Thank you for making this trip possible!
Garden of Gethesmane, Mount of Olives, Israel!
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Wow! Where to start? After an incredibly action packed year in seminary at Oral Roberts University, God made a way for us to come to Israel! While it did not happen the way I thought it should, we are here, in the land, a dream of 20 years, unfolding. From the flight through Amsterdam, to our first sight of the nation, it has been an incredible walk of faith, as we literally explore the places where the Bible has been written! Our faith turns to sight….
We had fun in the several hour layover in Amsterdan. Check out this pic behind me. There is this guy inside this clock, who literally paints the minutes on as they tick by, then erases them, and paints the next minute and hour hand on the clock. Phew! What a day!
Finally, we had our first glimpse of the land!
We landed in Tel Aviv, to discover we had no place to stay! We took a taxi to the hostel we had booked, and no one ever would answer reception to check us in! So the taxi driver took us to another place, that graciously gave us a room for the night:
This place is close to the beach, and despite the jelly fish stinging us multiple times, we braved the ocean, and had a blast.
Yet, we quickly learned not everyone in Israel are living holy lives. The next night was some kind of a city wide pub crawl, where the streets filled up with partyers, so we hopped the bus to Jerusalem, and arrived there at 10PM with no money left, and no place to stay.
Yet, thank God for Facebook, and the IDF! My Jewish landlord in Tulsa had told me that if I was ever in trouble in Israel, to find a soldier, and we did.
This warrior, had a cool app on his phone that booked us into a hostel, and showed us how to get our luggage from the bus to a cab, while people donated on-line, and made the whole thing possible.
Suddenly, we found ourselves in Old Jerusalem, at 10 at night, on still crowded streets, in the Muslim section of town, and we had no idea how to find the hostel. Clackety, clackety, clack sounded the wheels of our suitcases on the cobblestone alleyways, and we were not comfortable!
Yet, God has people, and these two Jewish men who spoke English, escorted us more than a mile to Hebron hostel, owned by a Palestinian family.
From here, the adventure began!
Each day, we had to fervently pray, for money to pay the next night, and buy food for the day. For those of us used to Oklahoma prices, Jerusalem is ‘sticker shock’. Expensive!
Hostels from $150/night, hotels $250, simple groceries for a meal, $60-70, and we had no money! Each day, God would provide, and the hostel did serve supper!
Really neat environment of international travellers and students, all in Jerusalem searching for something. Had some very animated discussions about the differences between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, where I was able to clear share the gospel of Jesus, and why I believed in Him.
That Friday we attended Shabbat at Western Wall!
Shabbat Western Wall
We explored Jerusalem, and saw many things:
The Garden Tomb was a powerful experience!
Then there was the day we climbed the mount of Olives, where Jesus literally ascended from the earth with 500 eyewitnesses (Acts 1:
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come backin the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
This is the very spot where Jesus ascended into heaven after rising from the dead, and where He will come again, to walk through the Eastern gate of Jerusalem! It is here that He prayed in Gethesemane, and at the base where Stephen was martyred. From here, He gave the disciples the Lord’s prayer, and from here that He wept over Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it)
Here at Stephens death place, I found myself weeping as Holy Spirit still bears witness to his death!
This is where I spent Canada Day, July 1st, praying for Canada.
Before we left, we had gone to see Wonder Woman, and learned that the actress is a former IDF soldier.
While we have been here, we have met many, many warrior women, real life wonder women of the IDF!
Here are a few pics of Jerusalem:
They were doing a ‘Festival of Lights’ last week and we had fun toddling around at night:
Got to attend a great church Sunday, King of Kings in the New part of the City. Amazingly, three guys I’d shared Jesus with at the hostel, met us there at service!
One night, we ran out of money completly and were evicted from the hostel, with no place to go.
Scary, with no one to call, a long way from home:
At 2AM, someone Paypaled us $200, and these two Hebrew youth got on their cell phones and demanded a hotel take us in! I asked them why they would do this, and the boy said, ‘You have white hair! It is impossible that a man with white hair spend the night on the streets of Jerusalem!’
The manager gave us 2 nights at a greatly reduced rate, if I would give him a good review! Easy! Great hotel, wonderful people, little kitchen so we could cook pancakes for breakfast!
I’m out of time for today, but here are a couple pics:
Atul from King of Kings Church helping us navigate insanity!
This is the Holy Seplucher where historians say Jesus actually was crucified.
Will post more tomorrow! Thank you for making this trip of a lifetime possible! Tonight, we are invited to Bethany, to a rabbi’s house for Shabbat dinner with his family.
Please continue to pray for us, we still have to survive until the 21st, and it is a radical walk of faith!