Friday, March 29, 2019

Divine Providence in Jerusalem!

We were a few minutes behind, so we quickly called Yosef, our media person here in Jerusalem who we were meeting for a video shoot at the studio for our new promo video for Hineni Tours.  As we were leaving the gate, we drove up the hill from our apartment, and the first vehicle we saw, I thought my eyes were tricking me.  Could it be Zusha, the man we met on our last trip here in Israel way over in Tel Aviv?  As we got closer, I said, "Honey, it's Zusha!"  

We could hardly believe it.  As we got closer, truly it was him.  Kevin yelled out the window, "Zusha, hello my friend!"  It was a miracle.  Zusha was looking very surprised.  He could hardly believe it himself.  He and Kevin have been communicating over Whatsapp ever since our last trip, and the fact that we spontaneously crossed paths in the busiest city in all of Israel, was a miracle.  I was speechless.  Zusha was a bit stunned, and asked Kevin's name and then after about 10 seconds, he made the connection and remembered him!  WOW!  The traffic began moving, so Kevin quickly said, "Let's get together"!  After about a minute, Kevin got a message on Whatsapp from Zusha, and his message said this: "Divine Providence".  He recognized the miracle too.  Praise the LORD!

Last time we were in Israel back in February, we were in the Jaffa (Joppa) area outside of Tel Aviv at a juice bar.  Tel Aviv is about an hour drive west of Jerusalem, along the coast.  It was there in Jaffa, that we met Zusha, a very short man driving up to a juice bar where we were outside enjoying an acai bowl together.  He was very friendly and reminded us of a hippie from the 1970's.  He shared with us how he is vegan and this is what brought him to this particular juice bar.  The conversation lasted for a long time.  It ended very well with an exchange of information and then subsequently, there has been a lot of communication stateside.  

Zusha is a devout Jew, but not a religious Jew.  He honors Shabbat, but is not Orthodox.  He lives in a co-op type of neighborhood about 30 minutes outside of Jerusalem, with other Jewish people, similar to a Kibbutz, but not exactly.  He agreed that he would talk to Kevin about spiritual things, but only if it was from the Tanakh.  This was ok with Kevin, because there is enough in the Tanakh that can lead someone to find their Messiah, so he agreed that unless Zusha wanted to know more, he could stick with the Tanakh.  I've been amazed when Kevin shares with me all of the scriptures he shares with Zusha by text JUST from the Tanakh.  It is surely something that can provoke a Jewish person to "jealousy", so we are praying for this to happen as the relationship grows.  Kevin has been very wise in how he communicates and shares about his love for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with our dear friend, Zusha.

We are excited because we are planning to meet up on Sunday with him for lunch.  Please pray for this meeting.  We are asking the Lord that Zusha would have an experience like Zaccheus from the Bible, and become hungry to know the deeper revelation of the things of God, revealed in the Son of God, Jesus/Yeshua.  We desire for not only Zusha, but his whole family to find their Messiah, and not just to find Him, but to come to love him and Him to indwell their hearts by faith.

Our video promo went well.  The media team was amazing, and we learned a lot.  I hope that our next one will go even better.  This was our first time in a real studio like this, so it was a learning experience for sure.  We came to appreciate how hard people work in the filming industry.  It is truly a blessing and a gift, especially when this is used for the right purposes.  They took lots of video footage, including shots of us walking the streets of Jerusalem together, as well as explaining about our heart for the work we do with Hineni Tours and Adoption Airfare. We are praying that the Lord will help the editors put together an awesome promo using some of the footage that we shot there at the studio.   

Video Promo for Hineni Tours!!  Can't wait to share it soon!

My favorite view in all of the world! 
Oh and the backdrop isn't bad either!  ;)

Faith doesn't like bugs too much, but she did like this one!

Kevin and I at the Mamilla

Shopping at the Mamilla in Jerusalem

After the promo, we were hungry and went to the Mamilla in Jerusalem (outdoor mall) to eat some lunch at Aroma Cafe.  The food was delicious.  We ordered some fresh pressed juice and also salads and a cappuccino.  The food in Israel is incredible!  We really enjoy the fresh produce, nuts, olive oils, dried fruits, hummus, and the gluten-free pita bread!  Amazing.

