Monday, September 10, 2007

The Coffee Talk Companion: "The Yenta Tour: Exodus!"

Well, folks, Lisa’s summer tour comes to an end here, and fortunately, so does the Companion. While the world is certainly a better place without either our or Lisa’s contributions, it was nice to have her back for a bit, n'est-ce pas? After all, we knew she couldn’t keep quiet for too long. Thanks again for tuning in, and we promise threaten to come back as soon as Lisa does. Which should be in two months. At most.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today was our last day of touring and the convention and we packed it full to the very last possible minute. This morning session was the most meaningful of the week for me. The message was exactly what the Lord has been speaking to my heart. The text was Acts 1 and Joshua 1. Pastor Glenn Burris, Jr’s three main points were ones that I’m going to continue to hang onto during this season of my life. In talking about God’s relationship in the lives of the Jewish people, and ultimately, in ours as believers he says, “In the brokenness, God sent a promise. In the barreness, He sent His presence. In breakthrough, He sent the power.”

In the name of god, someone send us a Xanax. Here, Lisa demonstrates one of her few non-scrapbooking skills: She is one of a handful of people capable of making less sense than a priest.

The convention wrapped up with a beautiful time of taking communion together and powerful prayer for Israel.

Unfortunately, that powerful prayer for Israel was completely eclipsed by the rest of Israel praying that Lisa would scram already.

The first touring stop of the day was Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. I have visited other Holocaust museums in various cities but this one is, by far, the best one. I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon.

OK. Two things to really pay attention to:

1.) Lisa is rating Holocaust museums. As if they’re Best Westerns. Or potential death-and-resurrection-of-Jesus sites.

2.) “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” is what Lisa has to say about her experience at Yad Vashem. That’s like visiting Auschwitz and declaring, “It was SO amazing.” An unqualified “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” is more appropriate for a visit to, say, Busch Gardens. If you’re gonna give us an “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” regarding a Holocaust museum, it would behoove you to tell us why.

Also, we’ve been to a few Holocaust museums in our life, and, honestly, the prevailing thought usually is, “We have to get the fuck out of here RIGHT NOW.”

The next stop was St. Peter Gallicantu church which is the traditional site where St. Peter denied Christ. It is right beside Caiaphas’ house. My favorite part of this stop was the road leading up to the house because I could better imagine Jesus walking on this road toward Jerusalem than imagining he or Peter somewhere in this church building. I really wish they hadn’t built so many churches at all of these sites, it messes up the picture.

Too many churches in the Holy Land, Lisa? Who’d have thunk it? It seems veeeeeeery unchristian of you to be judging how many churches should be built in the Holy Land, ESPECIALLY for something as subjective as aesthetics. You do live in Texas, after all. We think that maybe if St. Peter were still around, he'd have one word for you:


Okay, so this was the surprise highlight of the whole trip. At the end of the day, one of the guys in our group suggested we go see if we could just walk up and get a tour of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This is the tunnel that was built from the water source into the temple during Hezekiah’s reign. Then David used it later to retake the city by bringing his army through the tunnels and up through a shaft into the city walls.

Again, sounding like Manhunt. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we just keep mentioning Manhunt to the point where Lisa has no choice but to find out what it is? We think so.

Our friend, Ray, brought glow sticks for our little group and we got to walk the length of the tunnel in water that was usually up to our shins but reached to my thighs when the tunnel got really narrow. We had so much fun.

Glow sticks in an abandoned tunnel, eh, Ray? How passé.

At the end of the tunnel is the traditional site of the Pool of Siloam where the blind man washed his eyes as Jesus healed him. Nowadays, most experts don’t believe this was the real site but it was fun to wash our eyes in it anyway.

You know, we always heard that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It's refreshing to know that sometimes there's a Pool of Siloam. And it's even better to know that, as illustrated here by the washing of eyes in standing water, occasionally, stupidity punishes stupidity.

After Steve got the convention office boxed up, he was finally able to join us for one last touring stop. We met at the Western Wall and then took a very late night trip through the “Rabbi’s Tunnel.”

We’re not touching that one with a 30-foot lulav.

This tunnel takes you to the closest place the Jewish people are able to go to the Holy of Holies. The highlight of this tour was a very enlightening model of the temple mount and what it has looked like through the ages from the time Abraham offered Isaac on the altar, to the time David bought the threshing floor, to the temple sites, and now the home of the Dome of the Rock.

Well, well, well—look who’s here. Daddy! Steve finally makes an appearance after months of being MIA. Albeit it’s in the middle of the night. In Israel. But still. He showed up. For one shot. That’s saying something, especially for someone as familiar as he is with the potential final resting place of a photograph in Lisa Whelchel’s hands.

July 26, 2007

Yea, tonight we get to go home! We’ve have had the best trip ever but we are ready to get home. We all got to sleep in this morning and then we spent the day gathering some last-minute souvenirs. We went back the olivewood shop and bought a beautiful nativity set for our family. Then we went shopping in the Christian Quarter where the girls picked ups some trinkets for their friends. Then it was time to begin our long journey home. From the time we leave our hotel ‘til the moment we walk through our front door we will have been traveling over 24 hours. It sure is going to feel good to be home.

And there you have it: the Caubles in Israel. Well, at least the Israeli tchotchke economy will be secure for years. It occurs to us, too, that we finally understand why the Israeli military is the world's best. It has nothing to do with rigorous training or the mandatory service. Rather, it's because the military has to be prepared year-round for groups of loonies descending upon their New Jersey-sized country FULL of dusty, delicate architecture and artifacts. Seriously, if you found out the Caubles were coming for dinner, wouldn't you immediately roll out the plastic floor runners and Scotchgard the cat?

Please have a wonderful fall. Oh, and a lovely autumn, too. We'll be back as soon as Lisa is.

And that's a fact of chai.