Pictures in Jordan: The Monastery at Petra-Indiana Jones was filmed here;
Petra means Rose City due to the color of stone out of which it is carved;
Resiliency and Trauma Training in Ajloun;
The rock Moses struck for water in Exodus 17:5; to this day, it still provides water
Here are a few highlights from Jordan and Israel! You will want to visit with me when I return to the states to hear many more details and see pictures!
My time there was amazing. I came into the Middle East with a lot of uncertainty and misconceptions due to listening to media, etc. However, I was quickly repenting of some of my doubts and thoughts about the people here. One of the strengths of Ethiopian culture is their hospitality but the Jordanian people outshine Ethiopians in this regards. Everywhere I went I ran across amazing people, good food, and a level of hospitality I have not seen. My time in Jordan was spent in Amman, Petra, and Ajloun. I was a part of the Global Outreach Member Care Retreat. It was a lot of pouring in and being poured into. Do not let the pictures fool you of the tourism side of our time together-even then meaningful conversations, member care, and support and encouragement was occurring.
My role was as one of the facilitators for our small group sessions as well as teaching on Resiliency and Trauma. I have realized that I love teaching and training and it is something I will continue to incorporate into my work in Ministry Care. I loved getting to meet new missionaries and hearing where they serve, how I can pray, what challenges they face; I also had some joyful reunions with some of the missionaries I met in Uganda in October.
The best way to share about my time is to share a portion of the email written by the Mission Director of Global and sent to those of us involved in Member Care: “each time I opened my eyes and looked around I saw you using your God-given abilities to strengthen the team that He has placed in fields far from home. Your ability to listen, to love, to guide, to provide, to care, and to strengthen is awe inspiring. I see so clearly how God has called you together and built a foundation upon which He will help our world-wide team thrive and be an increased blessing in the lands to which they have each been called. You are multiplying the work of many helping our family in Christ not just stay the course but to plot the course and to become a brighter light than they were without you. I saw heavy shoulders and burdened souls shift countenance and leave inspired and able, ready to serve in new ways with new capacities. Health, resilience, support, resources, joy, laughter, biblical grounding flooded to the forefront through your many acts of service. Thank you for facilitating conversations, for your ongoing and daily prayers informed by empathy and knowledge. We honor the many ways that God has prepared each of you to do what only you can do for His body and His bride. The good news of the Gospel will be proclaimed with joy and renewed energy and a thousand hardships handled with wisdom and care as a result of your ministry. Bless you and thank you for your Kingdom partnership.” We serve such a mighty God and it was a great privilege to be a part of this team!
Israel pictures: A view of Jerusalem and the Old City;
Taken from the top of Masada of the Negev Desert;
Floating in the Dead Sea;
The Garden Tomb-where Jesus conquered death;
The Golden Gate (Eastern Gate of the Temple Mount)-it is told that the gate has been sealed off to prevent Jesus from returning
The retreat continued from Jordan into Israel. There is just something about being where Jesus walked that brings new life and meaning into familiar Scripture. One of the highlights was going to the Garden Tomb. One of the missionaries said it best when she stated that this is where Jesus fought all of our battles and won. Yes, battles still carry on around each us day-that is why Paul implores us to put on the Armor of God-but the war has been won and praise God for His Love and Mercy upon us!!! There is question about where the Garden Tomb is-2 locations claim this but the reality is, it does not matter-He is not in the grave, He is risen, death has lost its sting, and what a beautiful picture of the empty tomb as we soon celebrate Easter; the cross is meaningless without the resurrection! As we gathered together and sang, "Up from the Grave He arose" hope swirled all around us and peace flooded my heart. I also enjoyed just spending time walking in the old city of Jerusalem-there is so much history here that it is too difficult to put into words the impact.
Personally, one of my favorite parts was going to the Dead Sea. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the surface of the earth, and the saline water of the lake give lead to the name ‘Dead Sea’ because no fish can survive in the salty waters. The other result of the salty water of the Dead Sea is the unique feature that one can float naturally in them. In the photo, do you see the pure joy on my face?! I love how God in His sweet and gentle way shows me His Love and knows me intimately to grant the desires of my heart-even if it is to float in the Dead Sea! I came into this time spiritually dry due to many challenges in Ethiopia. As I listened to others share their stories of experiencing God in our time together, I felt jealous. I wanted one of those mountain top moments with God-something tangible to sustain me when I returned to Ethiopia. My lesson learned in Israel was it is His gentle whisper and small ways that remind me He knows me, He sees me, He alone sustains me, and He loves me. And He loves you too-delight in this and let this knowledge fill you with joy.
In my next newsletter, I will share about my return to Ethiopia and give some specific details as to the finance side of Ministry Care.
Prayer requests: I return to the states April 1st; please pray for safe travels. The next few months need to be spent fundraising-please pray for God's Provision. Thanks friends!!!
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.