Lovely Israeli snacks

After eating lunch, we made our way to the NAOT shoe store.  Naot means "Oasis" in Hebrew, and we have loved their shoes from the time we first found them in the US.  The prices are much lower to buy them in Israel, so we decided to purchase a couple pairs.  The lady in the store remembered me from my last trip.  This time she was able to meet Kevin, and she was very excited to hear the Hebrew that Kevin has been practicing (from Isaiah 53).  

Last time I was there, I had left a pair of shoes, and she saved them for me and gave them to me this time!  How sweet that she would keep them all these weeks!  She told me that she also kept the card I gave her (gospel tract) and had it in her home.  When Kevin was sharing this time with her the words of Isaiah 53, about her Jewish Messiah, she got tears in her eyes.  

When Kevin asked her who this was talking about, at first she said Moses, but then after asking a few more questions, she began to see that it was not Moses, but it was Jesus/Yeshua. Amazing. What she will do with that, we don't know.  All we know is that she recognized Him and He touched her heart deeply to tears.  Let's be in prayer for this store owner, that the Lord would do a deeper work in her heart.  It is our prayer that she will not only come to know Him in her mind, but that she will come to embrace Him in her heart as her Lord and Savior, Messiah, and that she will experience the inhabitation and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the deepest and sweetest Possession she could ever own.

To God be the Glory!!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

West Bank Adventures!

Among the adventures of this amazing time in Israel, I think getting lost and finding ourselves in the West Bank is coming close to the top of our list! We had no idea setting out from Jerusalem to Migdal, that our GPS would lead us up through the West Bank through the beautiful lush Jordan Valley.  As we were driving, we began seeing things like a Bedouin shepherd herding sheep across the road.  As we were following our "Waze" app directions, we began to wonder if perhaps Waze was taking us the wrong way, but we kept going.  The drive was beautiful.  The views crossing the Jordan Valley were the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

This was a shepherd we drove past while in the West Bank near the Jordan Valley.

As we kept driving, we had a left turn coming up, and then a quick right.  Wait, a military gated compound?  I don't think this is the WAY!  But, as we know... His ways are higher than our "Waze" (pun intended).  We found ourselves asking four IDF soldiers if they could help us to find where we were going.  They were uncertain themselves, but after spending several minutes looking at phones and consulting each other, they helped us get back on the road that we navigated away from.  Before we left them, we had several moments to ask them a question in Hebrew.  

Kevin is really learning some Hebrew, so the conversation went like this:

"Efshar - leesh-ole -oatchem - shea-eelah?" (Can I ask you a question)?

"Ha-eem - Yuh-chole - lee-ee-yoat, shea - Yeshua - Hoo - hamshiach -shell - ahm - Israel Vay Kole haw olahm?"
(*Can it be that Yeshua is the Messiah of the people of Israel and the whole world?)

The response: One of the female IDF soldiers looked at us with a curious face, and responded, "Maybe..."  Wow!  This was better than we expected!  This is a very unusual answer here in Israel.  We left all four IDF soldiers with a copy of Isaiah 53 in Hebrew to end our time with them.  Amazing.  Could it be that this whole "wrong turn" was actually a right turn?  

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." ~Romans 1:16

One of the highlights of this trip was a connection made at the worship night in Poriya Illit.  Out of this meeting, Adoption Airfare was connected with an organization called the Aliyah Return Center.  This organization is instrumental in bringing the Jewish people back into the land, making Aliyah.  We will be serving this organization with their travel needs.  What an honor and a privilege for us.  The Lord has given us such a love for the people of Israel, and we are so honored to be a part of His plan in bringing the Jewish people back into the land from all across the world.

The bomb shelters in Israel remind me of the constant state of sobriety in this nation at all times.  I feel safer in Israel than in the USA in certain ways with their sobriety and preparedness for emergencies that can occur.
The Aliyah Return Center needs lots of hands to help beautify their buildings and structures.  We had an opportunity to pray for the provision of these projects.
Flags at the Aliyah Return Center representing the nations of the world who support the Jewish people, and also the nations in the world where Jews are leaving to make Aliyah.
Faith on the hill outside the Aliyah Return Center, overlooking the Jordan valley.  Beautiful!

