Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Adventure Begins? Or Continues?

In the midst of trials, I am often so focused on surviving the season that I can't see past the immediate circumstances. Yet, looking back from the opposite shore, I am acutely aware that my Father was purposing to do a deep work in my heart. At the time, I never understand how deep the work, nor how the different trials could be woven together so seamlessly to suit His plans. Even afterwards I only see through a glass darkly. Thousands of seemingly unrelated incidents work together to mold me into the woman that He desires to use and to prepare me for what may lie ahead.

I honestly do not know if I had ever imagined a situation such as the one I am in now. Even though I always desired to be used on the mission field and we have been praying for an opportunity for about eighteen months now, this is not what I expected. Knowing how many times my personal big fat plans have crashed and burned, I am relieved that, at least this time, this was not my idea.

Mr. Visionary and I concur that no matter how unbelievable to our flesh, it appears that Father desires us to pursue an opportunity to serve Him together as a family in the West Bank of Israel. Our task would be to personally work in the vineyards, orchards and groves serving the Israeli farmers, as well as building a team of volunteers to serve short or long-term shifts ministering to the Israeli farmers. The ministry we are working with is HaYovel, begun by Tommy and Sherri Waller, whom a lot of homeschoolers know from the A Journey Home video about their family. It is a work that, looking back, we can see many areas in which Father has orchestrated events for such a time as this.

Of course we are aware of the dangers of serving in such an area. We are not foolishly headed into this wearing rose-colored glasses, or otherwise refusing to see the facts involved in such a move. How easy it is for any of us to quip, "The safest place to be is in the center of His will" (and how brave of us to assert such a thing sitting in middle-class suburbia). We are being reminded every day that to walk on water, Peter had to get out of the boat. Thinking outside of the box is a good thing...but so is stepping out of the boat.

This is the single most intense crisis of faith through which our family has ever had to walk. In some ways it is so difficult ~ our flesh at times screams for us to run away. In other ways, it seems as if it is the most natural step we could take ~ to take Father's hand as He leads us to the dance floor. He truly is the perfect partner, leading with strength, grace and gentleness. Our toes only get stepped on when they are out of their place. No matter the music...a lilting serenade or a crashing symphony...His lead is calm and steady. How grateful I am that this is so!

The plans are not set in stone as of yet. We are still awaiting confirmation of exactly what His plans are for us. At this point we cannot even honestly say that we are headed to Israel. All we know is that Father is leading us to walk through the doors that would take us there. If He wills, we will go to Israel to serve Him. If He does not, we will expect to find closed doors. Either way, we expect to one day look back and see at least a clouded glimpse of His purposes for us in this season.

You have seen, over the last few posts, that we are downsizing. We are also working to put our farm on the market to sell, but it is slow going. Life is busy, there is only so much of us to go around and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done unless our family relationships are neglected. Unwilling to allow that, our progress is at a snail's pace. However, we know that the timing is in Father's hands. All aspects of the timing are in His hands, including our only being allowed to have ninety-day visas. (The necessity of our needing to leave Israel that often is what prompted my recent comments about living out of suitcases.) Therefore, after selling the farm, we are hoping to buy a small farm/home with cash, so that we will have a place to live between visas.

Other plans are to send Mr. Visionary to Israel for a few weeks this Fall, so that he can experience the harvest season and the Sukkot festival, and to get a feel for the work upon which we will embark. We are praying that Father will give us further confirmation one way or the other through Mr. Visionary's trip. We are also looking at RVs to use in case we need to travel the U.S. before heading abroad, are researching Hebrew curriculum, and are enjoying and appreciating our possible last summer at the farm.

We would be blessed by your praying on our behalf for confirmation and clear direction from Father. I'm sure there will be many questions. I am even more sure that many will be offended and not be able to understand our journey. While I may not be able to address each person individually, we will consider all comments which are shared in a spirit of love, and I will attempt to answer what I am able in subsequent posts. My goal here has been to give a brief overview of our newest adventure. :)

For local folks, Tommy and Sherri Waller and the children will be here to do a presentation at our home on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. Anyone who is interested in the work they are doing in the West Bank (and in which we will be involved) is invited to come. Call or e-mail us for more details.

