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Life on the ground in Israel

The sirens will sound Tuesday

Sunday, April 6th, 2008 by Sandra

Matthew 24:6 “Wars and rumors of wars.”

I have gotten several emails over the last few days asking me if the rumors of war are true. As Zvi, our head guide, would say, “I am on the wait list for prophet school.” I do not know or have any inside information. “Only the Father knows.” The word “posturing” comes to mind. I think Israel is letting “everyone” know that they are ready and if some country wants a war, then bring it on. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Yeshua spoke of the same in Matthew 24. It would do us good to re-read Matthew every week. The wars and rumors of wars are just the beginning, not at the end. However, emergency drills begin this week. I personally think it is a good idea, whether it is for war or a natural disaster, to be prepared. Do we really think that a gas mask is going to protect anyone from the next war? The sirens will sound Tuesday and we are to take cover at the nearest shelter or protected room.

Shabbat was quiet. I fixed chicken and mac and cheese for Will and myself. I also had my almond croissant from Aroma Cafe. Just so delicious—flaky, creamy, topped with almonds and powdered sugar. I may have to go and get another one.

I also got some rest. My only task was to walk on Emek and people watch. The sun was out and many people were out walking and enjoying the day. Shabbat is about spending time with God, being quiet and resting. Very few cars on the roads, few stores or cafes open—great incentive to rest. Everything slows down. Today is a different story. Everything is going full-tilt! The difference between Shabbat and the working day is staggering.

Going to the Cardo today for filming and some shopping. I am almost finished. Just a few last minute things for friends.

The weather is unseasonably warm—in the high 80’s. It can never get too hot for me.

Thursday is the Joel Rosenberg conference in Jerusalem. I am looking forward to it.

My egg salad is just not the same

Friday, April 4th, 2008 by Sandra

I am so blessed to be in the land of Israel.

Berg Productions, Jeff and myself filmed at an Air Force Museum in Beer Sheba. I climbed in and out of a few of the planes. Yes, I have this picture of me flying and the Russians being very afraid. Brig. General Yakkov Turner started this museum so that everyone could see the different kinds of airplane the IAF used during the attacks from Israel’s enemies. The museum is next to the air base, so we were treated to the sounds of aircraft taking off and landing. Interesting fact: it take six minutes to fly in a jet from one end of Israel to the other. Think about that for a minute.

Will and I went to hear Taki (Will’s former roommate) at the Jerusalem Symphony. Taki is the first oboe in the symphony. Mahler’s One was especially well done. It was a long day, but well worth it. I am not sure what is going on with the Jerusalem Symphony. Very few people attended the concert. It was sad to see so many empty seats.

The weather is in the mid 60’s and a little breezy and sunny. Everyone is rushing around getting ready for Shabbat. I have a few last minute things to do also. Flowers and some grocery shopping.

Talked with Ohed this morning at the B&B. It seems he has bought another B&B. This one in Rehavia. So, all in all, Baka, German Colony, and Rehavia. We laughed about him having an empire. He has done well.

Breakfast was the usual fare of fresh veggies, scrambled eggs, pasta, coffee, toast, yogurts, cheeses and labanes. They must have a new chef, because my egg salad is just not the same. I am one of few Americans at the B&B. The language I hear most is French, German and then some British.

May you have a blessed Shabbat.

We will film all day

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 by Sandra

Just a brief note from my phone:

Started filming early and we will film all day.  Concert tonight.  I will tell all in the next blog.

The weather is just glorious! Mid to high 60’s.  A wonderful spring.  Everything is blooming.

They have become our “mespachah”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 by Sandra

We put the tour group on the buses for the U.S. last night and it is always with sadness to see them go.  They have become our “mespachah,” or family.  Each one has a story of why and how they are in Israel and each story touches my heart.  I plan on writing my “Shalom From Sandra” about some of them.  I will say now that it is such a blessing to see people care about each other so much by praying for each other and physically helping each other during the tour.  I am humbled.  Please pray for their travel mercies.  Immanuel Tours did a wonderful job as our land agent as did Zvi, David, Joni and Charlie.  So, to all of the Spring tour pilgrims, I say Shalom and thanks for a great tour!

