Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Remember the children

look carefully at this picture, the one above was taken at a bedouin house two years ago, the one below was taen two weeks ago at the same house. can you find this girl? this one is for Cathi Heare.
the one below was also taken two years ago and you can see them above.

the picture above, taken two years ago, the one below two weeeks ago. it was amazing to see how they have grown and to see new faces this time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the boys are back in town

we are home safely, with minor airport delays. it was a very long day as our wednesday has last some 32 hours. we traveled from 7:30pm tues Israeli time until i arrived at my house at 4:30pm wed texas time, there is an 8 hour difference which means 29 hours traveling. hopefully i will be able to post pics soon from the trip as it was hard to do in the limited time i had to blog. stay tuned for the next few days and i will put some on with explainations. thanks for all the prayers we can't wait to tell our story.


P.S. yes I still Love Brooke

Monday, June 9, 2008

good bye sweet Israel

Well we are at the air port and made it with only a few snags through customs. they didn't confiscate any of our special items which was very nice of them. we got to visit the temple mount today along with the mount of olives. we walked through the old city and visited gethsemane. today was great but we were so tired, we look like the trip of the living strun about the airport We are boarding soon and then the thirteen hour flight to new york which i will be removed from if we have to watch ps i love you again, or 27 dresses. so if those are the movies i may be detained a few more days. otherwise we will be there in a day and a little more than a half or so i don;t really know because of the time change. any way don't respond because i can't look again until i get home. it is very sad to leave but i look forward to seeing all of you.


P.S. brooke i love you

Sunday, June 8, 2008

the end of days

First things first, happy happy happy happy birthday to Brooke, i love you and that you were born, you look more beautiful today than the day i met you, you are a blessing to me and it is my highest honor to be the husband of such a magnificent bride. honey I love you.
Well the days just keep getting better. Today we visited the temple mount and the southern wall. It is amazing to see it again, we didn’t go up to the western wall but hopefully tomorrow.

Then we went to Hezzekiah’s tunnel, it was colder than I remember, but still so cool. Only G-d could have connected those two tunnels. After that we went somewhere new, it was an amazing experience but heart breaking. We went to the Holocaust Museum. Boaz led this part of our trip giving up Shav’ uot with his family. There was a children’s memorial that had a dark room with four candles in it and mirrors so that there was 1 light for all the million and a half children killed in the Holocaust. They had pictures of some of them, we all wept. I thanked Boaz and all I could think to say was sorry as he had many relatives ed in the holocaust. then we traveled to Bethlehem and to the Herodian. We even got to see Herod's tomb tha was discovered a year ago, not even RVL has been where we went. and today is Shav'uot and the city is bustling. this would have been pentacost for the early christians the day the Spirt came and G-d wrote his word on the people's hearts. it is facinating to see all the peole dressed up for this major feast, coming from all over the world to celebrate in Jerusalem.
Tomorrow is our last day before the great plane ride home i am sad, but excited to see al of you again and share more in person as it is impossible to explain on a blog. it will also be nice to have some rest. I love you all and will pray for you tomorrow at the wall.


P.S. happy birthday Brooke, I will always Love You

Saturday, June 7, 2008


well we got to Jerusalem to today and i took a group of us up to the old city in search of the Western Wall, we didn't find it but i know its there. It was awesome to walk throught to ancient streets at night thinking that they must have looked very similar in Jesus' day. The people walking around are so facinating to watch, the devotion they have was humbling for many of us, noting that what if we took time every day to go to church to pray, worship, and talk with G-d? we'll i am tired and it seems only a few are reading so i am going to bed, L-rd willing i will write more in the morning. Oh, Mount Carmel and Caesarea by the Sea were fantastic. i will go back and add some pics to earlier blogs. sorry pics won't upload. Lyndesy i got you some more sea shells and stones from the med.


P.S. Brooke i love you

Friday, June 6, 2008

Good Bye Galilee

the sun is just coming up and we are getting ready to leave galilee. it is hard to believe it is over already, it seems as though we just left the desert. And yet it also seems as if we have been here weeks. you are all in my thoughts and prayers, i can't wait to pray for you before the Western Wall. it is very still this morning and quiet, i will be shocked if people aren't slow getting up after yesterday, it is getting harder and harder for me. i am going to see if i can retrieve the blog somehow from this sight as it was saved but i don't know where. i am too tired it seems to think of what to say so i will just say take great care of my wife and our menagerie. tonight i will be writing from Jerusalem may G-d bless you and shine his face upon you.


