Hello all. So we just finished our second full day here in Jerusalem. What an amazing place. One thing that really took me back was the number of different people groups that are here. This is truly a melting pot – Northern, Southern, and Central Europeans are all over this city too along with the Jews and Arabs. We have met some Americans here as well. There’s such a bond when you see people in a foreign land that you have something in common with. I can only imagine how Jesus felt when he was here. He was so relational to the people that he interacted with. I guess I’d have to say that’s one (of the many) things that God has been putting on this teams’ heart – to be relational with the people we encounter so that we may be Jesus to those that don’t know Him.
One thing you can pray for us about is that God helps us do just that. We need to find common ground with the people we’ll encounter so that they’ll be more receptive to our message – that Jesus is the Son of God and that He saves! Being in Jerusalem can be overwhelming in many aspects: cultural, religious, and even the heat. Despite these things, we definitely know that God brought us here for a reason.
As you’ve probably already read, we’re staying in an incredible place on the Via Dolorosa where Jesus walked on His way to be crucified. Also close to us is the Dome of the Rock, which is an absolutely gorgeous building, but is also a spiritually dark place. By seeing such a building, I can’t help but think of what a stronghold this place is for the devil. We’ve been to some “significant” spiritual places while we’ve been here, but honestly, the spirit of some of those places was pretty dark. I can’t think of a better way for the enemy to take ahold of people than by disguising himself in “holy” places and leading people astray in false beliefs under the guise of “religion.” Please pray against this.
On a lighter note, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane and once again up the Mount of Olives. The garden was truly peaceful and had olive trees that were 2000 years old. I could see why Jesus would go to such a place when going through so much mental and emotional torment before being crucified. Praying there was truly an amazing experience.
Tomorrow – Tel Aviv! And we start doing street evangelism. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and we’ll keep you all updated on how the evangelism goes.
This is a guest post by my wife Tabitha. She just came back from serving in Haiti and was kind enough to share her thoughts.
1 month ago I kissed my husband goodbye and stepped on a plane for Port Au Prince, Haiti. As the plane took off, I began to pray that God would keep me safe, that he would stretch my faith, and that he would use me to love and serve the people of Haiti. Since I have gotten back, people have asked me: “ How was Haiti?”. I have tried to answer that question the best that I could, but I have struggled with the ability to process my emotions and the things that God has whispered to my heart. I am not a writer and artistic expression is not my gift , so it has been hard for me to put into words what I saw and felt. But, I want so badly to tell the story of Haiti – of God’s amazing and unfailing love for His children. So here goes….
GOD SEND ME OUT!
It was November. I remember it so well because it’s what I have come to call my emotional train wreck! For a period of 2 months, my heart began to break as I became more aware of the global orphan crisis. 147 MILLION ORPHANS became a phrase that plagued my heart and moved me to action. And so I began to pray. I could feel that God was preparing me for something, but I didn’t know in what capacity. Mike and I started to pray about sponsoring a 2nd child through Compassion International. I will never forget scrolling down the list of children in Kenya, Africa. “ How do you pick just one” ? I was thrilled that we were going to sponsor another child and as I began to pray for sweet Susan Mutave and send her stickers and pictures, my heart continued to ache for these children all over the world. It wasn’t uncommon for me to stand in the back of the room at church with tears streaming down my face as God opened my eyes to a hurting and suffering world. How could I sing these songs and cry these tears and not physically do something? My husband is my spiritual leader and I am so thankful that he listens to me as I cry and ask the tough questions. He also began to pray for what God was going to teach me and what it would mean for our family. I remember one specific day where I prayed to the Lord to SEND ME OUT. And that is exactly what He did. Looking back at my journal entries through the winter and spring months, I can see where God began to piece His plan together for me. He began to burden my heart for the abandoned, the broken, and the forgotten. And then in May, I received a phone call from a sweet friend Sarah Jane asking if I wanted to travel with her to Haiti for a disaster relief trip. As I listened to the details unfold, I stood speechless – watching the Lord answer my prayers. Mike and I met with the team leader for the trip and he began to share his heart for the Haitian people and the community that we would serve. And then he told me that the cost of my trip would be paid if I could go. What?!? You see it turns out that as I was praying for God to send me out, a sweet couple that I had never met decided that they wanted to pay for someone to go to Haiti. They didn’t feel healthy enough to make the trip with the conditions there, but in their faithfulness, they wanted to send someone. And that was me.
Many of you have asked me to blog about my trip and I don’t have one 🙂 so I am going to post notes to tell about the amazing things God taught me while in Haiti. Day 1 soon!