Monday, October 31, 2011

Praise be to God!!

Guess what happened last night.... (awkward silence)

It rained, did you hear what I said IT RAINED. 

I know a lot of you in Indiana and all over the world have been praying for rain.
I also realize that a lot of times people say "pray for me", but they never say how that prayer turned out.
Well I want to give praise to God who answered this prayer.

About three days ago, I was filling some food for the sheep when I felt some rain on me.
This was the first time I felt it, but it was really just a mist. It lasted maybe 2 minutes and was gone.
I talked to Nissim and he said that this rain did not count because it was a small amount. So I did not blog
about it. Then the next night I was sitting in my house, here on the farm, and about 8 pm, I heard some more rain. This was louder and lasted longer, but according to Nissim not "blog worthy." So I kept praying and reminding myself that God will answer the prayer. So, this leads me to last night. Around 11 pm I was woken up by a loud and thunderous rain storm!! God had answered our prayers. And then this morning, I asked just to make sure, and Amir, Nissim's son, said, "Now that is rain." So I decided to blog about it and give you all an update.

Looking back I think it is funny how God made it rain more and more each day until I finally would write about it. It was almost like He was saying "is this enough" and "what about this." And then he made it pour so I would have no doubt.

Thank you, Lord.

And for all those that are praying please keep praying. One rain a year does not make grass grow, so please continue to pray for rain. Thank you prayer warriors for all your help and support!!

Talk to you soon,


Friday, October 28, 2011

My Trip to the Sea of Galilee

*No I could not walk on the water, but I did have a great time. Most of the places I went in the Galilee region I would find where it was discussed in the Bible and read the story at the location. It really made the story come alive and helped remind me that God is more than a story and words on a page. He is not just a piece of history, but is alive in the heart of all those that believe. Enjoy the pictures =)
This is the first place I saw at the Sea of Galilee.
So there are McDonald's where Jesus walked on water.

The Sea of Galilee!! Imagine 2000 years ago Jesus walked on
this water. Matthew 14:25-27 "Shortly before dawn Jesus went
out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking
on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried
with fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I.
Don't be afraid.'" 

This statue shows the shape of the Sea and the distance below sea level.
Unfortunately, I took the picture when it was measuring, but the current distance
is 215.5 meters below sea level. 

There is me trying to walk on the water. But I fell in!!

This is St. Peter's fish. This fish only lives in the Sea of Galilee

A free water show on the Sea. 

It shows some of the history of Tiberias. The town I stayed in.

The next morning this is what I woke up to. It is beautiful.

I decided to rent a bike to ride to the biblical spots along the  Sea.

This boat was dated back to Bible times around 10 AD. This is
most likely the type of boat Jesus rode in, and Peter and Andrew fished from. 

This shows the 12 different types of wood that were used on the boat.

A model of what it probably looked like.

This is the Church of Heptapegon which means
"Seven Springs." It is built on top of the spot where Jesus
multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the 5000.
The following video is what I heard when I walked in.
(I do not know the language)

Underneath the altar there is a rock formation.  This rock is
thought to be where the miracle happened. John 6:11-14, "Jesus
then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed
them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they
wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples,
'Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.' So they
gathered them up and filled 12 baskets with fragments from the 5
barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the
sign that he had done, they said, 'This is indeed the Prophet who is
come into the world!'

This next spot is St. Peter's church near Capernaum.
It was built on the spot that Jesus commissioned Peter at
the end of John. "Feed my sheep"

The sign below the statue. The verse is John 21: 15-17,
"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
'Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?'
'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.' Jesus said,
'Feed my lambs.' Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John,
do you truly love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know
that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'
The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you
love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the
third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things;
you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.'"

These animals where running around the area and are mentioned
three times in the Bible. Different names: coney, rock badger, hyrax.
Leviticus 11:5 is one of the places it is mentioned.

Scripture is fulfilled when Jesus goes to Capharnaum: Isaiah 9:1-2: "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan, The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." In Matthew 4:13-16, this verse is applied to Jesus, and it is stated as the reason he came to Capharnaum.

This is the "White Synagogue" dated to the fourth century. Under
this there is a black basalt synagogue dated to the first century. This would
have been the synagogue Jesus knew and read scripture in. Because keep in mind there
were no churches when Jesus walked the earth, only synagogues.

The synagogue built on top of "Jesus Synagogue" described in the previous picture.
There were also 5 disciples that came from Capernaum: Peter, James, Andrew, John, and
the tax collector Matthew. They lived and grew up here!! How cool?!?! 

This is the Jordan river. And is the river that Jesus was baptized in
by John the Baptist. Matthew 3:16 "And when Jesus was Baptized,
immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were
opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and
coming to rest on him;"

After the Jordan river, I ran out of water as I was heading up to Korazim and
the Mount of Beatitudes. This sign shows that I am going uphill. It was not fun.
At this point I was actually pushing the bike and not riding it.

