Shalom friends and family!
As we gallop towards the festival of Chanukah (Dedication), we are so grateful for Yeshua our Messiah, the light of the world. We want to dedicate ourselves afresh to the salvation of Israel, the salvation of our souls, and pray that His light will shine in every area of our hearts, enlightening every dark place, so that we may be more like Him in an increasingly violent and dark world.
I am sorry I haven’t gotten newsletters out throughout our tour or this fall. I’ve been struggling with a chronic illness/infection, which has gotten much worse this past year. This summer it has made my focus very narrow, i.e. seeking Adonai’s wisdom, guidance and help; researching, and taking care of my body, so I could get to the next weekend’s concerts in good enough shape to minister. God was so good to me through that very difficult time, and my relationship with him has grown stronger, as I had to lean on Him more and more to get through each day.
To the world that all sounds weird. No, you go to a doctor and find out what’s wrong, and then he treats it, and get you well! Right?
Unfortunately, I’ve been to doctors in the past with this when symptoms would flare up and they never could figure out what was wrong. We don’t have insurance (we’ve fallen through the cracks in the system) and don’t have the hundreds of dollars to keep pursuing a diagnosis. Now that I’ve narrowed it down, I have found a doctor in Tallahassee that I can go to to get the tests I need and a diagnosis if I need it and when we can afford it.
I have been self treating with food based supplements that are harmless, but have been very effective and helpful. I’ve also been juicing, and making smoothies daily to up my intake of fresh raw fruits and veggies, and using essential oils, which have really helped ease some of my symptoms.
I’ve been on two forums where people who have what I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with have described their physical reactions to antibiotic therapy and the resulting bacterial die-off, and my symptoms since I started my regimen are spot on, which gives me hope that I’m going to whip this! I’ve also been fighting it spiritually, asking for healing in Yeshua’s name, rebuking the illness, commanding my immune system to rise up and attack, etc. and I’ve had people praying for me everywhere I go.
This past two months I have been having more and more clear-headed days, have been more cheerful and positive, and have more mental (though not yet physical) energy, and I’m sure as I’m able to get more exercise I’ll increase endurance and physical energy.
God is good, His mercy endures forever!
(Since I wrote this I have almost completely recovered, making a doctor and diagnosis no longer necessary. I am blessing God daily for renewed health and more energy than I’ve had in a long time! HalleluYah! Thank you to those who have helped me along the way providing funds for, and even buying the things I’ve needed. The naturopath who helped me and provided parasite and fungal cleansing herbal tinctures free of charge. It’s been an uphill battle, but with the help of Adonai and His people, I am finally feeling whole again.)
Main Themes and Messages of This Tour
(From messages shared by Mark, Les, and I as we ministered.)
Let’s get serious about our daily walk with our loving father and savior.
We are in a great spiritual battle, let’s take more time to engage in it through prayer, intercession, and worship in our homes, not just at our congregation!
Let’s not fight the daily small battles in our fleshly ways, ruts, knee-jerk reactions. Let’s discipline ourselves to use the weapons of prayer, praise, and worship, and react with those instead of snapping witticisms, angry retorts, or silent sulking (i’m sure you can name a few more!).
Be one with the part of the body God has called you to. Get involved in the peoples lives in your congregation, cultivate strong Godly friendships, and support and utilize the wisdom of your Rabbi/Pastor. If God can move the heart of pagan kings (Nebuchadnezzer and Cyrus), and speak through a donkey (Balaam’s donkey), can’t you believe He will speak through the brethren and your leadership? Don’t reject their thoughts, ideas, and counsel outright just because it makes you uncomfortable. Take it seriously and seek the Lord about it.
We are all guilty of putting God into a box, let’s get to know His word and meditate on all He has done, so that we can be confident and not fearful. Then we can be more open to what He may be doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. We can be restful in our hearts and spirits, rather than restive!
God will comfort and heal the broken hearted.
Looking Forward ~ Vision Refresh
I am blessed and excited! Why? Because on this summer’s tour, God spoke to me through people, in my prayer time, and in His word. He spoke to me and gave confirmation over and over, giving me hope, and understanding of His will in these times, and this time in our lives.
As I look over the past year, I see that I got myself very spread out. Because of that, Mark and I have made very little progress in the areas we needed to be focusing on, but all that is about to change. During this trip I spent much more time seeking the Lord. What does He want my life to look like, where should my focus be, how should I prioritize my time?
Everything solidified around the core of God, family, friends, rest, and music.
My Heavenly Father wants me to try to stay in weekly contact with my immediate family, they are precious, and the best way I can communicate to them “their value to me” is to spend time with them.
I will be taking more time to cultivate friendships. I need to make time to just go out to lunch, or visiting. I rarely do that, and I now realize I need this outside contact. It’s refreshing and I come home with a new perspective. I tend to spiral in on myself when I get too busy and stressed, and this causes more stress from the internal isolation.
