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February 23, 2006

Shalom from Zion,

To my brothers and sisters who love the light of God’s Word, who “…show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: who in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (The Apostle Peter was quoting and applying Hosea 1:10 in this passage in I Peter 2:9,10 - a clearer understanding of the meaning of this has come to me which is in my Bible Study, “Judah, You’re Not Alone; I am Joseph Your Brother.” I hope you will order this book from the website or through our PO Box 370, Ottawa, Ks. 66067).

Our roots are deep here; the only Bible the early church had was the Hebrew Scriptures and the Apostles were all well versed in them, having been taught directly from the special Son of God, the Redeemer. I am privileged to live here, not only because this is where it all began, but because I can study and fellowship here with some who are well informed in the Scriptures - both Jews and Christians. I am amazed, blessed and even comforted (I remember when there were so few) to meet with believers from the nations who have a genuine love for Israel and her people. They are here to help and bless, not to dominate and control. This was the role of Joseph when his family came to him in Egypt. He assured them time and again that he wanted only to help and bless. Isn’t that the spirit of the true Christ? And for the most part, all on this e-mail list are trying to be followers of him who gave us the earmark of being a follower of Him (John 13:35).

If you are keeping up with the news, you know the situation here is still volatile. There is a lot of spewing and speculation, but not a strong leader to take the reigns. Hamas ― whose name in Hebrew means “violence” as used in Psalm 11:5 and pointed out by an excellent Bible teacher here -- is “not changing its spots” but continually calling for Israel’s demise. Some reports say they may make an agreement with Israel concerning “the territories” (Judea and Samaria are the Scriptural names for the so-called “West Bank”.) HOWEVER: the bottom plank of their platform and agenda is the destruction of Israel and to push all the Jews into the sea. (How many times have we heard that since WWII?) So any agreement is only until they think themselves strong enough to do that. If we know our Bible, we know there is One watching over Israel Who NEVER slumbers nor sleeps. AND He is the Great Promise Keeper. What He says He will do and what He begins, He finishes. It’s time to know and do what HE says.

Some personal up-date:

When you come to Israel, you need to know you cannot snap your fingers and get everything done you want in a day or two! For instance just this morning I opened a checking account at a bank next to the Super Sol (Super Market) where it would not only be handy, but many are English speaking. My cash supply I’d brought with me was very low and I naively thought I could get money right away - ―― two weeks, unless I want to pay the necessary amount to do a wire exchange from the bank in Ottawa to here. (Don’t worry about me, I have a cupboard well stocked with groceries and 200 shekels and $20 and friends who will lend to me, if need be.)

Another illustration: I returned to Tamar yesterday, fully expecting to see a grove of Date Palms already planted at the entrance. Guess what? It takes time after ordering the water pipe to get delivery. The on-site manager, is working practically alone at the present, but a group of students is coming in March who will (we hope) help him put in the water for the trees. Then there is the Moshav (cooperative farm) close by who are to put in the trees we purchase from them - but they have other jobs to do also, and we have to wait our turn and so it goes. You learn to flow with the punches. (And sometimes punch back a little!)

In the meantime, the JNF (Jewish National Fund) has delivered 100 palm trees free of charge. These are not date palms and will be planted in other places in the 53 acre Biblical Tamar Park. Nor are they the trees you have been purchasing through Bible Light. It would not be right to say they were, so please bear with us, and your trees will be planted soon, and in the area we have told you they would be. The Lord will - and is - helping us get the job done.

About the Apartment:

I think I like it better every day. I feel so at home and the quiet peaceful presence of the Lord seems to permeate every room - and me! The place is beginning to look like someone lives here. I have a divan set (2 seater and 3 seater -- the 3 makes a bed) that is deep wine leather-looking vinyl and another divan that is a nice blue and yellow cloth that also makes a bed, and a big dining room table and 6 chairs that match the “deep wine” divans well, and I didn't even try! The guest room isn’t furnished yet, but I could sleep visitors on the divans. I need to do something about comfortable chairs, too. My friend, Marianne Duvernoy does paintings and she called and told me not to purchase anything to hang on the walls!

And the view is beautiful of Jerusalem’s mountains and buildings. Every window in each room, except one, looks out to Derek (way) Hevron (Hebron), the street I live on. The apartment sets in kind of a semi-circle making that possible. The only window that doesn't see the street is the one I use for the computer room (probably made for a dining room and could be used as an extra bedroom) and that window looks out on the courtyard of the five big apartment buildings, which is a lovely sight also. So come on over and see me!

AS far as I know now, I will still come to the States April 3rd, but I will need (and want) to return ASAP. As a tourist I may stay here 6 months at a time by getting my visa renewed in 3 months, but I'm hoping to work something out that will be better. When Elmer and I were in Ramallah they gave us a temporary residence visa.

Please keep me posted about you. I love to get your e-mails and I really do need them. And Terry Distin also informs me each day via e-mail what you have said and sent to the Ottawa, Kansas address. A special todah rabbah (thank you) to those who with your prayers and financial support are helping me and Bible Light fulfill our tasks.

May the Word of the Lord be your strength and song each new day. Try your best to always give it priority time.

                                  In His Love and Blessings,