Monthly Archives: October 2008

What are you doing now?

OK, so you’ve asked that I get current. Since everything is still up in the air, I haven’t wanted to say anything until there is something to say. But, since everyone keeps asking, “What are you up to now?” here is what I’m up to now…

First, right after I arrived from Israel, I dealt with my usual jet lag which kept me in a fog for a week. My brain arrived in pieces until I finally had it all together (some of you who have talked to me since I returned might disagree that I have it all together even now).

Then, I got the cold of the century which lasted another week. Cough, cough, snort.

During all this time I have been dealing with contracts from China, all of which I have rejected and requests from other parts of the world (all of which I’ve responded to but have heard nothing back from any of them).

In the meantime I responded to an ad from a company hiring people to help restore the schools in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. The ad said, in effect, “The main goal of teachers is to raise student’s academic achievement to their highest possible levels. How would you go about accomplishing this?” My response began, “To begin with, I completely disagree that raising student’s academic achievement to their highest possible levels is the main goal of teachers.” Then I went on to wax eloquent on what I thought a teacher’s real goals are. Although I felt really good when I sent off my reply, I was certain I would never hear back. Well, the very next day I received an email: “Congratulations…” They must be really desperate! But, the immediate out-of-pocket expense of joining their program was too great and I turned them down.

Then I received a serious offer from a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We are still communicating even as I write this but I don’t know how it will turn out (see below).

I finally had to ask myself, “Do I believe my time and my relationships in Israel have come to an end?” If so, then I can accept a 12 month contract that would mean I will not be able to go to Israel and lead tours next year. However, if I think I am supposed to go to Israel next year, I should find work that will free me during the summer and in December (when I have tours planned for 2009).

So, what have I decided to do? I am currently applying for a job in Knoxville as a substitute teacher from now until the end of the school year in June. My orientation for this job is tomorrow in Knoxville.

I have also responded to an ad for a teacher, “Needed IMMEDIATELY in Cairo, Egypt”. As I read the ad, immediately seems to mean “can you be here next week?” I do think I could be there next week and told them so.

You can see why I haven’t written anything on this blog. Perhaps I will have something more to say in a day or two. Until then, prayers are solicited…

Shalom

Daniel got home from work at 6:30 and the two of us walked down the street to the falafal stand. For my last meal, Daniel bought each of us a falafal and a Fanta orange. I went next door and bought each of us a Magnum chocolate ice cream bar.

So, for my last meal in Israel I had three of my all-time favorite foods.

Now I wait until 2AM when the taxi will pick me up for the airport. I should arrive at the airport at 3AM and go through the 3 hour ordeal of checking out of the country for my flight to Vienna–Chicago–Knoxville.

Can’t wait…

Shalom, Jerusalem

Thanks to everyone

“Receiving is a superior form of generosity”–Elie Wiesel

I have always had trouble receiving from others because I’ve always wanted to be the one giving. So, when I read this quote by Wiesel, I had to think about it for a long time. I know I have offended some people when I have refused the kindness they have tried to offer me. If you are one of those, I ask your forgiveness. I know there is pride involved in this.

I am leaving Israel.

Every time I have lead a tour in Israel, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon: when the people land here, they quickly forget they live somewhere else and they immerse themselves in the history and the Bible and the Land. But, then, there comes a moment toward the end of every tour when people seem to wake up as if from a dream and realize they do have to go home. From that moment on, they have a hard time paying attention to the last day or two of the tour as they begin to think of what awaits them back home: behind at work, bills to pay, a lawn to mow…

For me, it is a little different. I have been ready to leave the country for over a week, ever since I had the sense that the reasons for my being here have been accomplished. Plus, I am not behind at work, don’t have unpaid bills, or a lawn to mow…

Yesterday I went to the Old City for the last time and visited several places that have become old friends to me. I told the brothers in Shorashim “goodbye” and “I may be back next year”. I visited the Western Wall for the last time and decided to check out the Southern Wall Excavations to see if we want to include them in next year’s itinerary. I climbed deep into a 2,000 year old ritual bath to take this picture of what is left of the huge archway that used to lead into the Temple Mount.

This morning I received a contract from Beijing-U.S.A. College of English. The contract didn’t have enough details so I asked the agent for clarification. Those of you who know me know that it’s not a teaching contract I’m waiting for.

Anyway, I am writing this, one of my final blogs from Israel, to say “Thank you” to all you who have made it possible for me to be here these past three months. Things have happened here which I can share only privately–not in a forum this public. I thank you for your faith in me and, mainly, for your prayers. Anyone who has prayed for me deserves to know some details about my time here and I will be happy to share them in time.

“Thank you” seems way too shallow. But, be assured that it is heartfelt.

Hope to see many of you soon.

PS: This has nothing to do with anything, but I like pictures of sunrises and sunsets and I took this one last weekend as the sun was rising over the hills of Samaria.

Final Shabbat

“You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one….”–Jesus [emphasis in the original]

I cooked some mashed potatoes and we will probably eat that and have some hot dogs for Shabbat. And, of course, we will open our last bottle of wine. Daniel was invited to his girlfriend’s home for Shabbat dinner, but decided to stay with me for my final Shabbat in Israel.

Even though the weather here has turned beautiful (cool breezes and warm, sunny days), I am really looking forward to leaving Israel and returning to Tennessee, at least for a little while.

I am still looking for employment, mostly overseas, but I will go wherever the Lord opens the door. Right now I seem to only have possibilities in China and Costa Rica. But, we’ll see. Basically, I am waiting for my “next assignment” (for those of you who know what that means).

The picture at the head of this post is a sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at the world’s oldest port (Jaffa) at the site where Jonah boarded a ship to sail away from God’s will for his life.  Isn’t it nice that He makes sure we eventually come around to His purposes for our lives? He is faithful in all things!

Shabbat Shalom to all.

PS: At the last minute I decided to make each of us a 3 egg omelet with cheese, tomatoes and bacon (just kidding), it was some sort of non-piggy, pepperoni-looking meat. But, good.

The wine was great.