Thursday, February 17, 2011

it’s been way too long

So we are back in the Country of the Untied States!!!! “Masters of coffee and burritos” We spent the first couple of days in San Diego celebrating at our friends wedding, Congratulations Craig and Jen!!!!! we love youP1010036PC310028

Then after those adventures we headed up to Santa Cruz to visit the beautiful place filled with trees and a massive ocean….something we missed while we were gone.

Then up to Santa Rosa where one part of our family reigns, where we finally had a chance to decompress from spending 5 months of our lives in a place that is filled with so many different perspectives. During that time we were reminded that life must go on, which means “where are we going to live? where are we going to work?” So with two places on our minds we decided it was time to buckle down in prayer and give it over to the Lord. During our stay I was able to spend time with my sister/ best friend and her new husband. It was a precious time. “Well it’s time to go to Utah since we were not getting a clear picture of where we were suppose to be".”


So 13 hours later we arrived to this beautiful place with cold weather and bunches of snow.


we have spent the last 3 weeks enjoying time with our  family, dogs and snow. We’ve been cooking, snowshoeing, thinking a lot, getting back into exercising, and thinking some more. well about a week ago we got a call from Suzy, our boss in Santa Cruz, who offered both of us amazing jobs and housing!!!!!!! thank you Lord for patience in waiting. Thank you for all the growth that you supplied in our lives and marriage, thank you for such amazing friends and family who made this life changing adventure possible, and thank you for keeping us safe.

So on Friday we drive out and are moving our lives to santa cruz, we will miss you Utah but we will be back before you know it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Whose promise?


We’ve back in the states for almost two weeks, and the transition is relatively smooth.  It’s great to come back to America with some fresh perspective and new appreciation as well as the sobering truth that no country, including ours, is perfect.

Our time back has seemed to fly by.  It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks.  We’ve had lots of time to meet up with old friends again and naturally, they all want to know how the last several months have been.  The question I get asked about a lot is “what’s the deal with the conflict?” 

What’s the deal indeed?

I can’t presume that I would have all the answers, but I am definitely forced to assess the situation through the lens of my experience.  Like it or not, I am connected now.

The more I spend time thinking through this, the more there is to it.  First off, I had to decide from which perspective I should approach the issue.  The outcome will be different coming from an Israeli, a Palestinian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Democrat, a Republican, and so on…  Naturally, The only filter I can justifiably hold up to this is scripture, viewing the problem through the  lens of my faith.

Since this whole debate is supposedly over land promises, I went back to Genesis to check it out.  In chapters 15 and 17 of Genesis, God makes His covenant with Abram/Abraham and promises him and his descendants “the land of their sojourning's.”  While that’s all well and good, God also promised his descendants that He would walk with them and they would be marked through circumcision. 

Thus the history of Jews and God were set.  And for the Jews, that’s where the story ends.  That’s where they are in the story.  But I am not a Jew, and for me the story does not end there.  With the old covenant, God’s people were an exclusive group with specially shaped penis’s.  From what I can tell of Jesus’s ministry, the presence or absence of a foreskin was of little importance.  As a Christian, I have to view everything through the grid of the New Testament and the promises of Jesus.  The question becomes then, what gives me (a gentile) the right to walk with God.

Rom 4:13-16 Lays it out pretty nicely.  In fact it is not through keeping any law or custom that we are heirs to the promise.  It is by faith.

Pretty much all of Galatians, especially chapter 3, deals with everyone (not just Jews) being justified by faith.  It seemed there was a lot of confusion about upholding the Jewish customs and that only true descendants of Abraham were privileged.  Paul states pretty bluntly at the end of chapter 3: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”

By this information, it seems to me that if the land should belong to anyone, then it should be those who believe in Christ, the Christians.  But compared to the promise of unending mercy and grace, life to the fullest, unconditional love and eternal salvation.  A plot of land hardly seems the point.  Especially after Jesus wandering through the land telling stories like the good samaritan, it seems much less plausible that Jesus/God is terribly concerned with who is sitting on what land. 

We obviously can’t hold Israel to any new testament texts if they don’t believe them.  So what?  As a follower of Christ, what should my response be?

The first step is to do my homework and question.  I’ve been told all my life that Israel is the victim, they can’t seem to catch a break and since we share a common root, we need to support them.  Support them in what exactly?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We coming to America.... Today!

Hello Friends and Family,

After 35+ hours of airports and airplanes, Char and I are finally back in California. Thank you so much for your prayers and well wishes throughout our adventure.

Now that we are back in the states and speak a bit more freely without repurcussion, we plan on processing and debriefing our experience and sharing those thoughts on our blog. If interested, please continue to check in and share your thoughts as well.

