I have quietly sat back and watched happening around me, things that don’t shock me anymore. They don’t worry me like they used to. They don’t make me upset now. Why? Because I am USED to it.
When you live in this little village of a few thousand, which is rapidly growing, you get to understand and DISCERN things at a deeper level. You understand that it’s not personality conflicts or clashes; there are principalities and powers at play, here in this little paradise.
A number of years ago, the Lord told me that I would encounter a particular ‘spirit’. He assured me it wasn’t IN me or operating THROUGH me, but that it would manifest all around me. He would use all of this to firstly; teach me, and then secondly; write about it in an allegorical style. I am currently doing that.
What makes me stop and pause, is the Body of Christ, in this area. I’ve never witnessed such lies, division, deception and dishonour. I watch others build their own little Kingdoms, and I watch further yet, the Hand of the Lord intervene. I see different ones around, wearing instead of armour, a breastplate that is wonky, full of holes and slipping off. I see helmets hanging down people’s backs and blasted with what looks like dynamite. Such mental anguish within these ones. I see many walking around with their swords, dull and unused. I see shoes that are worn out and hanging together by a thread. I see belts of lies instead of truth, and paganism and other gods, tightening their grip around these Saints.
My heart doesn’t break for these – it wars! Like the Warrior Princess, there are times that my Saviour leads me into warring in prayer and declaration; destroying the works of the enemy. Then there are times, when I step back and listen. Times when I stand and watch – oh how I have watched for over a decade and seen beautiful people turning proud and ugly. Beautiful on the outside and glaringly ugly on the inside.
Abba Father has shown me the rotten foundations, the chasing out of the Prophets, from this very village. He has shown me the Religious ones, who harken to a strict set of rules and know nothing about His abundant grace. He has shown me the gems, which society overlooks. He has shown me His heart, and how He grieves over the factions, divisiveness, disunity and pain with the Ekklesia; but oh how He roars!
Will we awaken to His roar, or will we keep on the path of the familiar?
I hope this finds you all well. There certainly seems to be alot going on ‘out there’ in this crazy old world, but we’ve been more concentrated on the ‘in here’ and keeping our noses to the grind.
SparkleMoon Publishing has gone a bit nuts! I’m completely understating it here, but we truly have gone out into the ether now, and our books are slowly but surely, heading out the door. Actually, when ‘Awakening of the Heart’ finally arrived from the printers, we were sold out the next morning! I did not expect that. My prayer has always been, ‘slowly but surely Lord’, however it seems the Lord had other plans.
The new updated version of Mirabelle has come back from the printers, and to be honest, it makes me quite proud. I am no longer the person I was two years ago, sitting wringing her hands desperately worried what others think about the book; I simply stand by every word written. It’s not a stretch to say, I poured myself into this novel, as I most certainly did. However, the Lord has poured so graciously, back into my soul, so that I can continue to write the sequel – and boy have I been having fun with that!
Currently we are not ON Masada, we are IN Masada. There are treasures galore! The new book starts with a battle scene – it’s fair to say though, that writing a battle scene has been a huge stretch for me, but I am pretty happy with how that turned out. I love how the characters are branching out in this second book, and with the addition of some new characters, there are some amazing storylines popping up!
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!!
So I thought I’d be really smart and privatize this site just so that you guys could have the first look at my secret project – but that didn’t work! It turned out that you had to login or register via email, and that caused some issues, by some of the language I could hear in the other room!
Well, before I go ahead and do my reveal, I just wanted to give you a background on who Mirabelle is and why this book is important to me.
Mirabelle is based on a woman who was a dear friend for many years. She underwent most of her cancer journey before I met her, and over the course of getting to know her, the story she shared really impacted me.
I didn’t know many people who have had significant body parts removed in order for them to survive, but she is one of them. A large softball size tumour was discovered inside her that encompassed her bladder, bowel and internal genitalia. She had to have all three reconstructed over the period of a few years, and still to this day she doesn’t function fully. But you would never know. You wouldn’t know that her bladder is made from pigskin. You wouldn’t know that her bowel is made from some of her large intestine. You wouldn’t know that her internal genitalia were the last thing to be constructed, and she went without those organs for eighteen months.
So yes, to me she is one of the most inspirational women I have ever had the good fortune to meet.
Unfortunately, our friendship went south not long after I got married. My dear friend is someone who has an incredibly stubborn streak and if you seemingly wrong her, she cuts you off in the most powerful way. You don’t even know, she won’t even tell you, but slowly and surely, she backs off, like she did to me. And she will hurt you on purpose. Because so far, she has been able too.
