Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summing Up My Experience in Israel

In short-
  • ·        Be flexible.
  • ·        God became more alive than ever.
  • ·        Other cultures are just as, if not more, important than Americans.
  • ·        Do not worry about tomorrow.
  • ·        Take time to enjoy life, relationships are important.

To expand. Be flexible

My trip to Israel has been an eye opening experience. I learned so much about myself, God, and other cultures. Before I went to Israel I would describe myself as a motivated individual, but also a “list person”. What I mean is that I would make a list of everything that needed to be done. For example, wake up, do the dishes, feed the dog, water the plants, workout, etc. I am not saying making a list and following it is not a good thing, but for me it left no room for flexibility and to be honest, no room for God. If the list was not completed exactly how I wrote it down I got upset. If anyone interrupted me while I was completing a list I often got mad or upset. I noticed this very fast when I got to Israel, because it was a different pace of life. When I arrived I asked what we had to do each day. And each day in the morning we would often discuss what needed to be done that day. So I would say okay and be ready to complete the list. I often worked with their son Amir and we would often start on the list, but then something would come up and then we would transition to that job. I was often upset at first because I wanted to finish the list. But I helped him and then by the end of the day the list was often not complete, but that was ok he said, “We will get to it when we get to it, be flexible.” This was a hard lesson for me to learn but it was an important one. I even remember a sermon I heard one time that said some of God’s opportunities first come as interruptions. We have to embrace the interruptions and use them as opportunities. Be flexible and do not just be a “list” person.

God became more real then ever

I have taught Sunday school for years, but a lot of times we call the teachings “Bible Stories”. The fact is that they are more than stories and words on a page. They actually happened. And while I was in Israel I was able to put pictures with stories. God became more alive than ever before. Sometimes I have met people, even Christians, who have told me that the Bible is not real but are just stories to help us follow God. Some do not believe that David killed Goliath or Jesus walked on water. What?! Well I am here to tell you that I believe they happened and I have been to the places where they happened. You have a choice to believe what you believe, but as for me I believe that Jesus was real and everything in the Bible actually happened. I have attached a music video from Avalon. It is a song called “Everything to Me” and it describes my experience really well. God has become more alive than ever in me and want to tell everyone about it.

Other Cultures

First off, I think everyone should travel if they can. The United States is an amazing country. But seeing other countries and experiencing other cultures is important. It gives one perspective and often humbles. At least it did for me. I think we, as Americans, are all that and a bag of chips, and the decisions we make are always right. This is not true. Seeing the way other cultures interact and live life has shown me that first off everyone is a person. Everyone bleeds red, smiles, cries, and experiences pain. We sometimes forget that, especially when we stereotype cultures. Just because a culture is different from America does not make them horrible people. So I tell you to travel, travel, travel.  Do not be that person who never leaves their state and uses the news to gather information about cultures. Experience cultures for yourself and see this beautiful world God has made.

These have been the three main things God has taught me in Israel. There are many more that I may never realize, but I know I have been changed for the better. I am more patient, calm, and collected. I see interruptions as God ordained opportunities and that people are more important than work. I did not know when I first left for Israel why God was calling me to Israel or what I would accomplish there. But it was not about me accomplishing anything. It was about me doing my best to help the family I worked for, and to take time for God to work in me, to literally do a major surgery on me. And He did amazing things and I feel closer to God than I ever have before.

Patrick Hester


  1. Patrick, it was such a blessing to have met you the morning after your return, and been able to share with you the excitement of your trip. I do still plan to feature you in a blog posting when I get back to Louisiana. I thank my God at every remembrance of you.

  2. Patrick, I have written my blog about you. I do hope you are pleased and if so, feel free to let others know about it. http://beautywithoutwithin.blogspot.com