The swimmers have returned.. splash and dive. Another beautiful day in paradise. Conversations with our brothers and sisters from the Netherlands. We were surrounded by them last evening at dinner. Ron and I were the only two Americans at a table of 10. Their Dutch accented voices sharing their hearts and perspectives...
"We don't want either! [Trump or Hillary]", with which we agreed.
"We are still bridge builders between our brothers and sisters at home and our Israel homeland." Again, we agreed.
"It's a difficult place to live, here in Israel. It's not time to invest in the land." Well... I'm praying this last statement is a translational issue. I believe if it were time to live in Israel, we would live in Israel. However, it is time to invest in the land to whatever degree we are able and allowed.
We did enjoy much talk and sharing about our families and learning how to say thank you in Dutch, "danke something"... I wish I could remember. And your welcome.. which I can't even remember a hint of how it goes.
Never the less, our hearts connected as much as possible during an hour and a half dinner time. It was so special - a stretch to understand each other, but so sweet. This is the land of prophesy. I can't seem to forget that. Our very presence here demonstrates that.
It's now lunch time on Shabbat (October 29, 2016). This morning we enjoyed reading the Torah together, all sitting in a huge double-ringed circle. Different people reading different sections. Here in Israel. Where it's all about that.
We have a rest time now, a Shabbat, and little pockets of people have gathered here and there for Bible study.
Julia and Ron have both been down with colds and feel pretty poor. It's a good day for them to rest and recuperate as much as possible. Zel and Julia are staying in a room near us and they will be down in a little bit so we can enjoy lunch together.
It's been hard to grasp all that I've experienced in the last 2.5 weeks. Hard to put into words. I can rattle off each event, each activity, but I'm finding it difficult to get down into the feeling of it all. It will take some processing. These are just odds and ends...
They shout, they holler, they wave their hands then it's all over. Shaloms are said and off they go on their way.
This is a land of passion and emotion, all worn on the outside, lived on the outside.
During our stay at the Eshel Ha'Shomron Hotel, in Ariel, Samaria, we had the opportunity to meet some of the writers and staff who run the Breaking Israel News website. They had many questions about what country/state we came from, how did we come to understand our Israelite heritage, how do our fellowships work, in essence, who we are and what we believe.
It was a sweet meeting of brothers and sisters, an inspiring visit. Though definitely not enough time to thoroughly explore each others hearts, I felt affirmed as their Ephraimite sister and gushed a bit, wanting to apologize,
"Please forgive our Ephraimite Crush. We are so glad to see you seeing us. Though we may still see each other through a glass darkly, we are so glad to be seen and to meet you and be in your midst."
Several days later, during the taxi ride from the Townhouse Tel Aviv Boutique Hotel in Tel Aviv, our driver, Daniel, was also interested in us Americans. We shared much conversation, including each of our opinions about our upcoming Presidential election. He was amazed at our love for and desire to support Israel and so eloquently expressed his heart stating that Israelis consider themselves as one of the stars in our flag. We didn't talk much about God or religion, but no matter, I was very touched and, again, felt affirmed by my Israeli brother.
In contrast, I sat next to a woman during our flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt. She slept almost the entire way, waking up in a very chatty mood just as we approached Frankfurt. She said she had been visiting in Israel for about a week and was so glad to be headed home to Chicago. Her opinion of Israel was that of a third-world country, very difficult living situations for the general public; strongly disliked the cats that are everywhere and disapproved of the governments decision to subsidize people in order to feed them. I hadn't heard of this, but apparently the government believes it is the humane thing to do.
I had to mostly agree with her on all but one point, the third-world view. And, I can mostly agree that it can be very difficult to live in Israel. But, with all of the security, military, technology and agricultural innovations, third world it is not.
Her opinions were her own, and I may even consider them to be a bad report, but my thoughts, which I kept to myself, were, "but if those (us Ephraimites), who love Israel were allowed in to live, we would bring good things to help improve conditions where necessary, and even fill the land pushing out those who hate Israel."
No, it is not America, with her spacious freedom. But, dare I say, we Americans could learn a lot from these strong, brave and tenacious people who are holding on to this incredible land in the face of unrestrained and unrepentant hatred directed toward them by most of the world. And, not least of all, they are building and improving, as they are able, in spite of it. And that needs an exclamation point after it!!