This is brother Russ and Faith after praying at the flag site.

Bomb Shelters are very common in Israel.  They open up into a downstairs level made of solid concrete with chairs and other things for people to congregate when sirens sound.  They are not used much, but thankfully they are in most areas of Israel just in case.  Israel is always living in a constant state of sobriety.  

Next we headed up for lunch with a dear sister who lives in the Golan Heights. We had a precious time together with her and she hosted us for an incredible lunch at her table. We enjoyed things like Chickpeas, cabbage salad, fresh beet juice, olives, and tahinia. Over lunch, we met with a sister who is doing some work in the Sderot region of Israel, bordering Gaza. It was great hearing about this ministry and the work they are doing there.

This is the Golan Heights view of the Sea of Galilee, and it is AMAZING!

Sister Karen's beautiful table

Sister Karen at her gate in her beautiful home in the Golan Heights.

Kevin and Tony Palacio, a dear brother we haven't seen
in almost 10 years!

This is Alison Devaty.  We worked through an issue
with her son's lap infant ticket, so I was so happy
to meet them in person!

After our meeting with Karen, we headed to Migdal again to meet up with the team from Blessed Hope, our dear friends from California who share our heart for the gospel.  Such a precious group of believers.  We love them so much!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers for us on this trip.  We have had some surreal moments and we trust that much of this a direct result of the prayers of the people of God on our behalf.  We can't thank you enough!  Please keep your prayers coming!  We have just one more week in Israel and we want the Lord to get the most Glory possible on this trip.  

Shalom from Israel, and Lehitra'ot!
~Tabitha :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Sacrifice of Worship in Jerusalem

The alarm clock sounded in Jerusalem. The song, "Gadol Elohai" (How Great is our God in Hebrew), is our new waking alarm song, but this time was different. Immediately my hands went up to the Lord over Israel, and spontaneous worshipful tears began flowing from my eyes.  Jerusalem is a very special place.  I've had two very deep personal experiences here in this city with the Lord.  Today was one of them.

As my hands were lifted, I began interceding for my dear sister having trouble with her pregnancy back in the US.  My heart was torn to know that as we are here and God is unfolding such beautiful things, there is a pain in my heart as I share the pain of my dear sister in the hospital with uncertain news.  As I began interceding for her with tears, the thought that came to my mind and heart was of Abraham, sacrificing his son Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22.  Why this thought came to my heart so strong, I can not explain it.  I broke out with with weeping and intercession.  I asked the Lord to help my sister to lift up her hands in her time of need, and offer a sacrifice of praise to the Lord.  I asked the Lord to give her the faith of Abraham with this baby, and to surrender the baby as an offering of worship to God, no matter the outcome.

After that time of worship and prayer, I later sat down next to my special culinary creation (made by Faith).  I opened up my laptop to write my blog about yesterday's events.  To my shock, my laptop battery had not charged and was dead.  Bummer! Could it be broken?  As the sunbeams struck through the window in our Jerusalem apartment, my desire to enjoy a relaxing breakfast and catch up on my blog, shifted to a new desire to find a laptop cord and get down to the streets and get ready for our meeting.

Faith's culinary creation she made for my breakfast before we left the apartment.

Our meeting went really well.  We plan on serving the ministry leader with some of her travel needs. In the meeting, a topic came up about the morning prayers of the Jewish people.  She said almost as a side-thought, "Do you know the each religious Jew recites liturgical prayer about Abraham binding Isaac to the altar, before they start their day?"  My answer to this was, "Really?  Every day?"  Her reply, "Yes."

After our meeting, I was cleaning up the cups of tea that we were drinking together at the meeting table, and I shared my morning experience with her how these scriptures spontaneously came to my heart just this same day.  We both mutually agreed that this was incredible given the fact that each Jewish religious person all over the world was sharing the same thought in their liturgical prayers each morning.  To think that these beautiful thoughts came to my heart right here in Jerusalem of all places, just amazes me.

