I remember so well the mornings you would whisper to me and awaken me at 3 am. I loved being woken by you; the sweet aroma of love that enveloped me as you took me through your Word and uttered your divine mysteries into my heart. As I look back at the things I wrote, I am aware of your presence, your calling, the hope I had – that now seems so shaky.
The cares of life, the pressures of the daily routine I fall into, the raising of children, the businesses, marriage and all its woes – where did WE go Yeshua?
I remember walking along the country road and hearing you speak so clearly to me. The dreams you would share with me, the laughter that would easily enrapture my soul. I think of the time you called me by my special name, a name only we know, and how in love I felt with you.
The times I would come and minister to your heart, as you had done to my broken one, and yet you seemed so besotted with me too. It’s a love story that is better than Disney or Hallmark, and yet I’ve settled for those love stories too now.
The worship that would flow from my mouth, emptying my soul into the ether as you showed me a new facet of your being. How I miss you!
I sit on the carpet and weep now, such deep anguish in my soul – without words, they seem utterly meaningless, just guttural noises and tears falling out of me.
I remember those times I would pray and ask you to hold me as I slept, I needed you and your comfort so desperately. And now, I have a physical husband and we watch endless TV series.
What once was a thriving love relationship based on your Word, your Presence and your Worship, has been replaced with many many programmes that fill the mind, scare the soul and leave the heart deeply grief-ridden and empty.
Walks that used to be two-way conversations, seem to be replaced with work. Or should I say, plug up the ears and listen to yet another podcast that will invariably dull down my pour neglected heart?
Being misconstrued as something that I am not, and yet being fully unable to be the real person you have created me to be.
Longing for you, and yet when I don’t get the response needed, just plop down and dismiss it all as emotionalism…..hoping it wasn’t, knowing it wasn’t, but in this current climate that I live in, your Presence isn’t necessarily a necessity….
Yeshua, how I need you. I realise how desperate my soul has become. I have all that I ever asked for and yet my soul feels dead. I find wonder in the dance, the hope, the dream and the memory. But I need you more than I ever have!
Looking back into diaries that stretch to twenty-five years, I went through a bad marriage, separation, divorce, rape, being a single mother, various diagnoses, depression, anxiety, poverty, debt, spiritual abuse, fractured relationships, reconciliation, different churches, different doctrines, and so the list keeps growing. But you were the One who was my main staple in all those times. These past ten years, there have been sporadic moments of you and your mystery, but they didn’t last long. It would be easy to blame my husband, children, business and the like. But the truth is, I haven’t needed much of you for the physical necessities like I used to.
Believe it or not, the truth is, I need you more than ever as we approach the end of days here on earth.
You are everything.
It just took having everything on earth to know how desolate I am now.
It’s an absolute honour and pleasure to introduce you to my Spiritual Ma, my dear friend, confidante, butt kicker and fellow Lover of Yeshua, to the blog today! Joy & Dave have such a deep passion for people, for God and for revival. Having spent time living in the Solomon Islands in the early seventies, they witnessed full blown revival amongst the people there, and saw validated miracles. This marked them for life – I should know because they convinced me to go with them back to the Islands in 2000! My life was indelibly changed. Joy & Dave returned with VSA (Volunteer Services Abroad) to live again in 2019, in their beloved Islands, where Joy as a Defense Attorney, was given the privilege of training up young lawyers whilst there. Dave is a mechanic and a deep intercessor with a heart for the Father that burns bright! They have since returned home to the wonderful countryside town of Cambridge, NZ.
Without further ado, I introduce you to Joy E. Allen 🙂
Interpreting the Times
The Prophetic declaration for 2020, amongst other words, was that it would be a year of insight, understanding, clarity of vision, and notwithstanding the naysayers and critics of the prophetic voice, it has been just that. I came to that realisation when reading the book, “Live not by Lies” and reviewing the past year.
2020 for me was an adventure in faith and discovery. An adventure does not always import excitement and awe, in fact my journey was often punctuated with dread and fear, but most of all I learned more about myself, destiny, and inheritance. Given that I was born shortly after the end of World War II, I am socially classified as a “white baby-boomer”; so while rhetorically that gifts me, in this current political and cultural climate, the status of being “cancelled” by default, I do however have a voice, I do have identity, I do have a future, and I do have purpose.
