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Texas Graduate School of Theology

Serving In Israel
March 11, 2019
Community: Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tiberias
Partner: Baptist Church Yafa an-Naseriyye, Jerusalem Prayer Tower, King of Kings Ministries

We Have Arrived !

by Linda Castillo | March 11, 2019 5:00 PM

How awesome to be HERE!

Flights were on time; wonderful bus ride to Tiberias!

This will be the view we will have tomorrow morning...The Sea Of Galilee!

We are all moved in and getting in our showers before sleeping well tonight!

Keep us in your prayers!

We Have Arrived !

Breakfast Up On The Roof

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 2:27 AM

I think everyone was up for sunrise "up on the roof" of our Guest House!  It is just so beautiful looking out on The Sea Of Galilee AND enjoy some breakfast and devos together!

Will keep you updated as we serve this morning with Pastor Bishara!

Breakfast Up On The Roof

Serving in a village

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 7:09 AM

We are serving this morning in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Israel..prayer walking, speaking to people and bringing food to these....  walking to a school that we will bring a program of making friends with its kids..  

Serving in a village

Relationship-making through crafts

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 7:13 AM

This team rocked it when they brought the Creation Account of Genesis 1..through the spoken word; through coloring, through bracelet making with beads.  This Arabic school received today's love.  The Principal, the English Director/Teacher and these kids from each of us were so welcoming!
Relationship-making through crafts

Home Visits

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 7:19 AM

Into the neighborhood to deliver food; listen & share Gods Love for them through the name of Jesus.  Our team broke into 2 groups and off we went!

It was wonderful to be a part of what The White Harvest through the Baptist Church where Pastor Bishara pastors.  Their faithful presence in this community brought such open welcome to our team.

We will not forget today!!!

Home Visits

Lunch!!!!

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 8:55 AM

Its Falafal time!!!!

Lunch!!!!

We will NOT forget!

by Linda Castillo | March 12, 2019 11:52 AM

So the kids shared such affection and emotions after 90 minutes with them this morning at the Arabic Elementary School...

They asked us not to forget them.

They told us they loved us.

They invited us to come back.

Some even said they wanted to come to America and see us!

Our hearts were touched this morning...

Thank you for praying for us.

We will NOT forget!

An ancient Galilee Boat

by Linda Castillo | March 13, 2019 4:45 AM

Imagine being a fisherman...

And this is your boat: 27 feet long; 7.5 feet wide; 3 feet high.

You get up every morning and fish.

You go out at night and fish.

This is all you know...

Until Jesus!

He comes in your space...

Calls you by name.

Changes where and what you fish. 

"Come be a fisher of men".  He says.

"Have I got adventure ahead for you!  And in THIS boat!"

We imagined and we remembered the many events that happened in and around a boat just like this!

And it all began with Jesus!

And today we begin our time around the Sea of Galilee...

And we are asking God "Please call me...I am ready...can YOU use ME?"

An ancient Galilee Boat

Tagbha

by Linda Castillo | March 13, 2019 5:13 AM

Holy Ground right here!!!  Apostles were called; multiplication of loaves & fishes;  Sermon on the Mount; healings; Jesus walks on water; and Peter gets a meal after Jesus' resurrection....oh we are amazed at all Jesus did right here!!!

Tagbha

Capernaum

by Linda Castillo | March 13, 2019 5:59 AM

Wow....

The place Jesus spent most of His 3 years in ministry with His disciples.

This place had more healings than anywhere else from Jairus' daughter; the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years;  Centurion's son sss heLed; mute men, demonic men and noblemen were healed here...yet a city who didn't believe.

Well today we didn't want to be counted as those who would not believe.  So we set aside time to worship; to pray boldly for one another and to enjoy time alone (and together) in His presence. 

We are blessed beyond belief.

Capernaum

Lunch...

by Linda Castillo | March 13, 2019 11:24 AM

LUNCH....

Courtesy of the Sra of Galilee....

Lunch...

Mount of The Beatitudes

by Linda Castillo | March 13, 2019 11:30 AM

How beautiful to have spent tome on this mountaintop along the Sea of Galilee...our minds running to the Scripture thst the Lord spoke to all those around Him that day....

We are amazed as we talk on the bus that all of the switchbacks and distance we travel by bus our Lord WALKED...  To travel from town to town took great physical agility and strength...plus time!!!

We are becoming more and more impressed with Jesus

Mount of The Beatitudes

Bethsaida

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 5:17 AM

This site was our last of the day.

It was sunset.

We walked around the paths and the Hills where Jesus fed over 5,000.  I wish I could capture all of our emotions from imagining that many people on the hillside; to Andrew finding the little boy with a lunch to the disciples putting the people into the groups of 50.  Then Jesus giving thanks and splitting up the lunch for the disciples to go back to "their groups"...

What do you think was running through their brains as they hold those pieces of fish and bread?  What do WE do with the things God places in our hands?

We stayed together for this silly photo today being VERY thankful for the gift of one another on a hill where Jesus multiplied elements...and THAT brings us hope!!!

