We are sorry that it has taken us so long to write again. Many of you have been praying fervently for us and we really appreciate it. We write this time from the United States. The Lord has seen fit to bring us to the States for a few weeks. There are many things that we believe He wants to do with us here, but we also need to rest. Please pray that the Lord would use us mightily in our time here, but also that we would be able to get some much needed rest. Callie is having a wonderful time showing off her pregnant belly to her family and eating some of the food she has missed since moving to Israel. Israel has wonderful food, but there is no substitute to the food you grew up with. We made the long drive from North Carolina to Ohio with little difficulty. Please pray that the Lord would continue to protect us and bless us as we travel.
We leave Israel in a very interesting time in it's history. Since the "peace process" began with the Palestinians, I don't believe there has been such as time of flux as there is right now. In the past, the process has been either moving in one direction or another. Now, it seems like Israel is teetering on the edge of something big. From week to week, something happens that seems to tip it one direction, and then something else will happen that will tip it the other direction. No one really knows which way it will go, and it seems like the world is completely preoccupied with another Middle Eastern country. Iran has completely refused the deal the West was proposing, essentially saying that they will do what ever they want. Israel will soon be in the unbelievable place of deciding whether to preemptively strike Iran or not. This is a the situation we left, and we are praying fervently for our nation and our people. Please pray that the Lord would cover this situation and bring His Will to bear on it.
The Lord used the last few weeks of work before our trip to the US to speak to some encouragement into my heart about life in Israel. The bible is full of scriptures commanding us to "build homes and plant vineyards," or to "rebuild the ancient ruins." As an architect in training, I've been blessed to be part of this prophetic fulfillment in a literal way. Currently, our office is working on a project in the old city just across from the Wailing Wall. I've been part of the design process since Devin and I were engaged. More than a year and a half later, I would have expected this project to begin construction, so one day I casually asked my boss how much longer he thought it would be before we'd break ground. His almost sarcastic laugh spoke more clearly than if he had simply said, "Not any time soon!" He then explained that we needed to get an "OK" from the clients, the Old City Architect, the archeologist, the Temple Mount Rabbis, and the Municipality before we could move ahead. This particular project has been redesigned once already because we couldn't achieve unanimous agreement, so the time line remains undefined.
Juxtapose this conversation with one we had earlier in the week. The same boss brought in a beautiful poster of Jerusalem from the late 1930's. It was an ariel view of the YMCA, the King David Hotel, and the surrounding olive orchards that were present in Israel's early days. My small group of colleagues and I sat together at lunch gazing at this poster, amazed at how much this small nation has developed in such a short amount of time!
After the short conversation with my boss, I turned and looked at that poster and thought, "Lord, with so much work required to get things done here, how in the world did this city grow so fast?" Then I paused for a moment and realized how easy it is to become discouraged if we focus on the details of a problem with out realizing the bigger picture of the work the Lord is doing. He built Israel-Jerusalem- by His Spirit, even with all the headaches required to get a small project completed. He works out His will in our lives as individuals the same way. The Lord is doing something much greater than what we can see day by day. If we focus too much on our circumstances, without seeing it in the context of God's greater plan, discouragement can come in like a flood. I pray we could all lift our eyes up more often and see the Lord's greater plan at work all the time. Blessings!
Devin and Callie