From the Israel portion of the trip:
Ben: So many nights after a long day we go out and talk to people who are enjoying the Tel Aviv night life. Last Thursday my team, four of us, went to an area where there are a lot of clubs. Many people wait outside for their friends to meet them. They are totally willing to talk about anything until their friends arrive. Everyone wonders why we Americans are out in the Tel Aviv night life. This allows us to explain our group, what we think and so on.
It was after midnight when Elissa and I started talking to three gentlemen who have known each other since they were boys. They were good friends. One guy did most of the talking; he was mostly happy being a secular Jew, but had some issues dealing with hurt and loneliness. We were able to tell him how we deal with these issues through our relationship with Yeshua. As we were leaving I asked if they know about Yeshua more than just from movies. They did not really know much. So I took out a Brit Chadash, a New Testament in Hebrew. I told them what it was and that it has reliable and true information about Yeshua. They looked at it and were very impressed that it was in Hebrew, not English. [When] they said they did not know what to do with it while they go out, I suggested that since it was small it could fit in a pocket. They decided to keep it. Our team had chances to witness to five more Israelis in one hour. Wow, God can do amazing things with a tired team of workers!
Liz: Let’s go ask them if they want to be fisher’s of men!” I joked to [team member] Shmuel. We were out on Thursday night starting conversations and had spotted some guys fishing on the port.
Avi and Egal sat on their fold-out chairs with Gold Stars [beer] and quiet faces. Egal told me what he knew of Jesus, which wasn’t much. “I’m comfortable,” he said to me, as he overheard Shmuel and Avi begin to discuss the problem of evil. “I go to synagogue, and then afterward I go to the beach.”
So I asked him what happens when he thinks about the hard things. He said, “I don’t think about it,” and offered me a swig of his beer. He was comfortable sitting, waiting, watching for the fishing pole to wiggle. But neither of them had caught anything all night.
“It’s just for fun,” Avi explained. “After we catch them we throw them back in. Except the really big ones. The really big ones we bring home.”
Before we left, I told Egal a story of some other fishermen who spent the night without catching anything, until Jesus told them where to cast their nets.
“I hope you catch something!” I said, and Shmuel and I began to walk. I will pray they both catch something far too big to ever throw back.
From the India portion
Aaron: You may have read in the news, there is much craziness in Leh right now because of a “cloudburst.” We didn’t have a team in Leh at the time, we are all fine, and God’s grace has continually been shown to us in our travels.
Daniel: After a week in Leh our team made the long trip down south over the second highest pass in the world (5600 meters). The trip was one obstacle after another-a flipped over truck or two, closed road blockade, a truck stuck in the waterfall that the road goes through and so many more. But every time, our driver got us through. God has been protecting us and watching over the group.We spent two days back together as a whole team and then split up again into smaller teams, going to different areas for our last week of evangelism. There have been many great opportunities for evangelism and altogether we’ve talked to over a hundred Israelis about Yeshua. Yesterday, Isaac prayed with two Indian men to receive the Lord!
Liz: I’m learning how honored I am to have Jesus in my life. He’s more than someone to pray to when I’m afraid, more than someone to talk to when I can’t fall asleep. He is someone who has loved me enough to ask me to help Him, who blesses my life with purpose. Truly, sharing the gospel with others has been such a blessing to ME. Does this make sense? They say you learn something the best when you explain it to others. I’m learning. Hallelujah.
Rachel: Delhi is dirty. Delhi is crazy. Delhi has flies everywhere. Delhi is smelly. I actually have clothes and a sleeping sack that still smells of Delhi. Delhi has chewed us up and spit us out and I am so thankful.
Dharamsala is incredible. We’re situated in the Himachal Pradesh region of India, almost to the foothills of the Himilayas … but don’t let the “almost” fool you. Our guest house has the most exquisite view. We’re tucked into a mountain and look out over several thousand feet at small villages below. There’s a waterfall in the distance, and the snowline is a five-hour hike north.
I will say this about Dharamsala though. There’s a darkness here. I imagine that it’s all over India, but it’s this palpable yearning that the people seem to have. They light up [to smoke marijuana] but [before they even finish] are already looking for the next high. I can see that some feel full of life after some super spiritual experience, but they seem to droop within hours, wanting more.
So, prayer requests? For boldness. For wisdom. For joy. For delighting ourselves in the Lord and trusting that He’s at work even if [it’s hard to] see much beyond the smoke from [some of] the backpackers’ temporary high.