Well, we’ve been here in Israel for nearly a full year, and at times, it definitely feels like it! If you’ve been out of the loop, here’s the basic info: Jon is pursuing his M.A. degree at a very well recognized graduate school: Jerusalem University College (American Institute of Holy Land Studies -- http://juc.edu/ ). He will receive his degree in Biblical History and Geography, his main track focusing on Old Testament and 2nd Temple History. Jon wants to pursue a career in teaching.
While Jon has been hard at work studying, Kasey has been teaching full time at The Jerusalem School, a K-12 school that teaches Palestinian children. Over the past year, she has taught grades 8-12 in a variety of subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Physical and Earth Sciences, American History, Finance, and Religion). Kasey had never taught in a formal setting before she was hired at The Jerusalem School, but she has found that it is not only something that she is good at, it is something she loves.
Since Jon has been entirely focused on his studies, it has fallen to Kasey to earn as much of an income as possible. The Jerusalem School is missions-based and while they have helped in finding us an apartment and giving Kasey employment, most of their workers are volunteers who receive a stipend. Kasey receives a monthly $400 (USD) when the school can manage it. This helps tremendously, but even living as frugally as possible, it does leave us wanting every month.
Living month-to-month as we have had to do has taught us a great deal about having faith in the Lord. We have had several occasions throughout the year when we did not know if we could continue on, but the Lord has always blessed us! At the end of the spring semester, we had run out of all shekels, and Jon was trapped at home, without bus money to go take his last final. We asked a neighboring couple if we could borrow 10 NIS (roughly $2.50 USD) for Jon to make it to school and back. A moment later they handed us 100 NIS and then brought over a huge meal and extras to fill our empty cupboards. In truth, without God, we would not have been able to make it this far, and would have run completely out of money a long time ago.
Jerusalem University College is a reputable school in the academic community, but because of its size and its location, it is not yet recognized by either the American or the Canadian governments. This makes it impossible to take out an educational loan through them, or to halt payments on previous student loans. Jon’s grades have been good enough that he has received a major scholarship for this coming semester, so we know that, barring unforeseen expenses, we will definitely make it until December. However, after that, we are entirely dependent on God. If Jon receives the same amount in scholarship money as he did this semester, we will need roughly $5,000. This will cover Jon’s remaining tuition, some bills we have still at home, and plane tickets back to America. God has provided for us so far, and we have faith that He will continue to provide.
We have been so blessed by your support and prayers over the past year! Please pray that God will provide and keep us safe in Israel.
Jonathan and Kasey Harkness