Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back in the USA

Shalom aleichem!

I called Bob from Newark this morning, a few hours after we arrived at about 6. He wasn't looking forward to a call at about 3:30 am when we first arrived. He said all is well there and we are anxious to see everyone and talk! He said he would let everyone know we are back in the states safely, too.

Well, now here we are at Cleveland airport with not a kippah in sight. We were just getting used to hear Hebrew all over and "toda" for thank you, and "bevekesha" for you're welcome...though all of us are convinced we need to know more conversational Hebrew. Rachel is online looking for a course now. We each have some shekels leftover, and I found a Euro among my coins, and Janell found a Canadian dollar. Had a good cheeseburger for lunch when we got here. (No meat and dairy together for 10 days! Lots and lots of shredded vegetables and pita bread and hummus. Really nice fresh lemonade, apple juice and some kind of great grapefuit soda.)

The flight home seemed less difficult; Janell pointed out perhaps it was because it was the first 12 hours rather than the last 12 of traveling? We were surprised to see that our route went quite a bit futher north than originally shown. First flight path was over Paris, but when we actually got going, it was over Berlin, much of Europe, tip of Norway, and off the shores of Iceland at 34,000 feet. The kosher meals were very good and fresh this time, though we know now we won't need to ask for them again, as there were other options of chicken and fish with no sign of any kind of pork at all. Customs was no trouble at all, other than the usual questions about the banner tube. Rachel remembered as we neared Newark that they wouldn't let her bring in the beautiful fresh cherries she had from the Golan Heights so she shared them all around. They had no problem with Janell's baklavah however so that is safely here.

Just one more short flight of about an hour and we should be home as expected, about 3:30 pm at Austin Straubel.

We were beginning the reflection process over lunch and know that we have a lot to share, and as expected, not all about Creation Gospel.

There are several new people who'd like to join our teleconferences. Some are men so we will consider involving men as well as women, which I think would be no issue for most! We now have invitations to visit Messianic friends all over America, a few in Canada as well as our Marsha, not to mention New Zealand. A couple from Indiana, Joanne and Cliff Hall, are intending to come up and visit us soon. (Congrats to Joanne who tested and was certified as Basic CG Trainer!)

Not sure but we think Tony may have uploaded videos of our shofar/banner worship time at the bunker between Israeli and Syian outposts. Rachel has established a Photobucket account so everyone can upload their digital pictures so everyone can access each other's pictures as needed. Technology is great, when it works! I never did open up the H2Zoom recorder, but Tammy Taylor made video recordings and we have most of them. Tony stayed with basic concepts and Hollisa reviewed something of seals and bowls, without ever really getting into the wicked lamp portion very much. There was to have been an assignment for advanced students as well as teaching and a final testing but it will all be post trip now; no idea when or where. We received the materials the second day here I think, and I have only been able to skim through the first 20 pages or so. Much to do!

Hope everyone enjoyed finishing the Binding of Isaac teaching on Shavuot. We are looking forward to hear how it all went. Janell and I both "won" copies of Scroll of David book Tony wrote, which we plan to send on to Peter and Samson; and then on the final bus trip to the airport, Tony put out a suggestion that he thought no one would be able to do: name everyone on the bus! Several people said, "Barb can do it!" so I tried, and praise Yeshua! yes, I was able to name all! So now we have 3 more of Tony's DVD's coming our way: Messianic Samson, another one on the psalms and a third one none of us can recall.

Ariel Klimmer invited Janell and I to attend a 10 hour a day, 10 day class in October with him; and then of course, there is MDCI tour in November. Hollisa said she is planning to go to Nairobi for Sukkot, if funds are available, and has been in touch with Peter. We really would like to be there, too! What is YHWH doing here? We will need to keep on praying for His direction, not ours!

Rachel has gotten a little news from Facebook: glad to hear that our little Henry is gaining weight well, and sad to hear that Mildrid is now missing her dog who has been ill, and died. Imagine there is a LOT more to hear about, too. After we sleep about 12 hours, I think.

Blessings in Messiah to all!
Barb

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our last night here at Merchavya!

