Friday, April 8, 2011

Water from start to finish

Hello everyone! We have had quite a day today! We started out in Tiberias for an incredible breakfast of fresh fruits, salad, bakery, eggs, cheeses I've never heard of, etc. Then we drove to see the 2,000 year old boat at the museum near Capernum. It was totally fascinating. What a gift to the world to have such a treasure. We then sailed on the Sea of Galilee; Jim was in his element!! The sound of our voices singing and sharing rebounded across the still water. It was like sailing on glass. We were treated to the Israeli national anthem, and the US National anthem and flag raising as well. Our Canadian friends were troopers singing with us. The boat captain/crew demonstrated with agility and skill the art of fishing by net, Jesus' era style. No fish for us for lunch, but no worries. It was quite a sight to see Pastor Jim do a Jewish folk dance on the deck with 12 of his new friends. Fast forward toward Capernaum, the "town of Jesus." Remember the passages in the Bible where Jesus spoke to 5,000 or more people? I used to think, how in the world is that possible? Today, at the Mount of Beatitudes Jim and I saw first hand the reality of Jesus' ministry to the multitudes. It was such an eye opener; history, Biblical truth is jumping out at us as we listened to the Word on that hillside. Our faith is being validated and we are being drawn in to a supernatural experience here in the land of our Savior. Jim led an insightful devotion at the place that commemorates Jesus asking Peter if his love was for him. "Follow, no matter what" was the distinct and powerful word. Jesus is able to sustain even Peter's shaky faith and use him as a leader. He has that desire for us as well. As we stood in the grove of ancient trees outside the site of the destroyed synagogue from Jesus' day and heard about how God wants us to receive His spirit as a guide and to live faithful lives as leaders, I could not help but be grateful for this physical town as well as the new community of leaders/pastors which have now become our friends. Many pictures later, we found ourselves laughing, eatin falafel, the Israel national snack. We are so enjoying the new flavors of this country. The personal highlight of the day for us was putting on white robes over our swimsuits and wading into the chilly Jordan River. A community of Asian believers were singing, praising God as their friends were baptized. It was a powerful reminder of the God who loves all nations and people. We have heard less English here than I expected. Pastor Jim was baptized by our tourleader, Mark. He has baptized over a hundred of pastors in the 17 years he has been coming here. Jim then baptized me, which was an amazing experience. When we can, we will post some pics to the blogsite. The day long journey around the Sea of Galilee came to an end as we passed by the electric fence that secures Jordan from Israel. The winding mountain road reminded me of a great Cedar Point ride--windy, narrow and adrenaline inducing. This country is so diverse and beautiful, it is hard to describe. God sure had quite an imagination when he created this landscape. It is not hard to realize the diversity of both population and geography. WIth diversity brings a wealth of learning, and we are learning so much! Thanks for praying for us! We'll catch up with you around the next bend... Love and shalom, Pastor Jim and Andrea

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