Where it all began for Labor of Love.
36 strangers board a tour bus with a red placard in the window – August 2011. They are a few of more than 2,000 Americans visiting the Holy Land to show solidarity with the Israeli people, to ‘Stand with Courage’ at the invitation of media entrepreneur Glenn Beck as part of his Restoring Courage event.
Within a few days, trust and friendships began to form. Opportunities to serve one another presented through injuries, illness, and other challenges. Profound experiences shared. Laughter, tears, hopes and fears offered – and received. Each person was unique in temperament, reason for attending, age, profession, denomination, and life experience. And yet, a unity emerged. Something special. Something that those there did not want to end when Restoring Courage was finished. We were no longer strangers.
One night in the lobby of a Jerusalem hotel when the journey was about to end, the Bible story of the widow’s mite came up. Several Red Bus A (RBA) women had purchased a small bronze coin – a widow’s mite, a symbolic way to remember the journey, most set in rings or pendants. We laughed (with a fist bump) imagining the widow’s mite gave us super-powers….a mighty mite.
One person, giving their all as an offering – meaning more to the Master than all of the earthly treasure given so easily by the pious at the Temple. Given out of her need. Given out of resources she could not replenish on her own. We were forever changed by our experience in Israel. How could we not do something with it as we returned home.
These two ideas: 1) not wanting the sense of community we had felt together to end, and 2) feeling compelled to honor the experience we shared together by living and being different as we returned home. These were the beginning of what would become Labor of Love USA.
The journey continues.
More photos of Red Bus A – Restoring Courage are visible here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskhuH24S