Shalom all;

Well, this is our last evening here. Tomorrow afternoon or early evening, we will be on our way to the airport for a late night departure. Very ready and NOT ready to leave; how Hebrew of us, yes? Merchavya would be a nice place for us all to stay! They gave us a nice meal in their restaurant this evening.

No power problem here tonight so I may write a bit more. En Gedi, goat springs; was beautiful and refreshing despite the changes and development that has gone on here. Who can argue with some boardwalks, a refreshment stand and restrooms under a type of grass mat circular roof?
As I stood on the path, looking at all the little caves around and along the path, mostly straight up stone and gravel walls, I was reminded again of the picture of King David and his men hiding here while being nurtured in the midst of the desert; rather like life for us. A picture of how we can be hidden in the cleft of our Rock, Messiah. I went ahead of those who decided to wade in the pond so I could get up to the second level destination, David's Falls. The circular bowl of the rocks overhead still leave the impression of protection as the water fall brings life to the area, despite the falling in of the ground toward the waters, leaving a smaller area for just a few people rather than an entire group. This time, I noticed people far overhead, at the third and highest level of rock path climbing up to the very top of the cavern/falls. I opted NOT to go that much higher, and later learned our tour guide had threatened to leave behind anyone that DID! I think it required mountaingoat hiking boots to do it. I was quite content with where I was. As I returned I stopped in the shadow of a rock for a respite from the sun, and realized I was, as it were, half way between life and death: the life offered in the respite of the rocks, and the death of the salt sea at the entrace. As I looked across the cavern, I saw the semblance of a face in pockmarked caves, sort of like Golgoltha. Clearly the picture of our life here; and our choice to move one way or the other, in a spiritual sense!

We did then go to the Mineral Beach where many tried out the Sea waters after we had a sandwich lunch. 20 shekels for a towel, 10 shekels back on its return. Boaz warned it is best to use theirs and return them, as keeping your own wet towel could become unpleasant in order before very long. ( Almost time to go and I am still trying to remember that the bronze coins are worth less than the silver ones...paper shekels spend really fast, when it is on average 50-75 shekels for a sandwich! )Tony promised not to do any photos of anyone in the water, but a few of us did get pictures of just those we knew! It was delightful there on the grass, under a netting shield from the sun, looking out over the palms and flowers, sun umbrellas, sand and Sea. All too soon, time to move on.

A brief trip to the Ahava factory, with a movie about their history and products then personal consultations.. Yes, I bought some for us to share; though they didn't want to let Rachel out the door without a purchase, and nearly dragged her back in. Beautiful place with glass windows in the "lobby" area, so you can see the production and bottling process. Now I just have to remember the credit on taxes I am supposed to get at the airport before we board our plane.


I can see I will have to go back through the itinerary in order to recapture some of our experiences as so much as happened in such a short time. We had an evening in Jerusalem once again, at the same hotel, which some spent taking a taxi to Ben Yehuda Blvd. for some final shopping time, while some of us speant time just talking and getting acquainted more in the lobby. Some of us stayed up a bit later than others, but we were all up and on the bus by 8:15 am anyway. Ask Rachel and Janell about that taxi ride! QUITE exciting!

We arrived here late yesterday and were too tired to do much else, as has been true so many days. This morning we had breakfast between 7 and 8 and were on our way north by 8:30.

Objective: the Golan Heights. We passed north along the border with Jordan once again, and had a good view of the Sea of 'Galilee both there and back. In between, we made it up to Tel Dan , had lunch on the highest point overlooking 3 valleys, with bunkers to walk through and over; and I think, Tel Roma? Kibbutzim; the northernmost one in the Land. Their industry is a winery, and doing subtitles for films in Israel-some from Hollywood and other original ones as well. We saw a short film about the Valley of Tears battle of the tanks which was very moving and inspirational.

Afterwards, we went to a recently used bunker which was open and again, blew shofars and had opportunity for use of banners. An Israeli plane circled soon after our arrival; making some question if they wondered what on earth we were doing there, or as Boaz said, were just making a routine surveillance run. Blue, Orange, Purple and Red came out here. We were in direct line of vision of the Syrian army outpost as well as having the Israeli major observational equipment behind us. Boaz told us that with this equipment, they could read license plates in Damascus, which is about 40 miles away. Much of the security is now electronic along many of the roads; if anyone touches the fence, it will be known within seconds and a few feet of the place. No one felt inclined to try it out.

