Sunday, March 23, 2008

Israel: Day 4, January 8, 2008

Tuesday began with us sleeping in again. Then breakfast and group devotions. Our first watch was 12-2PM. Seat mate 1 led this one. I spent some time soaking (not sleeping this time) and bible reading. I also spent some time worshiping through prophetic songs. We felt drawn to sing and prophecy over the old Jerusalem city and Mount Zion. Also during this watch, seat mate 2 got out his cedar flute and began playing. We felt a call to pray for Native Americans. The overall theme of this set was a deep longing for the presence of the Lord for all people. A lot of what we sang came from Song of Solomon.

After this set was over we again ate sandwiches in the little break room section of the worship room. I had turkey and cheese.

The next set was 3-5PM. During this set, we sung using our prayer languages. I believe we gravitated towards our natural spiritual tongue as we went deeper into worship, the prophetic, and prayer intercession. The scriptures the Lord has us concentrate on were from Ezekiel 33, 34, 35.

Tuesday night was our night to eat out on the town. We got directions for a place called The Focaccia Bar. We parked by a construction site where they were rebuilding a large hotel. There was a huge crane lifting large funnel shaped containers right over the parked van and our heads, and delivering it many floors up. We filled up the parking meter with shekels and walked to the restaurant with the construction going on overhead! At the entrance of the restaurant, our bags were searched and the security guard had a hand held metal detector. He was dressed in what looked like a snowmobiling suit – that was really body armor. The restaurant was situated on the porch of a house, with the house serving as the kitchen/prep area and a coffee bar. The tables were situated among live trees and tall propane space heaters. Boy, did the heat feel so good!

We ordered pizza sized focaccia bread as appetizers. One looked brushed in olive oil and had some olives, dried tomato, and another kind of dipping sauce. The second bread came with goat cheese and sweet red peppers. That was really good. We each got something a little different for dinner – pastas, lasagnas, and fish. I ordered sweet potato ravioli. L ordered potato gnochi. We both couldn't decide what we wanted so we ordered them to share. The sweet potato ravioli was definitely different. It was made with sweet potato dough and was filled with cheese. It was in a creamy tomato sauce (it seemed like they mixed alfredo and tomato sauces together). The gnochi was an experience I will never forget. I am used to the gnochi that we have here, in the states. I was in for a big surprise. I put one in my mouth started chewing and almost threw up. No lie. It was a texture thing for me. They weren't pastay and chewy like they are here. They were little balls of mashed potatoes that dissolved in our mouth. One bite was enough for me.

After the gnochi experience, I was ready for dessert. We ordered 4 and split them all. I had some sort of coconut and chocolate mousse thing dipped in chocolate. It made up for the gnochi.

After we got back to the house, I called home through Skype. It was great hearing my DSH and the kids. M had a web cam for the computer we were using and the kids thought it was really funny seeing me in my pj's. They thought it was even funnier when I asked them if they were ready for bed. They told me definitely not because it was only 2PM. The time change was really hard to get used to for me.

All too soon it was time for bed. We were getting up at 5 AM (10PM states time) for our first watch on Wednesday.

The toilet in our house. Notice the 2 flushing buttons? Hmmm, Why have 2. Doesn't one do the job? Any guesses?
Menu from the fococcia bar. (Prices in shekels, not US dollars. To get the amount divide by 4)

One of the fococcias we ordered.

My dessert (that made up for the gnochi).

The toilet in the restaurant. Another version of the 2 flusher buttons. Yes, I did indeed have a toilet fetish.

The sink in the bathroom. It was a solid peice of stone where the sinks were chiseled out of the stone.

Me at the fococcia bar. Yes I do have a tiki torch growing out of my head. Now do you believe me that it was cold? I wish I would have had my scarf!

Stay tuned...More to come!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Israel: Day 3, January 7, 2008

I really am still here. Just a little busy. Back to Jerusalem...

This post is just a wee bit long. Be prepared. Grab some tea and enjoy.

On Monday, some of us slept in a bit. I was not one of those, I am usually an early riser. That and the fact that the sun rose on our side on the house and our room had no curtains. We all took our time getting ready, then had breakfast and group devotions.

Our first worship set was from 2 to 3pm. Before this set, we went into downtown Jerusalem to find a falafel to eat in the same area we exchanged our money, the day before. We parked in the bottom level of a below street parking garage and walked through a market-like street that had shops and restaurants. After walking for what seemed like forever, we stopped at a street-side place and got our falafel's and Shwarma's. Falafel's: pita filled with hummus, falafel (deep fried chick pea balls), cucumber and tomato salad, lettuce, cabbage, onions, pickles and french fries. I wasn't going to get the fries on mine but I was really intrigued. It was actually good. I lived for the pickles. I am a pickle kind of girl. Shwarma's: same as a falafel but with chicken instead. They had a 3 foot high stack of chicken breasts on a pole cooking and they shaved off some and grilled it a bit with other (some unidentifiable) ingredients.

