Monthly Archives: June 2012

Wangki Mairin: A sweet smell…. Bread Brothers

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Henry (22 yrs) and Cleveland (23 yrs)

I woke up this morning thinking today was going to be a relatively restful day, a break between a busy yesterday, and a full tomorrow. And, while it wasn’t what I was originally thinking, it totally was…

Just as I was about to start making breakfast, we heard someone come up to the house (people don’t knock here in Waspam. Instead, they wait about four yards from the door and shout “Buenas”, a greeting to let you know they’ve come to see you). We opened the door, and it was Cleveland! This young man is new to Waspam, but he and his wife, Anna, have made a deep connection with the Keoghs. After looking high and low for work in the area, and finding none, Cleveland decided to start a bread-making business; his mother ran a little bakery throughout his childhood, so kneading dough is second nature to him. Anna just found out she is pregnant, so the sooner the business gets going, the better. Cleveland had stopped by to deliver some bread we had ordered earlier, his brother and business partner, Henry, joining him after finishing his deliver rounds.

They started to share their stories with us, and I soon saw that despite Cleveland’s mere 23 years, and Henry’s 22, these brothers are what we’d call “old souls”. They have seen much hardship in life, both from tragic circumstances and their own choices. But what astounded me the most is that despite all the tragedy and heartbreak these brothers have seen, their love for the Lord is natural, authentic and vibrant. You can see it in their faces, hear it in their Creole voices. (Here in Nicaragua, “Creole” is a form of Pidgin English, spoken in areas south of Waspam, that sounds kind of Caribbean. These boys grew up speaking it.)

As the brothers shared their struggles in finding work, being taken advantage of by manipulative employers, and falling in love with the wrong girls, Tom was able to link their pain and cries of injustice with Biblical truth. A beautiful scene. As he shared, you could see the relief on their faces; they kept saying, “Dat iz troot, raieet dea!” (“Wow, that’s true!”) as they saw how God’s Word confirmed their inner convictions. What a privilege to witness cross-cultural discipleship in action!

We seamlessly transitioned from reading the Word to praising God for His goodness, and spent the next 2+ hours sharing songs with each other. Many were written by Cleveland and Henry themselves, and a few we all knew. No one wanted to leave, for God’s sweet presence was felt by all in the room.

These young boys love the Lord with all their hearts, as they have since childhood. Pray with me that they would have a desire to sink into God’s Word; a passionate, everyday faith can only grow exponentially when given the meat of God’s truth to sustain it. And pray for this Saturday; we’re going over to their house this time (and I’m super excited). Pray that God will protect this time (it’s so easy for other things to come up here), and that He will give us His eyes to see, His ears to hear how to encourage this young family closer to Jesus and to live more and more like Him.

God, in His amazing sovereignty, knew that a morning spent encouraging and being encouraged by believers my own age would be so much more refreshing than one spent alone “relaxing”. And I shall never forget this morning. Thank You, Jesus.

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Wangki Mairin: My first amiga, Angelica

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Today I spent some time with my friend, Angelica (pronounced: ahn-HELL-eeka). I met her about two weeks ago (my second day in Waspam) and I instantly liked her. She’s been coming to my English classes, and I’ve seen her around town; the more I see her, the more I wonder if God has put us together for a relationship.

She came over to the house today, and she shared about her dear friend, Emily, who died of AIDS last month. As she told her story (which Nutie translated so I could understand), my heart broke for this friend of mine, as well as Emily’s mother, who lives all alone now. Emily lived with HIV/AIDS for 7 years; when she found out she was sick, Angelica became her only friend. These girls were inseparable, sharing their hearts, time and stories with each other like only girlfriends can. Through their relationship, Angelica was able to lead Emily to the Lord! In her most despairing moments, Emily shared that she wanted to take her own life, to end the burden she had placed upon her family; Angelica told us that she reminded Emily that “her life belongs to the Lord, and every day she lives is a day for her to experience the love of God”. Beautiful truth! And then, all of a sudden, Emily died; Angelica saw her that afternoon in school, and that night, Emily went home to Jesus.

As she shared her pain with us, my heart broke for my friend. This young woman (only a few months younger than I) is inexplicably dear to me. Please pray for Angelica. Pray that we will draw closer in relationship with each other, and that God would use our relationship to draw us both closer to Him. Pray that I will see how to encourage her and her family. Pray that I will learn Spanish and Miskito so I can speak more than the Pidjin Spanish-English we’ve used thus far.

