Marching through Jerusalem. Israeli’s lining every street - Incredible atmosphere!!
View from my new apartment :D
while washing some dishes...
||is that a football match I can hear outside?
||no, thats the chinese lot praying
Hello all! A summary of the last 6 weeks would go on for ages so I won’t bother. I am currently at the end of my volunteer stint at Beit Immanuel hostel in Tel Aviv, which has been just totally brilliant – such fun. It has taken a week’s holiday in Jerusalem with the parents to get over this sad departure, as I didn’t realize quite how strongly attached to the place I was. The young vibe, family community, welcoming and relaxed feel is just infectious and my fear (judging from impressions and conversations I’ve had) is that Christ Church Jerusalem will be very different!
Despite not wanting to leave, I felt convinced that God did not want me to stay in the same place, lest I get too comfortable. Congrats God… you got your wish! To bring the move into perspective, Jerusalem is a beautiful place! I believe the city remains special to the heart of God, as explained through scripture, and has further part to play in the outcome of his plan for the earth. Living here truly brings the Bible to life and after thousands of years, the city remains an amazing place; like no other.
Apart from the prospect of meeting a load of new people again and learning to work with them, I am sure God will continue growing me in independence and challenging me in many areas of life. I’m enjoying capturing lots of film footage and editing it for the Messianic congregation in Tel Aviv. It’s great getting more familiar with Final Cut Pro in my own time and makes me wonder what use I can put the growing experience to, once I return to the UK in January. If anyone has a brain wave – let me know :)
So if you’re in the praying zone… some peace regarding my direction upon leaving here would be much appreciated. Special prayer that I would draw closer to God in this time of uncertainty and that through serving here, I would be progressively molded into a strong vessel he can use for mighty things.
Six months may seem a long time, but I have NEVER experienced time go so quickly as it has the last three months! Please pray also that I do not panic regarding my limited time left but instead use the time I have as productively as possible. It can only be done with God!
Thanks for all you guys who are in touch and praying - it’s SUCH a blessing to have you in my life. God is speaking and I’m beginning to sense his undercurrent plan of action at work in me, but it’s a process. Undoubtedly most of you are asking God for the same things as mentioned here and since God is good, we can trust in his promise. I’m very encouraged to hear from those I have spoken to; I can’t share everything I would like in this space but I’ll speak to many of you soon and I can’t wait to see you all in the New Year.
Much love x
so I was getting my hair cut in Neve Tzedek...
||OMG is this your natural hair colour?
||Man I have clients who would, like, sell their first-born baby for hair like this.
…aaand I’m back
Firstly, I must apologise for being delayed in responding to certain people over the last few weeks. No, I wasn’t near Beer Sheva, Eilat or other recently attacked southern Israeli cities, so I am still alive and well. There have been some very busy days of late but I really have no excuse for my delayed communication.
The main highlight of the last few weeks has been the Elav 2011 young adult messianic conference held here in Tel Aviv. It was just amazing! Similar in set up to Momentum back in Britain, but with some key differences.
Apart from being smaller in size, there were also three different languages to be catered for, as attendees encompassed people from Jewish, Arab and International homes. This made serious challenges for the leadership of the conference, with whom I joined in prayer prior to the event. Not only were there significant cultural differences and tensions between many Jewish and Arab young people there, but also most of the Arab believers in Yeshua had trouble getting to the conference at all since they live in Palestinian territories usually barred by the Israeli authorities.
For those who managed to get permits however, God did some amazing miracles of reconciliation between both people groups as they prayed and worshiped God together in unity. Just being here for nearly two months I have learned that only Jesus can achieve those impossible friendships made over just three days!
As for me, God met with me powerfully as he continues to do, training me to always put him first above all others. The times of worship were very beneficial and inspiring as the style is far and away more extravagant than I am used to! Much of it was conducted in Hebrew or Arabic as were most of the talks, but even so the message was universal in its total passion for Yeshua! There was so much dancing, not by women but by men (proper diversity style!) which I had not seen, in quite the same way back home, during worship. The messages given were likewise very passionate and challenging leaving me with lots to consider and work through afterwards.
It was so great for me to share the experience with other volunteers/staff here too and since the venue was located at the other end of the beach, the long walks there and back were great for fellowship. I also met up with my friend Talya, from Tibereas in Galilee, who currently serves in the Israeli Defense Forces, with whom I had a great catch up at the city port.
I think, more than anything else, Elav 2011 showed me just how on fire the young and often persecuted church in Tel Aviv/Israel are about transforming their nation for Jesus. At the time of the conference, this was already prevalent in my mind in response to the riots that took place in cities across the UK, which woke me up to the sharp moral decline among the youth at home while coupled with the blatant hedonism seen here in Tel Aviv. The young generations of today are clearly uniting together in their search for community, as is STILL being demonstrated by the continual tent city protests on my favorite Rothschild Boulevard right now. They all need our prayer.
