Photography and audio content ©SparkleMoon Publishing.
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.
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
Content © SparkleMoon Publishing.
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.
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!
Be blessed and I’ll see you soon.
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…….
Hello my friends,
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!
So here we all were, waiting with baited breath to see if our Fair Leader will loosen the noose or keep the noose at this tightened grip. Along with many others, we watch as a dishevelled Jacinda Ardern walk across to her podium and give the Nations’ speech. She looks so pained within her face, she is telling us ‘good news’ and yet her face and demeanour are telling us a very different story. I wonder what she’s NOT saying, but then, I wonder alot these days.
Apparently our noose is loosening next week. Hoorah, you shout! Not so much my friends, just wait a minute. Level three will still have many of the restrictions we now ‘enjoy’ but economically we will start to reawaken. Yay! Hmmmm.
Over the weeks I thought I would make more videos, do more blogs and have more contact with ‘family’. I was wrong. But I have been fully ‘awoken’.
The Covid-19 ads that have been playing every few minutes, no matter what your mode of television is. Wash your hands, stay two metres apart, shop quickly, take a list, one person per family to shop, use PayWave not cash, don’t use your car for anything other than essential services etc. Most of that seems ok, nothing to really second guess or question. However if you are a questioning person like me, why no cash? I understand the need to limit handling items, but this is taking us into a cashless society. The ramifications for that alone are startling.
It never ceases to amaze me how completely naive and ignorant us Kiwis are concerning the introduction of ‘new technologies’ and new ‘ideologies’ into our society. Did you know that worldwide we are known as the ‘Guinea Pig Nation?’ We are Sheeple. People who act like sheep.
Can someone tell me what will happen to all the new Laws that have been passed since we have been in lockdown?
- Powers for authorities to change laws
- Enforce persons into quarantine
- Fine or jail or quarantine those breaking laws
- Enter homes without warrants
- Confiscate property
- Confiscate private transport
- Be arrested for giving misinformation
- Enforce security in essential places eg: grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals
- Citizens and foreigners are to self quarantine or isolate where they are, even people at airports
- Regional borders enforced with roadblocks. No travelling between regions
- Police presence and military presence as back up as needed – Martial Law.
- To see these, look at the Civil Defence Emergency Act 2002, Health Act 1956, Social Security Act 2018 and Immigratioin Act 2009.
Why was the Abortion bill pushed through so quickly, causing us to have the most vial and disgusting wide ranging ‘Reproductive’ laws in the world? Can anyone tell me why Abortion during these past four weeks, is considered ‘Essentials’ and yet Dentists and Opticians aren’t? The mind boggles at the evil leftist bias that has ripped ever so slowly and yet now so damn forcefully, throughout this nation.
God Defend New Zealand indeed….
Let’s talk about the saying ‘flatten the curve’. Seriously folks, when I stand in line at the supermarket waiting to get in, or when I am getting blood drawn, people tend to talk to me. They tell me things. I don’t know why? But I listen and weigh it up with what my gut tells me. So when I hear a registered Nurse who is in the forefront of this so called ‘Pandemic’ tell me that many, many people are NOT being tested and letting it run it’s course; I am telling you, we are NOT flattening or crushing any damn curve. Our deaths are up, and as the weather gets colder, and our immune systems take a hit, we will see exactly what this wretched Virus will do.
I implore you, to research. Stop relying on the maintstream media. Stop being dumb sheeple. Look at alternative websites, have conversations with people who aren’t in your bubble. I personally speak to people in other countries often, asking what crap they are being fed by their mainstream media; asking what their gut is telling them; asking how they are doing and what they are sensing, and NONE of it is good.
And finally. For those of you who insist all I am is just a Conspiracy Theorist, partly you are correct. We have taken a hit these past few years, but generally I was told to always ‘trust my gut’ and I’ve the feeling that more and more of us are emerging now. I’m not here to tickle your ears with wonderous adventures at the moment, I am here to speak the truth, something that we as New Zealanders used to value.
NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL ANTHEM
1. God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.
2. Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.
3. Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.
4. Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country’s spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.
5. May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.
By Thomas Bracken
Well I guess one of the talking points the last few weeks has been the ‘outbreak’ of the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The loss of thousands of lives and seeing videos of van loads of dead bodies being transported out of the Provence, has been truly disturbing.
Reports have suggested that this came about due to people eating bats – me thinks not.
I’m a borderline conspiracy theorist in that USUALLY the truth is there somewhere in the middle, but it pays to go digging to find it!
The purpose of me writing this is to provide you with links and thoughts that aren’t necessarily being reported or broadcast on your nightly news. Actually, we don’t watch the nightly news and haven’t done so since our Prime Minister came into power. So how do we know what’s going on then?!
I’m so glad you asked 🙂
We decided a long time ago to watch alternative news media, simply because we KNEW we weren’t being told the truth. Never had this become more true than when the American elections happened in 2016. Something was off, and it wasn’t either Clinton or Trump – it was the ‘powers that be’ here in NZ that decided when and what to report, and not report…
Now back to Wuhan.
Check out this news story that I became aware of last week:
It doesn’t take a Nobel Peace Prize to recognise alarm bells here!
Check out this one:
Now, I don’t actually frequent these sites, but as I’m trying to point out here, there are MANY sites to get more accurate reporting of what is going on.
Here’s something positive that the Israeli’s have invented towards helping stave off the virus:
I recently sat my Mother down and shared a little of what I posted here. Please don’t be like the Generation of 70+ who bury their heads in the sand and say it won’t happen here. The fact is, we live not even one hour away from where a couple of hundred people are in quarantine, having come back from Wuhan, China.
One more note on this: IF things were to break out and you had to self-quarantine, would you have adequate food and water in supply for yourselves and your family for three weeks? Do you have a good medical kit available? Do you have enough resources in stock to keep from going broke if you weren’t able to work for three weeks?
Just think about it.
Then do what you must to be prepared for you and yours.
Till next time,
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.