere in sight. I ran around the whole area, but never saw a single person. My dog was just gone.
I sat down on the mountain and began to cry and cry. I said, “Lord, Mimi is the only “person” I have. He is all I have in this new land. I hardly know anyone here, and my dog is so important to me. Lord, someone has stolen my dog…” I was heartbroken.
Suddenly I got to my feet and said to myself, “I’m going to believe God to find my dog.” I started praying in the Spirit, and saying, “In the Name of Jesus (back in 1967, Israelis had not yet gone back to using Yeshua’s original name!) I ask you Lord to find my dog. I know you know where he is, and I proclaim in your Name that You will lead me to my dog!”
I looked around and still didn’t see a human being. I just started ambling down the hill in the direction of the Old City, praying my heart out and proclaiming in faith that God would restore my dog to me.
I hadn’t gone far when I saw a youth walking a half block ahead of me. I yelled at him and he turned around. When I walked up to him, I wanted to ask him if he had seen my dog. But I didn’t know a word of Arabic, or Hebrew, for that matter.
So I just waved my hands like I had lost something and I started saying “Erf Erf Erf.” I didn’t think that “Bow Wow” would be a word that an Arab could figure out.
He looked at me for a minute. And then he waved with his hand for me to follow him. Still on the mountain, he began to take me through alleys this way and that, winding around a crowded neighborhood of housing I didn’t know existed. I was proclaiming victory with every fiber of my being. Finally he pointed at a door and left.
I knocked. No answer. More knocking, until finally a woman dressed in a traditional Arab garment opened the door. I said, “Erf Erf Erf!” I made my hands like I was carrying a small animal. The woman shook her head as if she didn’t understand. I continued, “Erf Erf Erf!” Now my faith was working, and I had no intention of leaving the place without my answer to prayer.
Finally she disappeared for a minute and voilà! Out came Mimi! I smiled at the lady and without waiting for a response, took off with my dog.
At that moment, I felt the Lord clearly taught me a lesson I have never forgotten. I heard Him speak to my heart: “If you had just sat down on the mountain and cried your eyes out, sobbing and wailing, you would not have gotten your dog back. When you stood up, spoke out your request in faith, and then just started moving, I guided you back to Mimi.”
And Mimi lived to a ripe old age in Jerusalem.
Just start moving! Faith and action is what we have lived by all of these years in our ministry in Israel.