November 18, 2012
Friday was an agonizing day. I had not slept well the night before concerned about the safety of the seven of us going to Israel. By Saturday morning, after more prayer and lots of input, we decided to gather in Philadelphia and make the final decision as a group (of five). My stomach had been in a knot for two days. Yet some of the team members felt strongly about pressing forward. They have exhibited strong faith (to me especially). Taking the baby steps in the direction of going bolstered my sense of security and trust that it was the right thing to do.
Surprisingly the plane to Tel Aviv from Philadelphia was crowded. By the time we got on the plane I was feeling confident we were doing the right thing. It really helped that the other four members were so excited about meeting our onsite ministry team as soon as we got here. Our team members said that they didn't care at all if we could not go to even one tourist site, just as long as we could serve the churches here. Wow, what a team we have!
How did God speak to me personally? In my morning devotion, Nov 17 out of Our Daily Bread, they cited Isaiah 58:11: "The Lord will guide you continually." Also, this same devotional guide listed Psalm 139:1-10. AND our pastor's wife had also posted some of the same verses on our blog that very day.
God has promised to guide and lead us today. He's the best guide we can have and we know he wants to lead us along right paths.
One of the men I most admire on this earth, Charlie Davis, has modeled courageous leadership in more ways than just this one example. It was about ten years ago, there was a lot of unrest in the Middle East (not unusual) and our TEAM All Eurasia conference had been postponed at least once due to 9/11situation. When the new date came around for the conference there was talk about postponing it once again since the situation was still tenuous. Finally, Charlie made the declaration, "If we expect our workers to live day in and day out ministering in this part of the world, at least we can go there to encourage and support them." So we went and had a wonderful celebration and time of meetings. That was also the trip that I lost my Tumi bag with some of my favorite clothes in it. Some ticket agent or baggage handler in Paris decided they needed it more than me, I suppose. Never saw it again but in hindsight, in the light of the situation we are in, it's a small price to pay.
Tomorrow we are working in Bethlehem and will have a church service tomorrow night here. Our time during the day will include a two hour prayer service or the war going on here. Tuesday we will be working in Jericho. Wednesday we will be local once again with another church service here. Thursday we head to Jerusalem and will be working with the church there.
We will have internet each night while we were in this hotel but when we leave here on Thursday we will need to rely on cafes for free internet. We hope to post photos and personal blogs by other team members tomorrow.
Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers, your words of encouragement and support during this time.
Cathleen (for the tired team)