Israel Study Tour 2023
April 25-May 5 2023
After many inquiries, we have scheduled a time in 2023 to go to Israel with our friend Dr Randy Smith and study Biblical Culture, visit many Biblical sites, all the while asking the question “What did they hear Him say? What is the Bible really saying to us in this 21st Century?”
We will enjoy moments of meditation of the greatest event in history as we sit in the airspace, marveling what God has done in history, as well as or lives.
We have been with Randy on at least 10 study tours to Israel, Italy, Greece and Turkey, and he is the very best to walk a site with.
All is information is on a downloadable pdf which you will find at
Call Joan or Larissa at Christian Travel Study Programs to get your name on the list. Our space is limited.
firstname.lastname@example.org tel:800-371-4485 www.studytrip.info
Random Coincidences again
God has dreams for each of us– tailormade for our personal adventure with Him.
Yesterday morning Laura and I had a chat right after we woke up. I told her that I had been again thinking about a potential business of selling Turkish towels in our cafes. This idea came up after coming back from our study tour there last September. She too has been thinking about that. So I asked her “Is this something like that idea I had in 2003 after meeting those coffee farmers in Nicaragua that we should get some of their coffee to the U.S. for roasting and make some money for our school project? Or is it just a random recurring thought?” She said, “I have been praying about that as well.”
We included that in our morning prayers, and she left for a dance class. I was planning to cook breakfast and then get to the office to take care of much paperwork. Suddenly I had a strong impression that I should instead go to our Downtown Café and have a breakfast sandwich and check on things there. OK. Good idea! Vered made me a delicious breakfast sandwich and then Sandra handed me the phone: “It’s a guy calling for you.”
“Hey Mike, it’s Brandon from the Avocado Food Truck that you sold us your old refrigerator last year.”
“Yes Brandon. I remember you.”
“You told me if I was ever in Vero to stop by so I’m coming to the Downtown Café this morning.”
Surprised, I said “I’ll be here for a little while so come on.” An hour later I see Brandon walk in with a tall blonde girl and two older (middle aged) people.
“Hi Mike, this is my friend Kim and her parents from England Heather and Ray.” Now this was getting interesting. Brandon had met Kim in Dubai in the past year. Her parents often vacationed in Florida, but always on the West Coast. For some reason, this time Ray and Heather decided to see the Atlantic side, and after map study decided to come to Vero Beach. How random?
I invited them for coffee, and we sat down, talking about Barndon’s new job with an airline (I remembered that he was a pilot looking for a job last year) and Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee that was celebrated this week. Heather and Ray began to tell me about their town in England and the 1000-year-old church building that they attended. Heather volunteers to do the cleaning. We continued talking about the challenges of our culture turning away from a Biblical world view, and all that entails.
Then I saw a copy of Echoes Into Eternity sitting on the shelf and gave them the book as a gift, and signed it for them. Brandon saw the book and said, “That’s a good book. I read it last year and afterward decided to get back to my aviation career”. I then vaguely remembered our conversation and giving him the book. You never know.
That’s when I mentioned we had been in Turkey in September for a study tour and Ray replied that they go to Turkey often and have a home there in a beach town- it’s where they get their dental work done.
We told them that we had purchased a very nice lightweight towel in Denizli (near Laodicea) and had been thinking about going back and buying more to sell in our cafes. They told us then that they bought towels from a cooperative in Antalya and took them back to England as gifts- many towels. That’s when they invited us to come to their home and meet the head of the cooperative. Laura had a look of sheer amazement on her face. It was what we had spoken about only a few hours before.
That’s when Laura offered them her soups - they all said yes and we had a very exciting lunch discussing a possible trip to Turkey. Heather and Ray sensed that this was no coincidence, and encouraged us to come on their next trip this fall.
Was this just a series of very random events, or was God answering our prayers? Seem like it could be the coffee thing happening all over again, in a similar fashion. So we will see if its coincidence or its God.
We all have dreams that God has given us- special dreams designed for each of us individually. It an adventure with Him that is tailormade for each of us.
Will we allow Him to nudge us in a direction to see the fulfillment of those dreams? Are we ready to get “risky” and step out in faith when we sense He is doing something? That is always the hesitation for us.
Laura and I see this pattern in our lives, as well as many other “adventurers”. He plants an idea, and keeps repeating it. We begin to ask Him about this idea, the details and His plan. We earnestly seek His guidance. And suddenly something “coincidental” happens. Then something else coincidental.
Soon its apparent that is not random but rather we have paddled into a wave that God is pushing, and we are riding this wave for all its worth.
The ride is really an experience with God, taking many twists and turns. It’s a risky undertaking, but at the end of the day, a remarkable experience that we would not trade anything for. This is the life that God has designed us for- an adventure with Him.
I know that He has given many of you dreams, and you are waiting for the next step. Talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal the plan, the details, and then ask for Him to actuate that plan. Be willing to take small steps of faith as you go, because there will be bigger steps of faith further on down the road.
Take that first step of faith in the adventure that God has been revealing to you. Michael
The Art of Relationship
Whenever we “do” art of any kind, we must first prep. We get supplies needed. We think about what and how we are going to create our masterpiece. We proceed with a plan always driving us from a place of intent and effort.
Along the way of this creative endeavor, we may give in to distraction that leads us away from our intended work of art. Our focus gets lost. We cease to create.