P.S. Brooke i still love you

I retrieved the lost chronicle scroll down the page and you will find it.

awesome day 8!

Today was awesome! we started the day by hiking to the Jordan River. It wasn't much at all like I was expected. It was alot smaller than I've seen in the pictures from Jesus least in the picture Bible. In all seriousness, the experience was amazing. the crisp clean rushing water was unbelieveable. Just to think that I have been soaked in the same river that Jesus was is unreal. The restof the day was aewsome including a visit to the largest Tel in all of Israel...77 LAYERS OF DIFFERENT CIVILIZATIONS! I have learned so much it is amazing!

I hope everything is going well!


after Arbel

well this morning i got up and spent 30 minutes writing a blog with a great teaching, but it was lost somehow in cyber space, so i am just going to have to trust G-d with it. (I am not Joking) today we walked from Nazereth to Sephoris. it was a great walk were i picked wheat and rolloed it between my fingers and ate the kernals of wheat, it was pretty good. it was amazing walkingthe path again, when you learn it with your feet it is amazeing what you remember. i could have found it without a guide. 2 years ago right at the beginning there was an elderly man picking cucumbers from his field, this is the sabbath year and his field was unplanted. I said a special pray for G-d to bless him for his obedience to Torah, as there were many fields that were planted. we also had a special treat in that we went to Meggido, some of you will recognize it as Har Meggido or Armegedon. it was very heavy, for we stood ontop of the alter that would have been used for infant sacrifices during the time of Abraham. it is too graphic to put on here so you will have to wait to hear what they did, but it breaks my heart. there was also a tunnel much like hezzekiah's tunnel but much smaller, but still impressive. Meggido is the largest tell in Israel, gezer is the second having 29 layers of civilization. Meggido has 77, it is crazy, but if you wanted to control the world the easiest way was to control Meggido. we then went to some place very special, the place most likely referred to in mark 1:35 and Luke 6:12. Mount Arbel. it was an amazing hike that i had serious doubts about our group making, but they did. it was awesome. up on the top we talked about what kind of dedication it takes to hike up to a place like that just to pray for someone. sorry adults, i didn't eally pray for you, but i did pray for you children, many of them by name. i laid on my face and with all the fire i can muster i earnestly battled for them. we owe it to them to pray for them as we have never prayed before, with all the energy it takes to climb a mountain and more. they are the treasure G-d is trusting us with and what a treasure it is. Let's lead them by example to be the men and women G-d is calling them to be. it was also cool that we prayed for our disciples and mine happened to be up there with me.
we are all exhausted and i have a sweet tan line, you will all be jealous. tonight is our last night in Galilee before we move to Jerusalem. I can't wait to see it again. I pray that many of you are seriously considering the October trip, my heart leaps at the idea of sharing an experience like this with those in our community.


P.S. Brooke I love you

Thursday, June 5, 2008

morning thoughts (the lost chronicle)

The sun will be up soonand the day will begin, I am asking myself agan, "who are you and what are you doing here?" It seems almost simple to answer as i walk through the brambles, the sharp thorns cutting my legs as i go. It even seems easy here, in the early morning at the kibbutz. But who are we really? what are we really doing here? why is it such a difficult question at home where things become practiced? what does it take to know no matter where you are or what you are doing. Sitting in the ancient bathouse on a toilet that is at least 1300 years old, the greek in me says, "hay this is pretty comfortable, i could use this." It makes me think however, how often do i get sucked in by that very kind of thinking. toilets aren't bad, if fact they are one of my favorite inventions. think of what life would be like in a city of a million people if there were no toilets. i know right. i also realize that the hellenistic way of life lead to where i was the toilet. Rome, because of its depraived society, was destroyed by farmers with sticks and rocks. it would be like if Uganda conquered the United States. i also see the difference in the world views and even now by looking at the ruins you can tell what they valued. in the jewish cities, you find large houses with many chambers extending off a common court yard, narrow roads, and every synagogue has a school. in the Roman cities you find all these decadent buildings, theaters, arenas, public spas, shopping centers. they have wide roads paved with cut stones and drains, and gymnasiums which you would attend naked because man is the measure of all things. In the Jewish ruins it is clear that family was the ceter, that they desired community above all else, and sometimes hundreds lived in the same house. In the Roman ruins self was the center, pleasure and finding what was right for you was what guided their liveseach having their own big house. as i am asking myself, i ask you to ask with me, what would my ruins tell the world? breakfast is starting but i will leave you with this, "big is the gate and wide is the road that leads to destruction, but narrow is the road that leads to life."


