Jun 3, 2016:
About four weeks earlier I got the idea to visit Israel for the third time. I visited Israel for the first time in June 2010 and again in December of 2013.
Having run out of money about 18 months ago and living off my credit card, this seemed an unlikely event to take place! However, it seemed as if this was God's plan for my life at this time. About six months earlier, I had put up my piano for sale in a piano shop to be sold on my behalf.
The shop owner had given me the phone number of a piano mover to bring my piano into the shop, so on November 3, 2015, I gave him a call. The first thing he said to me when he answered the phone was, "Jesus loves You!". That was quite funny given that he didn't know I was a Christian!
In the meantime I was continuing to plan my trip to Israel, including booking flights, accommodation and creating an itinerary - seemingly at God's request! At this stage I was still unsure whether I would be going or not, as I didn't want to create more of a debt burden for money I didn't have!
I had booked a non-refundable airline ticket to Israel for $2,300, which, if I ended up not going I would lose all that money!
Update: 22 Feb, 2018: I have just discovered that God has left another sign on this story. While I was writing a testimony for this site here, I discovered that the date that I bought my airline ticket was May 14, 2016. That is the anniversary of Israel's independence in 1948! I had been receiving strong promptings in my spirit to book a ticket to Israel for about 10 days prior to booking the ticket, but whenever I sat down at the computer to go and do it, it never felt right. Until May 14, 2016!
I had bought my Yamaha piano in July 2009 for $10,000 new, and had been asking $7,000 for it. Months had gone by without a sale! Then, out of the blue on June 4, 2016, I received an email from the shop's proprietor to tell me that someone had come into the shop late yesterday who wanted to buy the piano and had offered $6,500 for it! (View Email) The proceeds of that sale would enable me to go to Israel at God's request!
I thought it must have been about 6 months since I left the piano in at the shop and signed a contract to sell it on my behalf.
That's when I decided to go back and have a look at the actual date that I brought the piano into the shop and signed the contract. The date was November 3, 2015 - exactly 7 months to the day that the purchaser's came into the shop to buy it!
Anyone who has read the Bible will know of the significance of the number 7 to God throughout the scriptures. It is a number which is drawn upon and used many times throughout the Bible as a number of God's completeness. (Think: 7 days of the week). There are many more examples of the use of the number 7 in the Bible in both Jewish (Old Testament) and Christian (New Testament) writings.
The point of writing all this is to demonstrate how God verifies that He is the one behind this trip to Israel and that it is indeed His will that I go!
God has a plan for each of our lives, and He is able to bring that about in whatever way He chooses. It may not always be in a straight line, but He is able to take any situation and create something out of it for His purpose and glory! So what is the purpose of my trip to Israel?
It is hard to say at this point (June 10, 2016), although I know that this trip has been designed by God from beginning to end, from the very idea, down to the flights, places I will be staying at, hotels and even sites I will be visiting. So whatever happens, I know that it was God's will.
An interesting side note to this story is that I was wanting to revisit Hebron in the West Bank, however, as soon as I realised that it was God who was telling me where to go and what to do, I decided that I wouldn't go anywhere unless God gave it to me as a place to visit. It wasn't until after I got back from Israel that I could see why. Just 5 days before departing for Israel there was a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv on June 8 in which four people were killed by two Palestinian terrorists who originated from a town near Hebron.
As it happened, this particular terrorist event occurred approximately 1km or 10 minutes walk from my hotel in Tel Aviv which God had directed me to book only one month earlier on May 8.
Subsequent to that there were a further four terrorist events originating from or in Hebron over the course of the following month, culminating in the city of Hebron being completely closed off by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) just one day after I returned from Israel! In one of those incidents, a family driving along in their car just outside Hebron was opened fire on from an overtaking car, causing them to overturn, killing one Israeli.
On June 24, 2016, a Palestinian car rammed an Israeli car just outside Hebron in which the Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli defense forces. In another incident (July 1, 2016) a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli guard outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (where I have previously visited), and a member of her extended family murdered a 13 year old American-Israeli girl on June 30, 2016, in a suburb of Hebron.
So, given all these events and the recent uptick in terrorist violence in recent months, I could see that it was probably too dangerous for me to visit Hebron at this time, which is why God did not give it to me as a place to visit this time around.
Here is my itinerary:
Depart N.Z. - June 14, 2016
Arrive Israel - June 16, 2016
Jerusalem: King David Hotel, June 15 - 19
Nazareth: June 19 - 20
Tiberias: June 20 - 21
Ramallah: June 21 - 24
Tel Aviv: June 24 - 26
Dead Sea: June 26 - 28
- Sea of Galilee
- Nablus - Sebastia
- Jaffa - Tel Aviv
- Mt. Carmel - Haifa
- Dead Sea