I checked into my B&B last night and was greeted by “welcome home.”  Some things never change—except for the egg salad that was missing this morning at breakfast.  However, it has been replaced by a tuna salad and pasta with  a cream sauce. Other than that—scrambled eggs, coffee, toast, juices, fresh veggies, cheeses, and yogurt—were all the same.

As I walked this morning to get my newspaper, I was greeted by “hello”s and “where have you been”s.  It is the familiar that gives me such comfort.

Jerusalem is cooler today. Sunny—no rain—but in the low 60’s.  Actually, Israel needs the rain.  They are in the worst drought in ten years.  Please keep that in your prayers also.

I bought a digital camera before I left for Israel.  I am hoping to post some pictures on the blog so I can show some scenes of Israel and the places and people I see.  Pray for me.  I am not mechanical.  We’ll see what adventures I can get into with this new venture. I may even take a picture of my pecan pie that I am planning on baking.

Jeff and Berg Productions are still here filming the Ezekiel series.   We will do some interviews today in the Cardo.

I have some new places as well as my “rounds” that I want to make in the next ten days.  Stay tuned.  Who knows where God is leading me?  I am meeting Will for dinner tonight.  Focaccia?  Maybe.  I have wanted to eat at a restaurant called Adom, so maybe there tonight.

I thank you all for reading this blog.  I am amazed at how many read it.   I had one lady on the tour who repeated some of my “cooking” tales to me.  Wow.

Purim, Good Friday, and Shabbat all in one day!

Monday, March 24th, 2008 by Sandra

What an interesting last five days I have had. Texas had so much rain last week that my plane was about six hours late leaving DFW. I missed the flight from Newark to Israel and ended up spending the night there and caught the flight out the next day. Jeff and Berg Productions were already here and were busy filming. I finally caught up with them and worked on the new Ekekiel series these last few days.

Friday was a special day in Jerusalem. Purim, Good Friday, and Shabbat all in one day! Will met me in the old city and we walked some of the stations of the cross. I haven’t seen so many people in one place in a very long time. We were just shuffling with the crowd, not really walking. I read that in the month of February, Israel had 200,000 visitors. I think they are still here! It is really good to see all the tour buses and the pilgrims. Will got the bag I brought with the goodies. So, after the tour, I will fix the pecan pie. Our friends Becky and Marshall also brought him tuna and mac and cheese. So, I am thinking he is set for awhile.

Sunday, we had a service in a garden by our hotel. It is such a blessing to be in Jerusalem on Resurrection Sunday. How grateful I am for His sacrifice for me. It was also a work day for us, so off we went to do some filming. I interviewed Dr. Aryeh Eldad with the Knesset. He is a plastic surgeon specializing in burn victims. I hope he runs for Prime Minister. We also ended up filming at the Southern Steps. Jeff’s teaching has been so good. Purim was being celebrated and there were people in such interesting costumes everywhere in the city.

I have the morning off and am catching up on emails and blogging. The tour group arrives this afternoon and I am looking forward to showing them Israel.

The weather has been warm—in the mid 80’s. Spring in Israel is just gorgeous. The flowers grass, trees blooming and so beautiful—pinks, purples, reds, greens. The lilacs are in full bloom and I can smell them for blocks. Spring is the hope for all of us that we have a newness in our hearts.

Pecans, Karo syrup, and tuna

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 by Sandra

It is that time again for Israel and I am happy to report that I have finished packing in record time.  I had the privilege of being in California for a conference honoring Israel and did not get back home until last night.  The Berg Production team is on their way to Israel today and Jeff and I follow tomorrow.  We are filming a new series on Ezekiel that will deal with end times prophecy.  I can’t wait!  Jeff will be doing his usual great teaching and I will be doing some interviewing.

The Spring tour group will arrive in Israel next Monday, the 24th, and then we will begin in Galilee.

I will try and blog from the tour, but will probably really start blogging on April 2nd, when the group heads back to the States.  Will’s bag is packed with pecans, Karo syrup, tuna, and the other sundry things I love taking him when I head to Israel.   I plan on returning to the States April, 13th.  I am sure I will have some adventures and will see some new places.

As always, please pray for travel mercies for all of us.  I know we are in God’s hands.

