Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It's been an intense teaching time with visiting the Holy sites and so having a day at Petra and a relaxing cruise on the Red Sea where a person doesn't have to work too much with their emotions and head is kinda nice here and there. Experiencing the Holy Land can definitely be an emotional and spiritual time.
After Petra, we had a late midafternoon lunch at a wonderful restaurant. Here Kyrstin was brought a beautifully decorated cake with sparkly things on it and a few Jordanian men brought it to her singing happy birthday in their language. It was really quite special and she had a huge grin on her face. :) Then on our way back to Eilat we saw the sun set over the mountain range in Jordan.
And then when we had our late supper back at the hotel, Kyrstin got yet another cake, this time an ice cream cake specifically ordered by Arie. He's the best tour guide. :) It was a good day!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thank you God for another fantastic day today!!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
We were off bright and early this morning. It was our last night in the Galilee. What a wonderful time we had here.
Our first stop was Mount Tabor where Judge Deborah led the soldiers of Israel out to battle. What a brave, courageous, God-fearing woman she was. Such a great legacy she left. So as we stood on top of this mount, we contemplated on what type of legacy we'd like to leave, how are people around us going to remember us as. It was a good thing to think about today. I also really liked the church up here, not to gawdy looking but very tasteful in it's decor.
Then we stopped at Gideon Springs where God took Gideon and his soldiers to choose the 300 who would fight in battle with him. God won that battle for Gideon because of his obedience and faith. My favorite part of being in this place is how our tour guide, Arie, shares of his own personal courageous and successful war story which included him reading the story of Gideon from Judges 7, over the war tank speaker to all his 30 tanks that he was in charge of. The battle was fierce and his soldiers were afraid but after he read this story of Gideon and prayed with his men, which by the way was against the rules to be doing this over the radios in the tanks, Arie and his team of men took on new courage and were at the front lines as the Israel soldiers pushed Egypt back to their own land until they were 6 miles from Cairo. It was another emotional time as Arie shared this personal testimony of being of great courage and having faith in The Almighty God that He was with them and going before them in battle. WOW! SOooo moving!
Our next stop was the old ancient city of Bet Shean. It was in this Gilboa mountain range that King Saul and Jonathon were killed in battle and their bodies were hung on these walls of Bet Shean. This city showed how much of the Roman world infiltrated the Jewish culture with all it's gods and goddesses and it's focus on the human body, rather than keeping the focus on living wholeheartedly for God. Again this is often the struggle with us nowadays, filling our lives with so much other things that we feel are so necessary and therefore it is a continual challenge to living a life that honors and pleases God. We allow so many things of the world to demand our attention that we don't give ourselves time and devotion to God in prayer, meditation and studying His Word. Yes we need to live and life has its responsibilities but we can begin and end each day with God and involve Him in each aspect of our day rather than go throughout the day living as we please as if there is no God.
After lunch we continued on down the road away from the Galilee towards the Dead Sea, passing herds of camels and sheep with their shepherds......how fun to see them! :) Qumran was where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. It was quite something to hear of how the Essenes lived in those days and how they wrote and hid the scrolls. What a rich history!
We arrived at a beautiful Kibbutz on the shores of the Sea. What an oasis of a humble community with cattle, and horses, a hotel that was all spread out ground level in small cottage like rooms. We all loved staying here! The grounds were filled with sidewalks through palm trees and blooming bushes. The cows, roosters and dogs sang in the background and the bright open sky glistened above us. In the valley a short distance below was the Dead Sea. What a wonderful place to be. It's a perfect place to have a ladies retreat sometime.....oh wait, we are having one right now. :)
At 7pm we entered the dining area that was partially filled with some guests like us, but mostly he Jewish families that lived on this Kibbutz. As the Father of the Kibbutz rose to give the blessing over the meal, commemorating the bread and the wine and reciting the Jewish words, my heart overflowed and my eyes filled with tears. I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly meaningful this was to be included so intimately in this age old tradition. Friday night is the beginning of Shabbat and the whole family gathers together to celebrate Shabbat. Arie, our tour guide, drove for 2 1/2 hours back to Tel Aviv to be at home with his family for the Shabbat meal. He said the long drive is always worth spending Friday nights with his whole family.....it is the greatest joy of the week. I wish we had more of that in our culture, in our families. Truly enjoying the Sabbath and spending wholesome time together as a family. What an wonderful traditiin and celebration. I was so deeply grateful to be a part of it. Us ladies enjoyed walks, visiting and playing Skipbo while Kyrstin and Danielle were invited to go spend time with the youth on the Kibbutz. What an incredible memory we have this day.
GOD IS GOOD!!
Friday, November 25, 2011
So glad you're journeying along together with us. It is so encouraging to everyone in the group to hear your comments and hearing about your enjoyment of seeing us in the photos. Even though it's not always easy updating the blog each day, it's so worth it when I hear feedback from the ladies family and friends that they love seeing them in photos and reading about their day. It brings tears to my eyes, this world is so small and technology is simply amazing at times. I know what a blessing this blog with photos each day is to some of you and that is why I am writing this. It is so cool that you can be reading this close to the end of your day while we are already asleep. :) That is just SO cool! I am honored, my fellow readers, to have you join us in this personal journey. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! Love you all!