We had a fruitful day here in Jerusalem.  Amid meetings and other things, we happened to have time to stop and talk to several strangers on the street and engage in some very meaningful conversations about the topic of Isaiah 53 and who is this Messiah of Israel, and of the whole world?  Could it be Yeshua?  We are planting seeds and trusting that the Lord will multiply and also water these seeds.  Sometimes it feels more like a plowing, and we truly do appreciate your prayers.

To see some of the Jewish people come to find their Messiah, would be the coronation of this wonderful trip we are having.  In fact, I think to see souls being saved, no matter the background, ethnicity, or religious affiliation, is the coronation of our entire lives.  How much is one soul worth?  What sacrifice is too hard to make for the labor of bringing souls to come to know their Savior?

Silly picture of Kevin outside the "Kippa Man" shop!

Kevin sharing the gospel with a harp player on the street in Jerusalem today

Some who know us know that 222 is a special number to us that we see sometimes that reminds us that the Lord is with us.

One of the rooms in our apartment is a bomb shelter room.  It is common all over Israel to have these safe rooms called "Merkhav Mugan" rooms, meaning "Protected Space".  Israel is a very sober nation.  In many ways, Israel is safer than many places on earth because of their sobriety and readiness.

I met a group of Brazilian believers today as we were sharing the gospel.  The pastor of this group asked me who Isaiah 53 was speaking of, and when I said "Yeshua" he grabbed his heart and the fellowship in Christ was immediate!  What a joy to meet other believers here on this trip and fellowship and pray together on the street.  Truly this was a divine appointment!!

The city lights at night in Jerusalem.  Absolutely beautiful!

My precious husband and daughter made me dinner the other night in our apartment because I was too tired from all the traveling to go out to eat.  What a spread they put together and served me with the white napkin service of a princess.  I felt very honored, humbled, and blessed.  Thank you Jesus for such a precious family!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Worship with Joshua Aaron and Believers in Poriya Ilit, Israel!

We have been very blessed by a certain brother in the Lord, and his worship albums in both Hebrew and English.  The way that it is put together really allows for us who don't know Hebrew too well, to listen and worship together as one with our Hebrew speaking brethren.  Songs like "How Great is our God" are spoken in Hebrew (Gadol Elohai), and the Lord has been really ministering to us through this brother's worship.  His name is Joshua Aaron.  He is well known among the Messianic population not only in Israel, but all over the world.  Kevin told me a couple weeks ago, "Honey, I think the Lord will allow us to meet Joshua Aaron sometime on our travels to Israel."  We had no idea when and how, but we felt that it would happen somehow.  The WAY it happened really was a surprise to us and such a special gift.

Joshua Aaron and Kevin fellowshipping together after the worship time. 
He was such a humble brother.  We felt like we've known him for years. 
He was playing with Faith and she told us that he said she can call him "Uncle Josh" now since we are family in the Lord.
He has 5 children, but they were not there with him.  I'm sure Faith would enjoy playing with all of his children!
Maybe one day!

Earlier in the day, we visited a guesthouse where we will be hosting our teams, right outside of the Tiberias area on a hill with the most beautiful views of the Sea of Galilee and lush wildflowers and scenery.  It was one of the most beautiful places.  This guesthouse is run by Christians who really love the Lord, and their names are Kent and Shawna.  The Spirit of the Lord is there in a really precious way.

Fruit!  Israel is full of the most lush and beautiful fruit and produce.
We are able to eat so healthy and the fruits taste so much better here.  Israeli food is incredible,
like nothing else we've ever experienced!

Meeting Shawna and Kent, and looking around at the beautiful place the
Lord has prepared for our teams who visit this area in Tiberias.

Faith and I enjoying the beautiful spring blooms at the property where some of our teams will be staying.

Kent and Kevin were fellowshipping together about how it was on Kent's heart to open up a prayer tent with a cooling system, and chairs, for people who come there, to be able to pray and worship the Lord out there in the tent.  He shared how the Lord provided the finances and it was built and stands there today for teams to come and worship the God of Israel!  We were so blessed to meet the brother and sister who run this place, Kent and Shawna.  It's really a joy to see how they do things there.  They have servants of the Lord who volunteer and make the meals to be serving the Lord and allowing for ministries to come at a lower cost.  The volunteers and staff were such a blessing and a joy.

