The news came via email.
After months of chatting about it, crunching numbers, and trimming costs, my publisher agreed to let my team shoot the final DVD project in Israel. Though I had tried to hold the dream loosely, my heart did cartwheels of joy when the final approval came! I had tried to come up with an alternative approach, but I just couldn’t imagine filming Lazarus Awakening anywhere else. [See last week’s post: “The Dream”]
With less than a month and a half to pull everything together, it was crunch time. Unfortunately, we were still in the middle of editing the Having a Mary Spirit project and study guide, so I scrambled to finish as much as possible on that while simultaneously searching for flights, outlining sessions and determining needed shoot locations.
It was a wild time. But God blessed us with an amazing resource, Amy Turnage, from the Center for Holy Lands Studies.
Amy and her husband, Marc, have studied and traveled the Holy Land extensively, and to my great joy, Amy agreed to come along and act not only as guide, but also an Israel expert for the “Israel Moment” bonus videos we planned to film. She coordinated our shoot schedule and worked with Amiel Tours to secure lodging, transportation and permits.
But a couple of weeks before departure, Amy came down with a nasty cold that turned into bronchitis. A bronchitis that just wouldn’t let go. Oh how we prayed! After all, what would we do without Amy? She was not only our guide, I was counting on her expertise in so many ways.
Through it all, God kept reminding me that I was not alone – that this project was His, not mine. I was to trust, not fear. “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Jesus told Martha in John 11:40. That was the challenge and promise He brought to mind every time I was tempted to freak out.
“Will you trust Me?” I sensed the Lord asking. As I did research. Wrote scripts. Made endless lists and tried to figure out what to pack and what shoot wardrobe I should take. [Check out a practical Israel packing list below.]
“Will you trust Me?” That’s the question God asks each one of us. I’m convinced that there isn’t any more important question than this.
Where are you placing your hope today? If it’s in ourselves and our abilities, we will fear and flail, control and obsess. But if our hope is in God, we can rest in the fact He knows exactly what we need. He will give us wisdom beyond human wisdom (James 1:5) and strength beyond any strength we could come up with on our own. Best of all, He will go before us and make a way.
For God is the ultimate guide and His expertise surpasses anything we could ever imagine. We simply have to keep in step with Him.
What tends to make you freak and fear rather than trust and rest?
What has helped you trust God more?
Israel Packing List
While this isn’t exhaustive by any means, here are some important things I suggest you pack when traveling to Israel:
- Lightweight clothes – ladies be sure to bring something to cover your shoulders and a skirt or capris to cover your knees when visiting holy sites such as the Church of Nativity, etc.
- Good walking shoes – you are going to spend a lot of time walking, so break in your shoes beforehand. Closed-toe shoes are best. Bring “moleskin” patches to guard against blisters.
- Hat & sunglasses – covering your head and protecting your eyes is crucial as the sun is intense.
- Sunscreen – see above 🙂
- Umbrella – there are rainy seasons in Israel, so check the internet before you go. Light-colored umbrellas are good sun protection as well.
- Water bottle – most tours have water available. Be sure to drink lots of it to protect against dehydration.
- Medications – bring everything you might need. Over-the-counter medication like Benadryl often requires a prescription.
- Bible – it’s wonderful to correlate locations you visit with portions of scripture.
- Journal – take a few minutes each evening to write down the sites you visited and bullet points of things that stood out to you. You can use those prompts to write more when you get home.
- Camera – bring a camera, camcorder or your phone, but be sure whatever you use takes great pictures. Bring extra memory cards or clean out your phone before you go. Purchase extra cloud space to back up or upload photos each night.
- Monopod or selfie stick – a monopod stick was the best investment of the trip John and I took! You can take pictures from lots of angles and it holds a camera or camcorder super steady. Selfie sticks for phones work well, too.
- Internet – be prepared to pay for internet in most hotels. Free Wi-Fi is often hard to find, but it’s a great way to stay in touch with family or upload photos.
Jump ahead to Filming Lazarus Awakening – Day One to begin the journey with me!
Disclosure: I make a small commission for purchases made through any affiliate links used in this post.
What other items would you add to my “Israel Packing List”?