Sunday l April 5, 2009

Shalom Friends and family!

It is 2:23 (or 14:23 Israeli time). We are in Nes Harim, a beautiful village in the mountains between Yerushalaim and Bet Shemesh. It is very windy, and the whistling of the wind at the windows and around the corners of the house is a haunting but lovely sound.

Our schedule is shaping up nicely here. We have a couple of soup kitchens in Tel Aviv, and a congregation in the area. We've been given a good list of contacts, and we are all set to attend the School of Ministry next week, for some much needed input and refreshing in God's word, worship, and prayer.

Our trip here was much more restful than our last trip to Israel (some of us actually slept on the plane!), though our luggage was lost for two days and took an additional two days to get to us! I felt a bit lost without my instruments! We stayed in Netanyah while we waited, with Brian and Racheli Slater. We attended Beit Asaph on Shabbat. There we met a small group from Japan!

The School of Ministry:
We attended sessions of the School of Ministry last week, and we are so blessed. It felt so good to get this input as we studied scripture and saw the places where these things took place. We got new insights on well known stories and shared with one another the things God highlighted for us. We took lots of notes! One of the major scriptures that the Lord impressed on all of us was 1Kings 18:30. The people of Israel had been worshiping idols now for 62 years, by this time the people knew little if anything about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This scripture states that Elijah "...repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down." The Lord spoke to us that we are to do the same. We are working on this in our own lives and our family, and seeking the Lord about how this relates to our ministry, and how we are to obey this word in practice.

We did very little sightseeing last time we were here, so with the school we have been able to see more of the land, and the historic Biblical sights. We stayed at Bet Scandinavia in Bat Galim in Haifa while we attended the school, and we played twice for the group there, most of them are from Norway. They invite neighbors to their Shabbat dinners, so we had the opportunity to share with "pre-believers". The second Shabbat, a young girl asked how I came to know Messiah. This gave me an opportunity to share my testimony with her and another lady. Later I was able to pray with the girl as she had struggles at home.

To the South:
Next down to Omer near Be'er Sheva where we spent some time with our good friend Jeanie Gelbart. Her husband Steve passed away just as we were leaving for Israel. It is a very sad time for all of us who knew him. We miss his wonderful worship music. Now as he so aptly put it, he has exchanged new songs for the old and it delights our souls to think of him playing before God's throne. Please pray for her as she goes through the grieving process.

While we were there we worshiped in a home with a small group and shared with them. A Pastor from a Russian congregation was there and asked us to come and sing for his congregation, so we stayed an extra night in the area at another church that had some rooms, and shared a half hour of worship with the church in Be'er Sheva.

Back up to Haifa!
Kerah and I have each written a song since we've been here which is amazing considering this leg of our journey we have been very busy with school and then traveling! I'm excited to see what the Lord gives us when we finally get to sit still for a time again in Nes Harim!

We are right now on our way back to Haifa where we are going to participate in a night of praise and worship to the Lord, our slot is 3:00 to 4:00 AM! Then over the weekend we'll see what else God opens up for us. We will spend some time with a family friend who is in the IDF.

Finally Settling in:
We are now settled in Moshav Nes Harim. The all night Praise was wonderful. We ended up sitting in with two other worship leaders in their time slots, and I got to just relax and worship with my harp in a way I have never had an opportunity to do before. It was a growing experience in worship music for me. We've been here in Nes Harim for three days now, and have had some wonderful time in the word together as a family. We spent most of this Shabbat just digging into the scriptures and studying together. We are learning more about the musicians in the Tabernacle of David, and Solomon's Temple. It's a fascinating study, plus we've been continuing in the Parashas and reading through the book of Matthew, which has also led to some study in the prophets and Kings!

Kerah and I have written a couple more songs and are looking forward to more as we dig into God's word, and worship together. Natanyah is really growing during this time too. She joined us in the School of Ministry classes, and now she's back to a regular school schedule along with the Scriture studies we've been doing together. She will begin working with me on music and dance this week. We look forward to her taking a more active part in the music ministry before the Lord. She is excited about some new things that she can bring into the worship.

We still have the ministry in the Soup Kitchens in Tel Aviv before us, and I have been trying to get ahold of Rotem's family. We have had several opportunities to be an encouragement to different brethren as we have traveled. Truely this trip has been much different than the last one, as God spoke to us right before we left. He said we were not to have expectations because He was going to do something different this time. I'm excited to share in the next newsletter as our odyssey continues to unfold.

May the Lord bless you all, and we encourage you to "dig deeper" into the things of God. We will all need to keep our lamps trimmed and full at this time. We will post some pictures on our website soon.

~Shimrit and the Hanestribe

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