It seemed a moment for declaration of praise, majesty, peace and covering. Boaz, our tour guide, mentioned our banner worship and warfare though it seems a foreign concept to most of the people on the trip. Several asked questions and took pictures; not exactly our intention! But, Yeshua be praised anyway! Would have loved a rousing chorus of Zealous for Zion or On Your Walls. We did sing Hine Go Aleinu Chai! after we had gone all around the bunkers in praise.

Ever been in the Rockies? Remember those switchbacks, where the road makes hairpin turns as it snakes up and down mountains? Well, we were on a very narrow, mostly one lane road with such turns that we wondered if the bus could negotiate them, but bless him, Ibrahaim was up to the task. At one point, we came around a bend, facing OUT over the valley when there was a terrible scraping noise! I thought we had hit up against the concrete bunker there but later learned it was the front of the bus dragging on the bottom. The vew was incredible; WISH we could convey the depth, majesty and grandeur of it but I am afraid even the pictures will only give you a small taste. Rachel commented that perhaps our driver deserved even more for his tip! Hopefully, Rachel will get some more pictures on tonight, but meanwhile, check out the "offical " blog site. Did you know how fast even lithium batteries run down when you are taking pictures so frequently? She has borrowed several!

TOny has found an ethernet connection so he has had his sons uploading the videos and pictures. Maybe a little better flavor of the experience!

Boaz has an expression for refreshment breaks: he calls them "coffee in" and "coffee out" stops.... on one of these stops, Rachel rode a camel, and I found an olive wood drum for our worship instruments. I bartered it down a bit, then also got a small elephant carving; and the shop keeper threw in a beaded bracelet. I think I didn't get such a good bargain after all perhaps.

From the sand mountains near En Gedi, to the white limestone all over Jerusalem, we crossed over the Jordan River several times today. THis is also the Africa Asia rift, and on the opposite side, which is the Golan Heights area, there is just field after field with basalt, dark black rocks everywhere! OH, and the left over land mines are still there; too many and too old to defuse so the cows still wander the fields among them, and sometimes one doesn't come home. We were sternly cautioned NOT to explore around the area and I must say, THIS time there was no problem with compliance. But at a memorial garden, both the men and the boys could be found on top of the tank.; an old rusted Centurian if I recall correctly. THere really are a number of remains of tanks, or as Rachel said, 'tank carcasses" in various places as memorials. There are also many memorials, each with listing of names of those lost in that area. A special organization exists in Israel just to maintain them all. Also, all 11 and/or 12 grade students are required to go to Poland to see the camps. Determined to remember so as not to let it happen again.

Tony spoke today at Peace Vista; a nice overlook, restaurant and shop overlooking the Galilee. He spoke of the connections between the creation account and the crossing of the Red Sea. I quckly checked the gift shop for a panoramic picture, which I found along with a picture of falafel, seven species, and...a havdolah set for SAM! Everything I had seen in Jerusalem was around 200 NIS (New Israel Shekels) which, at approx 4 shekels to the dollar, is about $50. This one was about half! An Armenian design. My turn to be the last one on the bus.

I'm sorry we haven't been able to do more! Between long days and short nights, there is also no comfortable way to sit here to do this for very long, as the small desk is filled with various things needed throughout each day.

So, on for rest in the night! My eyelids are closing on their own. Still need to do teachers application and lesson planning testing before final day which is supposed to inlude teaching.
Shalom aleichem!
Barb

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back "Home" to Merchavia

Greetings all!

We are back in Merchavya after a whirlwind two days through Nazareth, Jerusalem, En Gedi, Mineral Beach on the Dead Sea, touring through the Mountains of Israel, otherwise known as "West Bank" to the world.

Praise Yeshua! We are looking toward the north for our departure in the morning. Our last full day in the Land. Change has been the order of the moment on every hand. Sometimes there is joy in last minute changes and sometimes just chaos, but all in all, we are blessed.

It has been getting a little easier to figure out what to pack in the backpack and what to keep in the suitcase now that our time here is almost up. Must admit we are looking forward to, not in any special order, our own beds, pillows, bathroom.

