Friday, September 18, 2009

Blog site has moved!

I am so beyond excited about my new website! Please make a note of my new blog address.

If you are following me on this site, please change your RSS subscription accordingly. I don't want to lose you!

Shanah tovah! (Good year! in Hebrew)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Destiny Joy Vandeput is 26!

Twenty-six years old...oh my goodness, it seems like just a few minutes ago we were driving to a park in Dallas to get Destiny's bridal pictures made. What a fun time! God had done such a life-changing transformation in our little girl just a year before at Gateways Beyond in Cyprus. She came home a different person, washed clean, set free and in love with Yeshua. She also met the earthly love of her life in Cyprus. That's why we were getting bridal pictures made that day!

Since I'm living in Israel, I don't have access to all my old photos, but you can still get an idea of what a joy Destiny was as a little girl. Her name was definitely prophetic. She is destined for joy. She brings joy wherever she goes. The room lights up when she walks in. She is a fiery prophet who wants to see other young people set free. There's no gray area with Des. It's either right or wrong. And if it's wrong, you shouldn't be doing it! These kinds of children make life very interesting when you're trying to raise them!

One year they all wore sailor outfits to church on Resurrection Day. They were the cutest kids, seriously. Everywhere we went people commented on how cute and well-behaved they were.

Destiny is standing right beside me.

Here are the girls in our family on our way to a Tacky Party. They were so excited about dressing as ugly as possible!
She always had so much energy! When we took family road trips, we stopped frequently to give the kids time to run and play. She needed it just as much as the boys! All it took was for Dad to start humming the theme to "Man From Snowy River", and off they went! (That's kind of random. I don't know what made me think of that!)

A high school drama awards night. She was kissing the frog (aka brother Austin).

I love my daughter. She is such a blessing to our family. She is the most loyal daughter, sister, and friend in the entire world. She lives to give. She's always thinking of how she can bless someone. Her heart hurts deeply for orphans. She wants to make life easier for the poor and the hungry. She is such an amazing wife and mother. I'm so proud of the homemaker she has become. Her cooking skills put me to shame! She and Jon have recently sold their house and most of their belongings in order to move to Brussels, Belgium in November. God has made it very plain that He wants a house of prayer/missions base established in Brussels, the capital of the European Union. We are so excited about this, and eventually our whole family will have at least a small part to play in this. I'm grateful for the way she and Jonathan have listened to God's voice in spite of the obvious sacrifices in making such a move. From the time she was a baby, I knew that her dad and I would be sowing her to the nations. That's what gives me peace through it all.

The rest of my pictures were all taken two months ago in Israel. This has to be the best, most wonderful surprise of my entire life. I will remember it forever, and it has gotten me through these first six months of being away from the family. I still can't believe they were here. It seems like a beautiful dream.
This was the first day they arrived and my face is still red from crying!

One day we walked to the Old City and had shawermas and falafels for lunch. Destiny has this thing about onions and proceeded to pick her chicken shawerma apart looking for the little rascals.

Here we are in the prayer room one afternoon. I LOVED having my girls worship with us. There's nothing better in the whole world.

One morning we went up on the Temple Mount. This is her sister, Courtney, and friend, Rachel Baker. Women's shoulders must be covered (Muslim rules), so that's the reason for the shawls. This was the site of Solomon's temple and also the second temple rebuilt in Ezra's day. This is the actual place where Yeshua will set up His headquarters when He returns to Jerusalem! He is returning as King to rule and reign with us! (Sorry...this is Destiny's birthday, not the time to explain the sites of Jerusalem...I get a little carried away.)
This is the family on the lookout right next to our apartment building. The Old City of Jerusalem is in the background.

My daughter is simply amazing, and life would be so boring without her! Happy Birthday, sweetie!
Jonathan and Destiny Vandeput

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Elav Conference Pics & Report

We are back home in Jerusalem after three amazing days on a campground not too far from Tel Aviv with hundreds of young adults and lots of older adults as well. The testimonies are continuing to come in about the impact it made on all the people there. It's hard to describe what God did, but I will try my best to put in words what we experienced.

The prophetic significance of what took place astounds me. The majority of people there were Israeli, and that in itself is exciting. Past conferences have had more of an international flavor with a lot of English worship and teaching. It was hard for the Israelis to feel an ownership in what God was doing in Israel. This year all the worship was in Hebrew other than the two sessions when Matt Gilman from IHOP-Kansas City led. Most of the speaking was in Hebrew translated to English, Arabic and Korean. It was easy to sense the excitement that the Israeli young people felt in having a conference just for them. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face just watching them worship God and interact with one another.