Bethsaida

It's Pizza time-Kosher style

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 5:25 AM

This dinner was off-the-chain!!!!

Alfredo & mushroom pizza

Red sauce and mushroom pizza 

Sooooooo delicious!!!!

Ending to a great day of seeing God at work!  Bow off to our God-moment meeting and then to packing up for further adventures into Israel!

It's Pizza time-Kosher style

Cana...Site of His first Miracle

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 5:42 AM

We visited the site where Jesus' first miracle occurred....at a wedding...with his mom telling the servants that Jesus will take care of the problem of "running out of wine".  These are the pots that the servants filled with water and when they brought them back to the wedding reception the water was now wine--and good wine, too...it was great to be at the place where His ministry began. 


Cana...Site of His first Miracle

Our team being Baptized at the River Jordan

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 5:48 AM

What a spectacular morning!

Publically announcing that we are Jesus followers!

Wanting the MORE He has for us from this day forward!!!

Our team being Baptized at the River Jordan

Camel Rides

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 7:15 AM

Look at your girls...

Bold

Courageous

And Camel Riders!!!

Camel Rides

Arriving at the Dead Sea

by Linda Castillo | March 14, 2019 8:10 AM

Arriving right now to the Dead Sea!

Just going to leave this here!

Arriving at the Dead Sea

Team Dinner

by Linda Castillo | March 15, 2019 4:17 AM

Dinner together after an afternoon of refreshing and relaxation activities....

Leaving late Friday morning for Jerusalem 

Team Dinner

Floating with your partner

by Linda Castillo | March 15, 2019 4:32 AM

No words.

Just a smile escapes on our faces.

Years of marriage...

Leaving it right here!

LOVE

Floating with your partner

First Friday Adventure in Jerusalem - Mount of Olives/Church of Ascension

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 4:09 PM

Beautiful place to begin our journey in Jerusalem today...where Jesus was last here on Earth!! What hope it brought to us that He gave us the commission to share His love with every person we meet until He touches down again!  That is the message of hope that our world needs!! 

First Friday Adventure in Jerusalem - Mount of Olives/Church of Ascension

Praying Over Jerusalem

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 4:12 PM

As we stood in awe....

We saw a city that God loves...and that Jesus prayed for.

Oh may our eyes always remember how this vision took our breath away this afternoon... may we remember to pray for Israel AND our own city as well !

Praying Over Jerusalem

Mary's Tomb

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 4:15 PM

We next visited Mary's Tomb (the mother of Jesus).  We were overwhelmed by her continual life answer of the word "YES"  throughout her life---from her kitchen table announcing her pregnancy; to being a mom of Jesus throughout his childhood & young adult years; to the cross, resurrection and to pentecost !  A lifetime of YES...I hope each one of us can do this sooner rather than later.  

Mary's Tomb

Garden of Gethsemane

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 4:34 PM

Am I just soooo loving the journey with our team...

The Garden of Gethsemane is where the struggle culminated ..and Jesus chose to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins....

So glad it did not end here!
HE chose US

Garden of Gethsemane

City of David Gravesites

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 4:53 PM

Walking around the gravesites of Absalon and Zechariah near the City of David...an amazing discussion with the team as we talked about the lives of these 2 men..the impact & influence our lives carry.  May we use these well in our lifetime.  

City of David Gravesites

Garden Tomb! New Life!

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 5:02 PM

Golgotha.  Crucifixion.

Empty Tomb.  Resurrection.

Death conquered by Life!


Same power that raised Jesus from the dead Lives In Each of Us!! Undone here...He chose each of us..

Endured it all!

We are loved lavishly!

Our team shared a time of communion and worship together...we are sealed together...forever!


Garden Tomb!  New Life!

An invite to Shabbat (Rest) from Israel to Us

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 5:11 PM

Shabbat meal tonight with our team and others in our Guest Home...a time to welcome "rest" into our routine and lives!  Everything stops here at sunset on Friday and resumes at sunset on Saturday.  Time of blessing others/receiving blessings/welcoming REST...a new rhythm for many of us!  A powerful invite from Israel into our lives tonight.  
An invite to Shabbat (Rest) from Israel to Us

Shabbat Service at a Messianic Jewish Synagogue

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 5:42 PM

This morning after breakfast & amazing devo time we set out to walk through a rainy downpour to attend our first Messianic Jewish Synagogue service on our PPM Itinerary...wow! Hardly knew a word of Hebrew; no instruments were used yet music flowed in harmony at the reading of the Torah...Amazing PLUS was being with other believers who brought a spirit that was undeniably all about God!!! When the Rabbi gave his message it touched each of us in different ways!!! We were glad that we attended this morning.  

Shabbat Service at a Messianic Jewish Synagogue

Best Deals !!!

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 10:51 PM

Come and meet a friend who has the best deals on nuts and dried fruit outside of the Zion Gate!!!

Best Deals !!!

