Showing posts from September, 2011

Sagrada Familia

Have you ever landed in a foreign country where you couldn't speak the language, didn't have the currency and got lost? Well it happened to us after we arrived in Spain. After we rented our car in Barcelona, we followed directions of the car rental people and headed south---the wrong way! We found ourselves trapped on a road with no escape and were forced to pay a toll. Since we didn't have any foreign currency, we were able to use our credit card. We tried to ask someone how to get back to Barcelona but no one spoke English. We finally found a way to turn around and head back, paying the toll again! John found a gas station where we tried to ask for directions. Again, no speak English. So we did the first smart thing---we bought a map! We figured out where we needed to go and headed there. Instead of taking 20 minutes to get to our hotel, it took 3 hours. What an adventure!

We saw many interesting things in our short stay in Barcelona but the highlight was the Sagrada Fam…

Good bye Israel

It was hard leaving Israel. After spending some time in the north, we missed Jerusalem and the students so much we returned to visit one more night before leaving Israel. Returning to Jerusalem and seeing the students again felt like coming home. Surprised to see us again, they greeted us warmly. It was hard to tear ourselves away.

We forgot that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was the same day as my birthday. We were invited to a Rosh Hashanah celebration and went for a short while. Almost all places closed early--restaurants, too. Finding somewhere to have dinner proved a bit of a challenge. Finally we found that the YMCA across from the King David Hotel was serving a buffet dinner so we made our way there. It proved to be a most memorable experience. We had a good laugh. They were serving chicken--one of the few things John does not eat. There was no dressing for the salad and the bread was like store-bought white Wonder Bread, not the yummy fresh bread so common all over Israe…

Sermon on the Mount

"Now when [Jesus] saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them..." Matthew 5:1-2
Words cannot begin to describe the "Awesome-amazing" experience at walking where Jesus walked. As John and I begin our short time by the Sea of Galilee, we are reminded of how much of Jesus' ministry was done in this area. One of the highlights for me was returning to visit the Mount of Beatitudes, where tradition holds is where Jesus gave His "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. The Sermon on the Mount is full of rich teaching, including the "beatitudes" and teaching on prayer. Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of serving You.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matt. 5:8

Teaching on prayer

"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Eph. 6:18
I praise the Lord for the opportunity to return to the Golan Heights to resume my previous teaching on prayer. This time I taught on prayer in spiritual warfare. Did you realize that Paul mentions prayer in Ephesians 6 when he talks about putting on the "armor of God" in spiritual warfare? Prayer is one of our spiritual "weapons," so to speak. May our prayers please the Lord.

Garden teaching

John teaching his class at the Garden Tomb yesterday.

Pray for Israel and Palestine

If you are not already aware, this week is an important week at the United Nations, which is meeting in New York. Palestine will formally present its request for statehood recognition on Friday.  Be sure to stay tuned to the news. This is an important event for the Middle East and the world.

Pray for Israel and her neighbors. Pray for peace.

For this is what the prophet has written...

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem." Matthew 2:1

OK, I know I'm not too savvy when it comes to geography, but I really didn't know Bethlehem was sooooo close to Jerusalem. Yesterday we took a day trip to visit the site where tradition says Jesus was born. It was so very interesting in many ways.

First we met with some Palestinian believers and had some good fellowship over lunch. Then we visited the Church of the Nativity (and the Grotto of the Nativity, which is supposed to be the exact cave where Jesus was born), the Shepherd's Fields, and Rachel's Tomb.

My overall impression of Bethlehem was much better than I had expected. It reminded me of Jerusalem, some old and some new parts. I was pleasantly surprised at how much new building was taking place, beautiful buildings. I saw many sign with "U.N." on them. When I asked about the signs, I was told it has to do with the P…

Walk About Zion

"Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end." Psalm 48:12-14

Have you heard the phrase, "my dogs are barkin'"? I'm told it means "my feet are hurting." I have no idea what hurting feet have to do with dogs barking. Odd American saying when you think about it...

Tonight my dogs are barking. But, it's a good bark, as far as barks go. After church this morning and lunch, John and I decided to walk around the Old City of Jerusalem. Actually, it kind of just happened that way. We ventured out the visit the Garden Tomb and Skull Hill, starting at Jaffa Gate. But by the time we actually found it (yeah, we did get a bit lost getting there), we discovered it was closed. Bummer. By that time, we realized we were by the Damascus Gate. Since we weren't too far from the …

God's work in my life

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

This morning I was blessed to share my testimony with the students at early morning chapel. What a privilege to speak following their worship time. These students know how to worship! Can I take them home with me, please?

Later, after John finished teaching his afternoon class, we had some girl time! That meant heading to the local mall for coffee with the girls. (No shopping this time.) Except it really is too hot here to have coffee so most of us opted for cold coffee drinks. Yum! When they closed up the shop for the start of shabbat (Jewish sabbath which starts on Fridays at sunset), we headed back to the lobby of our hotel to continue our conversation. Mostly I shared about my experience in ministry, marriage, and travel. But it was also an informative briefing time, as I talked about the local customs, politic…

John teaching in Jerusalem.


Tunnels to the ancient city

Saturday we arrived in Israel safe and sound, after having totally rescheduled all our connections when we arrived at LAX on Friday morning due to our first flight being cancelled (entirely different airlines going through entirely different cities and countries). Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.
Sunday and Monday were spent mainly settling in, getting acquainted with the students, and lots of walking to get the best deals on fresh groceries. We managed to squeeze in a walking tour of the underground tunnels at the Western Wall. Fascinating! I had no idea the current "Old City" of Jerusalem is built on top of an ancient city. In the tunnels, we could see much more of the Western Wall and the ancient streets and city of the Herodian period when the second temple was built. We're talking over two thousand years old!  There is a special spot underground called "The Cave" and is purported to be the closest access to the Holy of Holies,…

Return to the Holy Land

We're on our way back to Israel tomorrow to teach!

Recommended Reading

I read a few great books over the summer that I highly recommend: