Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aviel David

In the Hebraic tradition a name is more than something that sounds nice. It carries with it a person's reputation and prophetic calling. Because of this, Devin and I invested a great deal of prayer into our new baby's name.

One morning, Devin made a proposal, "How about Aviel*?"

Avi meaning "My Father" and El meaning "God," together this name means "My Father is the Lord"

"I think one day He might need to know God is his father." My wise husband said.

We prayed about it together and over time we saw the Lord's great provision in our lives for our baby. Whether it was generous finical gifts from other, or a home stocked full of baby supplies, we could see the Lord providing for us and for our new son.

One Shabbat service, after receiving a tremendous gift from a friend, Devin stepped up to testify to God's goodness in giving us everything we needed for the baby. With boldness and confidence, Devin said to our congregation, "God is His father." In that moment, we both knew Aviel was to be our baby's name.

Since his birth, knowing that God is his father has kept our hearts at peace as we have had some difficulties with Israeli bureaucracy in finalizing some paperwork. Not only will his name serve as a reminder to him, but it also reminds us of who he belongs to first and foremost.

While I was pregnant, I would often have conversations with people who liked to point out our baby's lack of "Jewishness" since I am a gentile (although in the bible the lineage runs through the father). I would regularly offer protection over his heritage by reminding others that great kings descended from a gentile, the Moabitess, Ruth. One of these kings was a man after God's own heart, David, meaning "Beloved."

King David is described in the bible as being "ruddy and handsome" with ruddy meaning red. As Aviel was just barely making his first appearance, the midwife assisting in our delivery offered a joyful description of his crowing head.

"He's a gingy with curls!" she giggled.

Israeli's love red heads! Its a rare hair color here, so they radiate with excitement over children with red hair (even adults, as I would know from experience!). Aviel's red hair has blessed my heart. Its given me great joy to see our neighbors, friends, and complete strangers delight so much in his gingy locks. It is as if his red hair is a crown of anointing from the Lord.

I wanted to bless my beautiful gingy son with the knowledge that the Lord's plans for him are great in the Land of Israel, even if the state will not recognize him as Jewish because of his gentile mother.

Together, Aviel David speaks a blessing over him that "he may know the heart of his Father, God." We daily pray for him to walk intimately with his Messiah and Savior all the days of his life.




*Aviel is pronounced ah-VEE-el.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shabbat

Dear Family,

What an amazing couple of weeks it has been! I wanted so much to be able to write to you all last week, but I was quite busy. For those who have not heard, Callie gave birth to our son on March 12th at 2 pm. He was 7 pounds and 4 ounces. We don't know how long he was at birth, because they don't really measure that here in Israel. Callie and I are overjoyed as you may imagine and we praise God that He was with us through the whole thing. The Lord opened the door for the entire birth to be paid for by the government, which was an answer to a lot of prayer. We had his circumcision yesterday, and according to Jewish custom, we did not tell anyone his name until the ceremony. His name is Aviel David Mitchell. Aviel in hebrew means "God is my Father". We still have a very real prayer request. Please pray that the Lord would show us how to proceed in getting his status here. Because Callie is still in process, and we are still not registered as married, the Ministry of Interior is giving us a hard time concerning his status too. We need the wisdom of the Lord to know how to move forward. Nothing is ever easy here, but the Lord has led us, the Lord is leading, and the Lord will lead us. Also, please continue to pray that the Lord would show me what to do concerning my language teaching. There are some opportunities still awaiting final approval, so please ask the Lord to open only those doors I need to walk through.

Israel is a in a very precarious position at the moment. The Obama administration has leveled an all out attack on Israel for the lack of progress towards "peace". Vice President Joseph Biden was here over the past week and in the middle of the trip, there was an announcement from the Interior ministry that 1,600 housing units had been approved to be built in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. The Palestinians are claiming that Israel is building in "their" East Jerusalem and the US Administration is completely supporting the PA in this. Since this strong, condemning stance was taken by the Obama Administration, the Palestinians saw a green light to begin violence again. Two people have been killed by Kassam rockets coming out of Gaza and violent protests have continued in Jerusalem this past week. There is a powder keg here waiting to go off. Please pray that the Lord would be merciful and prevent more blood from being shed. Please pray that the arrogant position taken by the Obama Administration against God's Land would be brought low. Pray that all believers here would stand as lights in this difficult situation.