27 comments:

  1. This news is just amazing! I don't know why I should find it so! Our Father has such plans for us all! My grandparents were missionaries in Argentina for 25-30 years. They reside in the States now but I sometimes think their hearts will forever belong to the place and people God called them to so many years ago. My own pastoring parents instilled in me a love of Israel and God's Jewish people. How they used to talk of traveling there! We, as a family (my parents and my brothers families), recently ( a few years ago) assisted a Christian, Jewish family to make aliyah...
    I am so interested and can't wait to hear more. If you end up going or not doesn't matter. I just know He's brought you to this crossroad for a reason and it sounds like He's crossed your path with some very special people.

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  2. PS...I thought I left you a note earlier today, but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, just so you'll know, I am passing on a blogging award to you--you'll find it at my site. :-) I know it doesn't exactly blend in with your lovely blog so feel free to not use it. Just want you to know how much I appreciate your blogging! :-D

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  3. tres cool.. you get my prayers.
    a young man from my congregation served along side them two passovers ago - remind them of Ben F from Saskatchewan, and the other Saskatoon boys. Ben has just finished university and is setting up his piano tuning busines.

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  4. oldpathsfamilyfarmJune 29, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    SunyD~
    Hearing about your grandparents is very encouraging! That love for God's special people seems to have been generational. Ahh..if only we could make aliyah...it would make this whole process so much easier. (But we're not Jewish.) Anyway, I have to remind myself it isn't about easy...it's about love.
    Thanks for the award!!! I added it to a page under the top left corner of the sidebar ~ called 'Thanks Ladies!' I'll be thinking through who to pass it to.

    Sombra~
    I'll tell them! And thanks for praying. Thanks a lot.

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  5. I'm fighting the green eyed monster. :) I'm so excited for you all! I can't wait to hear more and, yes, I'll be praying for your family as I think of you. I'll have to live vicariously through your posts though. :)

    And, I love the song. It's on the FFOZ Passover CD and I listen to it (the music anyway) all year long. I don't know how long you've had it but being on dial-up and using a different browser today, I haven't heard it before. Good addition!

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  6. Julie,

    You know that I am praying for you as you travel this road. I know personally how difficult it was as a young married couple without kids to leave family/friends into the great unknown. I can't imagine how much more difficult it is with children- our mother's heart is to protect them and keep them from evil. I was pregnant when I went to the West Bank and I am sure some thought it was too dangerous but I had nothing but God's peace while I was there. The same is true for every place God has sent me. God will give you peace as you walk according to His plan.

    22 The LORD spoke to Moshe, saying, 23 "Speak to Aharon and to his sons, saying, 'This is how you shall bless the children of Yisra'el.' You shall tell them, 24 'The LORD bless you, and keep you. 25 The LORD make his face to shine on you, And be gracious to you. 26 The LORD lift up his face toward you, And give you shalom.' 27 "So they shall put my name on the children of Yisra'el; and I will bless them."
    Numbers 6

    I pray this Scripture over your family and for the ones our Lord has called you to serve.

    Pray for Scott and Jadon...they leave for Haiti on Monday and return Friday.

    Love always,
    April

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  7. oldpathsfamilyfarmJune 29, 2007 at 9:18 AM

    Lisa~
    I wouldn't be walking this road if it weren't for you...you actually played a big part in our growth toward this.
    I love the song, too...except for the part about mikvah in the Sea of Reeds. Father's Word is true - and it has finally been proven...it WAS the Red Sea that Israel crossed over.

    April~
    You know, I have often thought that all your early missionary adventures are part of why you and Scott have such a strong marriage ~ you guys had to trust Him from Day One.

    We have been praying already for your guys' trip ~ and for Jeff and David ~ also for comfort for the longing in their Momma and Daddy's hearts.

