Blessings to you all on this wonderful Shabbat the Lord has given us. I love the fact that the IDF tries it's best to send their soldiers home often for Shabbat. It is unlike any other military in the world in this way. One of the things that has bound the Jewish people together for so long has been the observance of Shabbat. Sending soldiers home to be with family on Shabbat is a wonderful way to honor that. After a long week being apart, Callie and I love being able to spend the Shabbat together. I see in part how great a gift Shabbat really is.
I received my new assignment a couple of days ago, and it really surprised me. A man in my position (27, immigrant, with education) usually gets the basic of the basic training in the IDF. After 2 months, someone like me is shipped off to be a worker in the army; just passing the time until my 6 months finish. I and 19 others (out of 150) were chosen this week to be a part of a unit that is taught how to detect and clean up after chemical, nuclear, or biological attacks. Before we are taught this, we have to go through three weeks of additional advanced weapons training. After these three weeks in Ashkelon, we will got to Rishon Letzion to learn about how to identify pathogens, and to clean up after these attacks. I know the Lord is in this. He is already speaking to me about it as a defense for Israel. Please pray for skill and protection as I start this assignment on Sunday.
Callie is getting settled into working in a local architectural firm here in Jerusalem. She is enjoying the process of getting integrated into the workforce here, and getting to know the Israeli people in a way few ever do unless they live here. She is talking a lot with her bosses, and her fellow employees, about how they came to Israel, and what their impressions are of living here. Please pray for her firm to be blessed with an abundance of work, so that she would remain active and invaluable to the firm. Pray that she would be able to share more of who she is spiritually with the people there.
The news of my assignment had an interesting affect on both Callie and I. We were both hoping that I would get an assignment near to Jerusalem, so that I could come home at the end of everyday. That ordinary job would have been a job any other person could do, and it wouldn't have been very crucial to the IDF. When I first heard about my new assignment, I was quite upset ... not because of what I would do, but more for how I would break the news to Callie that I would not be around much to support her. On the bus ride home from the base, the Lord started to speak to me about how my life has been , and how it would continue to be with Callie. When we turn to the Lord, saying that we will serve Him, where ever that takes us, we are not ever just going to be passing time. The Lord has something crucial for each of us to do for His kingdom. We have to be ready for the surprising form that takes. When I arrived in Jerusalem, and I finally told Callie, her first response was to say, "I am not surprised", and then she laughed for ten minutes. She told me later that she was filled with the joy of the Lord, and with His peace, because she knew I would have a unique assignment in the army. She knew this assignment would open up doors for us in the future, and allow the Lord to glorify Himself through it. It wasn't quite the response I expected, but it was the one I needed to hear. Things might not always turn out exactly the way we prefer, but when we follow the Lord, His grace covers everything. Not only do we feel His grace, but we are allowed to feel the joy He has for us, as we faithfully follow His call. That is the joy I believe Callie felt. It was the joy God has for His children when they walk and obey. It will be a tough assignment, but with all the Lord has given us through this process, I am certain that blessing will be seen constantly. Blessings!