Afterward …

Well, we caught our flight out of Tel Aviv driven to the airport by “Daniel” the taxi driver. We had quite the conversation with him on our drive. He commented that all of Israel is watching our political frenzy right now and that they also consider themselves to be one of the stars on our flag. He was easy to talk with and it was great to hear how supportive the Israelites are of the US. Our taxi driver the day before who picked us up and took us to the hotel had been to the US for three weeks and traveled all over the country seeing Washington DC, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco, etc.

We flew for about four and half hours to Frankfurt and landed amid heavy fog. We had a layover of about an hour and a half but we had to go from one side of the terminal to another which meant we walked very fast only stopping to use the bathroom. When we got to our gate there was a hugely long line. We looked out the window and our plane was one of the “double decker” kind. They announced that the flight was being delayed a bit so we scrambled to find a place that sold bottled water and then tried to hook to wifi real quick. We finally loaded and, wow, the plane was huge! It was a 747-XX. We were all in the center row together but thankfully the plane was not full, so Zel moved across the aisle to a window seat and I took her aisle seat leaving one empty seat between me and Candi to pile stuff on and leave a bit of room between us. It was a l-o-n-g flight …. ten and a half hours. We landed in Denver (late due to delayed start) and had two and a half hours to meet our connecting flight. Well, first we had to go through customs, which took about 45 minutes, then security, then go get our luggage and re-check it, then security again and by the time we made it to our gate, the plan had already left. So we got our tickets re-issued for the following morning (yesterday), leaving at 8 a.m. The airlines gave us comp rooms at Red Lion and gave us a “female bag” (for us gals) which included a t-shirt to sleep in, deodorant, lotion, brush, toothbrush and toothpaste – all of which came in very handy since our luggage was somewhere else. By the time we got to the hotel it was 9ish. We fell into bed and got eight hours of good sleep before waking and getting back to the airport. We finally arrived at SeaTac around 9:30 am on Wednesday. I had made arrangements for a shuttle to pick me up but my reservation was for 11:45 am …. I found their checkin desk and explained my situation … there was another shuttle scheduled to leave at 10:30 and I was able to switch and take it. There was one other couple being delivered to Tacoma, so I made it home shortly after noon. I unloaded my suitcases and started some laundry right away. I was going to try to stay awake till evening but was SO tired that I finally laid down around 1:15 pm to take a nap but not before I set my alarm for 3:30 knowing that I’d probably sleep longer if I didn’t set my alarm. And sure enough, I was in a deep sleep when my alarm went off. I had to “press” myself to get up because I still felt so tired. So, I got up and finished some laundry and dabbled around the house a bit. Watched some HGTV and ordered a pizza. By 6 pm I could hardly hold my eyes open, so I went back to bed. I slept hard and had a lot of dreams. I slept till about 2:30 am and then began waking every hour or so. I wanted to sleep as long as I could so I would turn over and try to go back to sleep … which I did. I finally got up at 6:30 am and feel refreshed but still a bit tired. I may have to take a nap today, too. I’m glad I took today off because I need to go get some groceries, get my nails done (most important), get my mail and then go out and have dinner with Jenn and family. 

I’m glad to be back around my familiar surroundings … my bed! But, I feel like I’ve left a bit of me in Israel … a bit of my heart. I am falling in love with that land more and more each time I go there. It may look dry and unattractive to the “naked eye” but I see how Abba designed it to be … a lush and fertile land flowing with milk and honey. I am seeing that my “true identity” is wrapped up in that land and my heart is being tugged on to return. So, it wasn’t “good by”, but rather, till I come again … 

Thanks for sharing my adventure with me. This trip was a hard trip (physically) but very fulfilling in oh, so many ways. I know that Abba wanted me to be there from the very start. Was there one defining moment for me? Yes, I would say when I went to the wall and touched it. Do you know that the Western Wall is one of the closest parts of the wall to where the Holy of Holies used to be? Not the portion that we see today, but a portion that is underground. Maybe that is why people are drawn to that wall today. Maybe HIS presence is still there touching lives? I can only speak for me. It was a powerful experience as I approached the wall and as I reached out and put my forehead on the wall to Bless Him, my Lord and my God, Creator of all things. Blessed be HIS name forever and forever!

Day Nineteen – Monday

We said our goodbyes (for now) and headed back to Tel Aviv where are staying in a cute boutique hotel right in downtown. We are all tired and have to be up at 3:30 am to get ready to meet out shuttle to the airport at 4:30 am so we walked around the corner and found a cute little place. I had pasta with a sweet potatoe and chestnut sauce with a mint lemonade smoothy. We then walked to the next place and had Italian gelato. We then checked out a chocolate store on our way back to the hotel. We are now “topping the evening (5:30 pm) off” with free wine and cheese on the lobby before we crash. 