The first enlightenment of 2020 was when we were living and working in a South Pacific island nation and observing what I call the manifestation of victimhood. The leaders of the Solomon Islands sold their souls and the soul of their nation to the “kindness and generosity” of the CCP. They effectively surrendered the Sovereignty of their nation and the future of their children motivated by greed, entitlement, self-interest, and lust for power.
The next and principal enlightenment of 2020 unpacked gradually as we observed with growing interest and disquiet President Trump’s tenure (we had prayed for his 2016 appointment) and the repeated attempts to impeach, discredit and undermine or block his presidency. The hatred palpable, the lies and fake news so blatant and disturbing. We were staggered by the treasonous and vile rhetoric, but knew we were witnessing the battle for the soul of the nation. We were mindful of the tenuous position of our own small country the media perpetrating the deception by regurgitating the lies with impunity and no accountability. We were fascinated by the gradual exposing of the “swamp creatures” their evil agendas, the hijacking of the media and the truth, the extent and depth of corruption, the real political and cultural intent of the “elite” and Globalists, surpassed only by the criminal activity to steal the elections.
In 2015 I had a dream the interpretation of which was about China as a Trojan Horse, the word was that “China will conquer by stealth”. That same year I became aware of China’s expansionist agenda when one of New Zealand’s largest beef and sheep stations (Lochinver Station almost 14,000 ha) was under a conditional agreement for sale and approved by the OIA (Overseas Investment Office). I remember being intensely burdened to pray for that sale to be blocked. Thank you Father God, the Government at the time rejected the bid because the benefit to New Zealand did not meet the Legal definition of “substantial and identifiable”. China have however continued to buy up our assets, steal our intellectual property and appropriate some of our most valuable resources. The Chinese Communist Party are like Mafia bosses they make an offer you cannot refuse, and when you succumb to, or are beguiled by, their “attractive” offer (usually large sums of money) they then take ownership of you, a strategy we observed in the Solomon Islands. While in Honiara I was watching a Chinese Television program early November 2019 which reported at first, 2 cases of Pneumonic Plague. I remembered those reports later when news of the Wuhan virus started filtering through, and the CCP tried to keep secret the source and progress of the virus. Another 2020 expose and manifested through the cyber-attacks, interference and hijacking of the American elections, and the further revelations of Chinese ideological influence in the Universities of the US, Australia, NZ, and other countries.
The most recent insight was from my bible reading in Ezra (which I had been studying for more than a year). There are so many parallels and lessons from Ezra and associated prophets of that time (Haggai and Zechariah) in relation to our time. Ezra 1 verse 1 speaks of the Lord stirring up the spirit of King Cyrus so that the word of the Lord through Jeremiah might be fulfilled. The Hebrew word for stirring up (Uwr) is defined as “opening the eyes, literally or figuratively, out of sleep and into a sense of excitement or triumph”. God stirred or awakened the spirit of Cyrus the gentile king. His spiritual eyes were opened to direct the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.
So to those who came to the end of 2020 and claimed the Prophets were wrong and that there was no 20/20 insight, revelations, or understanding, then they are asleep, and their spirits need to be awakened!! Lest they miss the hour of the visitation that is coming.
Joy and husband David, have recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They have six daughters and ten grandchildren. Recently retired from a career in Law as a Criminal Barrister (though not from life), Joy is actively pursuing her next assignment. As an unashamed lover of God, she is passionate about Justice and Truth, and is now finding her voice through writing.
 Live not by Lies, A Manual for Christian Dissidents: Rod Dreher
Today, of all days, I am so thankful. After many many months of seeing a world flip and flounder over a supposed pandemic, nail biting elections, a break up and a reconciliation, death in the family AND turning 50, 2020 will go down in my diary and blog as the Year of Years!
I have been challenged to the core on what I believe. I have listened to liberals, conservatives, teachings that bore the stuffing out of me, teachings that rouse me, conspiracy theorists, Q movement, theorists on End Times and more things that just aren’t worth mentioning.
