The Tree

tall tree with leafy branches
Photo by Shivam Patel on Pexels.com

The phone rang, I wasn’t going to pick it up. It was 9am and Sammy was just about to start his homeschooling. I then thought I had better do so, as I didn’t recognise the number.

I was in total shock and didn’t quite understand what was being said on the other end of the phone? My ex mother-inlaw had just dropped dead. My daughter’s two grandparents, divorced but amicable, had died in two months.

I spoke with Neil, and realising we live in the ever present world of social media, it was decided I needed to ring both the girls at work and get them home. As if grieving their Poppa (my ex father-inlaw) whom they were both very close too, wasn’t enough, now Nana had made her exit smack bang in the midst of Level Three Lockdown here in the greater Auckland area. There would be no rushing down to be with their father, no being with their relatives. No funeral, no memorial. Nothing. Covid rules need to be obeyed…..

The grief we feel is palpable. I was still very much part of the Hornell family, as is Sammy & Neil; we are a big blended ex inlaw/outlaw bunch who fight and love and have each other’s back at the end of the day. Things are day by day at the moment, but we hold fast to Yeshua, our rock and strong tower.

My last great Aunt died too. Level Four Lockdown. Her daughter is stuck in Australia and can’t come back at the moment. My Aunty Tuppy was like a surrogate Nana to me. In fact she was the younger sister of my Nana, and when my Grandpa died, her and Uncle Fred made a solemn promise to be there for us and be the surrogate grandparents. They did so well in that role. The only thing that bugged me about Aunty Tuppy, was she insisted on calling me Sarndra. I allowed it out of respect, even though my actual given name is Sandra. It was her term of endearment for me, and I understood that.

So yes, three deaths in three months, all in different levels of Covid19 Lockdown.

Poppa Ken and the kids

Poppa Ken, insisted on calling me his ‘Number One girl’, namely because I was the first daughter inlaw. We had the most amazing chats, he was a great conversationalist, who had big dreams, a grumpy temperament and so much untapped potential. He was gruff and hard at times, but never with me. I could get him crying easy! I loved him, and I miss him so much. He would turn up in his beat up old four wheel drive, and just beam with joy when he saw me. His health had given him what for the past decade, but that smile always came out when he was with us. He didn’t believe in God like I do, but he sure did believe in his love for us. He saw things very differently to me, but he taught me a great deal. He had the biggest, bushiest eyebrows I had ever seen! They grew so wide and deep, he longer had to wear sunglasses 🙂 Typical Ken, it was always his way.

Nana May

Nana May, well she used to scare the daylights out of me! She was a hard taskmaster of a woman, who seemed to live most of her life hiding. Again, I managed to reach in and hear the heart of a woman who had been deeply misunderstood and so incredibly broken. I ended up being the only one who knew she had a heart condition, and that has puzzled me. She had three sons whom she adored, and yet no one but me knew. I found that out the day of her death. Again, so much untapped potential and dreams locked up in a woman who lived mainly alone, later in life, and who didn’t allow people deep into her heart. I guess I am fortunate – for I know some of those precious secrets.

I pulled up the family tree on the MyHeritage website, and with tears streaming down my face (what else is new?!) I put in the three recent death dates.

Ah, this year really has been shite for breakfast, hasn’t it? I don’t think there could be a living soul out there that would say 2020 has been a true blessing from Heaven. No one would believe them if they did. But what I am learning to do is seeing things from both a Heavenly and an earthly perspective. Some areas just aren’t as black and white as we’d like them, but they’re not meant to be. Yeshua reminded us, our Kingdom is invisible, not for this earth, and therefore as my tagline says, we are just Pilgrims passing through. We can’t make this world the be-all and end-all because it’s not. This is just a mere vapour, and one day soon, we will all be with Him, forever. Until then, we must occupy until He comes, and share our Beloved Yeshua with this cold dying world.

So yes, as I said a couple of blogs back, I had been feeling spent, until the Lord showed me the word ‘grief’. There’s no time limit on grief, and I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, so moving through this with the family in tow, is quite the journey indeed.

The Mind Goes….

dark darkness loneliness mystery
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

He sat me down, closed the door, cancelled his appointments for the next hour and asked me one huge question, ‘Sandi, do you still believe in God?’