As for now, we aren't entirely sure what comes next. The future is wide open... so prayers for the next step would be appreciated too.

Thank you all again for sharing our adventure with us. We are blessed.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in Bethlehem!

Is… different.

On one hand, it’s pretty incredible looking out on the hill that Bethlehem is built on as I read the Christmas story.  It’s crazy to think we’re looking at the same sky as the shepherds…  That is cool.

But otherwise… it was not what I expected.  I don’t know what I expected, but I don’t think I got what I thought I’d get.




Painted on “The Wall” just inside the checkpoint in Bethlehem.  Interesting wording too, considering my recent trip to the Holocaust Museum…


We headed up to Manger Square (the market square right outside Nativity church) on the morning of Christams Eve to watch the scouts in their parade.  That was pretty cool.  All the local families came out for the festivtes and the news stations… Char got interviewed several times by different ones!!  They scouts came through in their fancy uniforms and drumlines and bagpipes bands!!  I don’t know how or why bagpipes caught on here, but they are huge.  Check out some of the scouts:





See that girl behind the girl in front?  The girl looking the other way?  That’s on of the kids I’ve been working with!  I saw several of them marching by!  I felt so proud!



The parade was pretty cool.  I dug it.

Afterwards we headed back to our house and had a feast of a lunch: homemade pita chips, hummus, and mixed veggies… super good.

Later that night we headed back up to manger square to check out the festivities.  This is what we saw:


They had shows going on all night, up until midnight.  Christmas eve here is like new years in the states.  It’s a big party and everyone hangs out until midnight and then cheers.  It’s kind of weird.  We didn’t stay the whole time because there were tons of people and we were definitely touristy looking enough for people to constantly try to sell us things. 

In the morning all the families came out and it was fun, in the night time, all the creepers come out.  There were a lot of the 20 something year old guys who were kind of gross d-bags… no offense, but that’s really how it is. 

So we cruised back to our place.

This morning we had a great family breakfast.  Then played a four hour game of risk, had some presents and now we’re relaxing… it was a good day. 

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!! We come home in a couple of Days!!!!! We are so excited about coming back to our homeland where the coffee is great and the weather is right for the season. We miss our families and friends a bunch but excited that we got to spend Christmas in Bethlehem with Callan and Austin!!!!! It was definitely unique and one that will be remembered forever. Pray for us as we wrap up the next couple of days here saying our goodbyes and going through the airport again……And we would appreciate your prayers for all of our flights as we know the weather is a bit crazy everywhere. Love you all and are excited to see your faces.


Friday, December 24, 2010

New Friends: Jarius


Everyone meet Jarius.

He is an Arab Israeli who grew up in the old city of Jerusalem and has an incredible story.

After being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, he found himself in the presence of the Lord and loved Him.  After a series of events he found himself living in Texas for eight years where he got involved in the Campus Crusade for Christ movement.

After another series of events, he felt strongly led (against his will) to return to his homeland and continue his ministry with CCC.  Which is what he does now.

This is guy is incredibly caring, a powerful prayer, always wanting to pray for you.  He loves America and is sad to see people taking advantage of the systems it has in place to care for the poor and disabled… rightly so Jarius. 

It’s been interesting getting foreigners take on America, on things I generally take for granted.  It’s been refreshing and excited me to return home.

If you think about it, pray for Jarius.  His ministry is extremely challenging,  almost exclusively to Muslims, and he lives in a turbulent environment.  But we love him dearly.  He is our brother.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Friends: Hamsa

So I can’t say we know each other real well, but everyone meet Hamsa:


The picture is a little bright, I couldn’t  figure out how to make it darker.  But this is Hamsa.  He runs a little souvenir shop right down the the street from the Nativity Church.  How did we meet Hamsa?  Well, pretty much the same way you meet all other Palestinians…

We were walking down the street and he came out and asked if he could help us.  We told him no.  Then he invited into his shop for some coffee.

So that’s what we did, we sat outside his shop on little stools with him and drank arabic coffee (which put a hole through my esophogus, but nice gesture anyway) as we talked about life.

He told us all about the tourist trade.  Business is down right now, not many tourists and people don’t want to buy things.  We talked about his family for a while and about his aspirations…  All of this in very broken english on his part and very broken arabic on mine.  He told us about how he wants to learn english better because all the time he invites tourists to sit and have coffee with him, but they only stay for two minutes because they can’t understand him, so they leave.  “Money? I no need money! I need life! This life! Talk with friends and coffee life!  This all I need”

Wise Hamsa