P.S. Brooke I still love you

this is the one that was lost

by the Jordan

today was one of the best days we have had yet. we started off the day by going to the Jordan river, it was amazing to be there in that place again. we had two high school students that got baptized for the first time there, it was amazing. but for me that wasn't the best part. first i got to help while Emily and Caleb did mikvah in the Jordan and then do it myself. i also prayed for our community in general and many of you specifically there. i hope to be bringing home water for the church from the Jordan. one of the prayers i had for our community was Psalm 133. it could be the most improtant Psalm for a community in my opinion, sorry you will have to look it up. also during calebs 16 rite of passage dinner i read him a verse from Jeremiah 12:5 and it says; "if you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if you are worn out on flat ground, what will you do in the thickets by the Jordan?" I told caleb that he was a man that i would be proud to walk through the thickets with and today we walked through those thickets. i wept. it was awesome to see so many people desperately seeking to follow G-d with all their heart, with all their soul, and all their might. it brings me great joy to think that one day i will trudge through the thickes by the Jordan with many of you. I took a rock and wrote the Riverside community on it and placed it on top of another rock by the river as a standing stone to all that may come. i wrestled with G-d over you and i believe we will see great things in our community.
we also went to Bet She'an, it was hot, getting to 120F we had to move through it fairly wuickly but it still makes me sad. Alexander the Great was willing to do way more to promote his world view than christians are willing to today with theirs. we spend so much on so little and when it come to showing people the love of jesus we don't have enough. breaks y heart.
we came back to the hotel early but wnet past it down to the dock where a big wodden boat met us and took us across the Sea of Galilee. as we are leaving the dock i ask the man, can i drive? "come, come" he says and i steered the boat across the sea. it was a great experience to think of Jesus and his disciples following a similar path as they made their way to the decapolis. don't worry dad you would have been proud as i captained our boat. we went up to susita and talked about witnessing, and some of the people shared theirs. my heart aches for somee of these people as they have dealt with some difficult tragedies. once again mh heart yearns to be with you all here sharing our lives, walking the same paths, encouringing each other because we can do it. it brings tears to my eyes to think that one day we might help each other over the rocks in timna or through the rushing water of the Jordan. trying to see what it is like to truely live in G-ds type of community.
I know there is not much teaching from me, my hope is that in October we will be here again together. it is too hard to try to explain in the time that i have what we learned, but know that my heart is pleading for you and my spirit will not give up until G-d blesses us. I pray that we will "stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it. then we will find rest for our souls"


P.S. Brooke I still love you

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

real quick

well i don't have long before the morning starts and we are off, could be that we are going to the Jordan river, could not. i am going to have the same breakfast i have had everyday, at least it is good. Good news honey i didn't buy anything from Kojak, or should i say dad since last time i used your credit card. whatever, the morning are getting a little harder each day but after the easier day yesterday i am looking forward to a pretty full day today. i will try to bring some living water back from the Jordan, we will see. I also adopted our guide Walid who has been with us while Boaz is with RVL, i told him he was welcome in texas anytime and that he could stay with us. he said that his house was mine which is great because its worth like a million dollars because of the land its on. So honey we now have a house in Israel, sweet. anyway I am wearing my riverside t-shirt today so guess who is coming in the Jordan with me. we will pray for you all.


P.S. brooke i Love you more

early evening

well today we had a great day, we started the day at a place that is very special to me, a place i like to call Gamla. this is where the zealots lived during the time of Jesus, biblially it says Jesus spoke in all the synagogues in the area and the only one for that time that was not built on top of. so the bema could very possibly be the same one Jesus spoke on. that is so cool. but it has more significance for me because most likely if i had lived during that time i ight have died there fighting the Romans. we left there and driving through the war torn Golon heights we went to Caesarea Phillipi. the Golon height do not look like they seem on TV. No war, no bullets, no bombs. it was a beautiful sight and was safe than spring branch road. by the way RVL and Todd say hello. well tonight we get to talk with Kojak. for those of you who don't know Kojak is the one who made my ring here and he looks exactly the same. Gamla is a good reminder that we cannot use the worlds techniques to try to bring about G-d's will we must use G-d's way to bring about his will. Well emily keeps looking at me like she thinks because this is her computer she should get to use it. so write to you all soon, oh and i got us a mission trip to Canada, OH Ca na Da.