I looked at him with tears streaming down my face, and quietly uttered the word, ‘yes’.

I did and I do. But I was terrified. Terrified I’d never feel God’s presence again, or hear His voice. What kind of world was I signing up to, taking anti-depressants and walking into a world of counsellors, psychiatrists and psychologists? How did this fit in with my faith, God’s word and everything else I held dear?

The Doctor looked at me as I responded, and said, ‘good, now I know you will be ok.’

He was a Muslim doctor and I was a Christian patient. He was amazing, very humble, very capable, and yet he and his wife were my clients too! I was a Domestic Cleaner and I cleaned their home every week. It was nothing for me to watch the Doctor walk inside, take off his shoes, position his mat and do his prayers.

I didn’t care. I just wanted to know that I wasn’t going mad. Apparently I was having a Emotional Breakdown….

Those words resonated with me, simply because Mental issues were a big deal in my Maternal Grandmother. Mum witnessed Nana have at least one emotional breakdown, and declared that she would never allow herself to become that way – she often would say I was cursed with my own emotions and Nana’s. Funny how it all came to a head when she watched her own Granddaughter have a full psychotic breakdown. Actually it’s not funny at all, but if issues aren’t dealt with in one generation, they will come back in another – and another until they are sorted.

I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend or recent years. People who seem to have it all, or seemingly have a great life etc, suddenly up and commit suicide.

My Doctor asked if I had suicidal thoughts – hell no! I had too much terror to reign on people and too much life to live yet!

But I needed to sort out my mind, and apparently going on Aropax was going to help me do that.

Wrong!

I got a burst of energy for the first twenty four hours, so I went out and dug a vegetable garden at 9pm that night! The rest of the time, it did nothing for me, so after six weeks, I flushed it all down the toilet. People are amazed, simply because here in New Zealand, there had been many cases reported of the withdrawal symptoms from Aropax actually being so bad, and some leading to suicide – but somehow I knew God was with me and that I was gaining inner strength.

The point to all of this is not self pity, or even about me. This is about not being alone. This is about reaching out and sharing your troubles. If that person is unable to help you, there are lots of places to reach out too.

I made one phone call. That lead to an amazing charity called Strengthening Families. These people were brilliant at helping me get sorted through the myriad of mess and emotions that I was dealing with. They helped my children. They helped my friends. And by some amazing stroke of serendipity, I opened the door for this charity to help many others within my community.

So, the long and the short of it is, we are never alone. Every single person on this planet matters to God – despite race, gender, religion or ethnicity – and every single person has the God ordained right to be seen, heard, appreciated and loved.

If you are having Mental issues or need to chat with someone, I encourage you to reach out – and please stop believing the lie that you are alone – it’s simply not true!

With love and much blessing

Sandi 🙂

Content © SparkleMoon Publishing.

Three Minutes Fifty One.

My first visit with Dad in ten weeks.

One week before we as New Zealanders went into total Lockdown, the Rest Homes and Aged Care facilities made the decision to go into full Lockdown for the sake of their ailing Residents.  At the time, we were lead to believe that the Coronavirus, Covid-19 or Sars-Covid-2, was most lethal towards the elderly and infirmed.  Unfortunately for our country, this proved to be true.  Most of our small cases of deaths, were indeed in the Rest Homes.

Dealing with not seeing Dad was something that I was consciously aware of when our Prime Minister started to make daily addresses to the public regarding Lockdown.  Then the day hit when I realised there would be no visiting him at all, and I didn’t get the chance to warn him!  However, all was not lost, as I was able to speak to him on the phone, and the home was able to arrange a couple of Skype calls.

Dad was actually quite funny on those Skype calls – he recognised us, but couldn’t understand why our faces were appearing on a computer!  The whole conversation lasted three minutes and fifty one seconds. 

Yes folks, that enabled me to stop worrying indeed.

When I was able to visit Dad eventually after ten weeks, I had to go through a whole routine of sanitisation, form filling and mask wearing.  Dad didn’t even realise it was me until I quickly lifted the mask up so he could see my entire face!