I have questioned the deconstruction that has occurred within my theology and wondered where I am headed? I’ve watched people I love totally knot themselves up into a ball and live in a world I just don’t understand, and I’ve watched some dear ones emerge after the longest time, bearing such great fruit.
I love being 50, I love so much that comes with a bit of age, experience and pain. But I didn’t like how I got here!
For the longest time, as much as I love words and writing, I just couldn’t make sense of my inner soul. All the things I have held dear, ways we have done church, doctrines that I thought were truth, all these things were tested and tried in my soul. My walk with God has been fraught with puddles upon damns of tears and snot, mingling down into a mass of unintelligible words and groanings. Yet I knew, as sure as God is on the throne, that I had to take this journey, predominantly on my own.
I stopped listening to everything, and started hearing the Lord speak to me in the darkest of nights, the earliest of mornings and the quiet still times I managed to get during the day. I felt like my anchor had come adrift, and my heart was just everywhere. I didn’t like what I was hearing, but I trusted the Lord, nonetheless.
We – Neil and I, separated and it was the hardest thing stepping back and watching. Wondering five hundred million things all at once that manifested in one thought – “wasn’t I enough”? Wrong question, The Almighty said! The answer was, “you’re an enabler” – the question was “why”? Oh, yes I remember….abandonment. The bane of my existence, the dreams that had come, now all manifested – and God was only just beginning!!
The deconstruction took me to places where every stone was turned over, every belief questioned, every friendship put under the microscope, every relationship analyzed and every thought was looked at. It has been exhausting!
The loss of things that have been part of your make up and the fabric of your soul for thirty years, is quite intense. I wanted to reach out, I wanted to share, I wanted to make that phone call, send that text – but I felt the stern warning of the Lord. This was something between He and I. Period.
Fast forward – Neil and I are the best we have ever been. There is redemption and healing when God’s mercies and truth kiss, at the Cross of Jesus. There is a wonderful embracing of all the flaws, complexities and wonders that marriage brings, and yet God weaves the most beautiful tapestry from our worst and makes it His best. WE are both extremely thankful.
You all know my take on our elections and what I feel about our Prime Minister, but as the anger and despair dissipated, I found I am able to pray for her regularly and sincerely. Wonders never cease! I don’t believe this ‘pandemic’ is going to linger for too much longer – it’s very inception was the greatest deception of the modern era. Combining the Cabal, the Democrats and a willing group within China, you have seen the ONLY thing that could stop President Trump from entering into a second term, seemingly. He will be victorious. Satan has overplayed his hand. The general public in America who were on the fence, wanted someone who would lead them through this supposed pandemic, and Biden was anointed that man. But the Lord will expose and indeed is exposing the deepest of corruption – and Trump already knew. He is one smart cookie!
So, as we near the end of this year, there is much to be thankful for. I will not stand back and wimper at some of the crap that has been thrown my way. I will stand and open my mouth, and I will sing the song of the Redeemed! I will not stay silent, I will declare His praise from the ends of the earth – NZ is pretty much it peoples!!
During this week, after a very long conversation with my Spiritual Ma, I finally got the breakthrough in this whole deconstruction process, that I had been waiting for. Among many many things that have been revealed to me, there came an understanding that I had been denying one of the biggest parts of who I am and what I am called to do! I had allowed the enemy to put me in the back and sit quietly, and be resided to the fact that I will never fully live out my calling as I wasn’t good enough, or enough in general.
This girl is long overdue to move out of THAT cave!!
Qumran. En Gedi. The Dead Sea. Masada. All places that I adore, and love visiting whilst in Israel. Each one of these places seems to call to me, and whilst I appreciate the historical and the Biblical relevance, it seems like there is something more that I am feeling, sensing.
What if the ground, the very earth that we walked upon, could talk? What would it say on these particular pieces of land? What if the earth could find a way of conveying all the history that has taken place on the pieces of land that I love? What if every fight, war, act of love, life, happiness or treachery had been recorded in the rocks, the very rocks you climb, or sand that shifts beneath your feet – the very dirt you walk on?