En Gedi was as wonderful as I recalled, though a little changed; boardwalk for wheelchair access to the "first" spring, which is really a man made one closer down to the boardwalk. That falls area is

oh oh! low batery note and Rachel has my plug adaptor.

More later,
Shalom,
Barb

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Last Word for the night

Shalom everyone!

I am echoing Rachel--it has been a long few days; sometimes without internet access and sometimes we are just too tired to write! Check out Tony's blog for the trip. He looks exhausted because he HAS been staying up until 2 am most nights to post! If you don't have the email with the URL, you can just go to his site: www.restorationoftorah.org and there will be a link to the blog from there.

Yes, we saw world class entertainment tonight. You'll have to see the video to believe it. Lori. you would have loved the piano parts! It was worship music at times, but our Hebrew is still lacking enough so that it was hard to pick out.
They don't have any CDs or DVDs as yet but I can't imagine it will be long.

Ariel Klimmer's teaching was very good and Talia is an excellent translator, using his facial expressions and hand gestures right along with him; poetry to watch. Wish we had video of that, too! The connections between having YHWH's Name put on Israel and on us, having to do with His working with us in order to build the new/transformed man within us; as we also learn to spot and conquer the "donkey" within us sounds a lot like Life Model.

We gave them the blankets and banner tonight to tears and hugs. There are 28 new families just here in the past few weeks from Russia so the blankets will get owners quickly. With one change after another, we weren't able to go with Talia to deliver the lap robes but we are certain they will be blessed.

Jerusalem was amazing! We enjoyed the Huldah Gates and the Stairs of Ascent with blessing and song; thank you Marty Goetz! Walked across the old city from the Jaffa Gate through the Armenian quarter to the Wall 3 times in 2 days. We could picture Lucas jumping from level to level as we walked up and down ramps and steps with all the various levels of the streets. Oh my! The bar mitzvah procession that came through the square by the Hurva Synagogue was something to see too. I think Rachel got some video of this, too.

we are getting a LITTLE tired of pita bread and veggies with shishkabob but have really enjoyed the restaurant Aroma; a chain popular in Israel right now. Great sandwiches! Apple juice- mixed with carrots- that tastes like it is right off the tree.

Janell and I spent a little time in worship dance this morning before we got to gether with everyone for what we thought was going to be a more liturgical service. Instead it was some kind of blend of traditional Christian songs and original worship songs mixed in with prayers and readings, ending with Talia pulling the 3 of us into a dance to Shabbat Shalom. It was mostly quiet and worshipful and a joy. John, a man with long graying black hair who has been a kind helper with luggage, and server in the kitchen also showed himself to be a worshipper as he played guitar and sang. Another young lady in the kitchen, Leah, played piano for us, too. Many faceted people here now, as it seems it always has been at Merchavia and for that matter throughout all Israel as people have come to restore Israel.

Oh, Boaz has recommended a movie entitled O Jersualem if I remember correctly. So you may want to check for it, too.

Janell presented a banner in worship to the puzzlement of some people though they have said it is beautiful. Several have asked what it is about. We have explained as best we can, but I am sure this is quite a different thing than would happen on tour with Ralph and Mindy Seta! Anyone setting their eyes on their November tour of worship dance throughout Israel including time in the Negev with Melanie and Ronen Shalom?

We are checking how much it would cost to spend some time here as a volunteer. It is clearly Messianic and we are comfortable in many ways.

We have begun to pack for early morning departure to the west bank ending the day in Jerusalem for the night and then on to En Gedi and the Dead Sea. We do appreciate your prayer cover for us all as we visit Bethel and several sites in the area in the Mountains of Israel.

Probably won't be able to get online in Jerusalem so we will write again on Wednesday, our last day.

Thought of you all at Bayshore Park and hope it was a blessing!
Chag Sameach!
Barb

Oy!

We're about to go to bed after Shabbat in the Holy Land. We got to sleep in today, then went to a service where Ariel Klimmer (with Talia translating) taught about the Aaronic Blessing and how we are created to fulfill God's vision. It was really wonderful. He drew a connection between Binah (Understanding) and Ben-Yah (Son of God) and building.