My top three favorite sites

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 by Sandra

I have gotten into the habit of listening to the “song of the day” on our web site. Today was “Return to Galilee.” It is probably my favorite song of all of the songs that Zola wrote, with the exception of the songs he wrote for me for Valentine’s or our anniversary. On the tour to Israel, we play this album as we are coming into view of the Sea of Galilee. It is so beautiful. “Follow me to Galilee, follow me home.” Home is just the best word to describe Israel. We are home and the music really reflects Israel. I think anyone who has been to Israel feels the same way. Home.

I am in Florida speaking to churches and visiting friends. It has been so wonderful to see the churches that Love the Lord, support Israel, and this ministry. Being with fellow Believers also makes me long to be in Israel. We get to talk politics, prophecy, and our favorite sites.

I had a Pastor ask me what my top three favorite sites are. Here they are: The Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, and the Garden Tomb. But, I also have to tell you, that sometimes there is a site that really gets to my spirit and I feel that God wants me to listen to Him and I do. So, while I love my three favorite sites, they can also change. I remember standing in the Garden of Gethsemane and crying. Thinking that our Lord prayed there for me was overwhelming and I was humbled.

I should be back in Texas at the end of the January and then on to Kansas at the end of February. February 1st and 2nd I am attending a conference on the dangers of Islam. It will be held in the Dallas area and I am looking forward to attending. We must know all we can about our enemies. I am not saying all Muslims are bad; I am saying that a religion that advocates the destruction of Israel and taking over the world is an enemy of God’s. For more information see our website.

Spending the night in Newark

Saturday, November 17th, 2007 by Sandra

I am back in Dallas after two days of traveling.  Our flight out of Tel Aviv was three hours late, due to weather, and so it made not only my flight to Texas not happen, but most of the other travelers had connections that were not made.  I ended up spending the night in Newark and got the first flight out at 6am to Dallas.  I must say it is good to be in one place for awhile.

Again, thank you for your prayers and for reading the blog.

You cannot buy anything over the counter

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 by Sandra

What a last day in Jerusalem.  The weather is gorgeous!  Clear skies and mid 70’s.  I could not have asked for a better last day.

I walked Bet Lechem street and got my paper, silently saying good-bye and praying for those people who I have seen everyday for the last two weeks.  I take heart in knowing that I will be back in March.  I am already planning my trip and I know how blessed I am to travel to Israel as often as I do.

My allergies are acting up, so I headed to the pharmacy.  It is different in Israel.  You cannot buy anything over the counter—not aspirin, not cold medicine, nothing.  So, I go to the pharmacist and tell him I have a small cough from allergies.  I had picked up some cough drops, but he asked me if I wanted to be better (like the answer is no…).  So, he gives me some herbal cough drops with vitamin C and for the Winter.  Works like a dream.

I had lunch with David Meyers with Immanuel Tours.  They are our land agent in Israel and have become like family.  I never worry about the details while the tour is here, I know it is all taken care of.  Better than that, Immanuel Tours anticipates our needs, sometimes before we know it.   It’s really a blessing to work with Believers.

I am all packed.  I think I am at the 20 kilo (50 pound) limit.  Most of it is pottery, but that is okay.  Tomorrow will be a long day of traveling, but well worth being in Israel.

I’m having a farewell dinner with Will and some other friends at a new Sushi place in Jerusalem.  Really, there is something I never thought I would say.

Again, a big thank you to Greg for the help with the blog. Thank you for your prayers and for reading the blog.

I am looking forward to some Mexican food

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 by Sandra

Burrrr! It is cold this morning, but clear skies. I cannot believe that I am leaving for the States on Thursday. The time has gone just too fast, but, it is time to go. I have some filming to do (End of Year programs) and some speaking engagements to attend. I am looking forward to some Mexican food when I get back to Texas.

I did “mother” things today—just making sure Will’s fridge is stocked and the apartment is in good shape.

Just when I think I have Annapolis figured out, it takes a different turn all together. Now, according to the Jerusalem Post “Annapolis will change road map paradigm—Olmert PM ready to talk now, implement later.” Again, grateful that God is in control, not man.

“AOL buys Question and Answer service—Yedda”. This is an Israeli company that will help AOL compete with Google and Yahoo.

One of my new favorite emails that I get is from Steve Spillman called Purpose Weekly. Another well-written article each week. Jeff and I met Steve at the NRB convention last year. I think you will enjoy his articles (see below for a sample).

