Monday, April 20, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Happy Holidays! The time of Passover and Resurrection celebration is so dear to me. I love to go through the Passover Seder and remember how God brought His people out of slavery and bondage and into a new land of promise. I love to see how Jesus the Messiah is revealed through the Passover traditions and imagine what it was like at His last Pesach (Passover) when he broke the unleavened bread and told his disciples that it was His body—He was completely without sin just as the Matzah is without leaven or yeast. He also took the cup of wine and blessed it and said that it was His blood poured out for us. Just as the blood of the lamb was spread on the doorposts of the Hebrews’ doors and everyone inside was spared and passed over, He shed His blood for us on the cross and He said that He is the door and the way to the Father. When we receive the blood of Yeshua, we enter through the door and are saved for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. When Jesus was in the garden praying, He asked the Father if there was any other way; nevertheless, He was willing and He gave His life completely for us. I think about Father God hearing His only Son in his distress asking if there was any other way, and in this moment is where I realize the depth of God’s love for me, to be able to look at His Son and not change His mind, but knowing what Jesus would suffer to say yes, this is the only way, I want my children reconciled to me, I will not be separated from them forever. And, of course, the rest of the story is that Yeshua did die and shed His blood for us, but then He rose again in victory and defeated death, and through Him we have eternal life—we are reunited with our Father and have become the Bride of Christ! And not only that, but also He sent His Holy Spirit to fill us, to give us abundant life, and to empower us for holiness and to tell the world of His great love. What a wonderful God He is!
I wanted to share with you a quick update about my trip to Israel. I have blogged about the entire trip in detail, and if you are interested you can read it at www.gatewaysbeyond.org/gts2009. This is just a quick note on how the trip impacted me personally. I want to thank all of you who sowed financially into this trip and who prayed for us while we were gone. We were in Israel for an entire month, and it was just so good to be back in the land. I got to experience many new things this time that I had not done before on my two previous trips. For example, I got to spend over a week in the south of the country in the Negev desert. We stayed in one place that was literally right on the Egyptian border. I have a picture of some men in Egypt that I took from Israel. I really think I would love to just spend some time with Bedouins or Gypsies one day because I really like that lifestyle, though I admit I also really like hot showers and coffee shops. Another highlight of my trip was spending time with Israeli youth. I have been involved in youth ministry since I was a youth (which I still am by the way) and I love just hanging out with them, talking about their lives, encouraging them, and simply showing them love. I’ll just mention one more highlight; that is, we were able to stay in an old Armenian hostel inside the Armenian quarter of the old city Jerusalem. I have been to Jerusalem before, but it was so different living inside the old city walls and walking through the narrow streets on the cobbled stones smoothed from so many years of footsteps. On Shabbat, I walked alone through the streets down to the Wailing Wall and watched as people came and went on their Shabbat to pray at this spot where they feel closest to God. And as I pray for them, I look forward to the days spoken of in Revelation 21 and 22 where Yeshua is ruling and reigning from Jerusalem and there is no need for moon or sun because He is our light.
Well, I’m back in full swing in Cyprus now and getting excited about going out to Ethiopia in May. I will write more, but I just wanted to send out a hello and Happy Holidays. I miss you all and pray for you continually. Be blessed and enjoy time with your families and friends. And give each other hugs for me when you get the chance.