Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I’ve arrived in Israel. I kind of expected a bit more fanfare in my heart, but I had no time to savor the moment, as it was rush through passport, rush through customs, then to the baggage claim. Thank God, all my bags arrived, mildly beaten up, but intact. I was met at the airport and whisked off to our hotel at breakneck speed. Er….driving here seems kind of without rules????
I have to start lessons after lunch. I’m exhausted right now, and only have an hour to rest a bit. I’m exasperated too, because I can’t open the plastic container holding my voltage adapters and so, I can’t plug anything in. These plastic containers are the invention of Satan.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Well, yesterday I did finally get my voltage adapters open and working….and then even though exhausted from jet lag and no sleep, I sat in lectures all day. Then we did some phone calling, offering New Testaments for free gifts as a Passover promotion. Believe it or not, we made over 200 phone calls last night, and had several good conversations with Israelites and many wanted to receive the New Testament. In addition, in one lunchtime outreach event (sortie) we had 12 Jewish people who do not yet know the Lord give us their information and express interest in knowing more!
I have to say with a bit of a smile here (although it’s not funny) this is the first outreach training I’ve had where bomb shelters and gas mask procedures were discussed and put into place! I pray we don’t have any reason for this information! Everyone, save a few, is new to the world of street evangelism and so this training is really important.
It’s late in the evening now. All lectures are done for the day, now I just have to write my testimony, study my scripture memory verses for tomorrow, prepare for my test on today’s lectures, memorize the proposal statement (a gospel presentation geared specifically for Israelis), finish reading my last book (ha ha, it’s got 1150 pages and I’m only on page 77), then sleep briefly and up and at ‘em at 6:15am for cardio exercises. I’m not kidding.
We got 17 contacts today from Jewish people who do not yet know the Lord, who were interested in receiving New Testaments. This is a very exciting start, since these little evangelistic outings are mainly to help those new to street evangelism get their feet wet with small baby steps.
Friday, April 25, 2008
This morning, we had more role playing in preparation to go out in the street. We literally had to role play being beaten to the ground, being stoned, being trapped, being in the midst of a terrorist attack and lastly, being arrested. Some people think it is illegal to do evangelism in Israel. This is NOT the case. It is very legal. However, when doing the kind of street ministry we are doing, you have to be prepared for hostility and opposition.
Needless to say, when we then went out into the streets for my very first sortie (tract passing outreach) here, I was a bit unnerved and praying constantly, thinking what on earth have I gotten myself into! But, I have to admit, it was AWESOME! We can only distribute literature for 30 minutes at a time for safety reasons, because that is about the amount of time it takes for an organized opposition to form.
So, my team was out for our 30 minutes and I kept running into Russians, which was awesome, and I got a contact from a sweet Russian couple. Then I was talking to a sincerely interested Israeli couple when this man near us starting getting crazy irate and screaming in Hebrew at me and them, and my partner. He was tearing tracts up and throwing things at us and screaming at the top of his lungs. Jesus was so there, though. I did not feel afraid at all. (Besides that, I couldn’t understand most of what he was screaming anyways!) And, the couple was not even deterred by him, in fact; I think it made them all the more curious. So, that was a wonderful experience and now, I’m excited to do it again!
This is later in the evening. We broke from lectures early for Shabbat. Now that I have experienced a glorious Sabbath service here in Israel… well, Sabbath will never be the same for me. Let’s just say waterproof mascara is a complete fallacy. The praise was in Hebrew mostly and was awe inspiring. The Torah portion study was profound. Ok, the meal was yucky, but I was floating on air, so it didn’t matter. Then, the crowning jewel of the night was a Shabbat walk on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea… I literally took a picture of my foot, in a small wave….in that sea, on Shabbat, in Israel, during Pesach. (Passover) Now, how many times have you seen that? Not many I think. AND….tomorrow I can sleep in and no crazy exercises to inspire teamwork on the beach that make us look incredibly insane to local passersby…don’t ask. I will not be providing any pictures of that!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Today is Shabbat (Sabbath). We went to Calvary Chapel in Tel Aviv. The praise and worship was incredible and the sermon was exactly what I needed to hear. It dealt with the reality of what it means to truly take up our cross….that we often have a lighter assumption about it, and it is truly the road to death. The cross is not pretty, and whatever it is, it leads to death. It’s not like, oh, I’ve got to drive this car another two years until it’s paid off before I can get a new one….I guess it’s my cross to bear! See what I mean? How many times have we made light of it? Talk about conviction!
I spent the entire afternoon holed up in my tiny room studying for midterms on Sunday. My brain was screaming. Outside, for about 5 hours, I heard this non-stop chanting and drum beating by Hare Krishnas. It was mind numbing. Finally, I could not stand studying one more second, so I took a walk to Jaffa. I passed by the Hare Krishnas all singing and dancing wildly on the promenade and was appalled to see the huge crowd they attracted….passing out candy to children….it was upsetting. I prayed them away. I came back down the beachfront, and just communed with God. I noticed I was leaving footprints in the sand, and was reminded of the poem….so I took a picture of my own “footprints in the sand”, in Israel. I know it’s goofy, but I think things like that. I’m easily amused.
We then had 2 hours of study hall because this mid-term is a nightmare. But, the positive news is, if I make at least a C in the course work, I get credits from Israel College of the Bible. I wonder how much I really want that? It started out as cool incentive….now, I’m afraid I’d be satisfied with getting enough answers correct to be allowed to go out and do the street work. I’m craving sleep. The food is kind of yuck. Leftovers and leftovers. We see the same food morning, noon and night. So far…the humus is good. That’s about it.
At any rate, I took my midterm. Now my hand is cramped into a claw, which might be frightening to small children….but at least the test is finished…until tomorrow when we start a whole new series of lectures. I’m sharing my testimony this afternoon and I feel nervous. I don’t like to speak in front of groups…but the Lord continues to stretch me that way. I just pray for the time to come when that sick feeling goes away. I believe we will go on an outreach this afternoon. That I cannot wait for. I want to speak to everyone I see, and share Jesus with them. I pray for His wisdom and discernment and for an anointing to come upon me and each one of us. We’re praying for a mighty move of God here. Oh, let it be, Jesus. Let your people come to see You as Who You truly are….their only Hope, their Jewish Messiah.
Maimonades said in the 12th article of Jewish Faith (there were 13), “I believe in perfect faith, in the coming of the Messiah. And even though He tarries, I will wait for Him everyday.” Is that not beautiful??? That makes me want to cry. Because I believe in perfect faith that Messiah has come, and is here and His atonement is available right now. How I wish all of Israel truly believed in perfect faith for the coming of the Messiah. Most aren’t even looking and couldn’t care less. Tel Aviv is a very secular city and Israeli’s, especially the 20’s crowd, are repulsed by their Judaism and repulsed by faith. God help.
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