I would also like to reach out more in our community, so I’m in prayer about that, but again, I can’t overdo it, I need to take care to do only what God leads, not try to do everything and get spread too thin.
By worrying you cannot add another year to your life, or inch to your stature! A lot of wheel spinning in my life is perpetuated by taking too much on myself, making myself responsible for more than God has. Understanding this, I have stopped trying to grow anything new, no gardening for now. It was too much work and I didn’t have time to keep up, so my plants succumbed to disease, weeds, and lack of watering which made me very frustrated (we have two to three week long dry spells punctuated by periodic deluges here in N. Florida.) I’m going to heavily mulch my orchard to protect my fruit trees, Heavily mulch my garden area, and let it and me rest for a year. We’ll buy what’s available locally, at least for now. My wonderful son-in-law Baruch takes care of the poultry, so I will just spell him now and then so he and Adrielle can get away for a weekend a month. Hooray for fresh eggs and chicken in the freezer!
For now, I have stopped making jewelry, because I need to focus on music. It’s the gift Adonai has given me to minister and reach out to others, and with limited time, it is a higher priority. Until we can get some of our “stalled” projects finished, I need to focus on practicing, music videos, songwriting, and recording. And yes, communication. I really need to get a newsletter out every month!
We have struggled with income deficits, and this was part of what was swallowing our time, trying to find a way to survive and pay bills when we’re not touring. Everything we tried just wasn’t enough, though we’ve always kept our overhead (expenses) to a minimum.
In line with focusing more on music and ministry, we realized we should be doing what God called us to do not only for ministry, but also for our livelihood, so I began making calls as the end of the tour neared, and began booking two concerts a month in the southeast not only to keep us solvent, but also to keep our ministry fresh and honed.
I am not going to do any more fundraising. I’ve never felt comfortable asking for money, I just don’t like it, and in ongoing obedience to God to do only things He leads, and to be in Shalom (rest and peace) fundraising has got to go. We will have a list of needs at the end of our newsletters for you to pray about. If you feel led to give, you can go to our website to the “Giving” page www.zemerlevav.org/giving (you can give to specific needs there by putting a note where it says “note” or “special instructions”. If you want to give a one time gift towards developing our “Artisan Retreat” home and Recording Studio, you can click the “Donate” button at the bottom of our “Artisan Retreat” page http://www.zemerlevav.org/zl-s-artisan-retreat . I will put these links at the bottom of each needs list, so you don’t have to search for the pages.
With our lives a little more streamlined, I have been more at peace with God, myself, and my family.
Top Priorities: Finishing the music video and getting Butterfly, You are My Strength, Arise and Shine, He Will Thunder, and the new version of Even Ma’asu released as singles. If possible, one each month.
Progress: The music video is at the editors! We are now waiting on him to get it edited and ready for upload to youtube. He is trying for a Chanukah release, but certainly by the first of the year. You are My Strength is also almost ready, Mark is slowly in his spare time, working through all the tracks of an excellent live recording we got, cleaning up any sounds we don’t want, like coughs and sniffs etc. and Butterfly just needs my lead vocal for which we need a quiet evening with enough time to set up the recording equipment early so that I’m not too tired by the time I get to record.
Vision for this year: No more fundraising, two concerts a month locally to support ourselves, and stay tuned up in ministry, Family and Music first, making sure I get enough rest and stay planted in Adonai’s Shalom
Progress: We did great until November/December, those months we had no concerts but we helped on a community Christmas project, which was a good way to work with our Christian brethren in the area, and get to know and network with more people. I met a woman who wants harp lessons for her daughter, and would like to buy a harp from Mark. A young man and his family from Puerto Rico who just moved to the area and plays violin beautifully. Also a new pastor to the area who is interested in our ministry. We spent Thanksgiving with daughter Kerah and her husband Andre in Georgia, and will spend Chanukah with Joseph and Shalisha and grandkids in North Carolina.
Please pray with us about our internet situation here. It makes keeping abreast of our emails, newsletters, updating the website, and posting our doings and releases on social media. very difficult.
Please pray that we are able to keep our priorities fixed and are able to meet our goals of a newsletter out every month, and a song or music video out per month.
Pray that Adonai will continue to open doors locally (in the Southeast area) so that we can continue in ministry, eat, pay our bills, and give to others.
Pray that Adonai will provide for us to build a house with attached studio. We have been in our “tiny homes” on this property for three years now, and it’s not working well for us with all our instruments, recording equipment, kitchen appliances, air purifier and box heaters. It’s just so crowded in here! Lol… I have to laugh, it’s just so ridiculous. I’ve been so desperate, I’ve been looking hungrily at pole barns, metal buildings, quonset huts, giant culverts, etc. anything to make a home out of!
In closing, thank you all for being so patient with us. Our ups and downs, our times of utter absence from our wonderful prayer warriors and supporters, You all! We are so grateful to God for all the wonderful people He has brought into our lives. Blessed be Adonai our God so abundant in mercy and gracious lovingkindness. Indeed His mercy endures forever!
~ Mark and Shimrit