Saturday, July 31, 2010

fireworks and popcorn

video

It being wedding and passing-monumental-tests season... and also summer... the fireworks in the area have gone insane. Usually this only happens on Friday. Now it's pretty much every night.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello everyone :)

It’s been close to another full week since our last blog post (maybe a little longer, but who’s really keeping track)… Woah! It’s almost been 2 weeks. That is a fail oooooooooonnnnnn… we’ll say Kasey’s part. Shame on Kasey. Everyone “boo” her right now.

Some updates on our last blog post (July 14): Both of us are trying to get our normal sleeping habits back—going to bed at a decent time and waking up early. Both of us have pretty much stopped playing on the piano. We had a good 7 days of excitement as a new thing was brought into our apartment and our lives, but we both kind of just drifted off of it. Jon is going to need a lot more push to learn the piano (maybe take piano lessons sometime in the far far future) he doesn’t have the passion to learn on his own just yet. AND we both got our visas hassle free! We can both stay in Israel for another year legally without any trouble. Thank God for that :) He really did provide for us here. Everything went smoothly and extremely fast. Thank you for all your prayers on that one.

On Sunday both of us went to The Coffee Bean (a very relaxing coffee shop… they have them in North America) for about 4 hours where Kasey wrote and Jon organized more photos—Jon goes through each of his pictures taken from field studies and writes down all the info about that site next to it (the info he was given on the field study day). It was extremely relaxing and very productive. After that we met up with one of our friends who joined us in visiting a church that we found: King of Kings (www.KKCJ.org).

Jon even found a couple of songs that he never heard before and wrote them on his hand so that he could get them later on… BUT one wash of the hands and it was all smudged and he was not able to get those songs… sad day I know, but whatcha gonna do…


This morning our landlady gave us a bunch of fresh grapes right off the vine in our backyard. They were delicious and it was very thoughtful :) And SOON we will be eating dinner. Don’t know what we are going to have yet.

We want to go back to The Coffee Bean.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hello other side of the world.

It’s been about a week and we wanted to keep up with the blog updates.

In order to keep us amused this last week Jon decided to see how long he could stay up. He only stayed up for about 46 hours. Within those hours things started to happen. An example being that Jon started having micro naps – he would be sitting up then immediately fall asleep where he would have a dream (usually about Harry Potter for some reason) and then wake up like 15-30 seconds later. Other than just being really tired, that’s about all that happened to him.

We are taking care of an electric piano for the rest of the summer! Kasey is really excited as she has been playing since she was little but has not had the chance to play the piano in a while. She hoped on the piano and it would seem like she never took a break. Jon loves listening to her play.

Jon has wanted to relearn the piano for a long time now! SO he will

be able to start. Kasey has taught him some basic things to learn (learning the keys and getting use to moving your fingers around). He is going to practice everyday so we will see how it goes. It’s really REALLY annoying when you want to play an awesome song but can’t!! It’s driving Jon crazy. So he’s really going to try and learn.

Jon’s visa expires Friday (July 16th) so we REALLY need to renew his visa. Kasey will be put as a dependant on Jon’s visa. We are going on Tuesday morning to sit in front of the door and try to get in (because our lawyer couldn’t get us an appointment… great lawyer hey?) so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray that they let us in to get new visas that will allow us to legally stay in Israel for the next year.

Some really good news is that Kasey got her tax return! She got enough to pay her government loans for the next year, which really helps us. But sadly it did not decrease the amount that we need for Jon’s tuition and plane tickets… sad day, but it’s all good. If you would like to know our money situation then please look back to the previous post (July 6).

Thank you for all your prayers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Year Update

Dear Family and Friends,

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.

In Christ,

Jonathan and Kasey Harkness

If you would like to donate, please email us at jkharkness5909@gmail.com , and we will provide you with the address you can send checks to.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

July

Hello everyone!

Been a Loooooong time since we last posted. I hope you are getting use to it by now :P

We just finished up a very fun time with Kasey’s parents. They came for two weeks and we traveled the country visiting spots of the Bible and seeing the touristy areas of Israel. It was a blast. We are all very tired now (Terry and Karen more so as they JUST got home after being awake for 31 hours).

It was great seeing them and spending time with each other.

Some new news about Polly our cat. Our landlord/Kasey’s main boss finally made the decision that there are no animals allowed in any of the apartments. So we had to find another home for Polly in a short amount of time because he was kicking her out. Fortunately God knew this was going to happen and caused Kasey’s boss to make this decision when Terry and Karen got here.

Polly warmed right up to them (that was not like her with strangers) and they offered to take Polly home with them. She is now safe and sound in a VERY good home in San Diego. The shipping of Polly cost a bit more than we thought (almost double) but is was well worth it as she is a one of a kind cat. I even find myself missing her, which is not really like me (the whole emotional thing… especially with an animal). Don’t worry we plan to have Skype dates with Polly so that she will not forget our voices… oh ya and those other people that she is now in charge of :P

Saying good-bye was very hard for Kasey, as she had to see her parents again, say good-bye to them a second time (we will not see them for another year) and THEN to say goodbye to Polly who has grown to be part of our little family. It was a sad day.

Because Kasey’s parents visited during the last two weeks of June, Kasey and I are not able to teach summer school, because they booked summer school during those two weeks and into July. The funny thing is that the high school summer program was mainly depended on Kasey and I as the main teachers, they could have changed the dates I guess but they didn’t do that. Instead, I believe, they just give homework to the high school students to do at home or something, which sucks for them… but summer school just sucks in general.

Now that Terry and Karen are gone Kasey and I have about 1.5 months by ourselves… literally. So we shall become masters at entertaining ourselves in our apartment for that time :P

We will have A LOT more time on our hands now, so HOPEFULLY the blog will be updated a bit more. And maybe this next year we will try to post something once a week (that was our original plan) even if it’s just to say hello.


Some prayer requests:

-For our continuous protection while we are here

-For God to provide for our finances as the next tuition payment is due in about 2 months

-For our cat Polly who is now living in San Diego with the McHenry’s that she will love it there AND that she won’t forget Kasey and me

-That God will provide jobs for Kasey and I when we return (we are starting to apply to different jobs)

Praise reports:

-Polly found next to the perfect home and shipping her went extremely smooth with no problems that we have heard of yet. (she didn’t even cry when she was in the airport when we were saying goodbye to her)

-We got to spend 2 weeks with family and it was very refreshing