It seems impossible that we've already gone and returned home - but time slows for no one. Our ten days were full to the absolute brim with walking and sight-seeing and laughter and tears. Such a RICH experience on so many levels.
We landed back in Miami around 8:30 Friday morning. We made it home to Winter Haven around 3PM. I'm working diligently to get myself on local time. Keep moving even though all you want to do is go to bed. One short nap Saturday. Lots of water consumption. Light meals. Keep Moving! Finally fall into bed around 9. Even though we've been home three days, I'm risking heavy eyelids to sit still and write this post.
I'll probably write about experiences over the next couple of weeks but I wanted to quickly share a few of my favorites today.
- Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee - Last time we visited, the weather was too bad and our boat ride was cancelled. This time, we went early in the morning and it was phenomenal. Our captain just happens to be a Messianic Jew. (Meaning he has accepted Christ as Savior.) We glided across the sea while Daniel led us in worship songs. Frank read the passage about Peter walking on the water - that very water. I looked over at the mountainous terrain and realized Jesus would have seen those same hills. My tears fell freely!
- Prayer Time in Gethsemane - Our tour guide was extremely thoughtful about setting up special moments. He made an appointment for our group to have the prayer garden all to ourselves for 50 minutes. They literally locked us in so we wouldn't be disturbed. We started out together as Frank read the passage from Luke; then we dispersed, each finding a quiet place to pray among the ancient olive trees. It was a holy time.
- Dinner with Amanda - We have a friend named Amanda who works in Jerusalem. She was just a teen-ager when we first became acquainted with her family during our evangelist days. Since she lives 7,000 miles away now, we definitely needed to connect with her. We offered to bring things from the States for her but the only items she requested were peppermint gum and organic peanut butter. :-) It was a delight to introduce her to our team, share stories and even close the evening with prayer. When you open your arms to offer a hug, the world becomes a brighter place.
- Broken-down Bus - The power steering went out on our tour bus and it ended up being one of my favorite moments. Of course, there's more to it than that. I wanted a group shot before we left Tiberius so I asked our guide if we could turn into an overlook. It "just happened" there was one at the next light. As we made the u-turn, our steering went out. But fortunately, we were all set with a fabulous view of the sea and a blue, cloudless sky. Our jackets made the cool breeze bearable. So while our tour guide and driver scrambled to make new arrangements, we held an impromptu Sunday service overlooking the Sea of Galilee. We sang and Frank shared a devotion. We prayed together and spent some time journaling. Only later did we realize our guide and driver were relieved by our response to the trouble. God never wastes anything.
I guess I'll let those do it for now. My eyelids a drooping and that's dangerous. Time to get up and start moving again. I trust your week will hold surprise blessings hiding among the troubles!