Lord, You alone know what Your plan is for us. May Your will be done. Thank You for crossing our paths. Thank You for using Angelica in Emily’s life, and I pray that You would use us in similar ways.

Wangki Mairin: Blessed

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I went to the market yesterday afternoon, a place so small that you’ll easily pass it by unless you’re looking for it. Inside this small alley way, women from all over Waspam gather to sell their wares, fruits, vegetables, clothing and meat. Nutie is close friends with a few of these women, and she has encouraged me to spend more time with them, building relationships and learning Spanish and Miskito in a hands-on environment. Yesterday began the “lessons”, only it didn’t go as I thought…

Selia, the daughter of one of our friends, asked us to sing, and so we sang the few songs we had memorized in Miskito and Spanish, and soon we had a group around us, listening and dancing along with the words. After the songs were over, we all sat down and began to chat; they all wanted to know about me. Who are you? How old are you? Why are you here? And, especially, where do you come from? As I started to describe Alaska to these tropical women, I could see the astonishment and confusion on their faces. “You mean, you have heaters in your homes that work all the time?” “You don’t eat beans and rice every day? What do you eat?” “How do you eat if your summers are so short, and you can’t grow many types of vegetables?” “What do you do with the little babies in the winter, when it’s so cold?” “Your whole family leaves the house together? Aren’t you afraid of robbers?” (Stealing is a major problem here. Families always leave at least one person in the house to prevent thievery.)

Seeing my life through the reflection of these women’s eyes, I began to see how truly blessed I am. All the things I take as normal can only be imagined here. I amso incredibly blessedto not only have lived in Alaska, but to have the means to live other places and develop new lifestyles. I left the market not practicing new phrases or words, but humbled and speechless, grateful for the insight God gave me among these women.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me of your goodness. You have blessed me in so many ways. I stand, humbled, looking at the overflowing abundance you have poured into my life. From this place of provision, give me a heart to reach out to those in physical, emotional and spiritual need. I know you have blessed me so that I may bless others. Give me Your eyes to see the need, and Your heart to respond in generous, selfless compassion. You get the glory, Father.

Wangki Mairin: The Voice of God

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(I just realized that the title of this post makes me sound like I am claiming to be the voice of God. This was not my intention, nevertheless…. Funny :P)

It only takes a few days in the Keogh house to know that both Tom and Nutie are in love with God. They seek His face continually, listening intently for His voice, and their lives are full of stories dripping with His clear direction.

After a day full of those stories, one of the house guests staying with us asked Nutie a genuine, honest question that I myself have asked many times: How do you hear the voice of God?

In response, Nutie called a Bible study the next morning, the first “English Bible study” we’ve had since I’ve been here in Waspam. And since she has a Bible school grad living under her roof, she asked if I had any wisdom to impart. Instantly, my mouth went dry, my pace started to quicken, and I found myself in an ironic position. At a loss for words, I instantly responded in prayer: Lord, help me. I know I hear Your voice, but I don’t know if I can describe it in a way that would make any sense. Praying a prayer about how to listen, which requires listening to know what to say. Go figure.

But God answered, like He always does. As we were sitting around the table, studying the Scriptures, memories of people and stories across the Scriptures flooded my mind. In order for one to listen to God’s voice, one must be able to recognize that it’s Him speaking. And what better way to do so than to hear how He’s spoken in the past?

-Abraham shows us that God doesn’t always give us the whole picture/plan. Instead, He sometimes works on a need-to-know basis, only voicing steps 1 and 2, calling us to step out in obedience, trusting God to guide us all the way through as we go. (Gen 12:1-4, Heb 11:8). We also see this idea in the life of Moses; God gave him direction in the desert, and then again in Egypt, and then again at the Red Sea, and then again on Mount Sinai, and then again through the wilderness wanderings, and then again on Mount Nebo. Each interaction was preceeded by his obedience of his given direction (Exodus and Numbers).

-James tells us that God can speak through trials. He never enjoys our pain, but instead offers us the chance to draw closer to Him through it, stepping up into our Father’s lap to hear the answers He will give as we ask Him. (James 1:2-8)

-Moses’ life shows us that God can speak through supernatural, unforgettable experiences. Through one burning bush, God took hold of Moses’ life in an unmistakable way, and his life was changed forever. (Ex 3-4)

-Saul/Paul’s life shows us that God can speak through “closed -door seasons”, making His will obvious through deliberately eliminating all other options. God took away Saul’s freedom (he had to be led around), his worldview (thinking that Jesus was just a cult leader), his mission, and his vision, all to make His one purpose for this man clear: serve Jesus. (Acts 9)

-I have heard God speak to me in ways similar to those seen in Nehemiah. God can speak through opportunities. When Nehemiah heard about Jerusalem’s condition (Neh 1), he immediately responded in prayer, not asking God if He wanted him to do something, but asking for His guidance as he responded. He clearly heard God’s voice when he saw this opportunity/need presented, one that specifically fit his passions and skills, and trusted God to overcome his own weaknesses.

-James also teaches us that God can speak through provision. To those financially hurting, God says, “Trust me. I will provide”, and to the well-off, God asks for generosity, open hearts/houses/hands, and submissive, joyful stewardship. (James 1:9-11)

-One of the ways I have heard God speak to me is how He spoke to Ruth: through influential relationships. While I’m sure Naomi instructed both Orpah and Ruth in the ways and laws of the Lord, it was her relationship with Ruth that led her towards the Lord. “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you, for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16) Though she was really clinging to the Lord through this statement, she clearly recognized His leading through Naomi.

-Through Elijah, we remember that God can speak through a still, small voice. Sometimes I think this phrase is annoying, because it’s almost cliche in Christian circles. Nevertheless, God chose to speak to Elijah in this way, showing that hearing God’s voice requires patience, a desperation for His guidance, and faithful, unswavering persistance. (1 Kings 19:9-13)

-Through Daniel, we see that God can speak through His Word. God has used the Bible countless times to speak directly to my heart. Daniel was just reading the prophecies of Jeremiah (which he acknowledged to be God’s Word), being faithful in His pursuit of the Lord, and through those words he clearly heard God’s voice of conviction. Through this conviction, and Daniel’s humble, prayerful response, God spoke incredible prophecies into Daniel’s ear, ones concerning both the deliverance of Israel from Babylon and the future deliverance (and judgement) of the whole world. (Daniel 9).

-And then we come to Samuel, who clearly heard God’s voice. I’ve always thought this was a funny story, though. One of the few people to audibly hear God’s voice, and it takes him three seperate times to identify the Speaker. (Not that I can say I’d be any different). How incredible would it be to audibly hear the voice of God?!?

One of the best ways to identify the voice of God is revealed in Hebrews 1:1-3.

“And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”

Jesus is the clearest expression of God’s character, the best way to identify the voice of God, being the His very Word. Through the Gospels we can not only read the actual words spoken from God, but we can see what He cares about, how He approaches situations, and what His relationships look like. What better example can we ask for?

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. I could have written many more examples, and God speaks in many other ways, but I was greatly encouraged by these few stories that popped into my head. Not only did they help me see the fruits of my year at GCBI, but I they also reminded me of one other way God speaks: in response to prayer. He heard my simple, heartfelt request for help, and answered with a resounding “Yes!” by providing story after story after story demonstrating His deep desire to interact with His beloved creation.

What an awesome God we serve, amen?

Wangki Mairin: Bienvenidos a Waspam!

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After days of travel and adjusting to various environments, I am finally settled here in Waspam, a town of about 10,000 people along the Rio Coco in northeastern Nicaragua. And boy does it feel good to be “home”! (Funny how “home” is such a relative term; for the most part, “home” usually means wherever I’m sleeping that night, but for the next 4 months, home will be right here at the Keogh’s house.)

A huge shout-out to Kirsten for overcoming her natural, not-a-morning-person state to drive me 3 hours from Sebring to Miami. Thank you very much! After a brief flight, I left any trace of the Sebring behind and landed in Managua. I soon spotted Tom and Nutie, my missionary partners here, since they were jumping up and down in excitement, and I knew this was going to be a great summer.

In classic Nicaragua style, our plans changed multiple times in the course of those first few hours, and, after a beautiful night along a crater-lake, we boarded a little 12-seater plane for the 1 1/2 hour flight up to Waspam. The scenery below reminded me so much of West Papua; there’s no green quite like that of a tropical jungle!