He understood that I wasn’t able to take him out, he actually was more concerned that there were other patients coming up and staring at me, and he was trying to shoo them away J

I have to say, in this instance there was so much unprecedented things happening in our world, but I learnt not to worry about Dad.  The staff again, were utterly brilliant and would keep us informed with emails, texts and the occasional photographs of Dad.  He was being entertained and kept busy, so that relieved a whole lot of pressure off of me.  Phew!

Till next time, be blessed…..Sandi 🙂

My Dearest Friend….

With every message that goes unanswered, every email that no one seems to respond to, excuses made and heartache booming in my soul – there you are. For the longest of times, you have stood by me, loved me, helped me, cherished me, made me laugh until I cried and been with me. You believed in me when everyone gave up, you cheered me on when I made the smallest of steps, and now here we are. I cannot remove the pain of the past or the wounds of such terror, but I can be a safe place as you are to me. I can love you, as you have loved me. In the darkest of souls and the deepest of nightmares, I will stand with you as you have stood with me. I adore you. I love you. My sister and trusted confidante. And so I dedicate this poem to you, My Dearest Friend.

Ancient Ruins, 2002

I walked through the ancient ruins today

And saw some ghosts of yesteryear

I looked through the brokenness and found

You were still sitting amongst the mess

Won’t you come my way sweet child?

And walk into the fresh air,

Breathe and let the sun’s rays warm your body

Let the light fill your cold soul.

I wandered around and saw many things

Images I recognised from years gone by

I felt the pain, but it was no longer mine

I let it go, many moons ago

I saw things that could have haunted me

And walked all through the mess

But nothing can touch a heart that is now

Wrapped with grace and armed with forgiveness.

I left the Ancient Ruins today

My heart completely in one piece

I took back my inner child and now – she’s safe again in me.

A Sword in the hands of a Mighty Warrior Princess.

50 and The Mask

a filigree mask

I wrote a blog once about de-masking and becoming real. Foolishly, I deleted it. I then went on and deleted all of my blogs. I did print out some of them, but The Mask was not among them! There had been much ado about something or rather, and I felt unsafe blogging. Oh the foolish actions of someone who was too scared to stand and face the very truth that she longed to convey. However, after letting go of some people and opinions, I realised it was time to reflect back and write from the heart, once again.

You know, it’s never too late to take a stand and show the world the true you, the one that has all the sags, bags and wrinkles but knows enough to be sure, and enough to remain humble.

I got confused by someone who used to tell me, that to the public, they would wear a mask.  It just didn’t sit right with me. There was always conflict with them, it was never plain sailing. Speaking one thing to one person, yet saying something entirely different to someone else. Keeping their cards very close to their chest, and yet demanding an audience and trying to have a perception of authority and wisdom. It never worked for me.

I learnt through some very troubling times, that if you indeed are going to wear a mask, then you had better be prepared for the eventuality that it will be ripped off someday. And you had better pray that the Lord does it gently and privately, so as not to seem like a public spectacle or debarcle.

You see, if one is truly authentic and living in the light of God’s love, there is absolutely no reason at all to wear a mask anymore. Who are you trying to hide from and who are you trying to fool? Those with a sense of discernment and any sense of true perception, are going to see right through it, and if they have enough mettle, they will call you on it too.

There’s something about turning fifty, or even just a few weeks beforehand, that made me question alot about my life and come out from behind my self-imposed mask.

I decided to stop dying my hair. I realised there are just some foods I can no longer eat, even though I like them. I have come to love my stretchmarks, they are my badges of pregnancy and carrying such great blessings. After years of of trying to gain my pre-Sammy body, I’ve come to realise that rounded and larger is good too. I love my wrinkles, they show I have lived. I really adore my laughter lines, because my goodness there is still so much joy to share in! I have come to appreciate my boobs are saggy, but they have fed and nurtured my kiddos. I’ve also come to appreciate that I am going through major hormonal changes (menopause) and the greatest gift I can give (apart from nutrition) is love and kindness towards myself. I have found walking my beloved beach to be such a tonic of healing and health, and I have found my love of dancing again!