Packing tomorrow. For someone who only bought a pair of sandals, and a pair of earrings, I don’t know where everything is going. Could be some of the pottery I usually pick up. I did find some great handles.

Vol. 1 Issue 15, November 8, 2007
The weekly newsletter of True Potential Publishing

Week 3: Whose Purpose is it Anyway?

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

I discovered something interesting today. I looked up all the times “purpose” and “plan” were used in the Bible. In the overwhelming majority of cases, “purpose” referred to God’s purpose regarding man and/or creation. There were mentions of this man or that man purposing something, but the majority of references dealt with God’s purpose.

On the other hand, mentions of “plan,” almost always referred to the plans of men. Again, there were passages that referred to God’s plan, but in most cases, where “plan” was used, it was in the context of a plan of men. By the way, my search software used the English Standard Version as its default translation. The word “plan” doesn’t even occur in the King James Translation of the Bible.

So what does all this mean? Why split hairs? Aren’t purpose and plan just different ways to say the same thing? After all, isn’t the plan to fulfill our purpose in life? We want to be happy, and fulfilled; we want to be free from need and we want to be loved. Isn’t that what God wants for our lives too? Isn’t God’s purpose, or plan, for us to live long and happy lives? So what’s the difference between a “purpose” and a “plan” and why does the Bible focus on God when it speaks of purpose and on man when it speaks of plan?

The Bible indicates that plan tends to look at things from man’s side of the equation and purpose tends to look at things from God’s side. The biggest problem I see in our concept of purpose today is in just whose purpose we’re really talking about. We’re all too eager for God’s purpose to fit into our plans. We’re really big on believing that God’s purpose is to prosper us or to give us good health or to keep us safe from harm. But we’re not so big on God’s purpose being personal sacrifice or personal holiness, or personal obedience.

The tone of our prayers is too often, “God help me get that promotion”; “Help me pass this test”; “Keep us safe on vacation and help us all have a good time without killing each other.” How often do we pray, “Thy will be done,” and really mean it?

What if God’s will, His purpose for your life didn’t include health, wealth and happiness? What if his purpose for you was death? Sounds kind of harsh doesn’t it? Surely God’s purpose for me isn’t an untimely and hideous death? What if it were? Would you still be able to pray, “Thy will be done”?


Five bodies floated in Ecuador ‘s Curaray River . All the bodies of young men, the oldest not yet thirty-two, the youngest twenty-seven. They were family men; all had wives, four had young children. One of the wives was eight months pregnant. All of the men were college graduates, all were missionaries.

Their adult lives were just beginning and they were full of promise. They had undergone intense training and were dedicated to spending their lives bringing the good news of God’s love to a people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. Each of these men and their families had given up family, friends and a future at home to follow the purpose they believed God had put in their lives.

Jim, Nate, Pete, Ed and Roger and their families had spent months “in country” learning the language and customs of the people they were trying to reach with the Gospel. The five men had spent weeks flying Nate’s Piper airplane over a tiny settlement, dropping gifts and calling out in the native language, “We like you.” “We are your friends.” Finally they landed as close as they could; on a sand spit next to the river, still several hours by foot trail from the tiny village.

“Auca” means “savage” and that was the name the outside world had given to this remote group of people. The “savages” had a history of murder in every encounter with the outside since the conquistadors came to South America . They lived in the jungles of Ecuador ; remote enough that after every bloody ambush, they would simply dissolve into the jungle and the outsiders would move on to safer territory.

But by 1956 the world was getting smaller. Oil exploration, the need to develop agricultural land, and the authority of the Ecuadorian government and its army, were all making their creeping encroach on the jungle. A final encounter with the Auca was inevitable.

These five friends knew that if their encounter with the outside world was one of force the Auca would not survive. They would be exterminated as pests; enemies of the greater good of progress. The mission of the five was to reach this tribe, win their trust, and tell them about the love of a God they did not know.

Three days after their initial landing two Auca women and a man appeared at their camp. The first meeting went well; the man even took a ride in Nate’s airplane. Afterward the three disappeared into the jungle like they had come. There was no more friendly contact. Three days later the missionaries were dead; murdered by the Auca.

Five young men full of promise, murdered. All with wives and four with young children; all dedicated to serving God with their lives. Five young widows, abandoned in a foreign land, would have to live through the grief and some how put their lives back together. Nine orphaned children; one unborn and the others so young that most would not even remember their father’s face.