Since being here, I have met many of the Keogh’s friends, who are all very sweet. I am excited about how things will progress as time passes (sometimes it’s hard to beleive I’ve only been here 31 hours). A few first impressions:

~ Praise God, the heat is not as unbearable as I was expecting. The humidity is a force to be reckoned with, but after having a heart-to-heart talk with the moisture levels, I think we’ve come to an understanding: it’s in control, and I’m just gonna have to get used to being sticky. Call it “the honeymoon phase” if you want, but so far constant stickiness hasn’t been to bad.

~Of the few experiences I’ve had so far here, I think I’ve already found two favorite parts of life here. 1) Tropical rain. The rainy season in this part of Nicaragua runs from mid-May to December (aka, my whole time here), and I love overpowering sound of the rain pelting against the tin roof. 2) Worship music. Waspam is home to many different churches (hearing the Gospel isn’t as big of a struggle here as living it out. Sound familiar?), and I overhead lots of choir practices while exploring the town last night. This morning, we joined a Miskito speaking church for praise and teaching, and I had tears in my eyes as we sang together. Though I didn’t know what exactly we were singing, and I had to really concentrate on my pronunciation, getting to hear my brothers and sisters in Christ worship God in their heart language, and Spanish, was such an encouragement.

~ I really need to learn the language, and gratefully I’ll be spending enough time here to make some headway. Despite all my memories of the time I spent in India last summer, I forgot how isolating it can be when you have no idea what’s going on around you. And for someone as extraverted as I am, it’s easy to get frustrated with yourself. Talking to people and making friends is seldom difficult for me, but in this case, I have a major hurdle in my way. Please pray for perseverance in study, patience with myself, and the proper focus of what exactly to learn.

I am so grateful for your prayers; keep them coming because I need them. Please pray for wisdom and a heart perceptive to God’s lead. The more time I spend here, the more opportunities I see for reaching out into the community and building relationships. And one thing I learned about myself while in GCBI is that I tend to say, “Yes” to quickly. Pray that I will be still before the Lord, seekingHis “Yes” over what to invest my time into and what to leave behind.

And keep praying for the Miskitos of Waspam and the Rio Coco. Pray that Jesus will be the center of their lives, that they will learn to love God with all their minds and strength (not just their hearts), and that my heart would break as God’s does for these people He so loves.

Aisabe (Miskito for “goodbye”) and hasta luego!

ps: I’ve decided to title my Rio Coco posts “Wangki Mairin” (pronounced “wahng-kee maee-reen”). Wangki is the Miskito name for the Rio Coco, and mairin means woman. The more time I spend here, the more I hope to become a Rio Coco girl!

The Israel Chronicles: Day 3 – May 21 (Monday)

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Honestly, I don’t know how I’m still running! By the time I finished writing and took a shower last night, it was 11:30pm. I decided not to take a Tylenol PM last night, to try to fully adjust to Israel time to old-fashioned way, so, despite spending the previous 17 hours in full-on information and sensory download, I could not fall asleep. I’ve noticed two main side effects of jet-lag: 1) Trouble falling asleep, and 2) a “spacey” mind. I never struggled adjusting to the time difference here; one night’s sleep took care of that. And I haven’t been waking up at odd hours of the night. But falling asleep has been frustratingly difficult. As for the spacey bit, you can see what I mean by my most recent videos. I’ll start talking about something and mid-sentence I’ll simply forget I was even speaking. After a few seconds, I somehow manage to rediscover my train of thought and safely deliver it back to it’s original place. Anyway, after waking up to see the sunrise over Kinnereth this morning, I only got about 4 hours of sleep.

It was worth it though. The sunrise was serene. Picturesque. The Sea was almost glassy; all around me were the sweet sounds of the birds and waves. The sight brought John 21 to mind. Thousands of years ago, when the sun rose over this same Sea, a relationship broken by pride and sin was restored through God’s loving forgiveness. This was a moment I’ll never forget.

Today we traveled along the eastern side of the Sea, which was entirely Gentile populated in Jesus’ day. As we drove up to the northern edge, we passed by the ancient towns of Hippos, Aphek and Gerasa, the region where Jesus healed the demon-possesed man (think soo-ee-cide). We also drove past the Old Testament city of Geshur, where Absolam hid from his father, David, in 2 Sam 13.

