The Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poppa Ken and the kids

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

Nana May

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

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

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

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

The Mind Goes….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong!

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

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

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

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

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

With love and much blessing

Sandi 🙂

Content © SparkleMoon Publishing.

My Dearest Friend….

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

Ancient Ruins, 2002

I walked through the ancient ruins today

And saw some ghosts of yesteryear

I looked through the brokenness and found

You were still sitting amongst the mess

Won’t you come my way sweet child?

And walk into the fresh air,

Breathe and let the sun’s rays warm your body

Let the light fill your cold soul.

I wandered around and saw many things

Images I recognised from years gone by

I felt the pain, but it was no longer mine

I let it go, many moons ago

I saw things that could have haunted me

And walked all through the mess

But nothing can touch a heart that is now

Wrapped with grace and armed with forgiveness.

I left the Ancient Ruins today

My heart completely in one piece

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

A Sword in the hands of a Mighty Warrior Princess.

Middle East Peace Plan

Jerusalem, The Mount of Olives.

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.

Please pray.

50 and The Mask

a filigree mask

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Am….

IMG_4529

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

Israel – A Year On

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.

Publication2

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!

Shalom

Sandi 💜

Big Changes Ahead!

The new glasses 😉🤣

Hi folks

It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I got this website back up and running. I don’t recall being so jolly busy, but I am absolutely loving it! Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to read the couple of blogs I have released, and taken the chance to read some of the links I posted. We are certainly living in an interesting time with the Coronavirus – be educated and stay safe peoples 😉

First thing to report, is that Neil and I have started a second company, SparkleMoon Publishing. Neil currently works as a contractor as part of Rodney Communications. We have a desire to come alongside new and not so new authors, writers, poets etc, and collaborate together to bring about a positive outcome for all concerned regarding the Publishing world. It can be quite scary, the internet has TOO much to say and it comes down to some basic knowledge and a whole bunch of common sense.

The next thing to share is, my Publisher has offered me a second contract. I kind of had the feeling this would happen, but I have made the decision that I want our Publishing company to put it out there, and to have total autonomy over it. After all, I have learnt a thing or two since my debut novel was published, and having the agent over in London is not an ideal situation. So, whilst I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, I am super excited 🙂

We have started a YouTube channel, called TheWilsonsOnTour and this is for those friends and family who want to keep up with where and what we are doing. Our adventuresome hearts take us to places around here, further afield and abroad. This year will be no different. We have great plans ahead indeed.

I will be utilising IGTV on Instagram to keep you up to date with a new project: Human Interest stories. I have come to realise, I know alot of really interesting people who are doing life ‘their way’ and I think they have great stories, and sometimes great advice to share with us. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I can relate to a story that I am reading – it spurs me on and makes me think outside of my box. I already have lined up three sets of interesting people from all walks of life, so the IGTV is to keep you posted as to when I publish the articles on here.

Thanks for your support, it’s going to be a great season ahead!

Sandi 🙂

Israel Part Five – The Camel Ride!

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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.

And then.

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

Israel Part Four – The Fun Bus!!

 

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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.

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

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

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

Photos and content copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019.