Photos: A diverse mosaic of paths walked by our ancestors, Ceasarea, Israel.
Prophesy is before our eyes...
Eshel Ha'Shomron Hotel. It's just as I remembered. Only cooler. What is Your plan for us this year, Father?
This lovely breeze blows, voices softly murmuring from neighboring balconies interspersed with joyous laughter. The splashing has ceased for now as the swimmers prepare for this evenings dinner, the roar of a lawnmower takes it's place.
In the distance I see from our ground-floor terrace the spikey fronds of a palm tree peeking above juniper trees woven through with deep pink bougainvillea. Situated next to a ramp leading from our group of 8 rooms to the pool area below, ours is a cute, rather public little terrace, and we see everyone coming and going.Thus, we must be the gate-keepers of our little enclave.
There are many such enclaves in this hotel. Perhaps the Lord has designated a gate-keeper for each one.
I must be forthright to say, though it feels somewhat isolated from the outside Israeli world with its necessary and excellent security, this hotel is a safe haven and a peaceful oasis in the middle of hills filled with an angry adversary.
The owners, Menachem and Tovah, shared with our group their stories of unbelievable personal encounters with suicide bombers inside their hotel lobby and just outside at the gas station. Both of them incurred major injuries, Menachem still carries metal pieces inside his body, and the lobby tiles are scarred and pitted where the bomber blew himself up. The entire lobby had to be rebuilt but Tovah left these tiles so she would not forget, and perhaps also, to always remember how good and protective God has been to them.
These two honored heroes stood before my eyes with smiles and jokes. I have no frame of reference so I must believe them. They are tenacious, determined to hang on to their hotel and this land. I believe we, B'ney Yosef, are here to support them with our prayers, our money, our very presence. May we help fill this land with love and helping hands. May we be worthy.
We are still getting to know each other, we members of Judah and Ephraim, and it will take some time. Definitely patience and perseverance will help make it happen. The Lord has said it will happen. Indeed, it is happening now.
I used to think that He would be the only One Who knows how and when we will all walk together again. But during this entire trip He's been urging me to look with my spiritual rather than my natural eyes. It is no longer if/when, but here/now. It is happening now. I, we, each one of us, are a part of it.
He is calling, has been calling, is calling still. Look with your spiritual eyes and see Him at work. Watch Him do what He says He will do.
If you've been following my blog during our wild ride in Israel you may have noticed a large gap in posts. Even I had to go back and read what I last wrote.
In any case, we are back in Sequim now. I could say we're back home, but really, our home is in Israel. We made our plea, knocked on a couple of Israeli doors, but it became very apparent that we have only been sent out as emissaries from our Israel home to this beautiful but far-away land.
And, in truth, I do see the Lord's hand in it as He's given me vision, and confirmation of vision, of what He wants us to put our hands to here. We've much to learn about how to go about it all but our prayers of direction have been submitted to our Master and King. I am sure He will show us when it's time. He usually works with us on a "need to know" basis.
One thing I know, my heart is so full of desire for restoration and revival for the First Nations Peoples in our area: the S'Klallam, Elwha, Makah, Quileutte, Chimakum, Skokomish and Hoh. My heart is broken for them and I pray our Heavenly Father would open their eyes to who they are as Israelites being restored to His ways.
It's been my observation that these Nations place such huge importance on ancestral wisdom and knowledge, this is a deep thing in their hearts, stories and ways. I desire to learn more about them and how they got from their ancient ways to their present ways, and I believe the Lord sent me here to share with them what He has given to me.
I would love to take a delegation of Olympic Peninsula First Nations Peoples to Israel for the next B'ney Yosef Congress in 2018!! That, of course, is up to Him.
Another thing both Ron and I desire to do is host another National Shabbat here in Sequim. And we want to get our website AtHomeIsrael, seriously up and running strong. We also plan to attend the B'ney Yosef North America congress in Mesa, AZ, in February. And, oh yeah, we have to be faithful to go to work to earn a living.
All this we desire to do, and there is much. We do submit our plans to Him believing He will direct our paths. We must put our hands only to what He has for us to do. May we know and see and hear what those things are.
Living life in amazing times, in a most beautiful land, on a missions trip sent by our King, requires our full attention. May we will be focused, faithful, and strong of heart.