Then we had oneg (food!!) and then scattered for naps, walks, etc. We gathered for dinner again and then had a wonderful concert tonight, by a group called Open Gates (I think?). It was a husband, wife, and his sister, on violin (trumpet, recorder, trombone, bass recorder, and this little tiny piccolo-like recorder), viola, and piano. World class entertainment at Merhavya, not even joking. Video will follow when I get the chance.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tuesday in Israel.. wait, how is it Thursday night already??

this is Rachel, and we're back at Merhavya after a whirlwind two-day tour of Jerusalem. I don't remember the last time I was this tired at only 9.30 at night! I'll try to post tomorrow, because there is no way I'll make any sense if I try now. Lilah tov, y'all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wonderful day in the Galilee!

Shalom Aleichem!

Well, we are still pretty tired but very much blessed today! Rachel has some pictures loaded and is working on putting them on but I will write a little here.

As tired as we are, we learned that one family drove over 8 hours to reach Calgary in Canada, then to fly to HOuston TX, then to Newark and then to Tel Aviv with us.
Can we say tired??? Check out Rachel's pictures of singing in the airport and look for the already tired ones. Another group of 3 got to Lubbock TX only to find that their tickets had been given away, as somene said they weren't going to make it in on time...Praise Yeshua, alternate seats were found.

In case you missed it, and we haven't been able to get a map up for you, we are staying at Merchavia, which is just outside of Afula. It is a secular kibbutz; the first one in Israel, really; thus the 100 year anniversary celebration here last night, in which Shimon Perez made a speech between musical presentations. It was stirring and brought several rounds of applause, though we couldn't really understand much of the message beyond references to Merchavia and covenant and blessing. (Even with a Jumbotron in the courtyard here to see better, one would STILL have to have more fluency in Hebrew!) History in the making! It was a beautiful night, with a hint of rain, which is a blessing in this Shavuot season. The fresh air did feel good after being in airports and planes for a day!

We are at the Israel Discovery Center which is a small portion within the larger kibbutzim; really like a village within a small town. We are staying at "The big House" which is next to the courtyard where the doings were held last night.

After a few mix ups with the showering arrangements and a nicely presented breakfast, we got back into the air conditioned bus and made our way back southeast to Mount Gilboa; which is where Saul and Jonathan died. After some history and background presented by Boaz Dryer our tour guide, he passed out shofars for those that didn't have them and shofars were blown over the Jezreel Valley, asking for the God of Israel to show Himself strong and cause His will to be done here. I took banners: red, burlap, purple and blue as well as our SAM banner over the area as the shofars blew. Several people asked to use them, too, especially the red one!

Our next path was north east travel and then going around the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee past the place it is believed Yeshua drove the swine over the cliff, to a stop at one of three "sites" considered to be Capernaum; depending on which church tradition. We were at the Franciscan one, which is the same one I saw with Karen many years ago. That's a funny thing in Israel; every site you see is traditionally this or that, but many are really only a good guess.

We had lunch outside on the shores of the Sea, over looking a group of campers in tents on the beach. Then, on to the joy of the day: a ride on the boat with Daniel Carmel: a Jewish believer who came to faith while helping on the crew of a boat that hosted Christians. When all the Christian groups began asking for only him, he said his employer was upset and he lost his job. Within months, he had his own boat; and now two. We knew within minutes that this man was worshipping Messiah with his whole body, mind, soul, and strength as he sang. A mixture of Integrity Christian songs from the 80s, now done in Hebrew plus his originals. We found ourselves in joyful personal worship and when Janell and I got up to dance, two more ladies joined us. We have some new songs for worship! Check out his site at www.hebrewworshipsongs.com My most joyful time and one we would have loved to just stay for hours but had to rush away. Joan, the tour coordinator, hadn't realized he would be in worship while we were there so she, too was blessed! (OH, can we include someone else's "blooper" in our list? How about Angus Dei? The God of BEEF??? Fits right in with Rust in the Lord, and We will Never hold our Peach; don't you think?)


We had several hours with Hollisa today, outlining the basics in review and then going into background with Ruth and preparation for Shavuot.

Tony has been doing spots on word studies while we are on the bus, or on site, and is especially sharing thematic connections of 3, resurrection and life. Sound familiar? Janell really SHONE out as this was so recently in her head. Thanks Marsha! He intends to give out prizes of his materials daily; the Binding of Isaac DVD went out today.