This is the prayer tent for worship and prayer on the property in Tiberias

Kevin praising the Lord in the tent with brother Kent!

The property is so beautiful and the lush foliage and smells of the wildflowers, are breathtaking.  Faith was swinging on the swing set and I was speaking with the host wife and getting to know her a little bit.  Shawna and I had a nice time chatting together.  She has such a hospitable spirit and warmness about her.  I know that all of our guests with Hineni Tours, will be very cared for and loved.  This is very important to us.  We don't want our teams staying just anywhere.  We want them to be able to experience the hospitality of Israel, and get to know the people and meet people and come to not only see the sights, but also to experience the richness of Israel in the people who dwell in the land.

As dusk was approaching, I said, "We may want to start moving on since it's probably dinner time for you by now..." While we were talking, Shawna mentioned that some of the staff were headed to a worship night with Joshua Aaron, and she said that we would be welcome to drive up there and join them.  We thought about it for 2 seconds and were like... "YES! We would ABSOLUTELY love to do this!!"  We felt that this was an invitation from the Lord.  We had no idea how He would subsequently show up in such a real and precious way there in that worship meeting.

The drive up the mountain was amazing.  The lower lights of Tiberias becoming clearer and clearer as we drove to the crest of this large mountain to a town called Poriya Ilit, which means "Fruitful" in Hebrew.  The worship was very spontaneous, many of the songs were new songs that had never been sung that were being birthed there in this place.  Truly this was such a fruitful time of worship.  We really felt that the Lord was inhabiting the praises of His people in a real and special way during this time.

"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
~Psalm 22:3

The JOY in our time of worship was so precious.  After the meeting, we were greeted warmly by all of the brethren and fellowshipped together with our new brother Josh, and everyone in Poriya Illit.  Then after we were there for a while with Joshua's dad (brother Andy), and the precious host family, Jessie and Ryan.  Brother Ryan was hearing our testimony about Hineni Tours, and asked us to "Come and see" something.  To my surprise, on his refrigerator he pointed to a special heart he and his wife had made to remember their calling to the land of Israel and how God used the word "Hineni" to call them there.  Here is the photo of this precious brother showing us the heart on his refrigerator.

Jessie and Ryan were the most precious hosts of the worship night with Joshua Aaron and the brethren. This was a beautiful stamp of the Lord in our hearts to see this heart.  Truly we shared how we felt that the Lord brought us straight to his heartbeat among these believers on the mountain.

Hineni, Adonai.  WOW!  We are Speechless!
This is Carolyn Hyde, Ariel's mother.  We spent time with her son in law on our last trip to Israel, and we actually had connected on facebook weeks ago, and I saw her in the meeting.  She was helping to lead worship and was singing some new songs unto the Lord.  After the meeting we were able to fellowship together and we have some things that we believe the Lord is doing for our teams to come and experience a special time of worship and a meal together at her home in Poriya Illit.  It will be an amazing time for our teams when they come to Israel.  She is a dear sister, and we love her son and daughter-in-law, Ariel and Shayla.

Faith swinging outside of the guesthouse in Tiberias!

Walking into the worship tent which is at the guesthouse

This is Shawna showing us around the main lower level where
team meetings can be held, and ping-pong table too!

Outside area of the guesthouse.  I don't want to spoil the experience,
but just giving a tiny taste!

More views from the guesthouse veranda overlooking
the Sea of Galilee.

Sweet Shawna showing us one of the family rooms
This was the entrance to the worship night
with Joshua Aaron way up high on the mountain.
It was about a 20 minute drive up from Tiberias
with some amazing views of the city lights below.
Truly this evening was a surprise gift from Jesus/Yeshua
to our family.  Thank you. LORD!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Adoption Airfare® More than Just Adoption Travel

When we think of a name, many things can come to mind.  The Name "Adoption Airfare" is very special and unique.  When people think about Adoption Airfare, thoughts come to mind about adoption, children coming home from all over the world, being brought into families.  What a beautiful picture! 

