Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 5 & 6 – “God is faithful”

I think that blogging while in Israel is one of the most challenging things to do.  Your days are full of touring various sites and meeting different people, and by the end of the day you are exhausted.  Usually to bed shortly after dinner so you can be rested up for the day ahead of you.

As some of you know, I have been fighting the whole internet issue and think that I finally have some sort of routine.  I apologize for the erratic schedule in postings but should be in a bit of a rhythm from this point forward.  This morning I woke up at 3:15 AM…tossed and turned a bit and figured, oh well, may as well get up, spend some time with the Lord and get to blogging.  As long as the Lord keeps waking me up in this manner…I should be able to be a little more consistent.

Today, I post a couple of days consisting of waking up in Eilat, after a day in Petra, heading to Tel Aviv and then the day following in Tel Aviv, prior to us leaving for Galilee.

Our hotel in Eilat overlooked the Red Sea.  It was a spectacular view.  A major resort town in Israel.  Tourism is one of their primary sources of revenue.

It was a beautiful day, the weather has been amazing.  I am already anticipating great weather next year when we bring the church.  We are going to be traveling even later, at the end of March.  The rest of the group will spend the day in Eilat, we will leave for Tel Aviv.  When we bring the church next year we will stay an extra full day in Eilat…already looking forward to it.

The water was amazing…very clear and pretty warm considering the time of year.  We were really wishing we could have stayed and swam.  Part of the group was heading out on a boat for a day of swimming snorkeling, etc.

Don’t worry of you forgot your swimsuit…you can just go swimming in your underwear.  Lots of interesting swimsuits that people ought not to be wearing.  I need not say anymore about that.

We took a small commuter flight from Eilat to Tel Aviv.  Security was more intense than usual, or at least what we had thus far experienced.  They separated the four of us to talk to us about why we were in Israel, who we were visiting, why we weren’t still with the rest of the group among other things.  They seemed to be particularly interested in why Whitney and I didn’t have the same last name, if we were family.  As much as I dislike that part of traveling here, I am thankful that they take it as seriously as they do.  Clearly, they are considerably more interested and efficient than the TSA representatives in the US.  Though it is somewhat burdensome, it is what makes coming to Israel safer than most countries.  Threats of violence are just a way of life for them.  If it happens, they are going to be ready for it.  I love that about these people! 

It was quite an experience reading through the book of numbers while flying over the dead sea and the desert area where the things spoken of in the book of Numbers took place.  This truly is one of the most spectacular things about traveling through Israel.  You will never…never read the bible the same way again.  This is my fourth trip here…and the more I come, the more and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place.  When traveling into Petra, in Jordan, we saw Mt Hor, where I had just previously read where Aaron was buried.  This morning I read it again…that spot in Jordan will forever be etched in my mind and heart.

We flew into a smaller airport than Ben Gurion.  As you can see by the baggage claim, not a whole lot happening.  It was much closer to Tel Aviv as well.

This is the view outside our hotel in Tel Aviv.  The hotel itself is quite nice and modern, just settled smack dab in the middle of some rough areas.  As we walk around the city, there are provocative business card photos of prostitutes spread all over the ground.  Sue figured, if you can’t beat’em join.  Now, there are a bunch of Healing Hearts ministry cards right next to them.

This is the street our hotel is on.  Just a little anxious about driving them tomorrow.  As you can see there is not a lot of room.

Just a morning walk to church.  We decided it best to try and locate the church early, which took awhile, just to make sure we weren’t late.  We walked by some pretty rough parts and sketchy looking people.  Alcohol is being consumed at various sidewalk…what seemed to be convenience liquor stores.  One bar and club on the corner was going strong, music blaring and people coming in and out.  CC Tel Aviv ministers to a lot of these people 

Their ministry consists of not only a church service, but soup kitchen, clothing bank and free medical clinic.  One of the primary focuses of our trip is to add a missions portion to the trip when we come next year.  When we return from Galilee on Monday, we will begin to minister along side of CC Tel Aviv.  We have no idea what that is going to look like at this time, but trusting that the Lord will direct accordingly.

After finding the church, we head down to the beach to chill out before service.  I love the Mediterranean Sea.  First of all because it is just cool looking, the  sand the waves…but secondly is because you have this awareness that you are on the shores of a Sea that many people of the bible walked…to include Jonah, who caught a boat in Joppa to get away from the Lord.  Joppa is within eyesight of where we are sitting.   As we are sitting, enjoying the setting…listening to the waves and soaking in the sun, we are reminded by the lifeguard that the seats we are in cost 6 shekels to use.

As we were waiting for service to begin, the worship team was practicing.  Some of the songs they do in Hebrew and some in English.  The woman in the center’s name is Gigi.  Her husband’s name is Sharif and he is on job assignment for four years from Cairo, Egypt.  They have two beautiful young daughters and shortly after we meet him, he invites us to their home for coffee.  The little girls love Whitney and things she looks like Hannah Montana.  Later I find out that Sharif is one of Pastor Steve Apple’s elders.  We are looking forward to having coffee with them on Monday evening.  They live within walking distance of our hotel.

There was a good group of people at the church service.  Pastor Steve taught out of Hebrews 12.  It was a good teaching and I was blessed with the attentiveness of the people.  It was sweet to hear him teach, in such a setting, the danger of the law and the glorious truth about grace. 

They had a hot lunch prepared for everyone who was there.  I don’t know if it was for that particular service or if it is every Sunday.  I meet a young man named Marcus,  he from Germany and is on ‘holiday’.  I found out he is staying at the same hotel we are and we end up having dinner with him later that night.  He was heading to Jerusalem…on his own and then meeting up with a tour group from Germany later in the week.


Things are going well at this point in our trip.  Sue and Donna are discouraged…not sure what is going to come of their trip and what role Healing Hearts might play in Israel.  They are trying to be patient but can’t help but feel like they could have done more preplanning.  We find out, once again, that “God is faithful!”.  I am up late in the lobby ‘blogging’, not even realizing that Donna is sitting outside the hotel. 

Around midnight, she comes in with Linda, someone who happened to be on our tour bus to Petra.  She is going to be spending some extra time with Steve and Pat Apple and the ministry there.  Donna also meeting the owner of the hotel who is a Christian and it seems that the Lord is beginning to open the doors.  We are getting excited about what will happen the rest of our trip.  Tomorrow we will head to Galilee…but are already anticipating what the Lord will have for us upon our return.

Well…thanks for reading thus far…sorry it was a little longer than usual.  Pleas post any comments so that I can get an idea of what other types of things you might like to see and hear.



The Barkhurst's said...

So great to read the blog! Can't wait to hear about Monday with Pastor Apple .. Tell Hannah Montana we miss her!!! Shelley

The Barkhurst's said...

So great to read the blog! Can't wait to hear about Monday with Pastor Apple .. Tell Hannah Montana we miss her!!! Shelley

ourfamilyjourney said...

Pastor Ron,
Thank you so much for sharing you trip. We are praying for you and can't wait to hear more about it when you return. It gets me so excited for when I get to go!

ourfamilyjourney said...

Pastor Ron,
Thank you so much for sharing you trip. We are praying for you and can't wait to hear more about it when you return. It gets me so excited for when I get to go!