Qumran is a place the evokes such mystery and intrigue to me, and yet I sense there is a lesson to be learnt and a tale of intrigue that needs to be uncovered. The passions of my heart cannot be quantified in just mere words or deeds, it is in what makes me dance, sing, live and explode with abundant joy! I love Israel, a dead man walking can see that! But it’s Qumran (of which I have written about briefly in another Israel blog) that makes my heart explode!
It’s those barren looking mountains with all their secrets, that makes me think I am on a mysterious adventure akin to Indiana Jones and all his cohorts. It was watching Tom Horn of the Skywatch crew, alongside Carl Gallups and Rabbi Zev Porat on the Jim Bakker Show, that eight minutes into the interview, my heart just exploded and I KNEW – Neil and I were going back to Israel. In twelve days.
“Hang on Lord, where are we going to find that kind of money, will Neil get the time off work and is this MY idea or yours?” The answers came so clearly and everything panned out. But Qumran, the visit that nearly didn’t happen, was central in my mind.
Jim Barfield and the Copper Scroll. Mysteries unfolding before our very eyes. Wonder. Intrigue. Hope? A treasure directly connected to the Old Testament, with even the possibility of the Old Tabernacle being hidden in those mysterious caves. Gold bullion, coins, objects from the Temple. Could you imagine?
What if……..write in the words you long to say.
The actual Copper Scroll is housed in Jordan, and overseen by the Jordanians after it’s discovery, several years post the Dead Sea Scrolls (March 14,1952 at the back of Cave 3). It was put on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman in 2013, and it is there to this day.
But what does it say, what does it hold, why does it send people digging into the stark hot desert, with little more than a wing or a prayer?
The Copper Scroll is written by five different authors, two of which are suggested to be Haggai and Zechariah, and was discovered behind a wall in Cave 3 of Qumran, sitting on a Scribe’s desk. In Qumran if you look up in the mountain face, you will see a cave that has been closed up. It has importance due to the Second Book of Maccabees, that talks about Jeremiah the Prophet hid the treasure of the Temple following Jerusalem’s seige by Babylon. If that is the case, then there are things in there that demand the building of the Third Temple. Maccabees tells how they put the Tabernacle of Moses and the altar in the mountain and then sealed it up.
Is Jim Barfield nutty for going to Qumran so many times, for scouting out secret locations of potential treasure, for applying and lobbying to the Israeli government and US congress for permits to dig in this crazy place?
Having had earth penetrating technology testing the ground with the ability to test between metals and two different forensic laboratories testing samples of rock face, it’s safe to say that something is going on in Qumran!
I can’t answer alot of these questions, but I do know that when we got to go there back in 2013 I KNEW something was afoot, but I hadn’t heard of the Copper Scroll or anything like it, back then. When we went there we got to have a good look all around, including inside the building where many artifacts are displayed. Some scrolls are hanging on the walls, and many places have been dug, with just as many questions, the further they go. We also got to see from a distance, the original cave that the scrolls were discovered by the young Bedouin boys back in 1947.
I wonder what else these boys, and perhaps the people who got there afterwards, found in that desolate place?
Are there secret rooms and many more caves that have yet to be explored, or is that just wishful thinking?
All I know at this particular time, is that Qumran is very slow in giving up her secrets, but imagine what will happen when she eventually does?!
Next time we look at Shelley Neese and Ken Johnson, with their intriguing connections to Qumran.
In the meantime, check out some of the photos of Qumran we captured in 2013.
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!
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.
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.
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!
I existed before time began
I was present when Creation spun into being
I was there before the foundation of the world
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
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…….
Can you believe it’s been nearly a year since we were all in Israel 🇮🇱?
When we arrived in Israel last year, I was so unprepared for the massive amount of blessings that would unfold and be bestowed upon us. From being greeted by Avi and Rachel Lipkin at the airport and chatting with them, to being introduced as the ‘Crazy Kiwis’ on the bus by the Gilberts. Meeting Zev Porat and hearing his unique teaching on what he thinks is the ‘real’ place of the Cross. Sitting and having a meal with Carl Gallups just prior to leaving and being able to share that it was watching him and the Skywatch folk on the Jim Bakker Show that lead to our return. Being able to meet Jim Barfield briefly of the Copper Scroll. And of course having a few moments here and there with Derek and Sharon, being able to share some good stories with them. Yes we are blessed indeed.
