Gears turning, lens adjusting, beeping, then a sharp flash. I lifted my head from our community prayer Friday morning and looked over my shoulder to discover that our courtyard was so overflowing with people that they had spilled into the tiny alcove that leads to the living room where we sat praying. The tiny alcove was so full that it reminded me of a phone booth bursting with people. But these people were armed with cameras. Realizing that we needed to respond to this crowd of people, I left the nearly finished prayer and walked into our office. There I found even more people that had scattered through our office into the back room and even up the stairs to our bedrooms. It felt like an army of ants that had received their orders to spread out and invade. And they were carrying out their orders successfully.
As I began to engage the crowd, and others in our group also, a slow but sure sense of order took place. But I chuckled to myself as different volunteers finished their prayers, and humbly attempted to return to their desks as usual, only to have their eyes bug out by the swarming people preventing their passage (please note that my pictures don't do justice to the large amounts of people that were here. By the time I started taking pictures, the initial storm had passed).
Kristina and I ran upstairs to the Kurdish mothers to give them notice that today was a special "Open House" day in Jerusalem for people from all over the country to explore the city's buildings, and that our house was considered special and historic. The mothers were very gracious and understanding, although a bit confused at first. Today was also the Muslim holiday El Adha, and they had been preparing a special lunch meal for us all to enjoy in the celebration. With lunch still a few hours off, the Kurdish mothers graciously opened their door to the throng of people waiting and curious to see the families we helped. Kristina and I did our best to welcome them in, but also guided them in appropriate ways to pass through their living area respectfully (