I purchased two Armenian Ceramic serving platters in Jericho while on pilgrimage in Israel. On my first trip to Israel in 2008, I learned to beware of imitation Armenian Ceramics throughout the region. Unlike the original, the craftsmanship is shoddy, the paint is often lead-based, and they are not sturdy enough for oven or microwave. Delighted with my purchase, I carefully wrapped them in paper and dirty clothing (hey, it’s the trip home) insuring the edges did not touch the shell of my suitcase at any point. I was certain – well, hoping – they were safe. One made it to Greenville whole. The other was shattered…broken. I kept the one and discarded the other. There was nothing more I could do.

I received over 300 prayer requests from you to place in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I reverently placed them in a large envelope. Carried them trans-Atlantic in my backpack. At the Western Wall, I divided them among the pilgrims from our church. We prayerfully placed each one in the cracks of the Western Wall. We prayed. I’m aware that some of you will experience wholeness as a result of these prayers. Even with the prayers, however, some will retain a sense of brokenness. That’s okay. God holds both. And in God’s hands, nothing is discarded. All things are made new in God’s way and God’s time. Your prayers are in the wall. Your lives are in God’s hands. Peace.

– Jim