Well, we didn’t fly out to Isreal on the 17th of February. And I am glad we didn’t. Abba has been teaching us much in this time, learning to wait on Him and to be joyful in the waiting. We had about twenty bags packed (not including musical instruments and the clothes we were wearing) when God spoke to us about living this journey one year at a time. We were a bit taken aback at first, but after about five minutes we decided that this was great. I immediately unpacked all our bags and removed everything that wasn’t really necessary…and about fifty kg’s of books! That felt a lot lighter.
We also celebrated Hanukkah, Purim and Passover during this time. Hanukkah was a time of eating and learning some more about the time of the Maccabees. There is so much to learn from that time, as History will repeat itself again. We also celebrated Purim for the first time. I spoke to my dear friend two days before Purim who gave me a crash course in the 'spiritual aspects' of Purim. It was a really amazing time and also included, as every Feast does, good food! The children also got dressed up, and Lana ended up making a cardboard horse suit, which she wore, and David came in riding on a horse. It was spectacular. We were hoping to celebrate Passover in Israel, but as we couldn't we made it as much fun as we possibly could.
The government was also deciding how to ‘exit’ the lockdown slowly around this time, and they had put out a date of the 12th of April for Cornwall to open up to tourists. And thus we now had to leave the holiday cottage on the 2nd of April to give them time to decorate. (We would have had to leave the cottage anyway at this date if there was no lockdown, or possibly even earlier) And so we spent another Passover with our bags packed and ready, not sure where we were going to go. It was a wonderful Passover. We did a plague every night in the ten days before, which was lovely as all the children engaged in what we were doing. I think their favourite one was grasshoppers. We bought three packs of penne pasta which we scattered on the floor and table. And between the seven of them they ate almost all of them, I don’t think they had any dinner that night. Our Seder was lovely too, and all the children stayed up and completed the meal. It was a really blessed time.
So after Passover we started looking for somewhere to stay. Pete contacted the Tremore Christian Fellowship and Dovetail Shalom Ministries to see if they could help. Tremore CF have a large house used for retreats, but the house was not a possibility as some major building works are being undertaken. The trustees said we could stay in the old schoolroom where they used to run Christian education from. There is a kitchen and toilets and it is near where our friends live. No shower and we are somewhat camping, but there are beautiful gardens for the children to play in, and the hall is surrounded by beautiful trees. I love trees.
So the week of the 2nd of April we did lots of packing and cleaning, and on Friday, with everything packed into our two vans, we headed for Tremore. As it was the Shabbat that evening we unpacked everything, and headed for the supermarket to buy some food. We set our Shabbat table up in the dining room, and voila! we’re home again. I just love that, it doesn’t matter where we are, a white tablecloth and two candlesticks transforms anywhere into a familiar place.
Sleeping quarters are wonderful. The children have a room with four couches and the two middle boys sleep on mattresses on the floor. Havah sleeps in our room next door in a travel cot, and Pete and I have two camping mattresses on the floor. Our bags are lined up against the wall, and there is a useful shelf unit for odds and ends. Perfect! Cornwall Services, about three miles away, have two self service washing machines, and if they are in use, the next service station which is about two minutes away from that one also has the same machines. How good is God!
The first week was a whirlwind of seeing friends and one of our supporters. We drove to Devon to meet a family we have been in contact with through HaYovel. The only day we didn’t go out was the first Monday when we unpacked ALL our bags onto the dining room tables (very convenient) and repacked them, also taking out what wasn’t a necessity. Pete said that we have realised that there is no longer space for the 'I wants', or the ‘might be usefuls’ and now were are really getting down to what's essential. But maybe our definition of essential has had to change. So it looks like we will manage with twelve bags, one guitar and one keyboard as hold luggage. Maybe thirteen bags…. But that is really good, and we will be able to fit all that into our static caravan in Israel.