Through the whole process of pregnancy and birth, I felt that I could be writing down a parable a week. I am sure someone else has already done it, because apart from personal salvation, there is nothing in life so profound as the birth of a child. A couple days ago, Aviel started getting some gunk in his eyes that made his eyelids stick together. My heart would break every time Aviel would try to look up at me and only manage to open one eye. I felt so helpless. His condition was not due to something we had done or hadn't done for him, and all we could to was wipe the gunk away with a warm, wet rag. All of a sudden, I thought about our Father in heaven. No matter how great the feelings I have as a father, it is nothing compared to His Father's heart for us multiplied by His eternity. I thought about how incredibly "helpless" the Lord must have felt when Adam and Eve sinned. How must He have felt when mankind continued to turn away from Him despite the Lord continuing to extend His grace (wipe away the gunk) to us? What about when we in His Body continue going about our own business indifferent to the grace and love that has been extended to us? This should break our hearts, shouldn't it?! We all, myself included, have taken advantage of this loving Father at one time or another. As a father now, who is so caught up in his feelings for his son, I have started to see the Lord in a new way. The Lord hasn't changed at all. It has been the miraculous birth of my son that has changed how I see things. I pray the Lord would continue to show me this side of Him that I was not able to see before. I pray that we would all, as a Body, continue to discover more about our Heavenly Father, instead of settling for the little we know. Blessings to you all on this Shabbat and know that we are truly blessed to be able to share this new joy with all of you.

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Thank you all for praying for Callie and me. It has been a while since we have written, but as you can imagine, we have been quite busy. The Lord has been very good to us through this whole pregnancy and we almost have everything we need for the baby's arrival. We have been in and out of various government offices over the last few weeks. We finally got the last piece of paper we needed to officially file for Callie's permanent status. The process will last a while, but we won't have to worry about her visa now which is a huge relief. We also went into the national insurance office here to get the birth of our baby paid for. The Israeli government pays for every child born to an Israeli citizen and so we filed to receive that right. We are now waiting for the confirmation that it will be given to us, so please pray that it would come soon. Callie and I are waiting expectantly for our boy to come! Please continue to pray that everything would be smooth and that everyone would come through the birth safely.

This coming week, Vice President Biden and special envoy George Mitchell will come to see if they can start indirect talks in order to restart peace talks. Putting aside the fact that "indirect talks" seems to be a fairly ambiguous concept, the arrival of Biden is a very interesting development. He is the highest official in the Obama administration to visit Israel. The administration has not scored one foreign policy victory in the last year and they may be betting on the pressure they can put on Israel to get that victory. This puts the US in a very dangerous spiritual position! Over the last decade, the Lord has shown very clearly that He does not tolerate the arrogance of nations or individuals trying to divide His Land. The US looks to be coming back to that place of putting unholy pressure on Israel and the Lord will not tolerate it this time either. Please pray that the Lord would keep the leaders of Israel respectful and yet firm when they visit, so that the attempt to pressure would come to nothing. No government will ever have the solution to the problems Israel faces, only the Lord has the solution.

As a man who is about to become a father, it has been interesting to take stock of my faith. Faith is a fascinating subject and when ever there is big change in our lives, we can see where our faith is lacking. At the same time, we can also get a good look at where our faith is strong. I have been going through this examination of faith even though the change in my life has not officially come yet. The Lord has been showing me that I have a healthy faith when it comes to things that are out of my hands. If there is a situation that just can't be resolved without the intervention of the Lord, I have faith that the Lord will work things out. I know that I am not perfect, but I have always tried to live my life for the glory of God's kingdom. I have seen again and again that the Lord has provided miraculously over the years when I saw absolutely no solution for my situation. When I could do nothing, and my only option was for the Lord to come through, He came through. This has continued to be the case through the first year of our marriage, and I have complete faith that this will continue to be the case. Having faith in this way has been a continual part of the Lord's discipline in my particular walk.

Having said this, I have been floored by my apparent lack of faith when I have a part to play in how things proceed. When it is not just waiting on the deliverance of the Lord, I struggle to find the faith that everything will be taken care of in the end. I think about Noah being told he had to build an ark. The Lord didn't build an ark for him so that he and his family would be safe. Noah had to put his hands to work trusting that the Lord would bless his hands to the extent that the ark wouldn't cap-size and his family would be safe. Doubts can flood in (no pun intended) about how sure the Lord's hands are, but how incredibly UNSURE our hands are. I don't have enough faith in the Lord that He will watch over me as I work and that He will make my hands able to accomplish His work. Faith is something we need to bring into every situation. We all know this in theory, but God is not satisfied with us just knowing theories. It is vital that we take stock of our faith as we walk through life, so that we know what aspect of faith we need to work on with the Lord. It has been an eye-opening experience for me, and I pray that the Lord would never stop this process. No matter how uncomfortable it can get, this process will bring about tremendous character in us, which will in turn glorify our Father. Blessings to you all!

in Yeshua,

Devin and Callie