The world is getting smaller. Time zones are blurring. Cultures are blending into a beautiful mess of colour and memories. Pieces of my heart now belong in more countries than I've ever even been to. I have family on every corner of the globe, on almost every continent. The love that crosses the oceans and span the lands ties us all together like a big beautiful present, wrapping the earth in prayer.

A month ago, I was in the Middle East. It seems like a dream at times, like maybe it didn't actually happen. But it had to be real. It changed me forever.

After what seemed like a lifetime of growth and community crammed into the 3 months, leaving Hawaii was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Saying goodbye to friends who became family and the place that unexpectedly became home, knowing it would never be the same. My team of 12 had become a team of 11, and I hated getting on that plane knowing we wouldn't all be together. And as we settled down in Nazareth for 3 weeks and then moved on to Tiberias, our team of 11 broke apart again and became a team of 7.

With all the upheaval, the culture shock, the spiritual battle - we were emotionally drained with no comfort zones. But, as a smaller team, we put one foot in front of the other and travelled on to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and then back to Nazareth before finishing with a couple of days in Tel Aviv.

Despite the struggle, the more I reminisce, the more I see the way the Lord was moving in us and through us during that time. Like gold in a fire, we were tested and refined and left stronger and closer to the Lord and each other than ever before.

I, personally, fell in love with the Arabic people and their culture. I've never been loved so unconditionally, or experienced such generosity or hospitality. Simply walking down the street of our village to the bus stop we were invited in to so many houses for coffee and sweets, and every language, cultural or religious barrier was broken as we communicated for hours without words. Most of our ministry was spent this way - simply going into people's homes and building relationships, random acts of kindness and street ministry, however, practically we were able to serve too by visiting and praying for patients at the hospital, painting, renovating and cleaning a school, volunteering at a restaurant, working with children at summer camps, and encouraging the local churches and believers.

My eyes were opened to truths about Israel that not many people know, because the media fails to mention them. They fail to mention that in Israel and in Palestine live real people, with real lives, real families and real love and desire for peace between the people groups that live there. Everyone we spoke to told us that they didn't care whether their neighbour was Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Chinese, African... All they wanted was peace and to live normal lives. I even visited with a group of Jewish and Muslim families who met every Saturday night for dinner in the home of a Christian family.

I don't know what the answer to it all is. I feel like I have barely scraped the top of the barrel of information available to me to help me pick a side, but I don't want to. And I don't need to. All I need to know is that Jesus knows the answer, he has promised peace and whatever it looks like now I can trust him to fulfil the work he started.

I hope since coming back that I never again take my freedom for granted. Going through the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem was probably the most eye-opening thing I've ever done, but, more than that, it is the stories of the hearts of believers who are living with the effects of the West Bank Wall that will stay with me forever. How a man can live as a prisoner within the wall, unable to leave except by crawling through a hole underneath it, and still smile more radiantly than anyone I've ever seen because he knows his freedom is in Jesus and that no man, no military, no government can ever take that away from him.

If you can, please remember Israel, Palestine, and it's people in your prayers. They are people, just like you and me, with hopes and dreams of freedom. Their love for each other has no walls, despite what is built between them. Pray for peace, pray for a quiet end to the wars and unrest, pray for my friends, pray for freedom.

[photos coming soon]


  1. Well look at you, finding beauty and truth all around the world. :) I can't wait for the pics.

    1. Hey thanks! It's been too long since we've talked!

  2. This is beautiful! I just watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain and he went to a restaurant owned by a married couple (and Israeli Jewish woman, and her husband, a Palestinian Muslim). It was the most beautiful restaurant, and it looked like they were in the middle of the Mediterranean...it was near the West Bank, and it was a really incredible story. So much love and beauty there.

    Erik tells stories about Iraq, and how lovely, and warm, and open the people were there, especially to American soldiers. They would open their homes, and bring them food, and offer to be translators. So different than what the news depicts of that Middle East. It's unfortunate that we don't see what the people are really like.

    1. I would love to go to Iraq, or anywhere else in the Middle East. I have fallen in love with the culture there, it is definitely eye opening and life changing.