However, it was the attendees that really blew our minds 😉🙃! People that we formed bonds with and have stayed in touch with for nigh on a year. People, seemingly just like us, who wanted to see this extraordinary land, meet like minded people and experience for themselves, the wonder that is the Holy Land.
Many of you may know that I was deeply impacted by the Dead Sea Region, for more reasons than one. I often spoke about how Masada, Qumran and being at the Dead Sea, I felt so incredibly different. I had thought that it was because of learning that we descend from the tribe of Benjamin, of which some of these areas are a part of, but there was something else. I had felt so full of vitality, so full of joy and verve and I couldn’t really understand why? Upon reading about the Dead Sea, we have since found out that there is a very specific reason. Given the higher atmospheric pressure and being at the lowest point of the earth, it turns out you’re getting more oxygen and therefore are feeling alot better, your brain functions at a higher capacity and exercise is easier! Who knew 🙂
Neil and I have been reading alot lately on the Jewish roots of our faith, and have even joined 250,000 other people worldwide with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn doing our first Passover Seder. It was a wonderfully rich experience, learning what each utensil, cup, bowl of food and piece of bread meant. The symbolism and understanding point to our Messiah, Yeshua. Unbelievable to think that all those years ago Abba Father instigated all of this!
In conclusion, I will be starting some new blogs about our time in Israel prior to the Skywatch Tour 2019, as there are some amazing sites that we have been to that the Skywatch people missed out on.
So come with me, and take this journey back in time and back to the land that is so Beloved by so many!
Neil and I had a deal: if there were camels to ride, we’d do it together. Back in 2013 when we had the option, I was recovering from getting food poisoning at Masada. Me+Camels=No! I was dead keen to get on the camels at Genesis Land until I saw Taylor being bucked from here to kingdom come and back again. Nope! No camel for me thank you very much. How rude! So instead, Neil shared the camel with Paula, and I walked along dodging all the camel poo. Screeches of laughter were heard, birthday songs to a camel, you could feel the excitement in the air.
I’m such a plonker. I should have gone on the darn thing….
We spent the better part of the afternoon being entertained by the Genesis Land crew, who were fabulous. Very entertaining, very knowledgeable, all round great time had by all. The food, the history, the setting, the costumes and that million dollar view – it’s definitely worth going and partaking of it all. I can’t wait to go again next time and share all this with my family.
Next we were off in our bulletproof bus to Shiloh.
I didn’t stand and listen to the narrative – too much to see and photograph! There’d been so much more dug up and uncovered since last year, so I was very keen to get moving and have my own expedition. It was a pity that we didn’t get to go into the Museum this year, they have amazing artifacts and findings in there. The movie, I find enjoyable and informative, and to some was deeply moving. Leaving the theatre and going on the gangplank to see the unearthed urns with the large bowls of burnt raisins was rather spectacular! Imagine bringing those back to life, lol 🙂 Shiloh, is steeped in deep Spiritual and archaeological history – a must for those of us who have faith.
Next stop – the recently crowned Capital of Israel, Jerusalem. Such a hoshposh and eclectic array of history, religion, new, old, politics, archaeology and wonder. The smells, the sounds, the amazing views, the old buildings, the ruins, the bulletholes from the reformation of the Land, the pavingstones, the tales this city could tell of it’s own life. Jerusalem is not for the faint hearted. It’s stark, it’s beautiful, it’s bustling and it’s dangerous. The different religions all squeezed into such a small area. The narrow roads which double as walkways – hmm, not the best idea there! And yet this is the very place Our Lord is going to land one day. My mind boggles at the thought. Kind of hilarious the Muslims walled up the gate and stuck a graveyard infront of it. That’s supposed to stop the Lion of Judah??