The Upper Room

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 11:07 PM

This place has moved us all...the Upper Room!  Jesus had his passover meal with His disciples in order to prepare them for his coming hours...His death, His resurrection and His promise of the presence of Himself through the Holy Spirit.

Here the conversation would include Him displaying servanthood by washing the disciples feet; announcing a betrayal and being sold--by two of His own.  Here He would eat AND institute ":communion to represent His sacrifice of body and blood". From here He would pray alone; be arrested, be accused; be judged and then die on a cross in a public setting...for us!

This room would also be utilized after Christ's ascension to vote on Mathias to join the disciples after the death of Judas.

Also this room is where the disciples, other believers and Jesus' mom would welcome the Holy Spirit Jesus promised!!

The Upper Room

Zion's Gate & David's Tomb

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 11:21 PM

Zion's Gate and King David's tomb was on our visit list!  How wonderful to imagine the joy of hearing David and his men go & return from this gate in victory over their enemies.  To imagine David dancing in worship before his people recounting the victories of God they experienced.  And to be near his casket was a good reminder of living a life people can recount of your impact STILL years later.

David is one of those! 
Highly imperfect 
Highly influential 
Highly favored by God
Highly loved & used by God in his actions and his writings
Described as a "man after God's own heart"

May that be our desire as we leave this place.
Zion's Gate & David's Tomb

Lunch at the Jaffa Gate

by Linda Castillo | March 16, 2019 11:29 PM

Yum...meeting more new friends who make wonderful food!

Today's lunch was a delicious and fresh chicken curry wrap...it was pouring buckets of rain and this became our respite.  Hot coffee was "especially: made for us---called Americana and is STRONG...but it was hot and comforting to us too!

We later got into taxis to go home; get dry; take naps and have a late dinner and meeting....

Sunday we head into Bethlehem...

Thank you for your prayers for us!  We have certainly seen Him do a work within our team this week.  God is "meeting": each one where we are!

Lunch at the Jaffa Gate

The Shepherd's Field

by Linda Castillo | March 17, 2019 10:33 AM

Our family came to the Shepherd's Field fully expecting God to show up today and with a message just for them!

We took time to look around us...imagining that night when God chose THEM to announce the birth of His Son. We gathered together with our Guide, George, who read the passage to us.  We spent some time in silent prayer on that hill ...alone...and together 

The Shepherd's Field

Church of The Nativity

by Linda Castillo | March 17, 2019 4:31 PM

Being in the Church of The Nativity was an awesome experience...although we had to wait in line for 2 hours to see the spot Jesus was born (underneath the star)..

Worth it!


Church of The Nativity

Upside Down Lunch

by Linda Castillo | March 17, 2019 4:41 PM

While in Bethlehem getting some coffee...we were made a delicious "upside down" lunch in a pot...

It was FABULOUS...the pot contained a yellow rice, eggplant, carrot and cauliflower...served with chicken and yogurt...so tender and delicious!

What a great afternoon.  Thank you Peace Cafe Restaurant!

Upside Down Lunch

Wailing Wall

by Linda Castillo | March 17, 2019 4:49 PM

Praying for YOU at the Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall

Shopping in the Old City

by Linda Castillo | March 17, 2019 4:59 PM

How fun to end our day in the Old City gathering up gifts for family and friends...

We will miss our time here in the Holy Land...and being together...

Shopping in the Old City

At The Wall

by Linda Castillo | March 18, 2019 1:08 AM

Our last stop in Bethlehem took us to the wall that surrounds the West Bank from Jerusalem.  Each of our hearts were moved...bringing us to remembrance that God loves all...and many are oppressed in our world... and need our prayers.  We promised in our hearts and to one another we will not forget this place & its people!  

At The Wall

So long for now.....My final words to YOU

by Linda Castillo | March 18, 2019 11:56 AM

My heart is both sad AND full...our first-ever PPM Israel team is leaving for home in Texas now.  This team soooo loved well upon each person they met--and I personally got to be the recipient of that love from all 15 of them!  We loved on kids and families in schools and homes; tour guides; drivers and lodging hosts, too. They squeezed out every drop of what they could receive in every site we visited.  We laughed; we cried; and we even changed our names.  We learned how to worship with every fiber of our being-even in congregations we didn't understand the language; we EXPERIENCED "Shabbat Shalom"; and we walked through challenges AND communion together.  Just ask any of us for 5 minutes and we will be glad to share with you the way God shifted our hearts and minds just ONE DEGREE that will transform the trajectory of our life's course!!! We have stories to tell you!!! 

So long for now.....My final words to YOU

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Comments

Nicole Smith

March 26, 2019 11:21 AM

Linda, You have forever changed my life and I fully believe meeting you was God ordained...1 degree shift!

Krysta Smith

March 18, 2019 9:09 PM

You’ll never fully know the impact you made on our lives, Linda. Forever family! ❤️

Ida Jean Flores

March 12, 2019 9:45 PM

I feel honored to be part of such an amazing church. I absolutely love our Church family!

Dave Mills

March 11, 2019 5:01 PM

Praying for safety for you all and an amazing adventure!

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