Oh, does anyone else remember meeting the Halls, Cliff and Joanne, in Chicago at ResTorahation conference? They were among those who asked about our banners and are pleased to see some here with us, as we are! Thanks Bob! the pvc container worked well! And we had no questions in customs!

We had a brief presentation by a woman who learned she was Jewish as an adult who had been adopted by a Baptist family; and through a series of things, spent time in an Amish community, as Messianic; her husband built their dream home over two years and it was lost in 5 minutes in a tornado. They are now here in the Land, making many contributions; among them her line of essential oil products. Check out her website, too! www.branch-of-israel.com
The electric converter has already burned out; with just minutes of use....oh well!

We had a celebration dinner for Erev Shavuot with music and Ariel speaking, with Talia translating a wonderful message of blessing with an extra challenge and treat: two ladies just arrives today making Aliyah from Russia! So, next to Rachel there was a second translation from Hebrew to Russian going on! Will try to write up notes later. AS much as we enjoyed hearing the message, we were fighting sleep, too.

Up to Jerusalem in the morning for our time at the wall. Please remember us as we remember you before Yeshua!! Thanks Marsha and Lisa for letting us know you are there! Be blessed!

Rachel is busily writing away so I will close for tonight and try for some sleep.
Shalom and Laila Tov!

Barb

End of the first full day in Israel!

Rachel here again. I managed to find an appropriate plug so I could plug in my laptop, since I fried the converter this afternoon (I'm pretty sure it's not my fault, but meh). Mildred's plug set worked, though. :) Warning, this post is going to be image/video-heavy!

Let's see, where are we with this trip business? Ah, Cleveland. Other than sitting there for five hours, it was pretty much uneventful. The flight from Green Bay to Cleveland was only about an hour long, so we just had time to eat our pretzels and juice before we landed, which was the same for the Cleveland to Newark flight.

The first thing I smelled as I got off the plane in Newark was Subway! Guess I hadn't flown far enough away yet. We got Starbucks and wandered to our gate, then got dinner (Chinese!) and waited in the food court nearby. Oddly enough, my phone and internet connection didn't work, but Mom's phone did. So I couldn't update from there.

Around two or three hours before we were supposed to board, we hobbled towards the gate and started meeting up with our tourmates? co-tourists? Co-Creation Gospel-ites? Everyone was very friendly, but really tired. A little slap happy, maybe? :P

We met up with a lot of people -- >


This pic was after the security people moved us away from our gate, in order to set up the extra security checkpoint that Israel apparently requires. None of us were any too upset about an extra layer of security!

While we were waiting, Tony Robinson got out his guitar and the CG group serenaded the airport with Hava Nagilah; Hine Ma Tov; and one of Tony's songs, Simchat Torah. There were a lot of Jews around, and pretty much all of them came over to listen while we were singing. Even the security guards were clapping by the end. It was great. :D


video

We went through security again after that. It was really interesting to see the Jewish men davening and praying in the airport, just in this clump off to the side. Holly, one of the other young adults on the trip, said that she wanted to take some video for a montage, but wasn't sure if that was okay. I wanted to, too, but ditto. :(

After security, we queued up again in another line to check passports. Then we waited for a while. And then we lined up again to actually get on the plane. Apparently once they checked our boarding passes and we were on our way into the plane, we weren't technically on American soil anymore. We had left the country without doing anything!

Once on the plane, we sat down. I was about four rows back from Janell and Mom, but I got lucky because instead of sitting between two fairly large men (like on my second flight), I got to sit next to a very nice young Hasidic woman with her daughter (18 mos. maybe), and the grandma (who was totally the stereotypical Yiddish grandma -- Jersey accent and all!). I would have rather sit with Mom and Janell, but as substitutes go, I had a good row. The baby was cute, and did pretty well through most of the trip, surprisingly. Much better than I would have done only a few years ago.