We approach the table of our creative work and then choose a distraction like cleaning something along the way or zeroing in on thoughts, feelings, & reactions. The artwork gets put to the side. Incomplete.
I walk into many a relatable situation and opportunity unprepared and ill equipped. Not able to get past my own inner distraction or feeling or reaction.
Unsettled as to where I need to be or where I need to go. I get lost and go away like everyone else who is either on their phone or looking in another direction.
Interesting how easy it is to get lost maneuvering that beautiful God given process of creating a meaning with other humans.
I struggle deeply and profoundly to keep myself in this beautiful place of love and positivity. I am passionately reactionary and I have many buttons that get pushed and rather than respond like a nice kind, positive entity I react. I launch ahead in my emotions like a hungry tiger pouncing on his prey. Crazy lady. Since I have gotten older and perhaps ever so slightly wiser I notice that I can just silently play my bad movie in my head, cuss without being heard and have a little quiet time with Jesus to settle myself down to a place of being able to respond appropriately. I understand more deeply and richly what it means to pray without ceasing. Really helps me not to exhibit my stupidity publicly.
I had a great opportunity to practice this art of relationship with Moselle. A friend of hers got sick and could not go to a concert they had planned long ago. No one else could or wanted to go on this 2 ½ hour drive to St. Augustine so I realized that I was chosen since I had specifically prayed for meaningful memory making moments with my individual adult children. We are only given moments here on this planet to make those memories and the older I have gotten the more vigilant I have become of doing just that. There were obvious sacrifices to make for this time, but all worth it in light of time spent with my daughter.
Moselle and I got to our seats at the concert. We couldn’t see very well because a big pole blocked our view front and center. However, I came to hang with Moselle as the beautiful sun set, so we kept standing and swayed to her melodious voice and observed and quite enjoyed those around us who were obvious fans.
By the third song she started talking and getting the crowd excited.
She shouted “F—k Desantis!”
And the crowd cheers “F—k Desantis!” The crowd cheers again.
I sat down and couldn’t sway anymore. She shouts out, “Yay to Gay!”
I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself and she continued to sing and talk about her complex relationship with her father and how she feels about the Republicans and Democrats triteness in their tweeting about the recent massacre. They are all “effing stupid as well, but at least I am from California and got to go to the abortion clinic last week and get an abortion easily without a hitch.”
I was still reeling from the disrespect to our Governor who has been an actual Hero to our state of Florida and was in disbelief over her speaking outloud with such irreverence toward human life in general.
I silently entered reaction mode and took my phone out to find her page and say or do something.
Moselle leaned over to me and quietly and gently asked,
“What are you doing Mommy? And do you think it will accomplish what you desire? She won’t even read it."
I feel like now our time is ruined.”
I immediately was convicted of my “go to” reaction of having to “do or say something”. I already played my bad movie I had running in my feeble little mind (it involved a head lock, shoving and a few choice words). Moselle snapped me out of my hole of reactions which I was suffering silently before the good Lord.
Moselle softly told me, “This is how a lot of my friends believe, Mommy. My generation. We don’t solve anything by our hateful disagreeing behavior.” She was right and helped me reason back to a sane response.
I experienced a sadness as we walked out together with a sea of people that had no hope. I began praying for Rebecca, the sad singer and heard God say to my heart,
“I am the Victor. In a sea of hopelessness I will rise up and give Hope to this generation. Continue to Pray without ceasing. I have the first and last say and everything in between.
I am the God of the impossible!“
I was so thankful to have God the ultimate Victor in my life ruling and speaking into my dismay and shock. There was now a compassion that flooded my heart for those who do not possess the same Hope.
Moselle’s wisdom helped me back from the ditch I got pushed into.
Our night had been filled with goodness. I truly enjoy Moselle so much and always love getting in “her world”. We had a great dinner and since Moselle is a great DJ, we enjoyed great music the whole time in the car. She knows I like happy music and she delivers and teaches me about different artists.
She also had a goal of going to a place called Buckee’s which is a humongous gas station on steroids because she wanted to go get a souvenir for her sister Mikaela (who has a dream to go to this joint). This added to the experience! So thoughtful! I like that about those siblings … always thinking about one another.
Relationship with God and relationship with one another. The only two things on this planet we will take with us into eternity.
When I take my eyes off of God’s creative process in me and for me, I lose sight of the goal of my instruction:
“Love from a pure heart, sincere faith, and a clear conscience.”
Interesting and subtle how I get “pickpocketed “along the way from the most important. My True Identity gets stolen without me even knowing it. The importance of hanging onto my main Identity Card.
I need my angels to stand guard against the onslaught of distractions in my life.
Please God help us to be “Artistically focus in this area of our lives and grow in wisdom , joy , and fulfillment in this God given art of Relationship. We only have moments.
Help us. We need you.
Winners and participants on the Memorial Weekend 5K Run.
Seek The Lamb Giving
Our school are in session and we have 34 teachers, supervisions and worker who are directing our school project in Nicaragua with 1600 students.
We thank so many of you who have made it possible over the years to continue into this our 37th year of educating these Miskito indigenous people.
Here is the link to our giving page for those of you who want to be involved this month.
Our students love to hear Laura speak their Miskito language.
Rio Coco Beans
We are roasting Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican , Sumatran, Colombian coffee as well as coffee from Ethiopia, Timor, and Papua New Guinea. Today we roasted many of these coffees.
Order yours here for delivery to your home.
Thanks for spending time with us this month!