Day Eighteen – Sunday

So, as we began to wrap up the Congress, we had a couple of sessions on How Does a Global Family Walk as one. We discussed predjustices, pre-conceived ideas about people groups, cultures – how do we walk together with our differences? One person pointed out that there were 12 tribes that pitched their tents around the Tabernacle. Three to the east, three to the west, three to the north and three to the south. And when ever there was a disagreement between the tribes, they had to “look through” the Tabernacle – Abba was at the center. 

In our differences, we can say we don’t agree but we can walk together in love. Continuing to walks to a common destination. Amos 3:3 says “Can two walk together except they are appointed for a common purpose?”

Isa. 43:1-7 but most specifically vs 5 “Do not fear, for I am with you. I shall bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west. I shall say to th3e north, “Give the up!” And to the south “Do not keep them back!” Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth!”

We were reminded that Joseph’s beautiful coat was ONE coat made of many beautiful colors – just as we are ONE under Yeshua with many beautiful customs, backgrounds, and cultures.

I Cor. 12 reminds us that we are one body under the headship of Yeshua, but many parts. We were also reminded that in our physical bodies a baby’s heart begins to develop and beat within 6 days of conception but the lungs don’t begin to develop until the 37th week. Both play important roles and the baby could not survive without one or the other. We need to trust Abba as we trust our brothers in what they are called to do … iron sharpens iron.

It doesn’t matter the “banner” we are under (what we are called) as long as we are following Torah and love Yeshua (Is. 44:5)

Is. 62:10 says “pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Lift up a banner for the peoples!” The gates are open, there is a sense of urgency. We are to pass through and remove the stones of tradition and raise the banner of Yeshua.

Is. 35:8 “And there shall be a highway, and a way, and it shall be called “The Way of Set-apartness.” The unclean does not pass over it, but it is for those who walk the way and no fools wander on it.” It is a highway of Holiness. Not a path, not a street, but a HIGHWAY for many.

We were challenged to walk in the culture of the kingdom; to change our national identity for our kingdom identity.

Ezekiel 34:11-13 “For thus said the Master Adoni, “See, Myself shall search for My sheeep and see them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so shall seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered in a day of cloud and thick darkness. And shall bring them out from the people’s and gather them from the lands, and shall bring them to their own land. And shall feed them on the mountains of Yisrael, in the valleys, and in all the dwellings of the land.”

Some closing thoughts: we need to conform to follow; being unified not uniform; with love as our common language.

Tomorrow we say goodby to “our land” … and head for Tel Aviv … our adventure is coming to a close and what an adventure it has been!

Day Seventeen – Shabbat

And we start over with our Torah readings … after Sukkot. So, today’s reading is Gen 1:1-6:9. 

I was not feeling well this morning, so I opted to stay in our room and read the Torah reading by myself and sleep off and on. By 2 ish I got up and showered and changed and went down to Ron & Candi’s room for a bite to eat but my attitude stunk. I came back to the room and fell onto my bed crying. I was hearing things like: “you are a second-hand citizen, you have noting to offer” and “you are no better than the woman at the well”. I began praying. Abba, I know you have brought me here … why? Please put a hedge of protection around my thoughts and mind and drifted off to sleep amongst the tears. When I awoke around 4:30ish I felt some better and decided to put on my “comfy clothes” and just hang out in our room for the rest of the day. However, I looked at the schedule and noticed that a couple was going to be talking on the role of men and women. I wanted to hear it, so I quickly changed my clothes again, spoofed up my hair and out the door I went. 

The room was crowded when I arrived with the women sitting on one side of the room and the men on the other. I found a chair in the back by the door (the only one open) and quickly realized that they were talking about Adam and Eve (how appropriate, based on our Torah portion). 

It was pointed out that Satan attacks us in the place of our strength, not our weakness. They likened Gen 3:6 to I John 2:16. Satan appealed to Eve’s senses, her strength, her desire ….. and she trusted in her own self judgement. Adam was created to guard and protect (Gen. 2:15), while Eve was created to be a helper/counterpart (Gen. 2:18). What was their sin? Adam chose to listen to Eve rather than Yah (thereby making her an idol) exposing her sin and he failed to guard and protect Eve. Eve on the other had chose to listen to the serpent rather than seeking advice from Adam. And then they both blamed Yah … Adam blamed Him for “The woman whom YOU gave me” and Eve blamed the serpent, a creature created by Yah. Neither took responsiblity for their own sin. 