P.S. I Brooke I love you

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

good morning

we know that people are reading, its just that it cost us 2 dollars for every 15 minutes that we are on and like now i have to get up a 5 in the morning to post. its just nice for us to hear from you also. we think of you all often on the trip and and are blessed by the comment you make. we have breakfast in a few minutes and then begin another day in Galilee. i am not sure but i think we are going to cesarea phillipi, we will see. I am excited whatever the day brings. there are so many wonderful people on this trip, i am pretty sure i have all their names and have definately had time to talk to all of them. it has also been awesome to share the experience with Brent again. we are adopting two canadians they will be coming to visit sometime with their families. and i think more, more of them want to live in texas. gotta go eat, i will pray deeply for you all today wherever we go


P.S. Brooke I love you.


After an awesome day today of visiting the triangle of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida, we returned to the kabbutz, changed into our swimming suits really fast and headed toward the sea of Galilee. It was so refreshing! although the dead sea was really unique, this was much better to jump into after a long day.

Yesterday was awesome as well, highlighted by a visit to Qumran the home of the Essenes, and probably better know as the place where the dead sea scrolls were found.

Anyway I don't really know how much more I should blog because A)It doesn't look like anyone is reading, at least not commenting:)and B)Every minute cost money which goes back to point

If any of you read this I hope everything is going well:)

is anyone listening

if no one is going to respond I ain't bloggin


P.S. Brooke I still love you

the triangle

Today we went to Capernahum, chorazin and bethsaida. It was awsome, a bit lighter day walking, at least it was flat walking, but great teaching. i have had lots of things to think about wandering through the cities and feilds where Jesus would have walked, listening to the words he spoke. it is always amazing to see it come to life. we talked about insula today and it reminds me how blessed i am to have the people in my acacia group that i do. it is awsome to be able to share life with people you love as G-d intended. I am also reminded that there is more G-d wants for us if we are willing to trust him. its easy to see in the picture of following someone, realizing how often you quietly question their judgement. it is sad really and humbling knowing that all the time i silently, and sometimes loudly question G-d's judgement. hearing the story of Phillip and his daughters is a tough reminder not to give up. we did get back early and went a swimming in the sea of Galilee, huge contrast with the dead sea. the salt from the dead sea permanently stained my shorts and was like hot bath water. the sea of galilee was cool almost cold and so refreshing after a hot day of walking. we take for granted how important water is to life, but here it is so easy to see, I pray that all of you have the chance to understand this experience some day soon.


P.S. Brooke I love you

Monday, June 2, 2008

brooke's typing too

i see that you just commented so i just wanted to say again i love you, and wish you were here, you bring me living water daily. thank you.

Love Tben

here comes the sun

its just about time for the sun to come up over the sea of Galilee. The bible says, "For those who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays." i am very tired this morning but wanted to just hop on for a moment. soon we will be wandering the hills and towns of Galilee and really probably come as close to actually walking where Jesus walked as possible. evidently I need long pants for this first place we are going which should tell those of you who have been where that is. it is so hard not to tell people what is going on. you get so excited, like when you're a kid and going to your grandparents house and you start to recognize land marks and realize you are soooo close. my feet are much better and i pray they will hold out G-d will give me feet for whatever path he has for me today. i do realize that they must have had pretty rough feet back then, they only had sandles. caleb and i are trying to learn hebrew by watching Israeli soap opera's, music videos,etc.. so far not working so well. we even watched and Israeli basketball game, i think caleb pretended the winner was the spurs. he is not coping well with their loss. well the sn is up and i have to get ready for breakfast love you all. more to night after swimming in the sea of galilee.

Brooke brad and shallon and thier 7 month old are moving to Israel in two weeks to study. brad seems very excited and was very excited to see me but i think he called scott a pansy, i don't know. oh and i need to work on my sunscreen skills.


