How To Make a Deposit on the 2014 Israel, Eygpt and Jordan Trip.

To book your land costs in full and/or put a deposit on the Israel, Eygpt and Jordan Trip please follow these steps.

Click on this link here

You will be directed to Ayelet’s site. The screen will display the Tour Highlights. You will see no only page links directly on the top of the page but there are also links below that. You can see Tour Highlights, The Itinerary, and the Rates, Dates, Hotels and BOOK IT tab. Please click on the Rates, Dates, Hotels and BOOK IT tab.

You will be directed to the next screen where you are instructed to “click” on the “book” link to sign up. (Please Note: Prices are currently our land only costs, we are awaiting confirmation of airline costs. Those costs should be forthcoming in April.)

To book as an individual then click 1 person, but click that you will be rooming with another guest who is registering separately. You do that is by clicking “yes” to the question: Will you be sharing a room with someone registering separately? ***Answer YES*** (Sorry for the repeat!) If you are going with a friend we will pair you with them. If you are rooming with a “new” friend we will be putting people together. If you wish to have a room to yourself, there is a significant increase in cost for that; it is much better to room with someone, but that is your choice. 🙂  Click that you will share a double room or a triple.

Continue to follow the screens and continue to fill in the necessary information. You will only be required to give a $500.00 deposit at this time, though the screen will show you the total land costs.

You will be required, if you are not already a registered member with Ayelet to create a “New Account,” so please proceed doing that.

If at any time you run into trouble, or are unsure of this secure online process, please call Ayelet’s office or email them for assistance.  You can email Grace at, She’ll be working with Jeff  (Ayelet Tour Organizer), and is available to help you out with registration.  She can also be reached at 800-237-1517, ext 338.

How To Tell A Story In A Stained-Glass Window

I recently had the priviledge of going into one of may daughter’s classes to talk about sharing our faith story. In the days preceeding the invitation to come, I had been introduced to the stories in this stained glass window. (I don’t know about any of you, but if I ever build a house, I would love to incorporate some stained-glass windows!)

It is so easy to think that we should have a typical formula for sharing our faith story; but when we really think about how unique each person is, then the expression of that faith story can be equally unique. Therefore, I encouraged these kids to get creative.  I said something along these lines: If you are a painter, then paint; If you are a speaker; then speak; If you are an artist, then do your artistry; If you are a musician, then play music; If you are a poet, then write poetry. The beauty of telling your story of salvation (or faith journey as some like to call it) is that there are a variety of ways that you can do that.

I have embraced that God has gifted me with a voice to be able to speak, but that does not mean it is the only way to tell God’s story of salvation and redemption. In fact, sometimes, as is evidenced by the stained-glass window above, there are other ways to communicate God’s stories.

In the highschool class we focussed primarily on the story of the Samaritan and I encouraged the students, as I would encourage you, to reflect on where you find yourself in that story. Take time, if you wish,  to reflect on the various characters in the Samaritan story (Luke 10) asking questions such as: What do you think was going through the various people’s minds? Who were they? What opportunities did they miss out on? Can I place myself in each character’s shoes, even if momentarily, to help me gain a better understanding of the dynamics of this story? What emotions  might the man who was beat up and left for dead experience? How does this story make me feel?

YOU have a story, please don’t feel that you can’t express it; rather, find creative ways to share it with others. There is no only way in terms of expression.

The Season of Lent

The Season of Lent

In recent years I have come to see that there is so much value in following the Church calendar year versus the regular calendar year. Following the Church seasons helps us to reorient our lives around the things that are of importance. I have a good friend, Laurel, who has been such a blessing to me as she has introduced me to various authors, has encouraged me with her thoughtful paintings, has sent me poetry, and has often encouraged me to “listen” to the state of my own soul. (Thank you Laurel!)

I am in a season of really reflecting on the need to let go, on the need to watch the words I speak, and on the need to take responsibility for the disciplines I put in my life in order to stay in touch with my own soul. It is so easy to get off track, isn’t it? And every once in a while we need someone or something (like an article, good book, a painting or picture, or most importantly the Word of God itself) to remind us of who we really are and challenges us to examine our condition.

In today’s world with iphones, ipads, computers, televisions and endless options of stimulating activity, it is easy to see why we can loose touch with our own soul. I was reading today this entry from the Transforming Center and I wanted to bring it to you. God is love. God wants to be in relationship. This lent season reminds us of the cost of that, and its purposes.

Catch me in my anxious scurrying, Lord.

Hemorrhaging Faith

I have been reading about this topic in recent weeks. As a mother, seeking to raise her kids in the faith, I find these statistics and findings shocking. We are going to be having a discussion at the college I attend in March on this very topic, it should be interesting.

Here are links to two articles that are worth your time reading.

I found this to be helpful so I wanted to share it with you.