The cycle of disobedience: trust is broken – shame – we hide – we are afraid – we blame

They then posed some questions: 

  • When were you last “naked” (emotional, being vulnerable) and unafraid?
  • What are you hiding that you are afraid of revealing?
  • What needs to be restored?

They then invited husbands and wives to reunite and let Abba guide them where trust had been broken. 

After the morning/afternoon I had had, I was already tearing up because Abba began speaking to me. He showed me that I have been so focused on the sins of my past husbands, that I had failed to see my own sin in those relationships. Wow! I began to cry. I knew I needed to get to a place of “safety” (my room) before I fell apart. Just as I got ready to leave a woman stepped up and began praying over me. It was all I could do to hold it together. When she finished, I quickly left and couldn’t get to my room fast enough. I fell before Abba confessing MY sin and repenting of MY part in the destruction of my marriages. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins! Hallelu-YAH!!

A piece of advice was given to the women at the end: stop trying to “fix” everything … that is not our job! Let the pieces fall and let Yah pick them up and put them back together … my new goal πŸ™‚

Day Sixteen – Friday

Today we heard more updates from congregations around the globe including some presented by video because they could not be present from Pakistan and Uganda. Then a lady gave a wonderful report on what is happening in India, Mizoram and Kashmir amongst persecution, Yah is continuing to open hearts and minds. 

We also heard from Ephriam Frank who encouraged us to live Torah, teach Torah, and be Torah to those around us by being a servant – putting others before ourselves. He likened being a servant to being an armor-bearer; who will risk his own life to protect. He also talked about Lev. 18:6 and likened “uncovering nakedness” to revealing the sin or faults of others in the “form” of asking for prayer for them. We are to pray for one another but not reveal each others sins and faults. He also explained that the word “Baruk” in our prayers in English really means “to bend the knee” … that is why you see the Jewish people bending during their prayers. It shows the ultimate in servanthood – to bend the knee such as in foot washing such as Yeshua has shown us. He also tied it to Gen 12:3 that He will “bend the knee” to those that we “bend the knee” to in servant hood. 

He then shared about Yeshua’s broken body … it was broken for us and we have morsels of His body in us and we are to share those morsels with others. 

We had a quiet afternoon for preparation of the coming Shabbat and then a wonderful Shabbat meal together. We then had a “festive evening” with music and dance. A young man from South Africa shared a song he had written about the prodical son – us as Ephriam, crying out to our brother Judah to forgive us and come in to the banquet hall; crying out for reconiliation. It brought tears to all eyes present and again a time of corporate repentance. 

Ariel (a Jewish settlement) on the hills of Judea (Samaria) … the home of Ephriam … 

Ere Shabbat dinner; sinks outside restrooms at hotel

Day Fifteen – Thursday

Today at the congress we heard updates from some of the countries attending the congress. We also heard from a lady from the Netherlands named Iris who has traveled to Papa New Guinea to minister to the indiginious peoples for about ten years now. Some thoughts that I wrote down from her presentation are:

