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We leave tomorrow for Israel

Many of you already know that God has done a startling thing and has provided a trip to Israel for us. This was certainly not something we could have managed on our own…we are grateful to God and excited to see what it will bring!

I'm going to attempt to journal during our trip so I can share with all of you what we are experiencing. I'm starting it today, the day before we leave, and I'll continue adding to it when we get there.

As most of you know, three weeks ago Richard's back let him down. It had been sore around the area where he had ruptured a disk about five years ago, and on Tuesday the 7th, it suddenly contracted so severely that he fell and literally could not get up.

The doctor ordered flat bed rest—no getting up for any reason at all—until at least the weekend. That was a tough week for us all…beginning with sons Roy and Nathanael coming over and helping him up and onto the bed.

A great many of you began praying for him, including the members of our local FAF Bible study, and by Saturday night he was significantly better but "fragile"—he began experimenting with standing up and walking gingerly around the house.

Another blessing was that five friends came to the house after church on Sunday and prayed for Richard. They stood around him and laid their hands on him and prayed for God to strengthen and heal him, to bless him, and to make him able to go on this trip to Israel—which the doctor had said he would not be able to do. They prayed for God to bless him on the trip, to affirm His love for Richard, and to make the trip an experience of God's revelation of Himself to him.

God graciously answered everyone's prayers. Every day Richard's back became stronger. Some friends gave us access to their pool so Richard could do non-weight-bearing exercises. The pain has become less and less, and Richard says his back actually feels better than before it "gave out".

The doctor talked to me about a week after the "event" and told me that Richard was actually doing very well—surprisingly well. We have been praising God and thanking Him that He has made it possible for us to go, for Richard to be so much improved, and for all of you who have prayed for him.

There are 66 of us going on this trip; we'll be divided between two airlines due to some unknown issue with one of the airlines, and we arrive at Tel Aviv Wednesday afternoon. Richard is the "pooh-bah" (to use our pastor Gary Inrig's term—he and his wife are leading this tour) for the flight group the Inrigs are not on.

We just received our "marching orders" for departure, arrival, and meeting our tour company and busses when we get to Israel. This trip has seemed surreal—but it's starting to hit us that we're actually going!

Now we just have to double check our packing lists and make a schedule of duties for our son who's house sitting with Rocky the dog…

We would treasure your prayers for safety, for our group, and for us to be receptive and responsive to what God wants us to experience.

Next post from Israel!


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packed1We are ready to go! The final luggage inventory included two carry-ons, one large suitcase, one backpack (where we hid the laptop), and Colleen's large purse.

praySome friends came by our house after church and prayed for Richard's back. (L to R) Richard, Colleen, Traci Merrit, Mark and Chris Weemhoff, and Grace and Nathan Carlson.