The road I was walking/riding up.

Korazim was an important Jewish town in Jesus's time. Along with Capernaum and Bethsaida, Korazim was condemned by Jesus for its lack of faith: “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Beth-saida!” (Matt. 11:21).
They also gave me some water!

More of Korazim

I finally made it up here. 

A church built on the location of the "Sermon on the Mount".
Mentioned in Matthew 5. 

Inside the church.

The next day I arrived in Nazareth, the city where Jesus grew up.
This is the Basilica of Annunciation, on this site the virgin Mary received
the news of Jesus: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most
High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God" Luke 1:35  

This is a picture inside of the Basilica where the annunciation is
thought to have taken place.

They had paintings and sculptures of Jesus and Mary from almost
every country in the world. 

The US depiction.

Upstairs of the Basilica of Annunciation.

This is the church next to the Basilica. As it says, it is the
Church of St. Joseph, and it is built on top of the house in which Jesus
grew up in.

This shows the outlay of the church.
The bottom level is the Grotto, and is thought to
be where the house once stood.

This leads down to the Grotto and specifically where
Joseph's workshop was.

Some more of the grotto that we were not allowed to go into.

This church in Nazareth has a well inside that is dated well
over 2000 years ago. The well still runs and I even drank some
water from it. This is probably the only well Nazareth had at the time of
Jesus, and it is therefore called Mary's well. Because this is most likely
where Mary came to get water for Jesus!!  

This is the well. It is the last place I visited and was one of the coolest.
The water is still clean and fresh.
*The end of the pictures. I hope you liked.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Typical Day of a Shepherd

First point I need to make is that there is never a typical day when shepherding. That said here is the closest I can get.

05:20- 10:30  Wake up and get dressed. From here I have one of two activities depending on the        day.          
                  One: If it is a holiday or Shabat "Saturday" I go out with the sheep to pasture.  
The sunrise as I took the sheep out the other day.
       If I take the sheep out I am usually out with them until 1030. This time with the sheep allows      
       for the best quiet times ever! It helps me think, reflect, and discuss things with God. I can pray  
       for an hour or two and not even realize it. I usually bring 2 pieces of pita bread with peanut             
       butter and nutella for breakfast. Along with a thermos of hot water with some coffee a friend     
      got me. 

Thank you!!! Brenda White =)
This is Veeka. She is the best sheep dog and a big help to get the sheep where they need to go.
       Being out with the sheep is one of my favorite times. But as I said there are never typical days.
       So I provided some pictures below of mornings at the pasture. 
The sheep filling up on some yummy food.
Beeeeaaaaaautiful sky

This sheep gave birth at pasture so I called in reinforcements
"Amir" (son of the host father) to take the lamb and her mother
back to the sheep barn. While I stayed with the rest of the sheep.
Oh wait!! Amir come back. There is another one.
Green food!!!
The next door neighbors give hot air balloon rides. So nice to
see in the morning.
        Two: If I do not go out to pasture with the sheep their grandfather comes out to watch the 
                 sheep. If this happens I take the sheep out and then come back to the sheep barn to do 
                 whatever job needs to be done. Feed the sheep that do not go out, fix gates, and clean up 
                 poop (no picture provided). I do it all. The other day Nissim, Amir, and I built a fence.
Feeding the sheep hay.

Building the fence
Adding some supports.
And we did it!!

      On the day of the video below we cleaned a sheep enclosure and put some new hay down. They
      were pretty excited to say the least. They jumped and ran all over.

10:30-10:45     We milk the goats and bring the fresh milk to the house for breakfast.

10:45-11:45     We eat breakfast. Sorry no picture because I was to busy eating. It usually consists
                     of a lot of bread, hummus, salad (cucumber, tomato, onion, and olive oil), fresh goat  
                     cheese, and sometimes eggs, if the chickens decide to lay any.

11:45- 2:45       This time is always up in the air. Sometimes we work, sometimes we rest, and most
                          of the time do a combination of this.

2:45-3:10        At this time we start the afternoon feed of the heard. They eat a combination of 
                        barley and pellets that have tons of nutrients.

We just filled the barley.

Barley for those who have never seen it. Which was me before
I came to Israel.
The food is put in the trough.
Then the fun begins.

They know it is time to eat. They push on the gate sometimes
so hard I can't open it.

And they are off to the food!!

When I see this everyday I ask myself. Am I this excited for the
word of God? (my spiritual food)

Now they are eating.

         3:15-5:30   I take the sheep out to pasture for the second time. 
         5:30-6:45   Dinner time!!!

Cooking the dinner. They have a stove, but this is how we did it tonight. 

Food is done and now time to eat.


      6:45- 9:00 Free time to shower, update blog, hangout with the host family, or whatever.

      9:00 I am usually exhausted and fall asleep.

*This is my typical day. If you want to call it one.