There are those who want to label me a worshipper, a prophet, an author, a publisher, a this or a that. But what I know for sure is that I am a Watchman and I call out what I see. I am not popular, I never have been and don’t aspire to be. I am not a great Beauty to the world, but I am to my husband and children. I am not a Rockstar, but I love my singing voice – because these days I have come to appreciate I sing for an audience of One. I don’t have anything to prove with my writing or my blogs, I just write what I sense the Lord telling me too. I feel such great sadness and joy within the same moment, and realise that is how the Lord made me, and I know how to manage those emotions now. I see the world and life very differently to a few years ago, and I’m not afraid to live it.

We live in such unprecedented and tumultuous times, we don’t know where or when the next disaster will be. But we know the One who calms the seas, brings Shalom (peace) to the raging heart; gives us joy for sadness; a song instead of a dirge; provision from Heaven; parts the sea of troubles for us to walk right through; hope for the nations and love for all mankind. His name is Yeshua (Jesus) – He alone is our Salvation, our Rock and the strong tower of our Defense, AND the name above ALL names – including Covid-19! We serve a Mighty God who knows the end from the beginning, who writes OUR names upon His hand, who loves us so completely and delights in us abundantly.

I love this time of life, and have continued to embrace all the changes. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about and so much yet to do.

But the one thing I know for sure, unequivocably and indeliably – you can’t do any of this from living behind a mask!

Beit She’an

Beit She'an
The Lone Dancing Tree

This place has fascinated me for years. It’s something of a mystery that was still covered up in the 1920’s with only a few excavations done around then and in the 1930’s. It is currently in the Arab village of Beisan, at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley.

In the Biblical account of the battle of the Israelites against the Philistines in 1 Samuel 31:8-12, the bodies of King Saul and three of his sons were hung on the walls of Beit She’an. In the Roman times this was the leading city of the Decapolis, a league of pagan cities.*

It remained buried for so many centuries, and yet when you see the vastness of it, you are quite shocked! Those Roman columns are extraordinarily tall, and it blows my mind to think that only a few stuck out of the ground, and yet the Arab nomads just farmed their herds here, with no digging or wanting to know what these things were sticking out of the ground! My archaeological mind would have going into overdrive 🙂

When you first enter the Regional Park of Beit She’an, you’re first shown a very large model of how it would have been set out.

Beit She'an
Part of the model shown of how this city would have been back in Roman times.

If you are lucky enough to have the place to yourself, as we were, then you can all spread out and go where you like. Interestingly, it was the only time that it rained for us: we didn’t mind, even though it was October, it was still mighty warm! After allowing us to take off, our tour guide Hilik, reigned us all back in and started to guide us through this ginormous complex. The vanity sets, the large red columns which seemed almost white until the rain bought out their beauty, the rooms where there would have been steam like saunas, even alcoves carved out so you could go and do your business! This is such a phenominal place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There also is a very large Roman ampitheatre on which I did burst out in song at the behest of my girlfriend! I just didn’t get good enough shots of the entirety of the theatre, but there are plenty online.

My advice is to not rush through here. The beautiful craftmanship is still abundant here, the detail, the tiles and mosiacs. There is plenty to wonder at here, and I cannot wait to go back and show my children!

Be blessed and I’ll see you soon.

Sandi 💜

*Wikipedia.

I Am….

IMG_4529

I existed before time began
I AM
I was present when Creation spun into being
I AM
I was there before the foundation of the world
I AM
I AM the Ruach, the wind, the breath…
I delight to make chaos beautiful
And all things new
I delight in your brokenness
For I alone can fix you and make you whole
Your ‘self serving’, your way
Your belief that ‘I can do anything’
Just look in the rest homes of the Elderly
And you will see that you cannot….
You cannot control what I AM has made
You are but dust and atoms
Gloriously formed within your Mother’s womb
I know you so intricately
So intimately
So….
Lay down your Self, your soul and all her wounds
And watch as I AM breathes on your mess
Watch as I AM makes all things new and beautiful….
Your times are in I AM’s hands
Delight in I AM and know that I AM God!
Trust in I AM simply as a little babe in arms
I AM has carefully placed you in the palm of our hands
And I AM will make you new
So arise Beautiful One and look to see
Your Ruddied Lover, I AM dancing upon the hills
Running to your rescue
To find you and bind your wounds
Together we shall ascend Mt Zion
And I AM will teach you our ways
Come away…..come away with I AM…….

