God has been reaffirming my trip to Israel. The pieces of the trip are falling in to place, things that should not workout are, and I keep meeting random people. I met a guy at Subway when I was filling out my paperwork to take the year off of West Point. A recent graduate and I were having lunch when a guy sitting in a booth across from us said, “So which one of you guys is going to Israel?” What?!?! How did this guy know? He might have overheard us talking about it, but that is beside the point because he knew so much about Israel.
This random guy has lived in Israel, Egypt, Morocco, and some other Middle Eastern countries. He spent 90 days consecutively in Israel, but goes back often for 2-3 weeks at a time. Some of his time spent in Israel has been taking people from Youth for Christ to Israel on mission trips. This man was a God send, and he gave me tons of advice.
First, he told me to deamericanize myself. I actually do not think this is a word, but I knew what it meant and he explained it. He said that Americans get a bad rap in Middle Eastern countries because they are often lumped into categories of rich, ungrateful, and lazy. They know Americans by the ones who talk all the time, but do very little. The best way to prove them wrong is not by saying, “I am an American and will prove you wrong…” The best way is by not speaking, but doing. By working hard and attempting to learn their language and customs, they will respect you so much more and they will be friends with you for life.
Second, friends made in these countries are friends that will die for you. Sometimes in America, especially with Facebook friends, we have shallow relationships. A friend of a friend’s cousin that we probably never met, but has 2 mutual friends with us often gets accepted as a friend on Facebook. This person you probably will never see, let alone die for. But relationships in Israel are not made on a computer. They are made by working next to, being genuine, and talking about life. Because of this you experience a deep and meaningful relationship that will last for a lifetime.
Last, he told me about a sacrifice a young Rabbi made to become a follower of Jesus. Something that we take for granted. This Rabbi was from the lineage of David and had been learning and teaching for 17 years. He was set to be in charge of a Temple when he began to believe in Jesus Christ. He believed that Jesus came down from Heaven as fully man and fully God to give His life for our sins. He believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah! This immediately ruined his social and family status. In fact, he has a gravestone in Israel from where his family buried him. His family had killed him (in their minds) and done away with everything that could identify him. They threw away his passport, identifying papers, and clothes. This man, to this day, cannot travel outside of Israel, because he does not have a passport. He also cannot own land because to his family and the Israelite government he does not exist. He travels around Israel sharing the Gospel and the knowledge that he has from being a Rabbi to anyone that will listen. He seeks shelter wherever he can find it, but he never regrets his decision to believe in Jesus.
That’s crazy!! One random guy at Subway provided me with so much insight. Thank you, Lord, for putting this man in my life.