There were several speakers during the conference, but I am sharing the ones who made a huge impact on me. (Not that the other ones didn't, but this is my blog, so I can write what I want!)

Friday morning Rick Ridings (director of Succat Hallel in Jerusalem) spoke on the book of Ruth and the four aspects of God's end-time plan. (Ruth was an Arab who lived in Jordan, and Naomi was a Jew who lived in Bethlehem.) It was clear and concise and very anointed. He ended the teaching by having all the Jewish believers come to the front on one side of the tent. Then he called the Arab and Gentile believers up to gather on the other side. They faced each other, and on cue, they walked to the middle, found a partner, and started praying over each other. Most of the Arab believers came from Muslim backgrounds, and to see them praying over Jews totally brought me to tears. What a miracle to see those who would naturally be mortal enemies laying hands on each other and praying. This is the beginnings of fulfillment of end-time prophecies!

Matt Gilman, one of IHOP-KC's main worship leaders, led worship in the two sessions that Heidi Baker spoke in. Many people had deep encounters with God. I couldn't get a good picture at night, but people were just laid out in the fields around the meeting tent! It deeply impacted the people there, including me! When he leads worship, there is just an anointing to go deep in His love. That's just the way it is. What else can I say?!

Heidi Baker spoke Friday night and Shabbat morning. She brought an open heaven anointing. The love of Abba was poured out on people in ways that they had never experienced. She has such an intercessory anointing and is totally full of His love for people. And the kids there knew it. She's the real deal. Saturday was her 50th birthday, and we sang Happy Birthday Israeli style! She felt that it was very significant to be celebrating her jubilee year in Israel. One of the Israeli kids had a dream the night before that she was pregnant with twins, and their names were Ishmael and Isaac. That brought her to her knees!
This is Rick Ridings laying hands on her and praying into that prophetic dream. Fyi, the guy translating for Heidi is Joseph Niebur, a good friend of Preston's who is in the army.

Joaquin Evans (director of the healing rooms at Bethel Church in Redding, CA) lifted the faith level Shabbat afternoon and there were notable healings in the meeting! It's so important to release a sense of expectancy and joy and the fact that Abba is in a good mood! He wants to heal and to show His faithfulness!

Saturday night Asher Intrater brought a word that is so heavy I'm still meditating on it. He talked about the three times that Yeshua appeared in the Tanakh (Old Covenant) with a sword in His hand and the one time in the New Covenant that He will appear with a sword. But this last time it won't be in His hand. It will be coming out of His mouth. The sword is the Word of God. We aren't to rely on human strength anymore but we are to eat the Word and speak the Word with power and authority. The presence of God was so thick on the platform that Asher and Joseph Niebur, his translator, couldn't stand up. I can't tell you what a privilege it was for me to be there! I'm still undone this morning as I try to put it into words. His love and compassion come in torrential waves.

Preston did such a great job on the worship teams. He was on three different teams and also worked on the stage set-up team. He was in his element! I love him so much. He is doing his part in seeing Yeshua's kingdom come on earth. He left his comfort zone in the States and has adapted so well to the culture here. His parents are proud of him!

I could go on and on, but most people won't go on and on reading, so I'll stop. Oh, I wanted to show how you know you are in an Israeli worship service.

We had quite a few young people in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) who received permission to be at the conference. Depending on their rank, some must keep their rifle with them at all times. Yep, this is Israel!

To those of you who prayed for this conference, thank you very much! You had an integral part in the success of the last three days. God is so faithful!

Last but not least, here are a few of our wonderful, adorable ushers for the conference!
You might recognize Rachel Baker, Chelsea Nunnenkamp, and Olivia Baker. Good job, my loves!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Elav - Unto Him!

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything to this blog, and I feel bad about it. I really do. I like to write, but it's hard when you have other things vying for your time. When I'm stressed on the inside, I don't write as much. I've really sensed an increased warfare here in Jerusalem since Ramadan started last Friday. Ramadan is the first month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims fast all month long from sunrise till sunset. Then they party and feast (among other things) all evening. When I look out our windows at night it reminds me of Christmas in the States. Red and green blinking lights adorn most of the houses in the Arab village to the east of us. All I can see is Ramadan lights blinking everywhere. Our community has determined that we will not be on the defensive during this season. We are on the offensive. It's not something to just endure until the end of the month. We are to take ground, stand, and not back down from intercession. Islam says God has no son. We say, "God has a Son, and His name is Yeshua, the Light of the world!"