Israel Part Four – The Fun Bus!!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We found our seats on the back of the bus and off we went. The roads in Nazareth are interesting to say the least: not at all designed for large wide buses, but cheers to the bus driver, he did well, I never did catch his name!!

Neil settled himself in and looked up some articles online, then proceeded to start teaching different ones some Kiwi speech and much to my horror, Kiwi Slang….oh man, I didn’t know if that would go down well on a Christian Tour. I shouldn’t have worried 🙂 From the getgo, some of us were laughing and having a great time. Yishay was doing his best to narrate through his microphone, but I do believe a number of us were far too busy chatting and getting to know one another to hear his narration.

Listening to Americans trying to do Kiwi accents always brings a smile to my face!

El-Ahawat. What the hell was this place? It’s a line in the old testament, that seemingly had some relevance to Sardinian architecture. Someone really should have gotten a machete (I would have!) and chopped some grass down. People were tripping over alot, and it was difficult to figure out where we were and what we’d come to see. Neil picked up a stone and underneath it was a piece of handle from an old jug. That came home with us. Yishay had been talking about finding the hole where one of the gates hung – Michael found the other one! It was interesting hearing and learning the context of this archaeological site, we’re very glad we got to go there.

Meal times in Nazareth were wonderful. Sitting and sharing stories and learning from others like Carol & Jerry, Anne, Val, Phil, Charlotte & Michael were amazing. Neil and I always asked how and why people came on the Skywatch tour, and every answer was different. Being in the presence of someone such as Jerry, was amazing. Though quiet and unassuming, what he did have to say, at times had me in tears…..

For Neil and I, one of the absolute highlights was the four wheel driving to Gilgal Refaim. We absolutely loved the crazy roads and bumping along – and keep in mind Neil once had broken his back and is not supposed to be walking – so no complaining thank you! Part of the adventure is being able to go with the flow and expect the unexpected. As an ex farmgirl, I relished having the wind blowing through my hair, being thrown around and reconnecting with a part of myself that had laid dormant – the Adventurous Sandi 😉 I sat opposite Pat in the jeep, and she commented that perhaps today she shouldn’t have used any hairspray…. 😉

Again, to look eye level, Gilgal Rephaim was just a jumbled up bunch of stones with long grass that needed said machete! I didn’t want to go down into the Death Chamber, so Neil did and videoed it. For me, it was just lovely looking around and seeing all the archaeology that hasn’t been touched. There was another mound in the distance that seemed to be relevant, but we didn’t go there. Maybe we should?

I’m super glad that we’ve been to Banias Springs before, because we only got fifteen minutes this time. I’ve written about this in my book, it was a place that impacted me deeply back in 2013 on our first tour. There is so much to see, but we hardly saw anything this time. I look forward to going back and climbing the rocks up into some of the other sites up there. I’m told that the whole of Mt Hermon has many archaeological sites that only get visited by hikers. I also know that some people don’t like Banias Springs, and that’s fair enough. However, I take the view that Yeshua redeemed everything. Hearing Derek (again) speak on the importance of Peter, the rock and his revelation of who Yeshua is, right there in the very place that it was spoken and revealed, is important. As Carl Gallups says, context is key!

One place that I don’t particularly like, as you have to pay to pee, and it’s so utterly trite and commercial, is Yardenit. I didn’t like being hearded into the dining hall and all that business, but I got a chance to spend time outside quietly with Anne. She and I got a chance to share and that for me was Heaven. Thank you Anne for holding my hand and allowing my tears to fall <3 Being present to watch a few people be baptized was lovely, and kind of odd when they all stayed in the water and swam around! Great times 🙂

I witnessed something that didn’t happen on the first tour – people caring for one another. I am an unusual creature in that dry heat makes me come alive. However there were a number of individuals where the intense heat impacted them greatly. I loved watching some of the younger ones walking with some of the slower ones and showing care, that really blessed me. Having Deborah with her nursing background, and Michael with his military background, was invaluable and such a blessing. I didn’t hear people whining, whinging or complaining, and for that I am super grateful – that happened alot last year. What did shock me was an elderly couple (from our tour) in Jerusalem, were having trouble walking on the old cobblestones down a steep road. When I offered to help them, the man yelled at me, repeatedly. That gutted me, and it took Neil praying over that for me to let it go. The man never apologised, so I would just glare at him for the duration of the tour.

