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’m not here to bash our Prime Minister, I believe that she is doing what she can with the knowledge and resources available to her. Nor will I bash our Health Minister, because he again, is being guided by all the statistics, the resources and the information that is given to him at all times during the day. I won’t bash the workers who have relentlessly put themselves out there in the public, dealing with all the confusion of masks, handwashing, sanitisation, social distancing, and taking large pay cuts. I think of those who have lost their jobs and who now are facing an even more uncertain future. I am so mindful of the children, here at home, being homeschooled and trying to be taught by parents and care givers who may not have the experience, expertise or the patience to delve into academia.
But I will address, the New Zealand public.
By and large, I know that most people have tried their best to follow the ads on tv, the things to read on the internet, the messages from the Prime Minister and the Health Minister. I know that a large majority of us have tried to follow the rules, do what’s best and keep safe.
But there are those of us who have been horrible. Those who have blatantly flailed the rules, have gone out of your way to do whatever it is they wanted, when they wanted, and to hell with the rest of us. Those who have walked into the places where my daughters have worked, and have gotten up in their faces, have verbally abused them, have terrified them and have left them shaken. Those who have yelled and abused myself, my husband and my son when we were deemed Essential workers, and had no necessity to do so. We had the paperwork, we followed the protocols set out for us and yet, some felt that from their homes, from behind their fences and just from their front yards, they could just yell whatever they wanted at us. Well they can’t!!
We as parents, made the decision that even though we could have carried on, we won’t work under those pressures, nor allow our son to carry on in those conditions. Now that the level has dropped and the run has resumed, we have still said no.
I can’t count the amount of times that my strong daughters have walked through the door straight into my arms, bawling their eyes out after a shift of non stop abuse. But yet the self entitled ignoramouses think it’s ok to speak to others on the frontline, like they are a piece of dirt. I was more than mortified when it was named that OUR supermarket made the front page of the news for a woman my age punching one of the shop’s Managers. How is this ok? The other supermarket carpark had fights breaking out and brawling, over things that I can’t even remember.
In all my years walking the roads of Aotearoa, New Zealand, I have never been more ashamed and baffled with my fellow brethren. I can’t even begin to look at people the same anymore, because the fact is, we have changed – as a people and as a nation. We have a wonderful aspect to us, being Kiwis; we are renowned worldwide for our kind, caring and laid back nature, our welcoming attitude, but I dare say that has by and large changed now. It’s interesting that if you scratch the surface, what’s been festering underneath sure does come out, and this Lockdown has proved that to us, here at home. The insistance of over the top narcissitic monstrosities who think they are better than the rest of us, and do deserve the right to speak to others like they are dumb animals, well I do declare, that isn’t right!
I wish that this Lockdown had brought about a greater sense of community and unity amongst us, but to alot of us who’ve borne the behaviour of the walking dead, we’ve seen society’s nastiness in full bloom.
There is so much for us to fear, so much misinformation. None of us know who to trust, where to get information that is correct and true, rather than fitting the accepted narrative. There is also much for us to look forward to. But we as a people, we as a nation, we have to do better. We can’t expect to abuse each other and then when the final level of Lockdown ends, think we can just carry on with normal life – normal life has gone now. None of us know who and what, where and how things will be, laws that have quietly been implemented, technologies that have been invented and new rules that have been put forward.
I’m sorry that my honesty may have offended some individuals, but I can no longer sit back and allow people to treat my family and those wonderful Essential Workers nationwide, like utter crap.
Will we do better when the next thing hits?
I pray we do.
When I wrote the above piece, I chose to leave out a very important part — I now have permission to write about it 🙂
Both our girls started to present with symptoms that were congruent with Covid-19. At the insistance of the Manager at one of their workplaces, they both spoke to a Registered Nurse and were told to immediately head for the nearest testing station, in our case, up in Wellsford.
After the initial ‘brain tickle’, the girls had to spend a few days home whilst awaiting the results. I had fortunately bought some high quality Silver Sol, which is more potent than Collodial Silver, and had administered this to them, alongside very high doses of Vitamin C. We then had to lock our gates, put a notice on said gates and quarantine ourselves until the results were in. I’ve never felt such stress in my body before. It wasn’t until the very last morning that I got a handle on it, and by that afternoon we received the results.
To date, this was the hardest part of Lockdown!
So, until next time peoples, stay well and God bless you all <3
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!
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 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.
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!
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.