Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Great Adventure

Bubba and I have decided that we will be going to Israel on a 14 day trip that will be a guided tour.  Dr. Jimmy DeYoung will be our tour guide and teacher while on this trip of a lifetime.  The exciting thing is that the adventure has already started and we don’t have to wait until we get on the plane in October.  The trip is going to cost around $10,000 for both of us to go.  I don’t know about you but we don’t have that kind of money lying around.  However, this was a trip that we could not pass up for so many reasons:
1)  I am Jewish by birth and it has been a life long dream to go to Israel, the Holy Land, and see where it all began.
2)  My husband and I are Christians, we both have a personal relationship with The Living God, Jesus Christ.  Israel is The Holy Land and has so much historical and Biblical significance.
3)  As stated above, Israel has so much historical and Biblical significance!  Why is it that the huge countries that surround a piece of land the size of Rhode Island want to crush and destroy it?  Why do they have such a problem with such a tiny little place?!?  Because it is God’s chosen place, housing God’s chosen people, and they hate that.
4)  Dr. Jimmy DeYoung is one of the leading authorities on Biblical prophecy and the end times.  Not only that but he has lived in Israel on and off for around 18 years and so he knows the country and people.  We will be going beyond the tourist areas for an authentic trip of the real country.  We will stand in Biblical places and re-read the Biblical passages that go with them.
5)  The Bible will become more alive than it has ever been for us.  Our faith will be challenged and strengthened as we dive even deeper into God’s Word.
The challenge and current adventure will be saving up the money in order to pay for this trip.  We are, and have been for several years, a debt-free family.  The only debt we carry is our mortgage and we are doing all we can to pay that off.  If we don’t have the money in the bank to pay for something then we don’t buy it.  Period.  So, if we do not save the money for this trip then we will not be going.  Period.
It is my joy to brag on God and His infinite wisdom for a moment.  Around July of 2009 Bubba and I discussed what we would like to do for our 10th wedding anniversary.  Now, our 10th wedding anniversary will be in 2012 so this was some serious “forward” thinking on our part.  We, mostly me, love to visit new places and we discussed a few that we would both like to see.  I thought Bubba would be thrilled to go to Washington State and I’ve never been so it would be good for both of us.  He, surprisingly, shot that down.  So I mentioned New York City, yet another place I am longing to experience.  Bubba was okay with that one but I believe he mentioned a trip to Israel.  Of course, I jumped at that one!  A two-four week trip to Israel for our 10th anniversary sounded like a dream and made both of us excited.  You can not imagine how my heart leapt for joy that my sweet husband actually wanted to visit a place I have dreamed of going to!?!  So, God had laid the desire to visit Israel on my husband’s heart.  We discussed a budget for the trip, did a little math and came up with a plan to save $X every month for nearly 3 years in order to pay cash for our vacation to Israel.  We started saving around August, 2009.  In December, Dr. DeYoung came and preached at our church.  This was such a pleasant surprise as he is a widely sought after guest preacher/teacher.  Before he started preaching our Pastor told us that there were plans to take a group from our church on a trip to Israel and that the meeting would take place after the service.  I barely heard anything Dr. DeYoung said after that!  We knew when we walked into the meeting that we were going.  We were blown away that God had already prepared our hearts for this trip.  We were in awe that He had already put a plan in our hands to save for this very trip!  If we had not listened to God and had not already started saving for this trip then it would not be financially possible for us to go.
Now, we had the time with the intended vacation in 2012 to save up that kind of money.  With this opportunity to travel with our Pastor and Dr. DeYoung on the calendar for October, 2010 we will be re-working our budget.  Other things that we save for throughout the year will be lacking funds this year.  We have sent out a letter to our family members and closest friends letting them know that we will not be buying the traditional holiday gifts for anyone this year (birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day, etc.).  We put money aside every month for home improvements, camping trips, etc. so those things will not be funded this year either.  Every available cent will be going towards our Israel fund.  Part of this goal to fully fund the vacation to Israel will entail cutting our grocery budget drastically.
This is where I get to brag on God again!  Since August, 2009 I have been reading, researching and learning all I can about couponing and saving at the grocery store and drug stores.  I haven’t cut the grocery bill down yet but we do have more food in our pantry and frig than we have ever had in 7.5 years of marriage.  My goal for 2010 is to reduce our grocery budget from $85 a week to $35.  We have no children so this is a workable goal for us.  This will allow us to save $100 every 2 weeks, add that to the other budget items we have cut out and we are looking at a savings of $325 every two weeks towards our $10,000 goal.
Before you think poorly of us, especially in today’s economy, let me say that we both KNOW and are humbled by the fact that my husband has a very good and steady income.  We thank God for the job he has nearly every day!  The one thing we are not cutting out of our budget is our giving.  We will continue to tithe OFF THE TOP (before taxes) to our local New Testament Church.  We will continue to give to the non-profit organizations that the Lord has laid on our hearts.  We will continue to find amazing deals at the grocery store in order to give to the local food bank.  We will find fabulous deals at the drug stores in order to give to shelters that need basic toiletry items.  We will not turn our backs on our God ordained blessings of helping those less financially fortunate than us.  I say it that way on purpose because a lot of times those that are less financially fortunate are many times more family fortunate.

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