Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for praying for us while I was in Scotland. It has taken us a little bit to get back in the swing of things here, but the Lord has been gracious. The Lord provided a wonderful friend to come and stay with Callie while I was gone. She was a wonderful blessing to us and I was able to go knowing that my family was taken care of. When the Lord confirmed that I was supposed to go to Scotland, we had no idea if Callie and Aviel would have to be alone here or not. Praise God that He has everything taken care of before we know we need it. The ministry in Scotland we very well. It was an intense week of prayer and teaching that we all felt accomplished what the Lord sent us there to do. It was my first trip to Scotland and I really felt how special that country is. I really hope the Lord will take us back there soon. Please continue to pray for us as I settle back into things here in Israel. There decisions that wee need to make soon and we would appreciate your prayers. We really need His wisdom in the coming months.

This week, Callie really felt an urging from the Lord to share something on her heart. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed both of us.


Lately I find myself wondering if we are too hard on each other. It might seem like a strange thing to ponder in the age of political correctness and moral relativism. An age when most of the body of believers has abandoned teachings on the hard realities of sin and Hell in favor of a feel good pseudo gospel.

Yet even with that, I personally struggle with feeling unrightfully judged or condemned by others on occasion, and I know I've caused others to feel the same way.

Just the other day while in prayer about this issue, the Lord reminded me of a conversation I had with a close friend several years ago. I could see this friend struggling with a sin pattern that granted her a discouraging nickname. My efforts to help her in the past had totally failed. Our friendship felt a bit fragile, likely do to my unsuccessful attempts to discuss hard issues with her. After she left my home one morning, in a bit of frustration I went to the Lord and begged Him to show me how to minister to her and inspire her toward holiness.

"Speak to Me inside of her." the Lord whispered.

"What does that even mean!" I wondered. Then He showed me. Rather than pointing out what I saw as wrong in her life, the Lord was asking me to see Yeshua in her, then speak forth what was true according to who HE is.

My friend came over later that day and I sat down with her and shared my heart. A short version of the conversation from my end went something like this:

"It might not bother you that they are calling you these things, but it bothers me." I said. "It bothers me because you are pure. You are a holy, righteous, honorable woman of God. That's who you are, not these other things."

I saw a heaviness break over her in the way of tears. She left changed and so did I.

Romans 2:4 reminds us that its God's kindness that leads us to repentance. I saw that kindness in living operation as I spoke with my friend. I only wish I as able to operate out of that same spirit all the time, because I know I don't.

So often we subject one another to the yoke of slavery through our own struggles with religious ideals, or spiritual perfectionism. What if we simply gave each other a taste of grace? What if we started reminding one another of the new creations we are because of the power of the resurrection and the redeeming work of Messiah Yeshua? I'm so thankful that the Lord recalled this memory. Since then I've been fervently asking Him to help me see Him in others.

Blessings to you!

In Yeshua,

Callie and Devin

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Adventures at the Mt. Zion Hotel

We always have such fun adventures when friends and family visit! This time, our lovely friend, Kristen, invited us for breakfast and swimming at the Mt. Zion Hotel while she was visiting from the States. The Mt. Zion Hotel is located just outside the walls of the Old City and next to Succat Hallel, a 24/7 House of Prayer. Its one of our favorite hotels in Jerusalem! Devin had to leave for work after breakfast, but Aviel and I had a great time with Kristen!

On the way to the pool, we found a chuppah over looking Mt. Zion.

Here's the pool with the hotel in the background.

Aviel loved swmming!

He kicked his legs like a little froggy.

We took a little break and got this photo with Kris.

Round 2 with the bucket hat.

The little one napping after his swim (Don't worry! We moved him totally in the shade and changed his clothes just after this cute photo!)

This is a view from the pool.

The Hinnom Valley (or Gehenna) and the Old City walls...

Mt. Zion...

The Mt. of Olives and East Jerusalem.

Grapes growing along the railing

Setting up for a party.

I love all the stone villas.

Sink for ritual hand washing

Gardens with covered walkways adorn the outside areas of the hotel

Here we are in one of the gardens on the way back into the building

Sinai style sitting area

And just on the other side of the sitting area is this beautiful steam room, complimentary for all guests!

The lobby with stunning views.

The hotel's website has dozens of great images of rooms and other features, as well as prices and booking information. We recommend this hotel for anyone who wants to visit Jerusalem in luxury! Its a great place to experience, if only for one night! Just don't forget about us while you're there!

Thanks so much to Kristen for a fantastic day! We miss you!!