It took me nine months to process the demise of this once incredibly close relationship. I’d never had a friend where things were shared so openly and honestly, so brutally and with so much humour! We were a dynamic duo when we went anywhere, and behaving wasn’t something that either of us thought to do 🙂 Going to Israel with her and with Neil was fantastic; I did feel sorry for the Tour Guide though – I don’t think he’s ever met a duo like us!
In amongst the pain, the despair I felt and the anger that would rise in wave upon wave, the Lord came to me one morning and gave me such love for this friend. Ex friend. I never call her that, but I guess that is what I am to her now. She has this book, and my guess is that she’s darn angry with me, but as I said to her, what started out writing about her, turned into a greater story that the Father wouldn’t let me leave alone.
I know that she loves Yeshua incredibly deeply, and I know one day we will reconcile. I also know that it will be different.
The character of Alex is based on me. It was with fear and trepidation that I wrote so much of my own personal story within these pages. To bare my soul so openly, I did query the Lord on this? But sometimes in order for others to heal, they need to know that some have been through the same thing. They need to know that they can reach out and touch someone who is similar to them. I know I am just a chick from Snells Beach, New Zealand, but God sees me differently to others.
When Mirabelle was released just over two years ago, we had just come back from a disastrous trip to Israel, and I was suffering from depression. I wasn’t in the right place to own this novel, or to accept the path that the Lord was leading me down, but somehow it seems right to do so now.
So, with all that background in mind, I am so pleased to show you the new cover that my brother (a 100+ Award winning Creative Director) has designed for when we re-release Mirabelle back out into the public!
We are currently working to get me out of my old contract with the Publisher in London, so that soon I can release this on our own logo.
Back in late January of this year, I woke up praying for Israel. It was so urgent, I walked around with a heavy weightiness for a few days. I struggled, prayed, mourned and grieved over what the Lord was showing me, but nevertheless I had to be obedient.
In speaking with a dear friend who has a Prophetic Ministry, I humbly submitted the words you are about to read. After a time I was told that this indeed had resonated with some other prophetically minded people, and was confirmed.
I don’t like this part of myself, and I have indeed run from it for a very very long time! My own daughters won’t listen, so why would anyone else!! I don’t agree that I am a prophet, but I do agree that like many others who choose to take up the Call, the Sword and the Trowel, I am a Watchman on the Wall.
It is for the reader to take this word before the Lord. It is a very difficult thing to release this here on this platform, but nevertheless it is what I have been instructed to do.
January 28, 2020
‘I awoke this morning and was immediately told to pray for the upcoming release of the Middle East Peace Agreement authored by the administration of President Trump. There is great tension and a great pull from the powers of darkness to gain even more of the Holy Land than they already have. Land for Peace, will never be successful, indeed in the book of Joel 3:2 we’re told the land should never be divided up. However, my biggest concern is not this, it is what will be ushered in if the Peace Treaty is signed by both parties – Israel and Palestinian Occupied Territory. IF this happens then friends, brothers and sisters, the time spoken of by Daniel 9:27, is upon us. A seven year time frame that will according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Matthew 24:15-16, see the rise of the Antichrist half way through. Make no mistake, the Peace Deal/Treaty will sound pretty fantastic and I think the Palestinians will take it, but IF they do, then we are living in the very last of days.
Friends, are you ready for this?
I love my nation, the nation of New Zealand, but we have sifted the Holy Book and taken out the parts we don’t like. The End Times message is not preached in pulpits around our country; it’s ‘greasy grace’, a ‘better life, a better you’, ‘you’re a winner, you’re victorious’, etc etc. We are no longer about our Father’s business, we are about OUR business. Our houses of prayer have become like rock shows, with all the lights, fancy onstage antics and smoke machines! We would heed the Lord’s warning to humble ourselves, rend our hearts and pray (Joel 2:13). There is no other way for any sort of Move of God to come to our land if all we are is a Production Show. We must get back to the Holy Book, we must NOT FEAR but we need to return to Revelation. The implications are dire for us, even us here in New Zealand, if we don’t pay head to the times and be discerning like the Sons of Issachar (I Chronicles 12:32). We are told in Revelation that we would be Blessed (1:3) if we would read the book! It’s not scary, it IS confusing, but we must find our place in there and with the guidance of Holy Spirit, start to prepare.
Times are so short, never have I been made more aware of this than now. We must be in constant prayer, but in particular pray as admonished in Scripture, for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), and pray for what potentially will be announced on Wednesday our time by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. We are the ends of the earth, so pray for our nation, that the Lord would have mercy on us and that we would rise up as the Body of Christ and take our right place in this land.’
UPDATE: Many independent news reports are declaring of July 1, 2020 the regions of Judea and Samaria aka The West Bank, will begin the annexation process.
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!
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.