P.S. Brooke I still love you

Tears in the Desert

we left the desert today after visiting Ein Gedi and Qumran. It was very difficult for some of the group and it has cost us some of the sights but it has been great getting to know the people and who they really are. I was very sad to see the desert go but am excited about being in Galilee. We arrived at our hotel and i ran into someone I knew a man named RVL has a group here also and Brad grey is his facilitator. they said hi to the group. it is great to see RVL something about him always makes me smile. bless G-d for the men who lead these trips for those of us who are hungry. RVL talked about the trip in OCtober and is very excited to have us, Brooke get ready cause I want to go and I am not coming with out you. I even saw Kojak the guy who made my ring. we did hike a different trail at ein gedi u the wadi eingot, it was pretty sweet but my feet are a little mushy after being wet all day. I hope they are better tomorrow. Ein gedi reminded me that we are to be like streams of living water in the desert, which means we have to be in the desert. without the desert the water loses its meaning. we need to be a place that gives life to those who are in the desert. a great picture that i am working out in my head. sorry about no pictures we are having some technical difficulties hopefully now that we are at one place a few days we will be able to get some up. we drove through the west bank today and it might have been the most unexciting part of the trip so far, if it weren't for the fact that the airconditioner in the bus froze over and it was blazing hot. this is truely a beautiful land and an inspiring place i pray that G-d is moving in many of you to take the trip in Oct. because I desparately want to share this experience with you. i continue to be humbled by some of the men helping and sacrificing for their wives. I was so proud of becky(the lady with no knees) she twisted it at the end of the day yesterday but she pushed through like a champ, and even better she gave G-d the glory. it has only benn 5 days and yet it seems like weeks, and even now I know it will not last much longer. we will look for G-d in all that we do and try not to miss a moment of the time we have with him in this special place. I will try to get up at five and write some more but now its time for bed.


P.S. Brooke, I Love you

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Desert and The SPURS (G-d's Team)

well, my post won't be as long as Ben's because 1)I'm not a ver good blogger and 2)it is almost breakfast and I'm definitely not going to miss that. Yesterday was so awesome we got to hike for hours up and down some super steep trails. For most of the trip i was right behind Todd, but once we were near the top i got to stop and wait for the rest of the group at one of the hardest parts to elp and encourage them. To see some of the people pushing their limit and giving everything was really amazing. Also, because I was down the mountain right with Todd, i got to run water back up to the people who were still coming.

On the SPURS side of things I got to vent a little on my hatred for the boston/l.a.(all lowercase) series on about a two hour bus ride yesterday...while it did help to vent I'm still in agony over it. PLEASE G-D CAN THEY BOTH JUST LOSE!

I hope all is well at home. Everything here is amazing and i can't wait to get home and see all of you(especially Emma because i haven't seen you in forever!)

early in the morning

Hey all, we are back at the dead sea and as i am writing i can see the sun coming up on the other side over the mountains of moab. it is pretty amazing. yesterday we were in timna and it was b far te hardest hike of any of the trips that i have been on. we hiked from the entrance of the park over the highest mountain in it all the way to solomons pillars. it was over 4 and a half miles not countint the altitude and it was between 105 and 110. i really thought we might have a mutiny at several points. but we made it and everyone has a new appreciation for the forty years of wandering. last night when we returned to the dead sea we were able to go down to the dead sea and float the water, and yes it was as fun as i remember and i believe all my chaffing will be gone soon. i brought a handfull of the salt(and other minerals) back and hopefully will make it through customs with it. it is pretty sweet. i am also realizing what a blessing it was to have brought my wife with me the last time, one because of the shared experience we had but also because she took way better care of me than Caleb does. i have to bring my own snacks and keep up with the gatorade, clean up my bathroom stuff, do my laundry, and even pack my own suitcase. let me tell you its for the birds, not that we have seen many in the desert.
its funny brooke that you don't think i am funny because everyone here does so whatever. i just wanted to make sure people were loving on you and thought that would seal it for sure. i love you and no ps i love you is not healthy for boys to watch. i will say one other thing, i had the pleasure of walking with craig and becky yesterday down from Timna, becky has no knees, arthritis has nearly ruined them. going down was very hard for her and she wept over not thinking she could make it. but her husband craig held her and nearly carried her the whole way. which being that it was like 2 and a half miles and dropped more than the snake path at masada(2700 feet) was a humbling experience to watch, he could easily be at the front if he wanted. it was an amazing example of what a husband should be and makes my eyes water everytime i think of it. i am sorry honey that i am not that for you. so husbands out there get it together we look pretty sorry right now.

be strong, be strong, and be couragous.

P.S. Brooke I love you.