I’ve been feeling recently to post some of my more meaningful travel experiences that I shared as email updates before I had the blog.
For me visiting Israel last summer was a lifetime highlight. I got to go with my spiritual brother, Peter-Michael, who God often sends me out “two-by-two” with.
I’ll repost some of the stories here in a few blog posts. My prayer is as you read these you will be inspired to go visit this special land yourself and ask God to reveal Himself and what He is doing there to you in a special, personal way!
Hope you enjoy!
For those of you who don’t know, while Peter and I were in London God opened the door for us to go to Israel and get a personal tour with our new friend, a dear Christian woman named Annie, who has lived in Israel and works in the film industry!
This is a dream come true for me. I prayed ages ago that I wanted to visit Israel but not just on a tour group, with someone who knows the land like it’s home. Well He did it!!!
We just arrived today!!!
I thought I’d make a sort of email diary of stories as I have time to write them. I will also be putting stuff on my instagram/Facebook.
So here goes…
Flew from SFO to NYC then NYC to Tel Aviv…
You know you’re going somewhere special when you share the plane with Hasidic Jews!
I really love this picture. The father and son took turns reading and praying. Later the dad would rest and the son took out his scriptures and began to read and pray them out loud.
I was really overcome by their zeal. Maybe eight different Jews following different rabbis’s (you can tell which group they are from based upon their outfits) stood up at different times and put on their prayer shalls and prayed right on the plane by the bathrooms. One of them even went up and down the isles asking if anyone else would like to borrow his prayer elements to pray. He led the person sitting next to me through basic Hebrew blessings. I was so moved! And we blessed each other. Wow!!! God started early on this trip!!!
Our first stop is staying at a Christian Guest House in Tel Aviv which has been a refuge for Christian pilgrims since the 1800! It’s called Beit Emmanuel (house of Emanuel).
(if any of you would like more info on any of the places we go or things we do just reach out to me!)
Our guest house is walking distance from the sea shore! As soon as I checked in this sweet couple who works here took me down to the beach and gave me a grand tour of Jaffa (the area by the sea shore). Turns out our guest house is also walking distance from the traditionally recognized location of Simon the Tanner’s House where the Apostle Peter had the vision from God to “call nothing unclean that I have called clean”! (I’m pointing to it in the picture below)… but before I can get there… I gotta go swimming!!!
I really wanted to do a trip like this because it allows us to go at our own pace and let the Spirit lead. He really did here. I stopped to pray at Simon the Tanner’s house and felt to linger. I sat down alone on the steps and after not more than 2 minutes two Jews come walking by and asked me where I’m from. I tell them and they ask me more questions. They seem genuinely interested in why I’ve come here at night… alone! This encounter gets really wild. Turns out one of the Jews didn’t know what the significance of Simon the Tanners house was (which helped me see that I shouldn’t assume Jews know the Jesus story!), so I got to share that part of the gospel with him! And then the other guy asks how it is that me, coming from a Jewish family, chose to follow Jesus. This question allowed me to share my testimony!!! This led to a 40 minute conversation about God and faith.
Below are pictures of me with one of the guys.
Would you please pray with me for both these men? It was a very interesting experience. I felt totally safe doing this. God hand picked the right Jews to bring down those winding ally stairs to meet me tonight. One of them was a non-practicing “cultural” Jew. And he had some very interesting interpretations of scripture. He actually agreed that the big picture is that all humanity is God’s children and no one is “better” than another. But the equal “under God” part I could tell he didn’t like. It was fascinating to realize that he had managed to gather strange interpretations of scripture that allowed him to more or less do what he wants without having to be accountable fully “under God”. At the end of the day it was a great example of how our job is to share, but God has to give them an encounter. These men knew the law, they didn’t know a personal Jesus. I hope they experienced Him tonight!
I feel like God is showing me how to honor Jews, and love them with Christ’s love without compromising my beliefs. I actually felt comfortable enough at the end to say “you know we can disagree and still be brothers”. Which is how we parted. Which I think is evident by the way we were able to embrace in the photos.
When I returned back to the guest house I got to thank my hosts for telling me about Simon’s house, and share about the experience I just had with the two men. If they hadn’t told me about it I wouldn’t have even thought to go there tonight. The husband blessed me and said “God’s really using you” (nice to hear ;). He prayed for “the encounters where I can share the gospel and my testimony to increase”. They were really encouraged by what God did!
Now I am back in our room waiting for Peter and Annie (our new friend and guide from London) to arrive later tonight.
Here are a few more pics of Jaffa at night…