C L A R I T Y by Carmen Bekkatla

I have known Carmen Bekkatla for a couple of years. Over the years I have come to value her wisdom and insight (we’ve had many hallway conversations as she teaches at the school my kids attend!). She is a sister in Christ who has much to offer others.

One of the things I like to do at the end of every year is to reflect on where I have been, and where I am headed. Though she shared this message some time back in a longer version (she edited it for our sake!), I believe it is a timely message for us today. I hope that you will be encouraged and empowered in your walk with Christ.

The acronym (a word in which each letter stands for something) that I’m about to share with you is one I shared for the first time at a chapel at Trinity Western University. In my fourth year at TWU, I was asked to speak to the university on behalf of our senior class. I spent weeks praying and asking God what He would like me to say that would offer words of encouragement and advice to my fellow university students and this is what He gave me. (I‘ve found I’ve had to refer back to this acronym at various times in my life when I needed a reminder to get my life back on track with God.)

The definition of the word CLARITY is the state or quality of being clear, perceptive, and of having understanding. This is God’s desire for each of us – that we clearly and fully understand what it means to be in relationship with Him.

Seeking clarity and maintaining a relationship with God involves:

C = Confess your sins. (Isaiah 30:15, I John 1:9) Right relationship with God begins with confessing our sins.

L= Lose yourself to God. (John 8:32, John 14:6) Walking in God’s truth brings freedom in our lives.

A= Allow yourself to fail. (Philippians 4:13) We can do all things through Christ.

R= Refuse to give up. (James 1:2-4) God will refine our character (if we walk in obedience and allow Him to do so in our lives). If, as Boyd Hopkins notes, we are willing to engage in transformation and not just pain reduction God will develop our character according to His loving will.

I= Be Intent on godliness. (Galatians 5:22-23) This requires being filled with the Holy Spirit.

T= Testify and be a Testimony. (II Timothy 2:15) God desires that we be people of integrity.

Y= Remember, Yesterday’s gone. (Philippians 4:8) We are to continually move forward in our walk with God.

Take some time to reflect on how God is speaking to you personally about having a more meaningful relationship with Him. Take a pen and a Bible and thoughtfully consider what He is requiring of you. If we are to have a meaningful relationship with God, each of us is required to do our part to personally meet with Him.

God bless you,
Carmen Bekkatla

I’m No Sissy!

I uttered those words just this week while at a Canadian Tire store with my youngest daughter, Elizabeth.

You see I have been subject to a very annoying buzzing sound as I have been driving around in my minivan. It happens the moment I turn my key on to start the van. I immediately hit the reset button only to have the annoying sound reappear every time I turned on my left turn signal. This ever present annoying sound was to draw my attention to the fact that my left blinker bulb was burnt out. And given that I spend a lot of time driving here and there for kids’ activities, you can only imagine my growing frustration. So I decided to do something about it.

I had about an hour of spare time this past Friday morning (a rare thing!) so I decided I was going to fix this annoying problem before I went crazy. (Me and crazy might not be a very pretty sight.) So, I did what I thought every woman might do. I pulled out the manual to the van and searched for blinker bulb (aka turn signal) and hunted down what I would need and how to change it.

So here I am in Canadian Tire with the van book in my hand speaking to the sales agent (who also happens to be a woman) and telling her the exact part I need in order to fix my problem. Elizabeth, overhearing our conversation says to me, “Mom, I think you better wait for Dad to do that.” I looked at her and my immediate, and I mean immediate response was to say, “I’m no sissy!” Now, I’m not saying women that choose to wait for their husbands to fix something are sissys because they are not. I reacted that way because I was confident, in my own mind, that I could do this (I didn’t need Albert to do it!) because the book gave me a step-by-step procedure.

On Saturday morning (I couldn’t stand another day of annoying reminders!) I popped the hood of my van, pulled out the two anchoring pins that held the headlamp, pulled the headlamp from its resting spot, turned the existing socket (that held the bulb) counterclockwise and removed the burnt out bulb. I replaced it with the new one (which I was rather proud of purchasing all on my own!) and then I put everything back together again. Then came the big moment. I started my van, turned the left signal on and jumped out to see if I had done what I had set out to accomplish. Indeed I did! I had successfully, on my own, replaced the bulb in my van. I am driving around now without that annoying sound –though I’m sure at some point, given our van has about 270,000 kilometres on it, that something else is going to go and my trusty (sometimes annoying!) van will bring it to my awareness. (I wish it would sing me a great song or something though!)

So why write about this? First because it is a funny story that I’m sure many of you (my women friends) can identity with. Perhaps you haven’t changed a bulb recently, but you have experienced or sensed at times that because of your gender you were seen as not able or capable of doing something. The second reason I wrote about it was because I was reminded of how necessary having turn signals are. Signals are a means of communication with fellow travellers on the road; signals tell others that we are moving in a certain direction.