My kids tell me my glare is killer – that’s the point 🙁

For me, the Dead Sea Region is the place where I came alive – big time 🙂 The place where I would stand on the balcony and marvel that across the Dead Sea, was the Abarim Range – Jordan. Part of the land that originally was given to Abraham. Part of the land that one day will be restored to Israel. I had learnt after having our DNA tested, and developing a Family Tree, that we descend from the Tribe of Benjamin, and here I was smack bang in the middle of it all! Spiritually speaking, this is part of my heritage. No wonder I felt so ALIVE there!!

It was at the Dead Sea that my silent prayers came true – just to dance, and enjoy ourselves – and so we did! My husband has never danced in public with me – well he now has 😉 Spending time with Charlotte, Michael and Taylor, letting our hair down and enjoying Shabbat evening – that was Heaven on Earth to me 🙂 It was at the Dead Sea we got to spend some time with Val, one of our Brits from the Motherland, and hear some of her story.

And then of course, going back to Qumran. I thought at this point I was going to self combust…….oh my Gosh!!

How ridiculous for a sink hole to open in the road in which we were going to drive, and cut off any opportunity to go to Qumran. How about NO! And yet after prayer, miraculously, we were off to this magical and mysterious place.

The place has changed dramatically from when we visited there in 2013. Back then we were given the sanitised version of what this was all about, and taken into the building where alot of artifacts and scrolls are on display. There is so much untold and untouched history here. You can feel it. Meeting Jim Barfield, albeit so short, was incredible. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to walk all around, and it seems to be fenced off where we walked in 2013, but I think that will inevitably change.

SAM_5952
Cave where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found 1947. Photo taken 2013.

This here, is the very reason we came back to the Skywatch tour.

God still hasn’t finished writing that chapter on our scrolls yet.

Photos and content copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019.

Israel….Part 3 :)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

We were just about to leave the house, so a quick mental check.  Steph and Juju were at work, Sammy had been picked up, our bags were packed.  I’d managed to organise our flights, the Tour, insurance, three children, the welfare of my father, Sammy’s part time job, car storage, extra hotel and currency exchange, food shopping, paid the bills, all in six days!

No problems, time to grab a takeaway coffee and we were off!

We got to the airport and I could sense Neil was a bit tense, so we just stopped and chatted.  Everything was done.  His work encouraged this trip.  The only two couples who knew we were going back to Israel did so with such excitement and blessing.

We boarded the familiar Cathay Pacific plane, got ourselves ready, prayed and then that amazing feeling of speeding down the tarmac and liftoff 🙂  (I am the daughter of a Private Pilot, I LOVE planes!)

We had a short stopover in Hong Kong, and to be honest it was great doing loads of walking after being cooped up on such a long flight.  We were both so excited, and starting to relax.  Neil loves the travelators!  We were having fun, just the two of us, and realised we hadn’t had an international flight with just us, in over five years.  We were like silly honeymooners, and it was fabulous!

We got to Tel Aviv, and even just being in the taxi and looking at the motorway in all it’s madness, felt like home to me.  In amongst last years debarcle, there were fun times with Neil trying to navigate a car on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car.  He drove really well and ended up horn tooting, lane swapping, driving up on the footpath and yelling out the window – my own Israeli Hoon – so proud 😉

We got to our hotel that I had booked online on the Tel Aviv beachfront.  Think 80s Miami, complete with short guy, large ego, long black mullet, fluoro clothing, jacuzzi in the room, 80s video music playing in the lobby…..oh my life!  We got our bags stored and headed down to the beach.  We found a restaurant on the sand, and there we plopped for hours until it was time to actually check in to our Miami Beach Hotel (it’s actual name).  Armed with loads of water, we just bunked down at 3.00pm and apart from briefly waking during the night, slept through till 5am the next morning.

