Jerusalemites: David's and Karlee's story

David and Karlee came from the United States with the group "Israeli Collective" to learn more about the political and religious makeup of Israel.

David: “I am the business owner of a financial advisory firm in the United States. We help individuals and families invest their money for retirement. It has been great to see the rich culture and diverse makeup of the Israeli people. We have seen a rural kibbutz in northern Israel to the bustling metropolitan city of Tel Aviv. Israel is a beautiful place. After traveling all over the country I have seen firsthand the importance of Israel being able to defend herself against those that would wish her harm. This is one of the only democratic states in the Middle East which allows freedom of speech and religion and it is vital to secure those rights for all future Israelis”.

Karlee: “I am 27, I love my city of Portland, Oregon and I'm a marketing director for a 3D printing company. One of my purposes in life is to help people discover joy. I don't think we all realize how much fear we carry with us  daily, how much tension we hold inside of us because we don't want to mess anything up, let people down, or lose our power. I love making friends and then encouraging them to take a deep breath, be themselves, and let their lives be a source of life to others. I loved every minute in Jerusalem because the city feels so alive, so rich with stories. I could walk around the city talking to strangers and taking photos for weeks. Visiting for 10 days is far too brief! It was fascinating to talk to so many different people and learn about different religions. As a Christian living in Portland, Oregon, I've seen Jesus do a work of love in my city as His people spread grace and peace throughout their communities. I long to see grace and peace in Israel, where people have become used to living in a state of tension. I've learned that true change starts in the heart, no matter where we live. I was humbled as I considered these things during my visit. When we stop striving against each other, we can celebrate life together”.