July 17, 2006

Recap of the past few days

On Thursday night we were getting the kids ready for bed and heard a loud sound. Loud sounds are not unusual in Haifa. With the port and construction there are often loud noises, that sometimes even rattle the windows. For example, when a shipping container gets set down too hard at the port, it is very loud!

A few minutes later, Ann Hansen called us to tell us that it was a Katyusha missile that had hit near Stella Maris. There were no injuries and only some slight damage to a sidewalk. Stella Maris is the traditional location of Elijah's cave. It is the northwestern point of Haifa and has a spectacular view of both Haifa Bay and the Mediterranean. We went there a few weeks ago and got a tour of the military base there. Later after the kids were in bed, Tyler and Brooke's pre-school called to tell us that the end of summer party scheduled for Friday would be postponed. We moved Tyler into Brooke's room because her room is less exposed. Tyler didn't even wake up as we moved him.

Stella Maris Carmelite Church (taken from the military base)

This is a picture of the remains of the rocket and the damage (from Uri Sabach).
Damage from Stella Maris attack

On Friday, we started organizing the house to get ready for the movers. We have to separate our stuff from the landlord's things and pull out everything that is going in our suitcases. The Abbotts came over for lunch and to use our internet phone to move their return flight earlier. After lunch, Doug and Scott took the kids swimming. In the evening, Ali watched the kids so we could go to dinner at our favorite French restaurant, HaShmura 1872, in the German colony at the base of the Baha'i gardens. It was a calm, but busy day.

Tiffany, after dinner, in front of the Baha'i Gardens

On Saturday, we went to church as usual. It was a special meeting because we were released from our callings in the branch. President Cox came from the Jerusalem Center. After the meetings, we were preparing for our potluck lunch when we heard several loud booms and the windows rattled. We grabbed the kids and went down to the branch president's office in the basement. We waited a little while and then we brought the food downstairs and ate lunch.

Tiffany, Tyler, Brooke and Mary safe in the basement office

We found out that several Katyusha rockets hit Tiberias and the surrounding towns. One hit within 200 meters of the church building. The two BYU center couples were told to go to Jerusalem. Several members also decided to go to the Jerusalem center to stay for a few days. We drove home the long way, past Bet She'an and Megiddo. Later that evening more rockets hit Tiberias and shattered and cracked some of the windows of the church building. We spent much of the evening talking to friends and family.

On Sunday morning, things seemed pretty calm. However, pre-school was cancelled so the kids stayed home. Scott and some co-workers were supposed to meet with someone from the US who had just arrived in Israel for a business trip. Scott picked him up from his hotel and took him to work. A few minutes into the meeting, Scott heard some noises but he dismissed them as noises from the construction site next door. Then Tiffany called to tell him to come home because rockets had hit Haifa. However, at the same time, Scott was told to go immediately to the bomb shelter at Intel. Tiffany grabbed our 72 hour kit and took the kids to the bomb shelter in the basement of our building. Fortunately, someone brought coloring books to the shelter and the resident association president brought snacks and water.

Some of the rockets that hit Haifa were the more advanced Fajar rockets and not the Katyusha rockets. One rocket hit the train depot which is near the water of Haifa bay.

Scott arranged for the co-worker on a business trip to meet with the people he needed to in the bomb shelter. Scott participated a little bit, but mostly checked news and answered email. Someone brought water, soft drinks, fruit and cookies to the shelter. Later, Scott visited the different shelters at Intel talking to his friends and trying to get touch with Tiffany. Tiffany couldn't get cell phone service in the shelter and the cell networks kept crashing.

After several hours, Tiffany and the kids left the shelter to go upstairs to a friend's house for lunch. During that time we were able to call each other and talk until alarms sounded again and we both had to go back to the bomb shelters. Scott found the shelter where his manager was and met with him. Scott also was able to return calls for all the voicemail messages he got while the networks were down. Scott found out that the movers cancelled the appointment to pick up our things for shipment home.

After a couple hours, Tiffany and the kids were able to go back to the apartment and Scott drove home. We spent the evening packing our suitcases and organizing things for our move. Throughout the evening we heard many Israeli jets flying overhead.

On Monday morning we were awakened at 6 am by the emergency alarms. We woke up the kids and went to our closet, the most protected place in the apartment. There we played Memory until we couldn't stand it any longer. We found out that the alarm was a false alarm. Then we got ready and made more preparations for the movers because we don't know when they will come and we need the packing to be somewhat self explanatory.

Brooke is pretty oblivious to what is going on. She only gets nervous when Tyler does. Tyler is a little nervous and runs to us anytime he hears any noises.

"Are the people riding in the rockets OK?" - Tyler pictured NASA rockets crash landing in Tiberias.
"Are the animals OK?" - Tyler was worried when he heard that one of the missiles had landed in a field. He didn't know it was a football field.

"Rocket! Rocket!" - Repeated while running around wildly whenever any loud sound is heard. This is much like the game she plays, yelling "tontor" and pretending there are monsters in the house.

Posted by sjbowden at July 17, 2006 12:45 PM

God bless you all. My heart aches for the innocents of this part of the world, no matter what country they are from.

Posted by: annegb at July 25, 2006 3:13 AM

Our prayers and concerns are with all of you in the hot zones of the the world. We feel helpless to know what to do other than petition the Lord for your safty.
We watch the news, read the e-mails and feel love for our sisters and brothers there. Bless you all.

Posted by: Virginia at July 25, 2006 3:36 AM

I pray God will protect you and all those who praise His name. I am a Bahá'í and was happy to see the Bahá'í Terraces lit up in one of your pictures. I am anxious to know if the Bahá'í Holy places are still in tact. God Bless you, your family and those closest to your heart.

Posted by: Charlotte at July 26, 2006 5:29 AM

I have read and reread the emails that have been sent directly from Isreal and indeed feel blessed to have first hand knowledge of the strength that sustains The people of Isreal. I will forever be impressed by the love and devotion not to mention the peserverance of the Jewish people. May God always stand in watch over you and you children as he does now. I will keep you in my prayers, I pray that someday that the hearts of man may be changed and peace will reign.

Posted by: Michelle at August 19, 2006 2:57 AM

I have enjoyed (not really the right word) reading Ann's and your accounts of the recent happenings in Isreal/Lebenon . I was releaved to hear my cousin, Ritchie and Judy Whitehead had to come back to Canada to have their visas renewed. Adversities bring blessings, but it seems like Israel has had so much to bear from so many different terrorists. May Heavenly Father keep you all save.!!!

Posted by: Sheila at August 20, 2006 8:08 AM