Apparently I like waking early whilst in Israel, who knew 😉

We arose, got to our breakfast across the road, and then stored our bags again as we set off to explore Tel Aviv for a third time.  Eurovision was happening and the place was bursting with an extra 30,000 people!  The heat was intense, but as you know, I tend to thrive in the heat.  Neil, not so much.  Along the waterfront they have many water stops, where you can drink fresh cool water and refill your bottles for free.  There’s a pier that we love to walk along, with an old light house, and so we headed off there again.  It’s a place of quietness and a bit of privacy, so we can feel the wind blow and just have ‘us’ time.

All the while, there was such a joy welling up in both of us.

The previous year had been redonkulous, and we needed our tanks filled, and boy was God doing that.  Even just being together.  Just sitting on the beach people watching.  Our standing taking photos and not being ‘hurried along’ it was all shades of perfection.

We gathered our bags, called a taxi and headed back to the airport.  The bloody taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal and so we had to catch a bus to the right one!  But it was all part of the fun.  We had time, the bus was free, everything was good.  Chillax!

At the airport, we spotted a seat, then grabbed a coffee and pain au chocolat croissant – yummy!  And then Neil turned around and saw Avi & Rachel Lipkin.  He was too shy to say hello, but they saw us and Avi came straight up to Neil and recognised him from last years tour.  Next thing, for two hours, we sat with these wonderful people, as Avi would up and wander around looking for ‘the lost sheep of the Skywatch Tour’.  Speaking with Rachel (she needs to be interviewed for sure!) was amazing.  What richness and depth she has…..

Somewhere along the way came Paula, Phil, Anne and we needed another table!  And eventually in came the lovely people from Lipkin Tours.  It was wonderful seeing Leora who last year was very heavily pregnant, and seeing photos of her beautiful son.  It was lovely to be so warmly welcomed and hugged by her and Rachel from the Agency.

And then, the buses!

I remember when I heard someone say they’d been in Israel nine years before – I needed to talk to that person.  Little did I know they would land at our table later!

Behind us sat Anne, and the dynamo who would be known as our Kiwi Pom – Phil 🙂  I sat like a little girl bouncing up and down in my seat, just so excited knowing we were off and it was all happening!  Hearing all the different American accents, the English accents, a couple of South African accents – yes peoples, the United Nations were abroad haha 🙂

I was quietly praying that we would either get to stay in the Dungeon at the Nazareth Crown, or at least be able to enjoy the same view.  Let me explain.  The Dungeon was accessible by going into the lift down to the ground floor, then walking along and finding the service elevator, and taking that to the bottom floor which had only been done up earlier last year.  Then a very long corridor with all the rooms with such magnificent views.

This year we got the view, and it was wonderful.  We also had people above us who were sitting outside smoking and flicking their ash down on my hair!  Never mind, let’s not freak out.  Let’s just talk REALLY LOUD so they can understand that’s not happening again!  It didn’t 😉

So, now it was dinnertime.  I wondered if they were going to separate us into buses again – it really is silly, but kind of understandable.  Yes, they did!

Next thing we knew, along came Mike & Charlotte, Carol & Jerry, Val and Anne to our back table.  The fun had just begun, and we took that fun down the back of Bus One…. 😉

 

 

Content and photos copyrighted Sandi Wilson 2019

 

Israel….My Story, Part 2

 

I’ve really grappled with writing this part of the story.  Knowing there is a possibility that the people concerned may read this, I am trying to be as tactful as possible…

Things weren’t right.  I was not being heard.  Even though there had been warnings about the trip to Israel and I was trying to listen to them, when I expressed them, I was pretty much fobbed off and left to it.  This would come back to haunt others in the ensuing weeks and months.

I have never spoken publically what I am about to share – so if you can’t deal with raw, honest and vulnerable, I suggest you leave the page now.

I have been attacked twice in my life, with what I would call ‘terror and dread.’  These spirits go far beyond fear, and if not dealt with swiftly, they will stay attached for as long as they can.  Once, while driving alone in the car, these hands reached around and tried to strangle me.  I called upon the name of Jesus, and he literally saved me from blacking out and crashing the car.  The second time, was in the back of the car, in a traffic jam in Tel Aviv – with this couple.  The person I was with went all black eyed and snake headed.  The words that spewed out of it were from hell itself.  Afterwards the person jumped out of the car and ran off.

