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End of Day One
Mount Carmel and the Valley of Armageddon, Israel
Admittedly, our first day in Israel was jam packed as we made our way up the coastline from Tel Aviv to explore the seaside ruins in Caesaria. From here, our journey turned inland passing through the Valley of Armageddon, the destination of all end-time prophecy.
On one side of the road was Mt. Carmel where Elijah challenged and defeated the prophets of Baal. On the other side of the road, past flourishing agricultural fields and flowering landscapes, was the town of Nazareth blurring into the distance.
We would not go this direction. Rather, we journeyed to the ancient city of Jezreel (think Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah), through the ancient vineyards of Naboth and into an Arab community where we met with an Israeli Arab Christian running an orphanage in the area. The complex identity issues which face these Arabs living as a minority amongst the Jewish majority in Israel is not something I had previously considered. Moreover, what does it mean to be an Arab Christian living amongst and serving the Muslim majority in the Arab community.
The warm laughter of children echoed through the cold stark meeting room as our group shivered together in an unused corner of the orphanage. I think that they may have put us in this chilly room just to make me appreciate my first cup of gritty Turkish coffee.
The rays of the setting sun warmed my face.
The Turkish coffee warmed my insides.
The Israeli Arab Christian community warmed my heart.