Now if you’ll permit me (though you don’t really have a choice because it’s my blog) I’m going to take this in a different direction to end this funny story. I believe that many of us can wander aimlessly in life looking for a sense of purpose and direction. We can often travel down roads that by the world’s standards may seem successful (nice house, nice toys, beautiful family) but on the inside we are reeling. And I believe the answer to humanities deepest need is Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12

So, what signal are you following? Is it time to replace the old with the new?

With Special Care

Last night before I laid my head down to get some rest, I picked up one of my Bible’s from many years ago. I’m one of those types that mark up my Bible by highlighting, underlining, writing important dates down and just generally writing all over margins. It’s one of the ways I learn. So needless to say, I have a few around the house and I keep one of them by my bed. So last night before I went to sleep, I opened my Bible to just read a few passages and I came to Jeremiah 1 and I began to read.

As I was reading I noticed that I had tucked the date January 19,1997 by Jeremiah 1:5. So I thought on that verse for some time before falling asleep. When I woke up this morning, I decided that I was going to do a short reflection on that particular verse.

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah according to 1:4. In the Hebrew, the word for came is הָיָה hayah. It is a word that carries more meaning than simply something coming to Jeremiah; it is a word that expresses something ‘happening’ to Jeremiah. And in this particular instance, Jeremiah is encountering the living God and Jeremiah is experiencing something powerful in his life. And there are three things I want to point out from 1:5.

The three things are:

1. God knew him.

2. God had set him apart.

3. God had appointed him with a specific purpose.

All of the above show God as having intimate knowledge of the details of Jeremiah’s life. God’s care in forming him, God’s intimate knowledge in Jeremiah’s formation (God was part of the formation!) and lastly, God “appointment” or purpose for Jeremiah. I’m not suggesting that Jeremiah’s life is more special than any other life. What I’m wanting to encourage you with today is this: The same kind of care, the same kind of longing for separation and the same desire to show you your purpose is still a truth for us today.

God knows us, God desires for us is to be set apart for him and God has appointed us with a special purpose. Part of being free to become is working that out in our lives.

Blessings as you ponder the intimate knowledge of God concerning you.

Free to Become

In recent weeks I have been pondering a word that the Lord deposited into my heart during a recent chapel service. And that word was, “you are free to become in Christ.” In sharing the word that day, I shared with those present that we are free to become who God has purposed for us to be, and that in Christ we can become that person.

Since sharing that word that day, I have come to realize that it was also meant for me. A word from God that was meant to encourage others was also meant to strengthen and encourage my own heart and to prepare me for a season I was about to enter. So, I decided to blog about it and share it with those of you who take time to read my blog. I want you to know up front that writing is not a primary gift, and often grammar is difficult for me. (I’m working on it!) Nevertheless, I want to write because I want to process. And this writing is especially for my female friends who, like myself, are on a journey of discovery.

Who am I? And what is my purpose? What is God calling me to do? And what has he gifted me with? God, are these dreams I have in my heart from you or….? These are questions that from time to time I have asked myself. Have you? Do you have dreams, passions or ideas that will sometimes grip your heart and you find yourself saying, God please? Or at other times saying, oh Lord, please no!

Free to become in Christ gives us permission to ask the questions. And questions are good! I also think as we ask the questions we invite the Lord to show us his handiwork and his desire for us. This has often happened for me step by step, opportunity by opportunity, conversation by conversation, revelation upon revelation, and year by year. I believe that God is still creating me, or perhaps some might say recreating…

I say creating in an ongoing sense because I am convinced that workmanship takes time, especially good workmanship. The scripture says, “he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion.” So, it seems to me (and you are free to weigh in!) that there is a starting point and a completion point for every work of God in our lives, including the continued formation of who we are. And though hard at times, I must accept that this working of craftsmanship is to be a life-long process. But – there is freedom to become. And enveloped in that freedom is the gift of “becoming new.” Of allowing the old Carmen to die in order that she might live, and that she might live as Christ is forming her to be. Though this is a process, I want to say upfront that I do NOT have all the answers…I’m on a journey of discovery.

In recent years I have felt extremely blessed to be in an environment where I have felt affirmed, accepted and challenged to “become.” And part of my journey this last few years has been spent engaged in intentional study of God’s word. This will be a lifelong journey for me, and this type of study is something I have discovered feeds my soul and is something I totally enjoy! But for a moment, actually for longer than a moment, I am going to pause and do some internal work, or if you will, some self-examination. Why? Because there are some things I wish to explore about the ways that God has created me. And I am aware that in turning inward it could be argued that I am taking my eyes off God because it’s an inward focus. But I’m going to focus there for a season, and I’m doing that through various personality profile types of tests (tools can be helpful!) and through the readings of scripture and various other books. And I would suggest that if I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, then to spend a season of learning about what that means could actually help me to understand something of God and his handiwork. In fact, as I was processing with some of my girlfriends tonight, I posed this question: Can I learn something about the Creator by examining his creation?

So my friends, I want to encourage you that you too are free to become in Christ. You are free to be changed. You are free to examine the creation of the creator – and that means you!

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