Today our youth/young adult conference begins, and we are so excited! It is called "Elav" which means "unto Him" in Hebrew. Elav Conference or Kennes Elav in Hebrew. Around 700 people are registered! It's mainly youth and young adults, but everyone is invited. We have at least 100 Arab youth coming! The worship will be in Hebrew, Arabic and English. (Preston is on several of the teams!) Speakers include Heidi Baker, Asher Intrater, Joaquin Evans, Stuart Greaves and Rick Ridings. It's an outside venue, so pray for cooler weather! God's heart is for the youth of this nation. He is looking for Elijahs and John the Baptists to stand up and say, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!" He is wanting a company of forerunners to love Him voluntarily and not be satisfied until His people say, "Baruch haba BaShem Adonai", "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Luke 13:34-35)

I told Hannah Briscoe I might steal a phrase in her latest blog, so here goes: "He is stirring us to live a life of faith—to go from glory to glory—to believe God for more and more until our lives are spent in obedience, until the world-wide revival has been released, and until Yeshua is returning to claim His Bride." And there WILL BE a world-wide revival. You can count on it. It's written in the Book!

After the conference I will post pics and tell all that God did!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Two Different Worlds

As I was drinking coffee on this beautiful shabbat morning, I heard singing and clapping in the building next to our apartment. On investigating it further I realized that it was the sound of a Jewish shabbat service. It was so refreshing to hear the laughter and sounds of close-knit community coming up from their meeting place. They are serving the same God I am serving and that alone connects us. Even though they don't yet have the revelation of Yeshua as Messiah, we have the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in common. And that connects us. It deeply connects us.

These pictures were taken from my balcony this morning after they dismissed their shabbat service. Notice the father and son walking home in the picture below.

Now we shift to a different world. Last night around 10:00pm we started hearing unusual sounds coming up the mountain on the east side of us. We live in an Arab neighborhood yet the immediate apartment buildings around us are inhabited by Jews and internationals. We are on the very top of the mountain south of the Old City of Jerusalem across the Hinnom Valley. Whatever is happening in the valleys to our north and east is heard loud and clear through our windows. Well, last night some kind of fight or riot broke out in the Arab neighborhood to our east. We stood out on our balcony and I even felt a little unsafe. Many Arab men were out in the streets clearly disturbed by something of which we still haven't found the reason. They were screaming and yelling and throwing heavy things. Not just bottles or bricks, although there were bottles and bricks being thrown. Down below us we saw the shadows of some people hiding out on their balcony, raising up every few minutes to check out the action on the street below. It was a little unnerving, because we didn't know how far the riot was going to spread. The street right beside our apartment building leads down to that area. They could easily have come up the mountain to where we are. We even heard what sounded like a single gunshot at one point.

This is the view last night of the Arab neighborhood down below us. Off in the distance is the Jordan Valley and the mountains of Moab.

This is the same view this morning.

I can't help but believe (and Gary confirmed it also) that the reason for the unrest last night was a result of the spiritual turmoil happening the last few days in Bethlehem just a few miles down the road from us.

I found this on the DEBKAfile website:
"Israel has permitted the entire Fatah leaderships of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - some 500 functionaries - to enter the country for the first Fatah general conference in 25 years which opens Tuesday, Aug. 4 in Bethlehem. Among them are notorious terrorists responsible for multiple-murder attacks on Israelis. Military and intelligence sources report that Israel's security agencies are highly critical of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak for surrendering to extreme US pressure to open the door to this large influx of Palestinian hardliners. Some are planning to stay on in the West Bank instead of returning to their homes, presenting a grave new threat to national security."

Resolutions passed so far in this conference includes blaming Israel for Yasser Arafat’s death, issuing a call for limited violence against Jewish settlements and continued civil disobedience against Israel. Fatah delegates also want to form an alliance with Iran. With so much stirred up right now in the kingdom of darkness, it's no wonder that the riot took place in our neighborhood last night. We have to always be on the alert here. The attack of the enemy here is not subtle. It is swift and heavy duty. I have experienced it first-hand. This is the good news, though. No matter how black the darkness is, His light is brighter! We simply plead the blood of Yeshua over our family and our house, asking Him for protection, and declaring that Yeshua is Lord over the situation. We remind Him that Jerusalem will one day be made a praise in the earth and that this nation will cry out, "Baruch haba b'shem Adonai." Blessed in He who comes in the name of the Lord!