Traffic: to borrow the phrase, OH MY WORD! People park where ever they want. On the street, on the sidewalk. The streets were narrow with LOTS of cars and trucks and tour buses. At traffic lights, it goes green, yellow, red like here except that before it turns green, it turns yellow again. As soon as it turns yellow (before green) people lay on their horns. People over there use horns for everything. Talk about an impatient society. I have such a greater respect for our van driver, D. He was able to get us places in one piece. And he was able to park in spots where I wouldn't even have tried. There were lots of times driving that I would just be praying for our safety.

When we got to the worship room, we saw a herd of sheep and their shepherd on the side of Mount Zion, facing us. In our 2-3 PM set, we prayed to Jesus to bring His peace to the nations – and starting from His throne, running down the mountain, flowing over the walls. Seat mate 2 asked for us to be the leaves of healing for the nations, bringing both healing and peace through the worship.

After that watch, we headed back to our house to rest and eat dinner. S and I made Lasagna, salad, and rolls. The men did the cleaning up and dishes.

Our second watch started at 8 PM. This was the corporate worship/teaching time for all of the staff to come together. We worshiped a bit in the beginning, then Tom taught on new wineskins and shared a little about what the Lord has been doing in our worship team in the US – specifically with stepping into new places in worship and singing heaven's songs and heavenly sounds. Then, at the end, L felt the Lord leading us to pray for their physical senses to be opened in greater dimensions; Tom had her lead them in prayer, and we asked for the Lord to open up our eyes, ears, etc... There was great hunger.

Then we did a “fire tunnel” as seat mate 1 sang and played over us at the piano, and had them come through as we prayed over each one. I was really skeptical about this. I hardly ever have gone through a tunnel. Usually I was on stage doing worship. I always wondered if people just said the same thing over and over or if they really did get so many different words. Well, I was soon to find out... The Lord was so faithful to give prophetic words over and over again for each one that came through. I was the first one in line and was standing across from seat mate 2. As soon as the person would enter the tunnel, I would immediately have a word fro them. It happened again and again. Over and over. And, to top it off, (I think God was showing me something) Tom and L were praying at the other end of the line. When the people would get to them, they would have pretty much the same exact word that I gave to that person. Now I have my answer. No need for skepticism anymore!

Our team flowed in the prophetic beautifully and the Lord's sweet presence was overwhelming. Bottom line is, they were touched, refreshed, strengthened, and a greater freedom came as the Lord touched them. Our watch was coming to an end, and a Korean team was supposed to take the next watch, but we were still flowing strongly ministering prophetically, so they all got in line and we had a powerful time ministering to the Korean team (through an interpreter). Beautiful people and an intense hunger for more of the Lord – it is like they suck it out of you they're so hungry. While we ministered to the Korean team, D, Seat mate 2, and M jumped on drums, acoustic, and bass and we “took off” in this fun, jammin' music - this dance party started and this freedom came and everyone there started dancing, and jumping, and twirling, and unique, funny dances that us Americans have never seen before (ask me to show you some of them! You'll get a kick out of it!) – so many expressions of worship and joy of the Lord. We laughed and laughed and laughed as we all joined them in having fun with Jesus dancing and playing. Our time went over so much that we didn't stop until 11:30 (we were supposed to end our watch at 10).

It was really hard to leave the worship room. I wanted to stay and worship but my bed was calling me. We got back to the room and found out that the owners had gotten portable oil heaters for us. So we all plugged them in and next thing we knew we blew a fuse. Dark inside. Dark outside. No lights. WHERE IS THE FUSEBOX? DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE THE FUSEBOX IS? Nope, not in that closet. Not behind the fridge. Not in the storage room. Not even in the bathroom! One of the interns who was living at the house knew where to find it. We had to leave the apartment, go to another part of the house, open the door using a butter knife because we had no key, and then try to figure out which fuses were blown. We got it all situated and then went back to our apartment. Now we only plugged a couple of the heaters in. I was glad for sleep that night. I slept like a rock. Morning came too soon for my tastes.

See the sheep? The little white dots in the center far back in the pix. Really it is the sheep.

This is how you spell spaghetti in Hebrew. Just in case you ever need to go to an Israeli grocery store. I took this pix as we were walking to the street market.

Street market 1.

Street market 2.

Street market 3.

Would you look ate that? They even have McDonald's in Jerusalem. After eating the falafel, I had absolutely NO desire to go there.

A fig tree outside of the worship room.

The street in front of the worship room. Sometimes we parked on the sidewalk. Sometimes we parked in a very small parking lot.

Balcony at the worship room.

Panoramic view from the worship room.

This pix is from our worship time that occurred after the prayer tunnel. What a great night.

Here are some pix that seat mate 2 and M took while on a walk before our 8 PM set:

I gather you're not supposed to climb the poles in Israel.

A beautiful pix of the sunset and another glimpse of what all of the houses in Israel look like.

One word...TRAFFIC!