First stop was in the northern-most region of Israel, the territory belonging to the tribe of Dan. We walked through a beautiful nature reserve, wandering through heavily wooded paths with the thunder of a spring-fed river roaring in our ears. How it reminded me of home, hiking along the Russian river. These springs gush out 5,000 gallons of water per second, forming one of the main tributaries that eventually becomes part of the Jordan river.

Sitting in carved out rest stop, we studied Jeremiah 2:13:

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain [think “spring”] of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water”.

In Israel there are three ways to get water: 1) Dig a well, 2) dig an underground cistern to collect and store rainwater, or 3)Find a natural-fed spring. The first two options are obviously man-made, while the last is God-given. Through Jeremiah, God was telling Israel: “You have abandoned My grace to instead fill yourselves with your own perfomances (religion in the truest sense). But there is no relationship in this, and it won’t work”. I love the insight I’m getting over here!

Then we sat at the foot of a fig tree, studying Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”.

The phrase “train up” refers to the practice Hebrew midwives use to teach stubborn infants to nurse. Picking green figs, they squirt some of the bitter juice into the baby’s mouth, which causes a natural pucker reaction. When put in the proper place, the child will naturally start nursing. “In the way he should go” again draws on a fig tree; unlike the picture perfect oak trees, with sturdy, predictable limbs, fig branches are thin, twisting in every direction. The phrase most literally translates “according to his own bend”. In this proverb, God calls parents to give their children an drawing thirst for the specific life God has called them to, knowing that the child will likely live in obedience if the hunger is properly placed.

Further down the trail in the Danite nature reserve we saw the excavation of Jeroboam’s high place (1 Kings 12:25-33), behind us the border between Israel and Lebanon. My favorite place in this excavated city was this ancient gate that dates to Abraham’s time (around 1850 BCE). It’s a red gate made out of mud bricks, formed in the Caananite town of Laish, later renamed Dan by the Hebrews. I stood along a gate that Abraham probably went through (Gen 14:14) !!!! Very cool.

Next we went to Caesarea Philippi, a city Jesus never went into, but spent some time in the area. And after exploring the ruins, I fully understand why He avoided the place. The ancient city was walled off on three sides, with a huge cliff protecting its back. At the base of this cliff is a giant cave, black and red from the various types of rock inside it. Locals way back when used to call it “the mouth of the underworld”, the perfect place to commune with the gods on the other side. Over a period of 200 years, five different temples were built in this place, one right alongside the other. First came a temple dedicated to the worship of Caesar in 20 CE. Then came one to Pan (the greek god of the shepherds, popular in the hills of Dan), and a temple to Zeus. Just to the right of Zeus’ temple sat a temple to Nemesis (funny story of her name became part of our everyday language). And finally, Eligabulus build the Temple of the Dancing Goat, which I thought was a positively comical name… until I learned about its practices. I won’t even explain them for fear of becoming sick, but let’s just say that this site was the perfect, physical expression of how a culture naturally degrades without the influence and centrality of Jesus.

On that “light” note, we made a quick stop up in the mountains for lunch. I don’t know what it was called, but Kelsey and I shared this delicious thin flat bread that was spread with tangy goat cheese. Delicious! And then we went off to Har Bental (“Mountain, son of the morning dew” aka, the Hebrew origin of Mountain Dew), where we could see Lebanon to the west, Syria to the east and even Jordan in the distance. What a privilege to find myself in such a place!

Our last stop was Qazrin, a town dated back to 300-500 CE, looking at a restored Rabbi’s house. It was neat to see this house (different from the cave or insulae style homes); the bottom level was for animals, with a small upper story for people.

And then we came back to Ma’agan, our beautiful hotel along Galilee. Since this was our last night here, a few people wanted to take the opportunity to be baptised in the Sea, an area around which Jesus did so much. Ben Fetterhoff, Kelly and Peter (three of my classmates) were among the crowd, and I cried. I always cry at baptisms; even if I don’t know the individual personally, seeing a brother or sister in Christ publically proclaim their love and dedication to Jesus is so encouraging and worship-inspiring. What a great way to end a great day!

