Over the next several days, I will be recounting stories from a trip to Israel in 2010.
My Heart Was Left in Israel
Something of a known secret, if you know me, is that I love Israel. Even before getting to go for the first time in 2008 (during and since), I have had Israel on my heart. The first trip lasted 10 days and it just wasn't enough for me. We got to see many sights, but I was always lingering behind, wanting to see more. I really wanted to go again but didn't know when, how or why.
Over the course of the following two years, I began to pray for ways to go. I had a dream in which I was exiting a plane in Israel, and upon walking into the airport terminal, I was blocked and told not to go again as a tourist.After waking up, I didn't exactly know what that meant. To be honest, I didn't really understand until over a year later. Not long after the dream, my friend Wayne had a word for me. He said he got a thought that Israel is home for me.
After nearly two years of talking about going back, a conversation with a friend helped me decide, "what the heck, I'll try going again!". My hesitation in going had to do with the idea that I would most likely be going alone. Up to that point I had never traveled outside of the country alone, and Israel seemed like a huge leap. Getting to spend Passover in Israel seemed like a fun idea, so Passover of 2010 became my target time.
It All Came Together Quickly
A friend of mine here connected me with some friends of his in Tel Aviv. They run a hostel and offered to let me stay there in exchange for some photography work. Another old friend offered to let me stay in a house of his in Jerusalem. Having known him for a few years, I never knew he had a house in Jerusalem. The house is connected with a church and it houses volunteers to the church. How awesome is that?! This all seemed too good to pass up. My tax returns also came just in time to find cheap flights. So in a matter of a few weeks, I was set to go.
In the back of my mind I still couldn't tell why I wanted to go, except it was just on my heart to go. All while planning, even up to driving to the airport, I was wondering, should I be doing this? I'm going halfway around the world alone, to a country where I can only speak a few words, where I know no one, to stay with strangers, not knowing how to get anywhere. My anxiety was mounting. But I knew God wouldn't ditch me. Many friends gave me encouragements and so I felt loved and not alone. And so I was off. It felt like doors were being opened for me and I was excited to see what God would do. Having that dream in mind, I began exploring the idea of Israel of being home.
First Stop, Tel Aviv!