As I look out over the patio of our rental place here in Tiberius, Israel, I am seeing all the beautiful spring blooms, the green and yellow speckled hills, the birds, the clouds, and the Sea of Galilee beneath.  As I see these things, my mind and heart reflects upon the bigger picture of Adoption that began here in the land of Israel.  A picture comes to mind of children being adopted into the Family of God from all over the world.  Just as our families are coming in on airplanes from all over the world, to be part of a family, the same is happening spiritually when souls come to find Jesus / Yeshua, and begin to follow Him.

Our view of the hills and valleys and Sea of Galilee beneath

How can it be, that we feel so at home here in a land so far away from our own?  I feel this amazing sense of belonging here.  It's hard to explain.

This verse comes to mind:

"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." ~Ephesians 3:11-13; 19

Wow!!  I'm amazed as I think of the work that we are able to do with Adoption Airfare®.  Many people don't know that we are also doing almost as much Missions Travel as we are Adoption Travel.  It's such a privilege for each of our agents, and for us as the owners of Adoption Airfare, to see not only families being knit together, but also seeing members of the Family of God being grafted in from all over the world.  We are so grateful, humbled, and amazed to be part of helping others to fulfill their callings of God.  Each day we are able to be a part of a work far greater than ourselves (GTO).

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Every time a soul is saved, the world loses one more orphan."

Sometimes the days are long and the sleep is short as we book tickets for missionaries, work on seat assignments, and do all of the little and big things we do each day.  However, in the work we are doing, we can rejoice at the bigger picture of the gospel being fulfilled through the missionaries whom we are inadvertently helping to fulfill their mission and calling.

As we work to build another branch of Adoption Airfare® called Hineni Tours, we are excited to see how the Lord is knitting Adoption Airfare and Hineni Tours together in heart, mind, and purpose.  Truly the work is intertwined.  We are beginning to see how each branch will need each other and support each other as they grow together as one.  It is our goal to be able to bring teams to Israel, to "Come and See" this beautiful land.  We desire that our teams come not only to see the sights, but also to see the deeper need to bring back the broken branches (souls), to be truly part of the Family of God in the deepest spiritual sense of meaning, through Jesus Christ, the One and only Messiah of the whole world.

As the night begins the day here in Israel, and the day ends in the afternoon sun, so we believe that what is beginning in this season, will soon open up into a greater brightness as the days move forward.  We are excited to see the Lord's unfolding and revealing of all that He has for us as we continue to step out in faith, and build what the Lord is leading us to build.

To God be all the Glory!  May His Name be exalted, extolled, and be lifted HIGH as a result of all of our endeavors.

Enjoying this day with Adoption Airfare® brochures in hand! :) 

My dear friend and I were matching on the day we re-connected here in Israel.  It's been 9 years since we saw each other last, but our hearts being united in Christ, felt like those days were only moments.  What a precious time of fellowship we had together with a dear new sister we met.  This picture was taken in the Golan Heights last night.  One of the most beautiful places on earth.
Pastor Joe Schimmel spoke at a Congregation in the Haifa area of Israel yesterday on Shabbat (Saturday).  He taught on Mephibosheth, and the pictures of how we are broken and needy in the same way, but the King wants to invite us to His table. Wow!  What a precious and humbling message.  We are VERY encouraged by this brother and the words spoken to our hearts.

These sweet girls are enjoying each other!  This is baby Ariella, Pastor Joe and Lisa's grand-baby (Holly and Chad's daughter).  Their children were SOOOO precious!!  Faith had a blast with them!

Faith and Justice, the Schimmel's grand-son.

Here we are fellowshipping all together around one table.
The food was incredible, but the fellowship even sweeter!

Faith playing with Eli and Ariella, wearing her Purim zebra face.
In Israel, they celebrate Purim by having the children dress up.

This was taken on our way to visit the Congregation to hear Pastor Joe.

Bumped into some Adoption Airfare® Clients at ATL!

POSTED IN FLIGHT: Arrived in Atlanta to check in for our flights to #Israel, and guess what happened?! We got in line behind a team of orp...