Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy 4 months...

Four months ago we said tearful goodbyes, kissed our nephew and boarded a plane. 
With anticipation, excitement, nervousness and a word from God, we left our life, family and jobs behind.
Sometimes I think we were crazy! Most times I am so thankful that God has called us to this place, for this time. 

As I reflect on our months gone so far, a few things stick out. Please, let me share them with you:

1. I really like my husband. I mean, I love him too, but I genuinely like him! He's funny, sweet, considerate and strong. I like his jokes and personality, I like spending time with him! I guess, in the back of my mind, I thought there would be times we would get sick of each other. Maybe its because people kept warning me that we would, maybe its because I get sick of me sometimes, so he surely would too! But I can honestly say, I am not sick of Andrew. In fact, I wish I could spend more time with him! 

2. Israel is really different that Canada. I knew this in my head, but living here is a whole different thing. Beyond the tourist sights, the schwarma's and hummus, Israel is not an easy place to live. Its loud, HOT, expensive, HOT, tense and, most surprising to canadians, still developing! It has the sheen of a first world country, but it doesn't take much digging to see that its not there yet. Also, it makes me laugh. For instance, the youth group ages are from the time you are, instead of ages, "bar mitzvahed" until "army time". Like I said, its different here. Did I mention its hot here too?

3. We really love Israel. Yes, it is all those things that #2 said, but when God places you somewhere, for any amount of time, He usually gives you a heart for that place too. I love that we drive for an hour and reach Lebanon, or that we can head east and be at the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) where Jesus walked on water! There is so much history and significance here. The bible comes alive when you see the locations in front of you! 

4. God wants us to thrive. He doesn't expect us to suffer through life, but instead, He wants us to call out to Him for refreshing and renewal! He wants us to live a full, joyful, Godly life. Now, Im not saying that we wont suffer, have bad days, weeks or months, because we might! But, when we understand that we are free in Him, free to be who He created us to be, we are free indeed! 

5. I have had an easy life. I have loving parents, an amazing family, a church who supports me, a husband who is faithful, kind and strong. I am so blessed. There are people out there who have none of that. There are people who are repeatedly hurt, taken advantage of, abused, who have never experienced the love of God. People who need to hear about His love and desperately need to hear truth. No, I haven't had a perfect life and, at times, have been miserable. But really, God has protected me from a lot. 

And so, we enter into another month away from the great white north. We are excited for whats in store next, for each day that we have here, and for each lesson that God teaches us. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We love days off!

We had a WONDERFUL day this week! We got a van and split the cost of gas, then drove all over eastern Israel! First we started the day at a place called Gan HaSchlosha. Basically its 3 pools that are filled with water from a natural spring. Its beautiful and the cool water was a welcome break from the heat! (which reached close to 40!) 

We had a couple rafts with, since its quite deep and long! 

My dear british friend!

After a picnic lunch, we headed to the Jordan River, where Yeshua was apparently baptized.

There were tons of cat fish, looking for a meal! We couldn't resist trying to catch a few! We did not succeed.

(A friend here braided the side of my hair, it makes me feel/look like a bit of a punk! But I like it.) 

Then we headed to the steaming hot Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) where we struggled not to melt!

Its a huge place! You can almost see Jordan!

Then we cried uncle to the heat and headed home in our air conditioned van. Thank God for AC! 
We had a great day, with some amazing friends! I love how full of history this place is! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Traveling (and the missing-ness of it)

I love to travel. 
I love the excitement and adventure, the scary and good, the strange customs and new cultures. I am in love with countries I have never been to and people I have never met. 
I love living our life with intention, knowing we are making a difference, closely following the Lords directions. 
A part of me comes alive when I travel. A part that, in Canada, mostly hibernates, occasionally coming out at the sight of a travel book. I feel I am a stronger believer when I travel, when Im out of my comfort zone and praying for each step. 
I love to travel.

But there are different sides to travel. While it has many many joys, there is also the ever present missing-ness. 
Usually missing home (well, the people back home) is easy to live with. I think of them and in the back of my mind theres an ever running dialogue. I think of how they would love or hate a certain experience, or how that shirt is so totally "her" and how badly I would love to be at the beach, swimming with that precious little one. 
Most of the time its do-able and live-able and not so bad. 

Sometimes it rears its head when I least expect it. 
Like now.

 I was watching a video of a friends wedding. My sister-in-law choreographed a dance for the wedding party. There they are, dancing and looking gorgeous and all of a sudden, Im in tears. I just wanted to be there. I want to cheer them on and laugh with them, I want to dance along. 
But I cant. 
Im so very far away and overwhelmed with the distance, wishing it all away, wishing I could jump in the car and be with them in a few minutes. 

I know it will pass, probably by the time I finish this post! But I want to be real about our time away. Not every day is sunshine. (Well, is Israel, we literally have sunshine every day...) Some days are hard. Some days start early and end late and the in between is filled with laughter and fun, yes, but also the frustration of attempting to parent children that are not actually mine. 

Some days I pray so hard, Im surprised that God doesn't get sick of hearing from me. I walk through a full range of emotions each day: thankfulness, anger, joy, delight, frustration, confusion, you name it!

Now don't get me wrong. 
We love what we do. 
Love it. 
We are thankful for each day, that God has us here for this season, and we know it will fly by! 
We also are very aware that God is refining us, allowing us to be in situations that stretch and challenge us, so that we rely more fully on Him.
Im fine with that. Actually, I thankful for it! I know I have so much to learn! But the process is painful and, sometimes, ugly. 

Today was hard. I miss my people, my flavours, my alone time! But I will go to bed tonight, thankful, and when I wake up, I will praise the God who so wisely called us here. He has so much for us to learn and we are grateful for every opportunity. 

In the meantime, Im going to crank up some music and have my own little dance party! (Im starting to feel better already!) 

Monday, July 9, 2012

This week:

We played with an adorable 2 year old. (No they are not sleeping, he was ticking her)

We spent a day at the beach and found some giant jellyfish! They should be gone in a few week though, so we can go back to swimming again!) 

We had a (rare) date day and an even more rare lunch out! We had amazing giant burgers, they were such a treat!!

Our view from the restaurant, overlooking the port of Haifa. 

After the burgers, we relaxed in the park, where I read and Andrew played paparazzi! 

We had "Team Extreme" here, from America. They did some crazy stuff! Like blowing up a hot water bottle! 

And breaking slabs of concrete with their hands!
 And ripping a phone book in half! 

We went and visited the location where Elijah called down fire and defeated the prophets of Baal. (You can read the story in 1 Kings 18:16-40)

And had a beautiful view of the Valley of Armageddon (found in Revelation)

And I fell more in love with this little one! 

We hope you are having a blessed week!