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.