  • We may be “hidden” but out light is burning
  • When you have “seen it”, you can’t “un-see it”
  • We have been born into a family not a denomination; with a shared past, present, and future
  • We are returning to “the Land” to fulfill Yah’s original plan
  • You can only “connect the dots” by looking backwards, which helps us then understand our future
  • She then likened our (Ephraimites) journey to Joseph in that he was a dreamer and his brothers were jealous of him – and our brother Judah is jealous of us (as has been prophesied); he was a source of salvation for his family – and we are a source, pointing to Messiah, of salvation to our families; he took on the role of the first-born – this is something we need to learn – what is the role and responsiblity of the first-born? he had two sons and called one Menashsheh, which means “forgetfulness” – many of us have come out of the church and want to “forget” our time and relationships there; he reigned and prospered outside of the promised land – we too, are outside of the promised land and experience Yah’s covering
  • She then posed ten questions for us to ponder:
  1. What does it mean to be the first-born? What is our role and responsiblity? Judges 8 talks about Gideon fighting a battle and when the battle was nearly done the tribe of Ephraim joined in and they won. We, like Ephriam, are called. We have no choice. Don’t be afraid of the darkness, because it is in the darkness that you can see the light. She also talked about making every day a Friday; a day of preparation. Noting that the Hebrews received a double portion every Friday in preparation for Shabbat. A portion of that manna was kept for future generations (us) and stored in the Holy of Holies. We need to approach the Holy of Holies for that double portion as a part of our preparation for Shabbat and live each day in preparation for Shabbat.
  2. How do we become less foreign to our brother Judah? When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he asked the Egyptians to leave the room and then showed himself to his brothers by revealing his circumcision. We, too, need to reveal to our brother Judah our circumcised hearts – do not give a “tract” but be a “tract”
  3. How do we take up our prophetic role in the midst of religious resistance? She likened Eldad and Meydad (Num 11:26) who received the anointing but prophecised in the camp and not in the Tabernacle. We too, have received the announcing, and are called to prophecize “out among the people”.
  4. What choices are before us today? She recalled when Moses spoke to Israel about their choice standing between the mountain of blessing and the mountain of curses and that Joshua took 12 stones and built an altar on the mountain of curses as a reminder that grace abounds – just a grace abounds through Yeshua today when we make bad choices. She reminded us that those 12 tribes chose heads of their tribes (much like those of us at the congress representing our countries today).
  5. After being delivered from exile, how do we prepare to to depart for the promised land? Is. 52:11-12 talks about not being in haste, waiting for His instructions. Jer. 16:19 reminds us all that we have inherited lies from our forefathers. Is. 63 and 35 talk about a Holy highway leading back to the promised land. Yah left His holy Tabernacle some 2000+ years ago to reside in the “tents of men” (our hearts). 
  6. How do we turn to get out of the womb to be birthed? Hosea 13:13-14 reminds us that we must first repent in order to “come out” (be birthed). See also Is. 26:17-18
  7. What happens when we have “found our way out”? Is. 66 reminds us that a nation cannot be made in a single moment; we need to be birthed into “the family”. Zach. 9:14-15 reminds us that Judah is like a bow and Ephraim is like an arrow. Each have different purposes – different roles to play, but they need each other. An arrow is made of a straight shaft and a bone on the tip (again each playing a specific role).
  8. Define the role of Judah and Ephraim recognizing that each are different.
  9. When Ephriam and Judah become one in Yah’s hand, there will be a new covenant. The new covenant has been given but not fully fulfilled. Jer. 31:31 talks about Yah giving a new covenant to both the house of Israel and Judah, not like the covenant made with their forefathers. 
  10. And finally, what is the affect on our lives today of the “new covenant”? Are we living IN the fulfillment of it or we living EXPECTING it to come? Matt. 26: 28 where Yeshua spoke of his blood being the renewed covenant and that He would not drink of it until “that day when I drink it anew with you in the reign of My Father”. She further reminded us that it is His blood that we have LIFE!

Later in the day we heard from Ron Campbell  on the “Road to Restoration”. He talked about the Prodical son and that when the son returned home he repented to his father but did not to his brother (the wasting of the Prodical’s inheritance affected the remaining inheritance of the older son). He commented that we are on a journey to restoration but we are not “there yet”. He also noted that what we know today, we didn’t know yesterday. And I don’t know what I will learn tomorrow – it is a progressive revelation/journey. He challenged us with the question “where does my story begin”? Noting that our identity does not determine our destiny. Going back to the prodical son, asking “what did the prodical son squander in the far county? His identity and destiny. But my story goes back to my father Abraham. It was out of the seed of Sarah (old and barren) that a miraculous birth occurred – that of Issac. And again, out of a barren womb (20 years) that two sons were born from Rebecca. Way back then, I was a part of that “seed”. Known before I was formed in my mothers womb. However, “I and my fathers have sinned” Dan 9:8, Ezra 9:6, Neh. 1:6-9. We then, as a group, spoke the sins of Ephraim: separatism, mixture, idolatry, complaining, replacment theology, disobedience, doing away with Torah, lack of trust, greed & murder, jealousy, rebellion, independence, hatred of our brother, selfish, arrogance, neglect of the pool, killing of our unborn, fortification … and Ron then asked “can we see these in our generation?” We then spent about 45 minutes crying out to Yah in repentance asking for forgiveness for these specific sins. It is a blessed memory. I was overcome with tears. 

We then broke for dinner and guess what … it began to rain … could that be prophecy fulfilled?

Day Fourteen – Wednesday

Today we checked out of our apartment in Jerusalem and huffed our luggage (thankfully all downhill) near the Mamilla Mall to catch a bus of fellow “B’Ney Yoseph” travelers headed to Areil. We arrived in Areil around 12:30 pm, got checked in (which took about 45 minutes), got to our room and I promptly took a nap :). 

There are “relatives” from the Netherlands, Canada, Peru, Sri Lanka, Fuji, and other European countries – 15 all total. We have our first gathering in about 20 minutes. This year’s focus is getting to know “our family” (each other) and build relationship. 