I sat there paralysed in utter silence.

Welcome to Israel!

The next morning, there were prayers and forgiveness, but the shock and trauma had set in, and things weren’t ok for Neil and I.  In fact, as the tour started, I found myself more and more not being heard, and ended up hiding behind Neil – literally hiding.  The only thing that got me through, was knowing we had a nice room to retreat to if necessary!  Never mind that I was in this land I loved, I guess most of me had checked out, shut down.

It wasn’t until we got to Masada that there was a change for me.  I knew because of finding out my natural heritage, that I needed to pray for certain things atop of Masada.  After a loud disagreement, Neil and I broke away from the group, and I went to where I’d seen in a vision, a certain area to stand and pray.  It was perfect.  No one there, just Neil (who was off taking photos), myself and God.  I really sensed the Ruach wind of God.  A sense of Yeshua being right there with me.  It seemed to be of another time, it was just majestic.  I was deeply moved, deeply quiet.  I will never forget that moment.   Spiritually speaking, something had shifted….

As we travelled through this glorious land, we discovered wonderful treasures and moments of joy, but the deep overwhelming feeling of dread and terror remained.

I was shocked by some of the tour group.  Mutterings in the back of the bus about our tour guide, mocking him and saying nasty things – I’d come all this way for that?

I was utterly disgusted by one of the ‘leaders’ actions.  We’d been sent the notes beforehand on how we were to behave, and told not to disagree with the guides infront of others etc.  Well, this leader had outright arguments with our guide, so Neil and I turned off our whispers and walked away.  I had a sense this person was rather arrogant, well that darn well proved it!

The final nail in the Israeli coffin, was this American couple we seemed to get on well with.  They were wanting to share dinners, swap emails etc which seemed fine, all to then turn around and cut off all contact with us once they’d gotten the contact details of the couple we took over.  So much for befriending ‘like minded’ people!

I was ruined.  Just completely lacerated in my soul.  And I was done.  I may have loved Israel, but I never wanted to return again.  And I would never tour with American people again 🙂  Que laughter here!

When we returned to New Zealand, our middle daughter and her partner were leaving the next week to relocate to Australia.  The farewell dinner we held was the last time we ever saw our friends.  They literally live one mile away, and they just ditched us.  We were used for our money, our time, our friendship and then hurled away.

I sank into a depression.  A lot of things transpired, and I just wasn’t coping.  I reached out to the Gilberts, who were by the way, outstanding in their support and prayers!

My book was then internationally published, and I couldn’t even deal with having a book launch or celebration.  Something that had bought so much joy to me as I wrote it, and here I was not even really wanting to acknowledge what God had done through me!  My eldest daughter took it upon herself to put up posters all around our wee village, and to approach the local libraries.  She also ‘reminded’ those who had received my book for free, to get online and do a review – she’s amazing like that!

I’m not at all ashamed to say I reached out and got professional help.  Someone who went incredibly deep with me.  Someone who went into the spirit realm and routed out these liar demons that were having a field day with me.  Someone whom I have so much love and respect for.  This woman made me work SO DAMN HARD!  And I’m so glad she did, because it made a difference.  I found prayers online that went into hard areas that other Christians or Ministries won’t touch, and I WENT THERE.  And so did Neil.  He too got help.  And we got help with God.  We got healed of our ‘stuff’ and we started to move through the minefield that had been lacerated open in Tel Aviv.

Come January 2 this year, everything changed.  I woke up and felt like my Inner Warrior Princess had risen up again.  It didn’t stay that way for long, but I learnt so many valuable lessons.  But, I couldn’t write.  Even doing my study was hard, because it involves writing!  But one thing I repented of and really got serious about, was Israel.  God had placed his hand on my life concerning this, his chosen land, and no demon in hell was going to keep me from my destiny!

FINALLY, in due course, we were able to view the video of the Tour that the Gilberts sent through.  And then the next week we looked at the up and coming tour.  We blessed it and thought it sounded great, but nothing else transpired.

And then.

It happened.

Tom Horn.  Zev Porat.  Carl Gallups.  The Jim Bakker Show.

An internal ‘explosion’……

Oh boy, here we go again……..!

 

 

Content and photos copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019