    Thanks again for all the passport help! Love you, Girlie!

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  8. How exciting!! We have the Waller video and my only complaint is I wish there was more :-D I live in Indiana. They were in northern IN earlier. I wish we could've gone but it was too far of a drive. God bless you all as you seek His perfect holy will.

    Blessings,
    Renee

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  9. Thank you for filling us in, Julie! I am praying for all of you! :)

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  10. Julie,
    I read your entry twice, and the link, but I don't understand the purpose of going to Israel to assist in the fields for 90 days at a time. Please do not interpret this as criticism, I guess I don't understand why the people of Israel need outside help with their farming, so obviously I am missing the point.

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  11. Julie, I am in awe of where it seems our Father is leading you all. I clicked on your link to this family probably six months ago and was just amazed at the Lords working in them and thru them. I can see what a special family they are. And what a privelage to be serving the farmers of Israel right alongside side them with your whole family!
    Yes, it is easy to quip, the safest place is in the center of God's will as we sit in our "safe" suburban homes. I know God will guide you where you all need to be. I'll be praying too.

    Here is a bible verse for you:

    Isaiah
    32:18
    My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

    Praying this over Ksmilkmaid's family as well!

    I hope it's alright to post this prayer request. Please forgive me for posting it in the midst of your very exciting news. I'd post it on my blog but I don't have one! I am not a writer. My heart is just so burdened for this family right now though. They surely need the Lords protection in their lives.

    http://www.fiarhq.com/~gbprnhrz/forum/showthread.php?t=12904

    On a side note, Sid Roth is a completed Jew and goes back to Israel often to bring the good news to the Jewish people. He has held revivals there in their midst and obviously has a heart for his jewish people. He had John Paul Jackson on his show last night. (interprets dreams, the Lord has given him a gift for that, and he has quite an amazing testimony). He asked him, would you be surprised if Netanyahu was the next prime minister again? And he said no. Praying for Israel and praying for your precious family.

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  12. oldpathsfamilyfarmJune 29, 2007 at 6:11 PM

    Renee~
    I wish you could have gone too. Israel aside...Sherri is a special kind of Mom...the kind around whose feet we would all enjoy sitting.

    Holly~
    Thank you for praying, My Dear. :)

    Lynne~
    I am SO, SO glad you asked this! I will answer in the morning...it is really amazing ~ SUCH a great opportunity for believers to step in.

    Allison~
    What a pertinent verse! So comforting.

    I wouldn't be surprised about Netanyahu, either. They could use some strong leadership about now. Thank you for praying.

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  13. Oh Julie,
    Our Father is certainly good, isn't He? His ways are sooo much higher than our ways. What a great step of faith, in our own earthly minds, but yet, just a simple thing to Him. I can't wait to hear how God works out the details. :) As you could probably tell from my blog, we are quite Messianic minded at our house & would love to hear more about what you find for curriculum too. If you indeed go to Israel, what a learning experience for your family. I'll be right there with you in spirit. And your husband going at Sukkot, how neat is that?

    I was preparing to be a missionary in Tanzania back in my 20's, but then was met with a road block through a botched surgery (long story), but still have such a heart for missions and love to hear how God is working in others to carry forth His message. I will be praying for you night and day.

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  14. oldpathsfamilyfarmJune 30, 2007 at 8:59 AM

    Jane~
    I can't wait to see how He works out the details, either! I'm actually torn about the Sukkot part ~ I'm thrilled for him, but bummed (just a little) because this will be our first Sukkot...and we don't even really know what we're doing for it yet at home.
    Thank you for praying!!!!!!!!