As I left Jerusalem, I was reminded of something Moshe at the Shorshime Shop said when we visited his shop … “you “see” with your ears” … you don’t just see children singing and playing in the streets, you see prophecy being fulfilled … you don’t just see cranes and expansion going on, you see prophesy being fulfilled … you don’t just see bigger fruits here in the land, you are seeing prophesy being fulfilled” Wow!! In our lifetime, too! And the promise of the reconcillation of Judah and Ephriam is also prophesy being fulfilled … you can see the “winds blowing”, you know it is coming … may it come soon!

Another thing that struck me was the roads here … they are wide, with numerous lanes, and appear to have been just paved … very good shape considering the shape of our roads back home. 

Most of the buildings here are built our of “Jerusalem stone” or limestone and retains both the cold and heat. I’ve also heard that they recycle 85% of their waste water to irrigate their fields … we saw cotton fields, fig, grapes, pomegranates, dates, etc. 

As we drove here we went past what appeared to be several large manufacuring buildings with LOTS of cars surrounding the buildings. Just out of curiosity, we looked online at home (apartment) prices here in the land … ranging from around $250,000 and up to the millions … I’m not sure how people can afford to live here and these prices are for apartments with no land … wow!

Till tommorow … 

Day Thirteen – Tuesday

We had an early start today, meeting at the Jaffa Gate for a tour with Hanoch Young. We went up on the Temple Mount; a very solome experience. We exited through the Moslem quarter, which was dark and depressing. We then went to the Davidson exhibit of excavations on the south side of the temple mount and saw actual steps that lead up to the temple mount from the second temple. We had about 20 minutes at the Kotel (Western Wall) and I got to go up and pray at the wall. As I approached the wall I started weeping and shaking all over. When I got to the wall and put my forehead up against it, I nearly lost it. I was overwhelmed with the immensity of what I am today witnessing and that He has chosen me to be a part of this time in history. It was very emotional for me. We then took a tour of the tunnels below the temple mount – again very interesting. There is one stone way below the “street level” that was about 85 feet long and about 13 feet tall … 535 pounds of rock. And we think we have such advanced technology. πŸ™‚ We then went to the “Burnt House” that described the devastation of Jerusalem by the Romans and how the second temple was destroyed. Then we went to the Wahl Museum that showed ruins of Jerusalem (under the current street level) that, again, happened during the Roman overthrow. 

It is quite amazing, the history and ruins that go back not only hundreds of years but thousands of years. 

Tomorrow we need to Areil and the B’ney Yoseph Congress will begin tomorrow night …

Day Twelve – Eighth Day of Sukkot (a Holy Day)

So, we got up and had a lazy morning (again) with a late breakfast. Zel went with the Knutson’s and Gish’s to Masada, so Ron, Candi, and I spent some time listening to teachings on the eighth day of Sukkot and how it relates to prophecy. Around 10:30 am I could hardly hold my eyes open so I went into my room and layed down to take a nap listening to music by Sons of Korah … I drifted off to sleep and in my sleep I kept hearing the sounds of men singing. I thought that was odd since it was a High Holy day and drifted back to sleep. Finally I came to my senses enough to realize that I really was hearing the voices of men singing. So, I got up and mentioned it to Ron and Candi. We all quickly pulled on our shoes and went out to Yaffa Street to find a group of about a dozen or so men in the street holding Torah scrolls (six of them) dancing and singing. Someone had pulled out a table and put out liter bottles of pop, water, and juice along with plastic cups. A crowd was growing as people heard their singing. It was very cool to watch. 

You see, the eighth day of Sukkot is a day of celebration – a day of anticipation when Yah will return for his Bride under the Sukka. Even now (at nearly 5 pm) I can hear the voices of men singing drifting through the air.

As the sun is beginning to set, I am at peace and feel so much “at home”. Our time here in Jerusalem is coming to a close … all too quickly. Oh, to be able to live here. To attend all the feasts and learn more about the deeper meaning in each one of them … to “practice” for when the Briegroom will return. Until that time …


Day Eleven – SundayΒ 

Today was our last day for shopping. We had a super fruit salad made of dragon fruit, pomegranate, cantaloupe, and mango. The fruits are so big here .. the Mellon was bigger than a football and the pomegranate bigger than a softball. Below are some pics looking up Yoffa street. We took one more trip to the shuk … a pic below of how they sell spices. We’ve had our (8th day) Shabbat dinner and are ready for our last Shabbat in the city.