Since the conference, three new volunteers have joined our team at Beit Immanuel; two German girls (Joanna & Kathleen) and Ryan from Nottingham. They are all brilliant company and I went up to Jerusalem to hang out with Ryan on Monday. It’s great not knowing who is going to walk through the doors next to help us out.
More recently, I was delighted by the sweeet news I received concerning the engagements between my friends Tom & Mollie and Lucy & Matt. Although not remotely surprised by either, I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear of both within the same week! Congratulations guys :D
I am currently conjuring up some short film projects based around the amazing conversations I have had with locals and internationals here recently. I’ll be discussing these shortly… and more photos to come!
Much love to you all x
Nearly One Month Gone…
Much time has past and lots has happened, so I will hereby bullet point some news:
- Bradshaw clan with Connie and Elyssa arrived from Bucks for a holiday. Weird having to clean their room while occupied but so good to go out and interact with some familiar Brits :) somehow it wouldn’t be Israel without them. Elyssa, who had always rejected me at home, has now decided to become my friend lol, so hopefully Connie will stick around for a bit longer…
- Emile (the congregation sound guy) becomes my second roommate every weekend and has the Israeli lifestyle of ‘kol beseder’ down to a T (i.e. he’s very relaxed!)
- He, along with 4 volunteers and I went to Galilee last week, which was awesome. The temperature climbed to the 40’s and the sea breeze disappeared. P20 sunscreen is a complete babe!! Camping by the lake Jesus walked on however, more than made up for the heat and regular swims freshened us nicely (see facebook pics for where we went).
- Sharon and Jess flew back to Tewksbury :( leaving just me here from England. They were replaced by another mum and daughter duo, Helene and Nadine from Germany. Marcus from Brazil/London also arrived to learn Hebrew and volunteer on weekends.
- Beit Immanuel Congregation services have a really warm community feel and I love having a good church to go to that meets downstairs! I have a couple of potential video projects lined up with the Pastor to show how God is moving here and in Israel.
- Chatting with his daughter I’ve been getting updated about the recent protests going on in Tel Aviv and all over Israel regarding high house prices for students and young adults. These protests currently look like hundreds of tents pitched on one of my favorite streets, ‘Rothschild Boulevard’ – more to come…
Facts about My Location:
Jaffa (Yafo in Hebrew, meaning ‘beautiful’) is the oldest known port town in the world, at over 4000yrs old, and is most celebrated for its oranges, from which ‘Jaffa cakes’ derive their name!
It is famous for the story of Jonah who at Jaffa port fled in a boat to Tarshish from the Lord’s instruction (1:3), though he didn’t quite make it…
Jaffa appears also in Acts, when God through Peter the apostle, raised Tabitha from the dead before staying at Simon the Tanner’s house by the sea (9:43). While praying on his roof overlooking the port, Peter received the vision from God regarding Gentiles being one with Jews under the New Covenant.
Since the re-birth of Israel in 1948 however, Tel Aviv has spread northwards from Jaffa along the Mediterranean coast, to become the country’s commercial capital with a culture of style, pleasure seeking… and still shisha smoking!
Week One: Explorer
1 week gone, and starting to feel at home. The past 7 days for me have been all about exploring the area I’m in – knowing where’s nice, where’s skanky and where I wouldn’t take expensive equipment! I live in southern Tel-Aviv, northern Jaffa, a combined city known generally as Tel Aviv-Yafo (see facebook pics for more).
I could talk about the place and its glorious weather for ages cause I love it, but I should answer the question of what I DO here. The guest house/b&b I live in has 20 guest rooms of varying sizes (+ rooms for volunteers) and all the rest that comes with catering for many people. In addition, the house has a large ground floor area especially to facilitate Congregation Services for Jewish believers in Jesus. All this together requires lots of cleaning and upkeep as well as room and food preparation.
I’m quickly learning what a unique place Beit Immanuel is and its rich historical background, but not until last Friday evening did I fully understand its importance. There are multitudes of Jews of all ages who come here each Sabbath to worship the true messiah Yeshua (Jesus) just as their inherent Jewish scriptures dictate. Despite being a relatively small community of believers nationwide, last Friday’s service was very eye opening regarding what God has in store for the believers’ ministry, and personally I had a real sense of the Spirit moving during that evening. Since then I have heard of other similar congregations around the city and specific outreach ministries to impoverished areas. My weekly service takes place again this evening.
When in the house, I am mostly with my fellow volunteers consisting of 2 Americans, 2 Brits, 2 Polish, 1 Ukrainian, 1 Indian and my boss who’s Russian. This makes for an interesting but friendly group, despite being hard to understand some of the poor English speaking that I hear! Much of the last week I spent out in the city alone however as people have conflicting time off but nevertheless I have loved the shops/cafes (not their prices!), the beaches (not the jellyfish!!) and Harry Potter on Wednesday was a definite highlight :)
The Final Harry Potter film is IMMENSE. That is my shameless confession!