As I was listening to the sounds of the Jewish shabbat service this morning, I was struck by how the two worlds we live in here are so diametrically opposed. And yet Yeshua's heart is breaking for both. He died on the cross for the sons of Isaac as well as for the sons of Ishmael. And that makes me cry for them both.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Falafels and A/C

That's what this post is about, but not necessarily in that order. This week is shaping up to be a hot one here in Jerusalem. Today was 93. Tomorrow and the next day will probably be around 96 or higher. Now I know what you're thinking. 96 degrees? In August? That's not too bad! (I know my Cpyriot friends are laughing right now, because it gets so much hotter in Cyprus & they don't have A/Cs either.) Well, I didn't used to think 96 was too bad either until I moved here where air conditioners are not the norm. We don't have shades on all our windows, so our apartment gets very toasty. You can always tell it's going to be a hot day when you start to sweat at 8:00 am, and you look outside at the trees and see no breeze whatsoever. We know that it's probably going to be a day for.....ta da! Our gift from heaven that we found in the upstairs bathroom shortly after we moved in.

Yes, people, it's our own portable air conditioner! Gary and Preston lugged it all downstairs and we plug it in when we can't handle it any longer. What a blessing! We sit in the cool and just smile!

As you can tell, part of it sits outside. I guess it's like a compressor connected by a huge umbilical cord.
The down side is that we have to leave our door open a little to allow for the cord, but we're so grateful for cool air. Here's what it looks like from out on the porch.

Part of our nightly ritual is closing the windows and shades on the east side of our apartment. The sun comes up over the mountains of Moab around 5:30 (on a clear day we can see Mt. Nebo), so by the time I get up at 6:30 it's already pretty warm. This is what our living room looks like during the daylight hours:
Most days are just fan days. If we keep the sun out and the windows closed, fans are all we need. But on days like today, we bring in the big gun. And we're sooo grateful for it.

Ok, here's something else I'm grateful for:
Ken (Hebrew for "yes"), you guessed it. Falafels, diet Sprites, and hand sanitizer! I normally don't get "chips" on my falafels, but on this day I told them to put a few on just for the picture. Then I promptly took them off. Way too much fat. (As if falafels don't have too much fat!) Now this is something else I'm grateful for:

Judah Reign ate his first falafel ball here in Jerusalem! He really liked it, too! He doesn't have much of a chance really, because his mom and his Gigi like them so much. Way to go Judah boy! Isn't he amazing?! It really was fun having him and Shiloh and their moms with us for the last two weeks. Was I just dreaming? Nope, I have a baby spoon and a toy here to prove that they really were here. We had the time of our lives!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wild Camels and Sweaty Checkpoints

I have been having sooo much fun with my two girls and two grandsons that I haven't blogged in over a week. I wanted to share a few sentences and a couple of pics until I could sit down and really write.

Last Wednesday we rented a van and struck out on an adventure. We left Jerusalem and drove down by the Dead Sea, past Jericho, En Gedi, and Masada. We drove through the Negev desert all the way down to the southern tip of Israel and crossed over the border into Egypt. Here we are after 2 long, hot hours of border control nonsense. Egyptian border control and customs is definitely archaic. It took two hours and 6 passport checkpoints to travel the length of a football field, but we survived! (It had to have been at least 110 degrees in buildings that had no air-conditioning.)

As we headed to our hotel about 20 kilometers away we saw camels roaming in the city. We even had to stop for a random camel that was standing in the road. Who knew camels ran wild in cities?!!!
There were even baby camels! This was such a fun adventure, tense at times but fun....a memory with my girls that will last forever. We crossed back over the border on Friday and headed back to Jerusalem victorious!

God is so good and faithful. We had friends email us before we left with encouraging words and scriptures that increased our faith and let us know that we really were hearing Abba's voice. Where would we be without a community of people who love us?!!!

Thank you to everyone who had a part through prayer in our latest adventure. You are loved so much!

I'll write more about our adventures when I have the time. Now I MUST go play with my grandsons! They're so cute I can't stand it!
Shiloh Navee Benjamin Vandeput (in the shuttle on the way to the Egyptian hotel)

Judah Reign Watkins (at the Egyptian hotel right outside our door)