After about a week life slowed down a bit again. The little ones caught up on some sleep, and we enjoyed the beautiful garden. Its gorgeous here, the daffodils have been a show of yellow and as the yellow has faded the white, pink and yellows from daisies, campions and dandelions have taken their place. Slowly but surely the bare trees are starting to glimmer with the new green leaves forming, and pretty soon we will be surrounded by hues of green. Spring is just such a beautiful time. With the sun coming up earlier we are also woken up by the dawn chorus of birdsong outside our windows. Really, it would be amazing to be in Israel right now, but we praise Abba for giving us this time to fulfil His purposes.
Now every Saturday there is a gathering in the hall, and we thought it best to not be around. We headed up to Devon on the first Saturday to meet a family that got in touch with us after seeing our youtube video. We had a wonderful time getting to know them, and the children played together so well that it felt like they have been friends for ages. The 2nd Saturday we went to see friends in Redruth. On the way our van started making an abnormal noise. Pete slowed down and we drove slowly to their house. We decided that it would not be a great idea to drive it further, and our kind friends lent us their seven seater to get back home in two trips. Pete went back on Sunday to help his friend fit something to his car, and to sort the van out. The RAC towed it to a garage, and thankfully managed to get us a eight seater van for a week. The bad news is that the timing chain went a bit wrong, and if they fix it they might find that the pistons/valves are damaged and then it needs a new engine. After much praying and trying various doors, we decided that we would get as much for it as we can as spares and repair, and let it go. The good news is that Abba is in control and He knows best. We can hire a fifteen seater for a few days to get packed up and get us up to London.
As rules were relaxing a bit regarding meeting up, we wondered if we could stay for the gathering. Especially as making ourselves scarce for three to four hours was going to be a bit tricky. We could, and it was wonderful. We saw some old friends who we haven’t seen for a while, and met some wonderful new ones. They also have a huge heart for Israel, and they prayed for us, and blessed us, and it was so encouraging.
Another fun thing that gave us a bit of focus was gardening. After a conversation with the lady who oversees the Manor House and Hall, we were given jobs that we could tackle in the garden. I was especially excited, as the brambles are growing very freely and definitely needed some restraining. I missed out on the landscaping gene, but I love clearing brambles. We set about as soon as the sun was out (I definitely don’t like gardening in grey weather) and we all (children too) worked together. I find it quite addictive, and loved going down to the gardens in the afternoon with the children. The middle ones kept themselves entertained by pushing the younger ones around in the pushchair. So everyone was happy. Lana and Anya set about making stick people when they ran out of steam, and dressed them in flower petals. Very pretty.
So during all this I did sometimes wonder if we were truly going to get to Israel. I know we are, but sometimes you wonder. And on the 30th of April HaYovel finally sent us some positive news. We would hear early in the coming week. Finally! So now its ordering Covid tests for flying, packing up the bits and pieces we’ve been using, tying up loose ends and getting excited. We wanted to fly on Thursday, but its a Bank Holiday on Monday which means the Covid testing kit will only arrive on Wednesday and it doesn’t give us enough time for the results to come through. So if the Ministry of Interior gives permission by Thursday/Friday, we will fly on Sunday.
God has come through in every area, our support limit has been exceeded, (Praise God, He gives more than we need) the faithful friends in our Support Team are amazing, as well as our friends who are praying for us as we go. And we know that life is not always going to be easy, but we know with all our hearts that that is where Abba wants us, and we will walk out our purpose there day by day, with joy and gladness and thanksgiving. What a mighty God we serve!
*****UPDATE ON THE 9TH MAY*****
On Thursday the 6th of May, after packing all the bags into a fifteen seater minibus with no boot (trunk) we left Tremore to go and stay with Pete's parents for a couple of days. With a view to packing our last things, going shopping on Friday, resting on Saturday and flying on Sunday. Everything came to a halt when we had a message saying that there was a hitch with the permission, as the person at the Ministry of Interior issuing visas is not the same one as last year, and this person is not familiar with HaYovel. First a meeting needs to be scheduled... next week after Jerusalem day.
So a bit more time for the children to spend with their grandparents, time to settle into a better routine, time to do whatever Abba puts in front of us. And also a comfy bed, a bathtub, a washing machine and dryer, good company and a fully equipped kitchen. Yes, we are sad not to be in Israel yet, but God...
1 Thess 5:16-18
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.