The Israel Chronicles: Day 2 – May 20 (Sunday)

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We spent today around the western side of the Sea of Galilee, and what a beautiful day! First stop was the cemetary belonging to the Kinneret kibbutz (a close-knit community system inspired by the many European immigrants into Israel). We visited the grave of Rachel, a Ukranian Jew who came to Israel at the turn of the century. She was a prolific poetess and wrote many of her poems about her love of the land and her desire for a child. Since her tragic death from tuberculosis at only 40 years old, many of her poems have been put to music, and on this site, our Hebrew guide, Shlomo, played us her songs on the recorder. It was a beautiful, serene moment.

Next we stopped on a mountainside where Jesus probably preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). I found out that the soil in the area is volcanic; deep into the Afro-Syrian rift (the deepest cleft in the earth’s surface upon which you can walk), the whole area surrounding the Sea is riddled with dormant volcanoes. The high metal levels in the rocky terrain make for natural sound amplifiers. An international sound/recording company performed a study in this region, sprinkling microphones across the mountainsides to discover the extent of its amplification. After collecting all the data, they discovered one man speaking along these hillsides could be heard by 5,000-7,000 people. Sounds like the ideal preaching spot to me! Getting to read through and discuss Jesus’ words on site was simply incredible.

Here I learned about the practical lifestyles of Jesus’ fishermen disciples. They would fish at night because the water in the Kinnereth (the Hebew word for the Sea of Galilee) is so clear the fish would be able to see their linen nets in daylight. Come sunrise, they’d clean the nets more towards the southern side of the lake, where the current can bring the left-overs down to the out-going Jordan river. Then they’d hang their nets up to dry; if the linen stayed continually wet, it would soften and break apart. But after about 2 hours of drying, they’d pull them down, preventing them from becoming brittle in the noon-day sun. Then they’d eat, sleep away the hottest parts of the day, and rise just in time for sunset and another night of fishing. If I were a fishermen, it would make perfect sense to me why the days in Israel start at sunset instead of sunrise. During these 2+ hours of net-drying, Jesus was probably teaching his disciples and those nearby. I love how the more I learn of the simple practicalities of life here, I can see Jesus’ life so much more clearly. With every passing day He seems that much more grounded.

Next stop: Korazin, to see an insulae-style house. We know Jesus spent time in this town (“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.” Luke 10:13), but we have no record of what He actually did. Nevertheless, we stopped here because it has some great excavations of houses typical in Jesus’ day. And, looking at the ruins, we studied the engagement process in Bible times.

A young man in love would first go to his father, who would in turn go to the girl’s father, and they’d make the decision. Then the young man would come to her house, and she’d prepare bread and wine for him. Thanking God for the bread and wine (symbolizing God’s faithful provision of our needs and even wants), he would eat and drink himself and offer them back to the girl. If she also ate and drank, she showed her acceptance of his proposal and they were engaged. Next, he would go back to his father’s house (a walled-in plot of land), and build a room for he and his wife to live in, right alongside his father’s house. The engagement lasted only as long as it took him to build the house. The girl had to be ready at any moment for his return, because as soon as he finished the house, he would come to bring her to the wedding ceremony. Sitting inside one of those “houses”, we noted how the disciples would have seen Jesus’ last words at the dinner table in John 14 as signs of engagement:

 ” My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for  I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is  poured out for you is the  new covenant in My blood. ” Luke 22:17-20

Sitting there in Korazin, I was overcome with Jesus’ love for me. When you look at it in context, Communion should bring up the same feelings within me as playing with an engagement ring would. My Savior loves me, and He’s coming back any minute. I’d better be ready, and I can’t wait!

Finally, we went to Capernaum (in Hebrew “house of Comfort”), one of my favorite places. We saw Peter’s mother-in-law’s house (Matt 8:14), and stood on the very street where Jesus healed the bleeding woman (Mark 5:25-34).

After spending the day studying and reveling in Jesus’ love and power, we got the opportunity to spend some time alone with Him, sitting along the Kinnereth. I tried to express my emotions into words in prayer, but I couldn’t. After a few minutes of silence, a song came to mind, and this prayer/song has echoed in my head ever since:

You are beautiful beyond description

Too marvelous for words

Too wonderful for comprehension

Like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?

Who can fathom the depths of Your love?

You are beautiful beyond description

Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You

I stand, I stand in awe of You

Holy God to Whom all praise is due

 I stand in awe of You