I honestly thought that trip would never end. We left Newark/New York about midnight, and I got some pics of the lit skyline on my phone's camera, but I can't get those onto my computer until I get home. We ate dinner and then they dimmed the lights. Our entertainment system wasn't working (so they offered to accomodate anyone who didn't want to take this flight anymore!!), so we basically just tried to sleep. I was able to nap on and off, but once we cleared the Atlantic, I spent a lot of the time with my blanket over my head, looking out the window at Spain, France, Italy, Greece, etc. I got to see the Pyrenees Mountains at about 3 am (Dawn came at like 1.30 or 2) and got pictures of them. The foothills were kind of cool -- they reminded me of brownie tops -- how the crust is lighter brown and bumpy.

I think one of the things I will never forget is how the Captain said over the loudspeaker, "If you wish to daven, please go to the back of the plane." And after that, there was always 3 or 4 men in the back praying through most of the flight. It was pretty cool to just see them getting on with their prayers even in the middle of this ridiculously long flight.

When we finally got into Tel Aviv, we deplaned and walked to get our passports stamped, then got our baggage and waltzed through customs, to find Joan. Then we were hustled to our bus, to get into Merhavya before Shimon Perez (the Israeli PM) showed up for Merhavya's 100th Anniversary celebration that night. That was a rush -- 24 hours of traveling, only to be shooed to change into something else, get dinner, and then watch the celebration. Mom, Janell, and I watched for a while and then basically crashed, because we didn't understand any of the Hebrew and were tired (for some odd reason).

Side note: I learned that Merhavya was the first kibbutz in Israel, before Israel was even a state. It hosted Golda Meir (former PM of Israel, who grew up in Milwaukee, WI, which I knew). It is now a moshav rather than a kibbutz. A kibbutz is essentially a commune, with property shared in common and wages paid to everyone equally. A moshav is more like a community -- everyone is financially independent and is paid according to how much they work, but the homes are grouped together and people go to synagoguge together, gather together, etc.

Some of the pictures from our bus trip from Tel Aviv to Afula (where Merhavya is located):



This one is on the Yitzhak Rabin Highway. Not really sure what else it is. But it's pretty...




<== This one is what Boaz Dryer (our tour guide) dubbed a "Holyland Traffic Jam." :P







Some Israeli agriculture (along with a town!).












A wheat field -- it's being harvested!











Where we were going.













I know Mom just posted something about today, so I'll look at that and then I'll update this was today when I get time -- prolly tomorrow, along with some stuff that we did tomorrow. We're going to Jerusalem for Pentecost, I know that, but not much else besides that. :) Now, I am going to BED, hopefully to sleep.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Safe in Eretz Yisrael!

This is Rachel, reporting from Israel! I'd write up a whole little blog about life the last day and a half, but I'm just gonna crash pretty soon. I'll type it up tomorrow. :)

But funny story of unexpected experiences... I'm on an Israeli IP address (oddly enough...) so everything is defaulting to Hebrew. So Google is right justified, and blogspot is all written in Hebrew, which caused a few problems until I figured out how to sign in, and then it switched to English, thank goodness. :)

So now I'm going to bed and will try to post tomorrow morning before we head out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We're on our way, finally!

This is Rachel, reporting from the Cleveland airport! We got in about 2 hours ago, waiting for a couple more hours before we get into Newark later.

Cleveland's speakers are very nice. We can actually understand the announcements...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

14 days from now we will be in Newark, waiting to depart for Tel Aviv!


Shalom everyone!


Well, we are on the final countdown I'd say!

Janell is almost done unpacking and moving, so she can pack again...but this time for a much shorter stay.


Our first view of Israel should be this Tel Aviv skyline. Well, I thought it would be the skyline...back to the "drawing board."


We appreciate your prayers for all the final details that are

just awaiting time to complete and those that remain

rather vague as yet.


Rachel is working on the option of an interactive map that will

show you where we are, maybe even with the opportunity to

see what the area looks like!


14 days,


Yeshua, please be with our SAM family, no matter whether we are

on the same side of the Atlantic or not!


B'shem Yeshua ha Maschiach.

Barb

Friday, April 23, 2010

22 Days until we go Up to Jerusalem

Shalom Aleichem!



We are counting up to Shavuot and down to the day of our departure for Israel.



This is the first page of our blogspot for the trip; and my first experience with doing a blog.



We will try to keep everyone up to date daily on our progress and prayer needs.