Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Note for The Bridge

The following is a letter I (Callie) wrote for The Bridge, a church in my hometown:

Dear Friends at The Bridge,

Thank you so much for your prayers, concerns and loving support of our family and the nation of Israel during this critical time.  It blesses our family to know that your church loves Israel. 

When I married my husband, Devin Mitchell, I knew I was not only saying "yes" to him, but also to a wild adventure in the Lord, that meant committing to live in Israel.   Devin is a believer in Jesus with a Jewish Heritage.  According to Israel's Law of Return, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent qualifies for citizenship.  He met qualifications, and moved here at 18.  I joined him as his wife almost 4 years ago, and we have been blessed with our son, Aviel (ah-vee-el) who is now 2 1/2.  So here we are, in the city where Jesus physically left the earth, and where He will physically return, hearing war sirens and taking cover in shelters. 

I consider it a great honor to stand with Israel right now.  This military operation, in Hebrew, is called Amud Anan, which literally translates as Pillar Cloud.  I don't know why it is being translated in English as Pillar of Defense, other than the possibility that the strength of the meaning behind "cloud" is lost.  Anyone familiar with the bible knows the Lord appeared to the nation of Israel as a cloud by day and fire by night.  That was his physical presence dwelling among the people.  His Shekinah.  As I've walk the streets of Jerusalem since this operation started, I have a strong sense of his Shekiah in the Land.  I know the Lord is here with us.  I feel as though the Lord has invited me to be part of something very Holy by calling me to live here as Israel fights for her land. 

This is hard truth for the world to understand, but when Israel fights for her land, it is a holy and righteous act before the Lord.  God covenanted this physical place to the Jewish people in Genesis 13: 15,
for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.


If there is any question about whether that stands true, even after the new covenant is established through the blood of Jesus,  Romans 11: 28-29 states: 
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

We worship a God of promise and covenant.  He keeps His word.  And this, even beyond Genesis 12:1-3, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, is why we should stand with Israel as believers.   For the sake of God's reputation and name.  See Ezekiel 36: 22-24

It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.  For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 

When God restored the Jewish people back to the physical land of Israel in 1948, after being dispersed for 2000 years, He made good on His word and proved Himself as Holy.  This nation has had to fight to possess the Land ever since.  The enemy hates the Jewish presence in the land because it points to a Holy God, and likewise,  anyone who tries to stand against the Jewish people living in the land of Israel is attempting to stand against the Holiness of God.  That is serious. 

We are asked repeatedly, "Are you safe?"  I feel safe.  I know God is our shelter.  That's a promise from Psalm 91.  Also, Jerusalem has  Holy sites and Arab neighborhoods that Muslim terrorist would not want to risk destroying.  This keeps most large scale missile attacks on the outskirts of the city, and in other regions of the country.  So for now, I feel safe.  That doesn't mean I'm not scared though!  Its unnerving to hear the sirens and have to take cover!  Pray for me to continue on with courage!  Devin was required to serve in the Israeli Defense Force after he became an Israeli citizen.  He is now in reserves and could potentially be called up.  Please pray for the Lord to have him exactly where he is supposed to be.  Mostly, we ask the you would pray for the salvation of the Jewish people and for us to be used by the Lord to make known the truth of Messiah Yeshua during this time. 

Love, blessings and SHALOM! 

Callie (Narron) Mitchell 

Related Posts:
For His Name's Sake A break down of Ezekiel 36
Redemptive Space Tina's story of leaving Nisanit, now part of Gaza.
Sirens and Oil Flasks Lessons from the first sirens.
War Drills, Hamas, and Stuff  About the Hamas Charter

Monday, November 19, 2012

Overwhelmed by Love

The love and support we have felt from friends and family, in the last few days, has been overwhelming.  It has blessed me (Callie) to wake up in the morning, check my facebook, to find comment after comment assuring us that we are being prayed for.  I believe in the power of prayer, and trust that the Lord is protecting us, and not just our family, but our nation as well.

Many friends have offered encouragement from Psalm 91 in the last few days.  It has been my place of meditation this week, and the deep truths of finding safety in the Lord are being revealed to me in new ways. 

God is our shelter.

When I wake up in the morning I wonder whether or not its better for us to stay in or go out.  Part of Israeli coping and even attack against these issues is to move forward with as much normalcy as possible.  Maybe that's easy for so many of the citizens who have gone through this before, but nothing about life is "normal" for me at the moment! 

Yesterday, we carried out our normal weekly activities.  We went the shuk and did our grocery shopping, and I got a hair cut.  Honestly, keeping the normal routine helps!  At home, I sit around analyzing every sound I hear from the street.  When motor cycles pass by on Hebron Road, they sound oddly like the beginnings of the sirens.  My heart stops every time.  If I'm not pre occupied with sounds, then I'm spending too much time reading about the war online. 

Getting out of the house helps.  Not only does it help, but over the last few days, I have felt the presence and Holiness of God when I've been outside.  He is here with this nation, dwelling amongst the people in His covenant Land.  I have a sense of safety when we are out because I know God is our shelter.  His word makes that promise. 

Last night, while walking home from dropping something off at a friend's house, I had a sense that I was in a glory cloud, walking on holy ground. I entered into spontaneous praise and worship the whole way home. His presence is so real. We're part of a great move of God over here, as He proves the Holiness of His name. 

