i have an exciting tale to tell you

So, this story starts in mid-November with me, a blank piece of paper, and a blank blonde brain (mine). The mission was 650 words on why I love Israel. Simple, right? Do you remember me mentioning the "blank blonde brain?" 
Yeah, well, to this girl, writing has never come naturally, nor flowed poetically in the usual brilliant way. Abrupt? Yes. Truthful? Yes. Mine? All the way. 
This meant getting consistent Bs and Cs in English growing up. Papers were like scraping a grater against my forehead (or my dear Mum's), and more tears were shed over that subject than all but one (math). 
So, with that in mind I sat down to write. I had entered a contest, and more than anything I wanted to go.
I wanted to go back to Israel. 
It contains some of my favorite people in the world, and my favorite place (Sea of Galilee). 
I knew it had to be an act of God for me to even get in to the final three for the Israel contest. 
Third place wins a free online class. 
Second place wins half of the trip paid for. 
First place wins the whole trip for free.

After about a halfhour of trying to start the first sentence, God told me to write about what I loved most in Israel: the people. I have no other explanation than God gave me the words. He gave me 674 words on paper. I had to narrow it down. That was a first.

I sent off exactly 650 words, and entered the contest. Very skeptical, but also very hopeful. This had been my desire for the past 18 months. 
This is what I wrote:

Why I Love Israel
      I didn’t love Israel for most of my twenty one years. I had no connections with the people or the country other than the Bible, and that sat seldom read during my rebellious teen years. I simply wasn’t interested. My family library is full of Jewish biographies, studies on prophecy, commentaries on Genesis, and every other area of Biblical history, and theology. My Dad was always studying one, and sharing his discoveries with us at the breakfast table. I learned to listen with my face, but allow my mind to wander. My interest didn’t pique until I was fifteen years old after I had recently rededicated my life to the Lord. I was involved in a Biblestudy on the book of Daniel and Dad had just finished a book entitled “Zvi.” Both of these not only satisfied my spiritually-starved soul, but gave me a strong desire to travel to Israel someday. This dream was fulfilled the summer of 2012 when I landed in Tel Aviv with my ORIGINS team, and spent the next four weeks building relationships, getting attached to places, and deepening my knowledge and desire for Yeshua Himself. But it was the people I met that instilled in me a fierce love for this amazing little country.
      I love Israel because of Yacov. When I first met this man, my first impression was nothing extraordinary. In fact, Yacov is extremely normal in appearance with a trimmed moustache, short stature, and a very pleasant disposition. Over the two weeks I spent in his town, I realized that Yacov is nothing but extraordinary. A room seemed to light up with the love of Yeshua when he walked into it. His hard working, dynamic personality only added to his influence on me. He taught me so much about Israel, her need for the gospel, and the importance of prayer for the little nation. This man, who looks remarkably like a character from MarioKart, challenged my faith in God, left me with a desire to live deliberately for my Savior, and founded in me a desire to love and serve the people of Israel for the glory of God.
      I love Israel because of Adi. A leader in his congregation, devoted husband and father, and a superb volleyball player, Adi is the role model to many young believers across the United States, including me. He sees the importance of influencing the youth in Israel, and invests much of his time devoted to discipleship.  The last time I saw Adi, he asked me if I had what it took to start a ministry for the youth in my community. I left convicted and determined to meet his challenge. Because of Adi’s passion for the younger generation in Israel, I have started two Bible studies for young ladies, and hold Bible lessons weekly in my community.  
      I love Israel because of Docha. Down in the lower levels of Kaplan Medical Center, this quiet Muslim girl totes her water bucket and mop around as she cleans the floors. She doesn’t know the wonderful freedom of salvation, nor does she know what Yeshua has done for her. She is lost, deceived, and blinded to the truth, having never been allowed to touch or read the Bible. I would pass her every morning, hoping she saw the love of Christ in my smile, praying that she would see and desire my Savior. She may not know it, but we have something in common ~ a Creator God who loves the unlovely, and who is in the business of rebuilding what sin has destroyed. I longed to share with her the love of God in words, but I realized that my actions were just as powerful as spoken word. I love Docha because God loves her, and He calls me to love her too.
      There are many other reasons why I love Israel, and they all have names.

I got a phone call yesterday evening, and was informed that I had won first place in the ORIGINS Essay Contest. I am going back to Israel! Praise the LORD!!! 
He knows our desires, and has power over our abilities and circumstances. 
He is worthy to follow all the way. I am following Him to Israel in summer of 2014.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.{Psalm 37:4}


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