And they didn’t even accomplish the mission, the purpose, they believed God had given them; to share the good news of God’s love with the Auca people.

When those five young men prayed, “Thy will be done.” Do you think they had any idea just how that prayer would be answered? Was it really God’s will, God’s purpose that these five men would die on that sand spit in the middle of the jungle? Was it God’s purpose that five young women would lose their husbands and nine little children would grow up without their fathers? How could anyone say that something so senseless and tragic could ever be God’s will? Is it one of those stories we just chalk up to fate or, as we Christians like to say, “the unsearchable mind of God”? What good could ever become of something so bad?

The story continues ….

How the five men behaved in the midst of the massacre remained a puzzle for the Auca warriors who had slain them. There were only six Aucas and there were five white men with guns. Why hadn’t the white men defended themselves? One had fired his gun into the air as a warning shot and had inadvertently wounded an Auca when they grabbed his arm to stop him, but the white men didn’t use their guns in defense of their lives. Why, wondered the Auca, would they behave in such a way, not even to defend their own lives?

Rachel Saint, Nate’s sister and Elizabeth Elliot, Jim’s widow returned to the jungle to tell the Aucas why the five young men had tried to make contact with them. That they had wanted to share the story of “Wangongi’s” (creator God’s) love for them and the gift of His son. The women explained that these five men had made a commitment not to harm the Aucas, even if it meant giving up their lives.

The Aucas listened and they responded. The believed that Wangongi, creator God, loved them; that His own Son refused to defend Himself when men came to kill Him. They learned that the Son of Wangongi had come with a message of love as well; it was the same message these five men had wanted to share with the Auca.

Because of Jim, Nate, Pete, Ed and Roger the Auca’s inevitable encounter with the outside resulted in life for the tribe instead of death. They haven’t disappeared into the jungle or been exterminated by those who protect the progress of nations. They live in peace and worship the God these men had come to share with them. By the way, they’re not called Auca, “Savages,” anymore. That was a name given to them by the outside world. They’re called by their own name, the “Huaorani,” the “People.”

Gikita, the man who led the attack on the missionaries and personally ended the life of Nate Saint and Ed McCully with his spear, became a Christian and an elder in the Huaorani church. He had the privilege of seeing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up; a privilege the five missionary men never enjoyed. Gikita died in 1997 at the age of eighty-one. His final wish was to go to Heaven and live peacefully with the five missionary men.

Steve Saint, Nate’s son, five years old at the time of his father’s murder, has lived and worked with the Huaorani throughout his life. He summed up what he believed to be God’s purpose in the lives of the five men who died that day in the jungle.

God took five common young men of uncommon commitment and used them for his own glory. They never had the privilege they so enthusiastically pursued to tell the Huaorani of the God they loved and served. But for every Huaorani who today follows God’s trail through the efforts of others, there are a thousand cowodi (outsiders) who follow God’s trail more resolutely because of their example. This success withheld from them in life God multiplied and continues to multiply as a memorial to their obedience and his faithfulness.

Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian all prayed, “Thy will be done.” There was One will; it led them to the same place, they shared the same purpose for their lives. Their final purpose was their first purpose. It was planned for them at the beginning of creation. I’m sure it didn’t fit into whatever plans they had for their lives, but they were willing to submit their plans to His purpose. The death of these five men wasn’t a just tragic accident and it’s not that they hadn’t considered the danger they were stepping into. His purpose already at work, Jim Elliott made this journal entry on October 28, 1949, the year he graduated from Wheaton College ; “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot loose.”


I wish you all good things in life; that you would be happy, healthy and free from want. That you would live a long and prosperous life and watch your grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. But more than that, I pray that God’s purpose would be fulfilled in your life.

Sometimes His purpose overrides our plans; that’s as it should be. There are some things more important than health, wealth and happiness. There are some things more important than life itself.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12: 24-25).


Nate Saint’s, Jim Elliott’s, Ed McCully’s, Pete Fleming’s and Roger Youderian’s story is told in the books, “Through the Gates of Splendor” and “End of the Spear,” and in the films “Through Gates of Splendor” (1967); “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” (2004) and “End of the Spear” (2006).

Steve Saint’s Christianity Today article “Did They Have to Die?” can be found at: and

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