Thursday, June 9, 2011


We have been in Bethlehem for about a week now. It has been a whirlwind of excitement, experiences, adjustments, and learning. We are loving it but also experiencing how our lives are different as a married couple.

Our second night here we went to Shabbot. This was a beautiful yet sobering experience. Shabbot is the Hebrew word for Sabbath and we went to the Western wall (outside the temple) for it’s opening. The women were on one side and the men on the other, but all were celebrating the joy of a day set aside to spend time with God and do nothing else. The joy that we saw would lead you to believe this is a once-a-year celebration but it happens once a week. People were dancing, singing, Torah reading, smiling, crying, laughing and all occurred as a community. It was humbling to remember that we serve the same God but there is one key difference: their lack of belief in Jesus as our Messiah. The passion and excitement they displayed and shared with us was both powerful and convicting. When do we love God like that?

In the next couple days we talked about the context of this culture, explored Bethlehem, and finally began our biblical tour hikes. Our favorite of the first day was at Tel Gezer where Solomon once ruled. It was here that we had a faith lesson about Standing Stones. When a god did something ancient communities would erect a stone. Then when visitors arrived at the city and saw the stones, they would ask what their god did. This was something Tyler and I talked about a lot after my trip last year and we loved talking about the importance of remembering what our God does. John (our Tour leader) encouraged us to keep a journal of prayer requests and go back to see all the ways, no matter His timing, that prayers were answered. This gives us confidence to continue in faith in the future. What has God done in your life? What are your standing stones?

Adullum was another place we visited earlier this week. This is a cave where many think that David wrote Psalm 142. Look it up :-) This is a psalm written while David is running from Saul and has nowhere to turn. Our English translations tell us that David "cries out" to the LORD. The Hebrew word for this is "ZEDEKAH!!!" This is a cry from your innermost parts and can't be fully translated in English. However, in the bible when people cry out saying "zedekah" God answers their prayers. God loves community. Therefore, not only are we to cry out to God in our time of need but we also need to look for those who are crying out and be proactive to let the Holy Spirit comfort them through us. In what area of your life do you need to give up to God? Who are those around you that need help and have nowhere to turn?

There is no way to fully share all that we are learning here but we hope you are blessed by our little nuggets. Keep praying for God's work through us! We love you all!

Tyler & Kristin (Tytin)