SERVE Nazareth

+972 (0)4-602-8879

David and SERVE Nazareth

David in Nazareth

“Volunteering is a practical way of sharing and spreading the love of Christ”

David volunteered in Nazareth alongside his wife, Rozemarij, who has done her pastoral care internship at the hospital. Originally from Germany, David has a professional background in road construction surveying. During his time with SERVE, he has helped at the Nazareth Village either as a villager, doing construction work or in the kitchen. David’s favourite Middle Eastern food is shawarma; meat cut into thin slices.

Rose and David at the entrance of the Doctor’s House, SERVE Nazareth accommodation, before going back home.

How did you learn about SERVE Nazareth, and what made you apply to volunteer here?

In my case, it’s a bit different because my wife applied for her mandatory internship, and I just came along.

What excited you about the opportunity?

I’ve been here in Israel as a tourist, and I wanted to get to know the culture more and be with my wife. I like volunteering: I have served in Christian colleges and environments.

What sorts of tasks do you do at the Nazareth Village?

I do maintenance work. I am also a villager and help serve meals in the kitchen. Wherever they need help, I’m there.

David and Rose at the Nazareth Village.

How has your experience been so far?

That’s a great question. I would say it is as good and challenging as any volunteering position. It’s challenging because it’s very different from what I’m used to, work culture-wise. Also, there’s a huge language barrier because almost everyone there speaks only Arabic.

Are you planning to guide any tours?

No. I think I would enjoy that, but since I’m here for five weeks, I didn’t want to do the training and leave two weeks later. But I did some interpreting for German tourists. I enjoyed that a lot.

You mentioned you’ve done some volunteering in the past. What do you enjoy about volunteering in general?

It’s a practical way of sharing and spreading the love of Christ. I’m very practically gifted and skilled, so it’s more natural for me to give something back to other Christians by helping them in a practical way. When you lead devotions or work with the pastoral care team like Rose, you’re also helping, but I prefer helping them with maintenance tasks.

Has there been any highlights from this time or anything that stood out?

I really like the food here. We have a meal every day at the Village, and it’s great every day.

You talked about the language barrier. Is that the most challenging aspect of your volunteering experience?

Yes, and I guess there’s also the culture barrier. It’s challenging for me sometimes to see different working attitudes or mentalities than what I’m used to. But it’s okay: I am the guest, so I need to adapt.

Have you managed to travel around Israel?

Yes, definitely. Like last weekend, we were on Mount Carmel and in Haifa, that’s where I had the shawarma. It’s a really nice city, not as crowded as Tel Aviv.

How do you think the time you’re spending here in Nazareth is contributing to your personal and spiritual growth and development?

I am getting a better understanding of the politics of Israel and the cultural differences between Jews and Arabs, but also between Christians and Muslims. I’m very interested in politics. I think my time here has greatly impacted my understanding, even though I have only been here for three weeks. You get a variety of people at the Village, and you get a chance to talk with them and ask questions, which is helping me grow in my understanding of Israel and different religions. For example, I didn’t understand what Judaism was before coming here. We met some Jews in Haifa randomly on the street, and it was really cool. Actually, he started talking to me: he was a secular Jew. I asked him a bunch of questions. He was very involved in politics and eager to share his views. Everyone has a personal opinion on politics, but when you talk to many people, you get a better feeling for what’s going on.

At the hospital chapel.

Would you recommend this experience to someone else?


What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Be open to other cultures. It’s so important to come and observe people; don’t judge. Then you can learn lessons you can take home. Not everything you see is great, but you are not here to judge or change others.

September 2023