How the Journal began…
Welcome to Jerusalem! Greetings from the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, where the Kidron Valley and Mt. of Olives stretch out behind me.
Imagine living in this land where the Bible comes to life every day…and under the stars each night! What an amazing opportunity it has been to put down tent pegs in this strategic crossroads and to come under the ancient canopy of those who have called this place home for generations. As a women’s Bible teacher since the 1970’s, I viewed Israel as the place where my heroes had walked, and each 10-day visit here was never enough to absorb all of the cultural drama unique to this land.
In 1996 my former husband chose a path of infidelity and then divorce. Twenty-five years of marriage came to a close. I needed a heavy dose of hope and a reminder of God’s faithfulness. What better place to return to than the land where Jesus did the impossible and where faith lessons are around every corner?
In early 2001, when Israeli tourism was at a record low because buses were being blown up around the country, I came for a solo retreat at the Sea of Galilee. During breakfast one morning I had a “turning-point conversation” with a woman and her daughter who were the only other guests at the hotel. Dianne was pursuing a masters degree in Jerusalem and the thought of studying here lodged a seed in me. Nearing 50, divorced, with one daughter married and my younger daughter leaving for college, I sensed it was a time for new beginnings.
Family and friends were concerned for my safety when I came to Israel in 2002 to enter a graduate study program at Jerusalem University College www.juc.edu. Here, in a rooftop apartment overlooking the colorful jumble of the Old City and the Mt. of Olives, I began writing Jerusalem Journal to assuage the fears of those who bought the “war zone” perspective of the news media and also to stir the hearts of others to come visit this amazing land.
Through the Journal, I began to spill out my passion for this land and the God who created it…revealing a tapestry of stories and pictures quite different from those of the news media. I sign my letters with the phrase, “Enjoying the walk home,” a reference to the fact that the Lord has cared for me as a husband on this journey and that I am anticipating my “eternal” home. On my walk home, I met Gary Bayer in Jerusalem and a year later we were married here in 2005…another new beginning.
A Journal reader, Ross Robson, caught my passion… “Cindy, we who go as visitors see and soak up the sights; you who live there see and soak up the culture. It is the culture you so masterfully share in your Journal.” Join me on the journey, won’t you?
Enjoying the walk home,
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