A big “Hello” to our friends, family, church and former team mates!
We are very excited to share with you about these last few months…about the people and events that have had such an impact on us.
Bethlehem was absolutely wonderful and was an experience of a lifetime. This was the second time we have traveled to a country where Jesus actually walked. It was very humbling to think that we were possibly walking where He could have walked…literally following in the footsteps of God! The Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) was a very generous host to us. Besides the dormitory accommodations, they invited us to several meals where traditional Arab food was served, they daily gave us all their leftovers from lunch (it was an abundance of food!) and were always available to take us into town when needed. The team worked very hard to complete their project and did so with enough time to spare that they were able to pour the floor of an Art Studio for the school. In total, the team mixed and poured 4,642 square feet of concrete. Their work on the project site was a true testimony of God’s love to those who passed by and wondered how 16 North American teenagers could mix and pour concrete everyday, all day, for four weeks! With the Lord as our provider (and a lot of water!), we truly can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!
Experiencing what most Palestinians experience on a daily basis was also important to us. Therefore, we entered Israel on foot through a guarded checkpoint where passports and bag inspections were required. Palestinians are not allowed in Israel without a permit and those are difficult to come by. The wall separating Palestine from Israel is covered in graffiti displaying people’s hopes and dreams for freedom and unity between the two countries. It is a scar on the land. Being American and Canadian citizens, we were ushered through with absolutely no problems. Once through the check point, we hopped on a city bus (also a cultural experience) and drove to Jerusalem.
Imagine walking on Old Jerusalem’s stone, city walls. Less than 50 years ago, they were occupied by soldiers given the job of protecting the city. Today, for a minimal fee, tourists are allowed to walk those very walls where, for centuries before, men have fought and died to defend the Holy City. Single file, due to lack of walking space, the Bethlehem Bible College team walked those walls this summer. The view from above was awe-inspiring. The Temple Mount, set apart by its golden dome, was out of place amongst a sea of tin-roofed shanties; streets of shops with eager merchants ready to “give you a good deal”; and old, historic churches where key events, “according to tradition”, took place.
We sojourned into the The Holy Sepulcher, a church dedicated to preserving the supposed location of Jesus’ crucifixion and where his body was laid afterward. Throngs of visitors, eager to kiss the holy monuments, flock to the church daily. The queue to see the place where Jesus hung on the cross was packed with people. People were ready and willing to wait for hours.
During our shopping time, we discovered that our team was made up of many savvy shoppers, who refuse to get anything but the best price possible. One team mate bartered a seller down from over 200 shekels to 50 shekels. Very impressive. One of the biggest hits among the girls, were what we have affectionately termed “poofy pants”. (They are a cross between M.C Hammer pants and genie pants with a bit of ethnic flare.) I think just about every girl bought at least one pair…some bought multiples, Michelle included. Merchants were also willing to come down even more on the prices when we bought in bulk.
We also clambered down Zedekiah’s Cave, the alleged quarry used by King Solomon himself to build the Temple. It is called Zedekiah’s Cave because he supposedly hid there to escape from the Babylonians…which, it turns out, didn’t go according to plan because he was captured. What made the cave even more fascinating was that it is literally located beneath the Old City. There is a pool of water within the cave that legend tells is made up of the tears Zedekiah shed when captured. To gross the team out, Mike told the team it was sewer water from above. Of course he waited until a few of them had put their hands into the water first. Funny, funny!
Imagine also being able to touch the very place of Jesus’ birth, according to tradition of course. The team was able to do this on our venture into Bethlehem. The church of the Nativity was also packed with pilgrims desperate to lay hands on and kiss the star marking the spot where Christ was born. One door into the church is called the Door of Humility because you have to bend down to fit through. This church, like most other ancient, holy monuments, is divided in parts controlled by the Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox or the Armenians. The great divide between them all was very evident and sad to see. Each is more concerned with rituals and tradition than they are about pointing people to Jesus Himself. There was absolutely no emphasis placed on evangelism. Because of this, our team went back to The Square and did an open-air presentation in hopes of keeping the Christ in Christmas alive in the very town where He was born. There was concern that we would be asked to leave because the church is located right across from a huge mosque. The opposite happened however. We were able to sing for two hours! Many bystanders and tourists came to watch and listen, some thanked us and some even took pictures! When we had finished, the team split up and handed out Gospel coins. The coin has John 3:16 on it and we found them to be a great way to open up a conversation with people. We were so proud of our team that day and for their boldness for Christ!
There are SO MANY MORE things we want to share about. We saw and experienced so much more. To include them all would force us to minimize our font size to something you would need a magnifying glass to read. Thank you Bethlehem Bible College team mates for an unforgettable summer! What a blessing it was to serve alongside each one of you. We will always remember our summer together with such fondness. (Remember, we have all been gifted by God. Use those talents He has given each one of you for His purposes and for His glory. To NOT do so is time wasted.)
We are so thankful that the Lord continues to use us at Teen Missions and that we are given the opportunity to impact eternity by making a difference in the lives of young people and anyone else with ears to hear all over the world! Thank you for faithfully serving by our sides through your prayers and financial support.
Mike, Michelle, Kenya, Isabelle and Lily Myers
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”” (Luke 2:8-10)