“It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land." Ezekiel 36:22-24

Again, thank you for all of your prayers and support.  It has blessed me and I hope you all will be blessed to hear about our adventures as we walk with God through this time of conflict.  I plan to do some more creative writing about what we're experiencing, but I wanted to use Aviel's nap to share my heart quickly and openly! 

Love you all!  

Related Posts:
Holocaust Survivors Party
Note for The Bridge
Follow Up for The Bridge
Sirens and Oil Flasks
Turning 30 in the Middle of a War
War Drills, Hamas, and Stuff

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sirens and Oil Flasks

The sirens sounded and I wasn't ready.

For the last day and a half, I had this nagging thought that I needed to prepare a bag for a quick trip down to the bomb shelter, if it came to that.   With the battle in the South escalating to attacks on Tel Aviv and Rishon Le Tzion,  both only a forty-five minute drive from Jerusalem, the reality of our circumstances hit closer to home - literally.

I had gathered a few things and put them together, but in the busyness of the day, I just had not finished.

Then it happened.

We were leaving the house for Shabbat Dinner and the sirens blew.  My heart sank.  I rushed to close the window treseme, and gathered up the sorted contents I wanted for our shelter bag, while Devin jumped online to see what was going on.  Since it was short siren, we suspected that we were still safe, but we wanted to be sure.  After some assessment, phone calls, discussions with neighbors, we decided that conditions were stable enough to continue on with our evening plans and headed out for dinner.  Part of the Israeli mentality towards these issues is to continue on with life as normally as possible.

I couldn't quite transition back into normal.  My adrenaline was still running high from what had just taken place.  We still were not sure exactly why the sirens sounded and I feared the war was now at our back door.

On the walk, all I could think about was how foolish I had been to not have prioritized getting our bag ready.  We'd be safe without it, but as the mother of a two and a half year old, there are things I knew we'd need for an extended time in the shelter.  I had planned, but I had not assembled.

Like those silly foolish virgins who had their lampstands, but forgot their oil, I wasn't ready. My flask was empty. (See Matthew 25: 1-14) 

Our shelter bag traveled with us in Aviel's stroller on our walk to dinner last night, and when we got home, I quickly completed and organized its contents - blanket, water bottle, extra clothes, snacks, crafts and toys, bibles, books, etc.  Its next to the door now, with socks, shoes, and jackets.  We slept ready to go if the sirens were to sound again.  Well, at least Devin and Aviel slept.  I was up all night working through some anxiety from the earlier events of the day.   

As I pressed into the Lord while my two guys slept, I asked Him to give me a spirit of wisdom about how to prepare our home and our hearts if this were to happen again.  And I asked Him to help me to be ready for Him - for His return.

When the bridegroom comes, I want my oil flasks full. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shabbat Letter - Pillar Cloud

Dear Family,

It has been far too long since we have written to you all to let you know how things are going for the Mitchell family.  The Lord reminded me to write these letters because of how crucial your prayers are for us, especially for the time we are stepping into now.  There have been so many things happening, that I don't believe I could write about all it without keeping you reading for an hour.  In the letters that will follow, I will go into a little more detail about what the Lord has been doing with us as a family.  The Lord continues to bless the work of my hands at the Anglican School here in Jerusalem, and some real doors have been opened for me that we will have to very prayerful about whether I walk through them.  Callie is enjoying her time with Aviel at home, but there are a few project that seem to be coming on the horizon for her as well.  Please pray that the Lord would give us the wisdom to know how to rightly divide our time as it seems like He is filling our weeks with many opportunities bring glory to His name in Jerusalem.  Aviel continues to grow and mature at an alarming rate.  For all of you who are parents yourselves, you know that it seems like only yesterday that the children were born.  Now Aviel is talking all the time and really showing us the incredible personality he has.  Please pray for us as were continue to seeks His face here as a family.

I must admit, the thing that motivated me to write this letter today was the new operation that has started in Gaza.  Many of you may not know, but since the beginning of October, hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel.  This continued barrage came to a head this past week when there some of the rockets found their targets.  Prime Minister Netanyahu gave the go ahead this evening (November 14th) to start a military operation to stop these acts of terror.  The Operation is called "Operation Pillar of Cloud".  After hearing the name of the operation, all of us in the room felt that this move by the IDF was going to be significant.  No one knows how long this will take or what will happen. Please pray that the Lord would give our leaders wisdom to know what needs to be done, when it needs to happen, and how it needs to happen.  Please pray for the people in the south who are hearing sirens all the time now warning them of incoming missiles.  But most of all, please pray that the Lord would undertake for His Land and His people so that He would get the glory.

As we look at the realities in front of us here, we can't help but fear what is going to come.  I would be lying to say that I wasn't a little afraid about what is going to happen.  I could very easily be called up as a reservist if things get really bad.  What is going to become of me or my family?  It is in times like these that I am so relieved that we have our security in the Lord.  Yes, we will all feel fear from time to time, but there is an ever present hope that stays with us no matter what happens.  As long as we have Yeshua in our lives, we have a hope for the future.  We know that if we are running after Him with all our heart, the safest place in the world is where He leads us to be.  He has lead me and my family to live here in Israel, so I know that we are in the safest place possible.  It may not seem like it, but we are completely safe where we are right now because we are right where He wants us to be.  I pray that we can all remember the hope that we have living within us and not despair.  No matter what trails we face, that hope can never be taken away.

In Yeshua,

Devin, Callie, and Aviel