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  15. Last year was our first Sukkot and it didn't turn out exactly how I had invisioned, hopefully this year I'll be a bit more prepared. It would be helpful if we had a Messianic family next door, but alas, we don't. I rely heavily upon "A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays" by Robin Sampson (do you have it?) and the internet. Most that I have talked to on the internet are finding it a real gradual learning experience that doesn't happen all at once. The Father knows my heart and I believe honors our baby steps. I am hoping that this year we can build an arbor and decorate as a sukkah (booth) and also make a smaller version as a center piece. Studying the Biblical Holidays is sooo fun and gives each Holy Day so much more deep meaning for us and aids in our understanding of the Bible. Boy, now that I think of it, those new patio rooms that you can buy almost anywhere, with the canopy & curtains would make such a cool booth, but they just aren't practicl for MN weather - I better stick to branches & vines. lol - Sorry, just thinking out loud. Oh, how I wish we had the day to gab. Shalom!

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  16. Wow-so many exciting developments going on with your family!! What an amazing plan God is weaving in & thru your lives. Praying for you all. Holly

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  17. Writing from the library... with only three minutes left on my term!

    Am trying to get online... weather not cooperating. Sunny days maybe equal wifi access???? Oh please from my lips to God's ears!!!

    Miss you terribly, and so much to discuss and share in your joy! Will try to call around holiday or email sooner.

    Love,
    Carla Lynne :)

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  18. I am a new reader...and it is so thrilling to read this!! BLESSINGS on all of you!! We too, are waiting for opportunity to go to Israel. Hubby took off a week vacation this week and we are going to pare down bigtime. Much to do yet around here. I so hope things will work out for you and soon!!

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  19. oldpathsfamilyfarmJuly 3, 2007 at 3:51 AM

    Carla Lynne~
    Man, am I glad to hear from YOU! I was hoping it was just the internet access...I'll be listening out for you!

    Elizabeth~
    Welcome! I'm so glad yo have joined us on this journey!!!!!
    I hope you guys have a FANTASTIC week, and have clear discernment from Father about all the little decisions in the paring down process. Let us know how it goes!

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  20. Hey there :)
    I am excited for you and the way God is leading you as a family. When we went to the Middle East many people questioned why we were going. We knew we were doing what God wanted us to do. He also gave me these verses from Isa 54:13-15 and Prov 3:25&26. Terror came, but He kept it far enough away from us. "Trust and obey, for there is no other way.."
    Praying with you and trusting for His guidance in your lives :)
    Love,
    Joy

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  21. I don't know if you answered Lynne's question privately or not, but I would love to read the answer if/when you have time to post it!

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  22. This is my first visit to your blog. I am so blessed by what I read here. May God lead and bless you as you follow Him. One thing about Peter, He had to get out of the boat to walk to the Lord but If He had kept his eyes on Him He would not have begun to sink into the water. SO, please, whatever goes on around you, Just keep your eyes on the Lord. God bless you and your family. I will return. connie from Texas

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  23. How exciting!!! Our family has been waiting for marching orders for quite some time...I believe now that the reason the orders have not come is because we are not ready spritually (we thought we were).

    God is still working though and we are still "waiting". May you hear His voice clearly and may He be glorified if not in your leaving, then in your willingness. God Bless

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  24. Julie - I'm sitting here grinning like a fool! I can't wait to see what all the Lord has for you and your precious family.

    I am REJOICING at the opportunity and privilege He has placed before you.

    Know that we'll be praying!!

    ~Dawn

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  25. I like the new music on your blog. What CD is it from?

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  26. Good Morning Julie,

    Just wanted to let you know that I have awarded you! Come see! I know you may not have time to pass it on, that is okay, I just wanted to let you know how special to me you have become in the short time I have "known" you.
    Have a Wonderful Day!!!
    Blessings & Shalom

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  27. oldpathsfamilyfarmJuly 15, 2007 at 3:20 PM

    Dawn ~
    I TOLD you I thought this was going to happen. I DO know that you'll be praying...thank you!!!

    Lynn ~
    It is Steve McConnell from his album called Halmoedim. Here's a link to it.

    Jane ~
    How precious you are! Thank you dearly for the award! I look forward to you walking along this journey with us (at least through the blog). :) I added it to the link at the top left called *Thanks Ladies*.

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