God has a perfect plan for each of our lives; part of mine is to pray for others. Following the Steps of our Lord in the Holy Land always restores my spirit.
Before the trip, my friend Helen and I checked my seating on the Boeing 777, and I was relieved that it was a window seat. Even though we arrived 5 hours early to the airport, I always double check to make sure that I have a window or aisle seat. There was so much commotion at the ticket counter that I never got a chance to check.
My seat was at dead center on a packed plane. To make matters worse, the woman sitting directly in front of me suffered from puffy hair syndrome. I am not exaggerating when I say that, she sat with her chair reclined almost the entire time. Her hair almost touched my face, so this was my 14 hour- cross.
We arrived in Tel Aviv to the news of a lost piece of baggage, which had the sound system and my Bible, and another hour delay. 14 hours from LAX to Istanbul, with a 2 hour layover, and then 2 hours to Tel Aviv, and finally another 1-1/2 drive to Jerusalem. We were beat-up missionaries by the time we arrived at the hotel.
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Holy Thursday was our best day, filled with prayer and reverence. We started our walk to St. Peter in Gallicantu. This church is where Jesus was held in prison for one night before his crucifixion. I prayed for all who are imprisoned in their own minds, and for those in prison. Pat, Jim, Robert, Danny, and I were able to pray in the prison dungeon (deep pit) for over 45 minutes; that was a small miracle. Danny read from Psalm 88, powerful prophetic words that Jesus spoke: “O Lord God, I cry out at night in Your presence…You have caused my companions to shun me..I call on You, O Lord, I spread out my hands to you.”
We entered the Zion Gate to get to the Upper Room, and we did our usual foot washing as Jesus did to His desciples on Holy Thursday. Again, the great favor of God with permission to enter into another room (which is usually closed to the public). Many prayers went forth, the anointing was so powerful. I asked God to bless all who we were praying for. We visited King David’s tomb, which is located almost directly under the Upper Room, and where more prayer went forth.
We exited the Zion Gate to enter into the Dung Gate to reach the Western Wall. Pat and I were able to secure the perfect spot , and we dragged some plastic chairs so that we could sit with our hands on the wall. All your prayer requests were placed on the wall. We were glued to the wall for over an hour. I had also taken many pictures of the prayer requests with the idea of texting them to those I was praying for.
By this time my phone only had 6% charge, and we needed to call our driver. One of the shop owners that we are familiar with offered to charge the phone while we prayed at the Ecce Homo churches located on the Via Dolorosa. With the phone charged we headed down the Lion Gate to catch our bus.
I knew we had walked for hours and wanted to share with the team how many miles we walked. When I reached for the phone in my purse it was not to be found. In a panic, Jim and I retraced the steps where I was but no phone; somewhere along the Via Dolorosa my phone mysteriously disappeared.
When we got to the hotel I used Danny’s iPhone to call my daughter Sonja on one of the two numbers I had memorized, for her to help me locate my iPhone. Sonja found the iPhone located not to far from the hotel. Danny and I went to the front desk to call a cab. The man at the desk told us that this was a police matter, so we headed to the police station instead.
I have never been to a police station in my life and what I witnessed almost locked my jaw permanently. As we walked into the police station the window of the station was riddled with bullet holes. We were greeted by a woman officer who instructed us to go to the third floor for help. Through the “find my iPhone app” my phone was now in Ramallah, which is located on the West Bank. We waited for almost 2 hours to get help. In the meantime, we were part of a side show of 4 pre-teen Arabs getting arrested and questioned. In my mind I wished I had learned more than one word in Arabic. The scene that took place was filled with screaming and yelling; both the police and the young men never backed down. There was such a lack of respect, and the defiant boys had the support of their parents. At no time did the parents interrupt to lead the boys into respecting the police, instead they laughed at the situation.
On the third floor, only the plainclothes officer that helped us spoke English. I was beyond tired when the officer came out to tell us that there was a possibility that the phone could be retrieved, but both Danny and I had to go on the ride. Finally, after the long wait the grim news was that the iPhone was in Palestinian territory, and that the Israeli Police had no jurisdiction. It was too dangerous for them to cross that border. My phone was now in the hands of bad guys attempting to hack whatever information they could.
As we walked out of the police station, the half-covered moon lit the skies for us to catch a cab. To make small talk with the taxi driver, I shared what had happened. The taxi driver pulled over to see the location of the phone and said, “I take to Ramallah get phone, no tonight, I no see dark , tomorrow you call, and I take!” I presumed that angels got us back to the hotel because the old man was as blind as a bat.
I thank the Lord for Sonja, who locked up all my information on the iPhone. The only thing that was lost was the pictures that I had taken on that day. I got used to not having a phone for 5 days, and honestly it was not bad. My Blog is late because I had to get a new phone.
God Bless you who are addicted to your phones like I am. Five days without a phone taught me that life is fine without one, but I’d rather have a phone.