Back on the road, we encountered Mt Gerizim and Samaria. Nothing to worry about, just because we are heading to what is called on the news the Westbank, and it’s apparently incredibly dangerous….hey, we’ll be fine!
I was proposed to at the Samaritan’s Museum. The guy didn’t really measure up to my current husband, mainly due to the fact that he WASN’T my husband!! What a dick. Seriously, if they have to import women into the community, maybe submissive (good luck with that) and UNmarried would be a good start? To be honest, I was quite shaken by the experience. But it was actually my own fault. I foolishly though the dude was a guide in the Museum, and because the Cohen and his utter ‘menstruation fascination’ was driving me insane, I found myself having a nosey around down the back by the models. Said dude took me around the corner to show me some tiny baby coffins that had been excavated. Good ploy? Not so much. Neil had come looking for me, he knows what I’m like – oooh, pretty shiny and she’s off! So after a quick prayer, and hand held firmly in grasp, I was good.
Mt Ebal – Joshua’s Altar. Never shall I forget the image of Phil running downhill past us, chasing after a bunch of schoolboys! I’d dare say it was the Carlton Beer he bought at the Samaritan Village for eight shekels that kicked in 🙂 His face ruddied red, mischievious grin, loose metal flying everywhere, and us ripping with snorts of laughter. Oh bless him, he’s a good sort! It seemed amazing to me all the ruins that lay below the altar, and a Shepherd riding his donkey, herding his goats. All very normal of course. Sitting there declaring, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ This place is beyond time. It’s of such importance, I dare not write any more here.
Going down and seeing the uncovered City of David. Wow. I took a video basically of me squealing and sent it to some friends and family right then and there. Some moments you have to catch, otherwise they just fade into the memory bank. But sometimes you need to record the smells, the sights, the colours, the feeling – praise God for senses. My favourite Psalm is Psalm 51. I should imagine that David was somewhere in these uncovered ruins, lamenting of his sin to God. Begging God not to take the Holy Spirit from him. Begging for a clean heart. Yes David and I have much in common….
I cried mercilessly during our visit to the Friends of Zion Museum. I couldn’t control nor contain myself. I’ve wondered was it the memory of my Uncle & Grandpa that fought in World War II. Was it their capture and subsequent incarceration in not only a POW camp, but also a Concentration Camp? Was it too personal, too real? Was it having read so many books, based on fact and actual people who lived through it all? I don’t have the answers. I know the Zionist movement is huge and not all together based on true scripture, but something of this place moved me. Make of it what you will.
The itinerary said we’d have free time. We grabbed a taxi, went back to the hotel and freshened up, and then thinking we had plenty of time, found our way back. We actually were a little early, but no, everyone was there! I must say, the people who plan these itineraries cram far too much in one day. I think that’s why so many of us crash when we get home, or get sick upon our return home. Our bodies and minds have been exposed to such great extremes, and rest doesn’t really happen. The farewell dinner was a supreme disappointment. The food was undercooked and most of us at our table couldn’t finish the meat. I felt ill after dinner, so again we prayed, and I took some probiotics too. Some individuals took off and didn’t say goodbye, so I found their bus, yelled at them and hugged them big! Like you can leave and not say goodbye. No.
To finish off our last evening, Neil and I spent time with an effervescent young man. Or should I say, we ripped through the hotel trying to find a business card so we could call someone who left their purse on the bus. Or the lady who was worried beyond belief that she didn’t have enough money for tipping so we escorted her up to the ATM machine a few minutes up from the hotel. She hadn’t PIN numbered her credit card (who doesn’t do that?) so she couldn’t withdraw cash. We then crashed in the lounge bar and indulged in the Divine Israeli wine, before heading back to our room one last time.
The morning saw us saying goodbye and farewelling everyone off on the Jordan part of the tour. Most people thought we were going as well, but alas that will suffice for next time. Our time in Jordan five years ago we’ll keep in our hearts until we go back and have a good look, minus the food poisoning or the Jordanian guards trying to make a pass at me!
Well here ends my blog on the Tour of Israel. I have some more personal thoughts and photos that I will share at some stage, but for now, that’s all folks!
Content and photos copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019
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.
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.