God has answered every prayer.
Safety, health, weather, appointments, schedules, permits, finances, camaraderie, fears, equipment, strength, patience, teamwork – He, of course, has been with us every step of the way.
I will wait to post a wrap-up sometime in the next few days, because tonight I don’t think I can gather my thoughts clearly. I am so happy about what has been accomplished so far (filmed at more than SEVENTY locations), sad to see the daily fellowship end, in love with the land that God created and where Jesus walked, and excited to see how this progresses in the months ahead.
I will share one highlight of today. Yesterday was a little difficult – not frightening in any way, not threatening: just out of my comfort zone, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is eye-opening to see – in a very stark way – what life is like apart from the presence of God, and how much we need to share His good news.
I started off today a little apprehensive, because we were going back to the West Bank, without a guide, and in a “reinforced” vehicle (stone-proof.) Then we met our new driver, Saul, who didn’t speak English, was Jewish but taking us into Palestinian areas, was wearing a gun, and brought his cute little girl along for the day.
But my fears were unfounded: today was beautiful in so many ways. We ventured into the more countryside areas of the West Bank: Gibeah, Mizpah, Bethel, and Shiloh are the biblical names of the places we visited.
At Mizpah, the bus was parked about a half mile away from the site, so we walked (uphill, of course) a good distance. When we reached the site, it was weedy and overgrown, with a covered picnic table at the entrance that had children’s jackets and a sack lunch on it. We ventured a little further into the site, and noticed that the signs were all in Hebrew. Most of the guys headed in, looking for good spots to film and investigating the area, but Jon and I were close to the entrance when we heard children’s voices coming our way.
Over the hill came seven children, three boys and four girls. The little boys were wearing yarmulkes, so they were Jewish – surprising to me since we were in the West Bank. They said “hello, hello!” and passed us on their way to pick up their jackets from the picnic table. Jon asked them their names: they were Metan, Carmel, Maria, Tayer, Elishu – and I didn’t hear the last two names. Metan spoke quite a bit of English, so we began talking with them. They were on holiday from school. Metan and Tayer were both ten, and they were the oldest. Two of the little girls had beautifully bright, curly red hair. One of the little boys wore ear muffs over his yarmulke. They wanted to know if we had a dog. They explained some of the signs to us. They were beautiful, bright, warm, welcoming, smiling, polite and just so adorable. They loved having their picture taken and never asked for anything. After we visited with them for a while, Metan said, pronouncing his words very precisely: “We haf to go.” With little gap-toothed smiles they all waved and all of them said: “Bye-bye!” “Good night!” (even though it was morning) and – what got me straight in the heart – “We love you!”
Every child, in every district, in every town, in every nation, rich or poor, occupied or free, red, yellow, black and white – is precious in God’s sight. And not just the adorable ones – the little boy in Hebron yesterday who had a rock in his hand is also precious in His sight. It’s a sobering thought to realize that we sometimes are “the only Bible a careless world will read” and I want to be better about seeing every individual as precious and worthy of the good news that’s been given to us.
Please continue praying for our team as we all go our separate ways. Thank you for reading my sometimes silly posts. I’ve enjoyed writing and hope they’ve been encouraging and uplifting to you as well. I will wrap this up when I am more coherent, later this week, and then as the work begins in the studio, I will pass along news from WVBS. Here are my pictures from today!