Greetings! Vanessa and I have just entered into the world of blogging (who would have thought!). We pray this blog will be a means for us to share what God has done and is doing in our lives. We desire that all who read will “stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14) which he has so clearly manifest throughout our relationship, and which we expect him to continue to manifest throughout our lives.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

עוד שׁבוע - Another Week

One week down and five to go. Vanessa and I both feel like last week was a great start. By the end we were experiencing information overload so this weekend was enjoyable and refreshing to our brains (though we still had a lot of homework!). The homework load really picked up by the end of last week and will continue so as far as we can see :-) Today we took a trip into Jerusalem and explored the Old City. It was good to get away and see some of the historical sites. And praise God for the opportunity to witness to a Jewish guy on the bus ride back! He wanted my contact information because he was interested in talking more. Pray for Avi! Tomorrow we will begin speaking more in class, which is hopefully going to internalize the hours and hours of listening we've been absorbing the last week and even the months of preparation we did before we came. We have to reproduce a short dialogue in class, acting out the different parts! Fun stuff :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

אנחנו פה – We're Here!

      We’ve had three days of class now, and we are thoroughly enjoying it! What a privilege this is! Here’s what our days look like so far. We have class every morning from 8:30am-12:30pm, with several mind-refreshing breaks interspersed :-) Don’t think of Hebrew class as tedious, arduous, or burdensome––its not. But that doesn’t mean we’re not learning––quite the contrary! The first week of our course involves primarily listening to our two teachers who are introducing new vocab and grammar to us via a method called Total Physical Response (TPR). This means they point to objects and say  the Hebrew word for it. They command each other to do things and then command us to do them. They describe things and tell stories with props. We are very involved in class––running around, singing, standing, sitting, jumping, pointing, giving, taking, smiling, crying, riding, touching, lots of laughing, etc., and it’s all being commanded to us in Hebrew! Occasional walks outside broaden our vocab and give us more exposure to the language. It is very intuitive. That is the beauty of this program. We are actually learning to think in Hebrew (literally, over 95% of class is spoken in hebrew)! After class, we go to lunch, and then have the afternoon/evening to study, taking breaks either to nap or to go for a run in the Judean hills. This is to “de-fry” the brain, as my wife says ;-)
      It’s amazing to see how God has worked in the lives of our fourteen classmates (all professing believers) to bring them all here from differing backgrounds. There is a lady from Switzerland, a few people from Australia (sweet accents!), but most from the U.S. There is already a camaraderie that has encouraged my faith. We had a small prayer meeting tonight organized by my classmate, where we read Scripture, prayed, and sang.
      Here are a few items to pray for:
  • Acquisition of Hebrew
  • Increased love for God and His Word
  • Clarity for our future
  • Our marriage to strengthen through this summer
  • To be the aroma of Christ to the people we encounter this summer

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    FINAL Provision Update - 100%

    As my wife and I sit here, pondering what to say, Paul's words to the Philippians come to our minds.

    Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
    (Philippians 4:14–20)

    We have seen God do an amazing work in our lives through this whole process. It began with a dream that seemed too big to come true––study Hebrew in Israel (I know, not the kind of dream most people have!). But as God began growing this desire in me, and with the support of my wife, we began taking steps toward this unknown opportunity. They were steps of faith since we had to make costly decisions before we had near enough money for the whole trip. As God began providing, it became more and more obvious that spending this summer in Israel was not just a dream, but God's sovereign purpose for our lives.

    God has shown us that he answers prayer! As we began praying for this massive need, checks started coming from people we know did not have the means to give the way they did. How humbling this has been! Seeing the body of Christ work the way it has has been a real eye-opener for us. God works miracles through his body, the church. Thirty-eight different people gave to us to meet our $14,000 need. That's an average of $368/person! But like Paul said to the Philippians, "Not that [we] seek the gift, but the fruit that increases to your credit." We recognize each gift is a "fragrant offering, a sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God." It is fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit's work in you. Of course, God is the Giver of all things, so we want to give him all the honor and glory. "To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

    We will keep you posted throughout our journey!