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

I am sure many of you have been praying over this last week with everything that has happened. Thank you so much for your prayers. Israel is in a VERY difficult place at the moment and she can use all the help she can get. Going to Scotland now is hard for me with everything that is happening, but going out to help raise up prayer for Israel in the nations is vital right now. Please lift us up as a family while I am gone. I leave on the 7th and and will be gone until the 15th. Please pray that the Lord would keep me safe while I travel and bring me back in safety. Please pray that the Lord would put a hedge of fire around Callie and Aviel so that they would be protected from any attacks of the enemy. It will be the longest we have been apart since we were married. I will miss them terribly, but both Callie and I know this is what the Lord would have me do at this time. We would appreciate any prayers you would lift up on our behalf.

We love you and blessings to you all!

In Yeshua,

Devin and Callie

Friday, June 4, 2010

I love Babywearing

Three years ago, I had my first anthropological taste of a trend known in the western world as Babywearing. I was in the Bush of West Africa--the Gambia Republic to be exact. Walking down the street along a swampy rice field, I noticed something unusual about the women workers. Something was strapped on their backs. Something wiggly.

"What is that?" I wondered.

Then I got a closer look.

"They're babies!"

Teeny Tiny babies securely fastened in vernacular style fabrics, with only their heads exposed, out in the fields working with their Mamas.

"How cute!" I thought.

It was only a few short days into the 4 month long trip that I realized this was a normal part of family life for Mothers and babies. I fell in love!

The earthiness and the intimacy of this African tradition was alluring. I prayed that the Lord would let me carry little ones in a similar fashion. And today I do!

My sweet little Aviel spends time every day in our wrap. We walk around Jersualem, visiting friends, shopping in the shuk, or just getting outside for some fresh air together. We wrap up and do art projects, make pies, or dance around the house. Sometimes his Abba wraps him up too!

As I've researched, I've found out that babywearing isn't just a passing trend, but there are real benefits to keeping my baby so close. According to Dr. Sears, being near to her baby inspires the release of two hormones, Prolactin and Oxytocin, in the mother. When these "mothering-hormones" are high, mothering becomes easier, more natural and more intuitive. Sears says these hormones act as a "biological booster shot that helps her give her baby the quality and quantity" care the baby needs. They also help to fight off postpartum depression, and keep her milk supply high. They only last about twenty minutes, so adopting a parenting style the keeps the baby close helps to keep the hormones flowing at a regular rate.

Babywearing also enhances baby's ability to learn. From my own experience, this is obvious! Aviel sits at eye level and watches me mix paint colors. He sees blue and yellow turn into green, and he sees strips of paper turn into patterns and shapes. He is storing up patterns of behavior that he absorbs from being with me. Research indicates that wearing babies increases their communication skills. The baby is positioned high on the mother, at eye and voice level, thus taking in body language, facial expressions, and speech patterns that he will later try to mimic.

Babies in slings and wraps are also known to cry less, and grow more. When energy is diverted from crying, it is put into growing. The motion of the mother's walk, familiar to the baby from the womb, helps to settle a fussy baby, and somehow helps regulate a babies breathing and other biological systems. Babies who are physically close to their mothers are also fed more frequently, which causes a more regular release of growth hormones.

Wraps and slings can also be a great fashion accessory and a great conversation starter! Its especially fun when I go out with my amazing Jerusalem friends, and we all have our babies in wraps! There are many different styles, colors, and patterns to chose from. My own wrap is similar to a Moby. It was a sweet hand-me-down from a close friend who "wore" her first baby, but was unable to "wear" her second do to paralysis from a routine epidural during the birth. She is always so blessed to see Aviel wrapped up on me. I love that it brings joy and healing to her heart!

The benefits of such a natural, earthy way of parenting causes me to reflect on 2 Corinthians 4:7

7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

Sometimes the most natural, instinctual way of doing something is the most supernatural of all. God created this amazing system of interaction between a mother and her baby that is mutually beneficial to health and emotions of both. Why not embrace it and be close?

I love babywearing.

My first lesson in baby wearing in Africa

Aviel at 2 months in his wrap at a bus stop in Jerusalem

**Of course, always exercise caution with babywearing. Be careful to make sure the baby is positioned well for breathing, and does not overheat on hot days. Also don't trust it too much! We don't want anyone to fall out! Be careful when bending over and watch out around doors!

Source Cited:
The Baby Book by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN pp. 300-311

My sister has some instructions on how to make your own here.
Dr. Sears has further info on the benefits of Baby Wearing here.

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