Archive for 2019

Timing is Everything

As I sit and write this blog post, it is preparation day for the Passover. This is the season celebrated as a memorial of the Israelites being set free from slavery. It began with the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes and, after the death of the firstborn, continued with one million people exiting Egypt. We are finally seeing the ‘light’ to the end of our ‘misadventures’ and will begin our exodus to Alaska on Monday. It really does feel like we have been set free from a bondage that taught us a lot about RV dealers, manufacturers and trusting God for everything.

On Monday, April 8, 2019, we began our journey across the U.S. to Indiana to pick up our trailer. Loaded with necessities for staying in it on the way back, we set out across Colorado on a beautiful spring day. In the rearview mirror I could see the grandeur of snow-covered Pikes Peak looming above the foothills. It was a glorious day and we were really heading east.

Because my husband drives 99.9 percent of the time when we are hauling the trailer, I drove the first leg of this adventure. Before we knew it we were in Kansas and felt as though we were back in our travel element – even without Sadie being towed behind. Yes, our fifth-wheel is a Crusader, but that word just never sat well with me so we call our trailer Sadie. I tried Tzade, which is grandpa in Yiddish, but my husband nixed that one. So Sadie it remained.

The bedspread … uggg

We spent our first night in a DIVE of a Days Inn on the east side of Kansas City in Concordia. It had been awhile since we had even stayed in a hotel as we are either in Sadie or rent Air BnB’s when we travel. This place had paper thin walls and was not appealing. My husband commented, “We just need a place to rest our heads.” And we did. After nearly 12 hours on the road, we were exhausted and this was only the first day!

St. Louis Skyline

The next morning we continued our travels through Missouri and St. Louis. Somehow we didn’t realize there was a beltway around the city so we drove through it. What a nightmare of twisted roads. The mousetrap in Denver has nothing on that mess. We dreaded driving our trailer back through it on the way home. We passed the St. Louis Arch and being the football fan that I am, I wondered if I would see Patrick Mahomes driving by us as I saw Peyton Manning in Denver.

From Missouri we went through Illinois and then Indiana. The roads in both of these states leave a lot to be desired. Potholes and rough road are the norm, and again we considered driving our newly refurbished trailer bouncing on these horrendous stretches of highway. How would she do? From Indianapolis we began heading north toward Wakarusa where our trailer actually had been all along. Unfortunately, we never saw Elkhart which we have heard is an amazing city with every RV manufacturer having its headquarters and manufacturing buildings there.

Nappanee, Indiana

After another 12 hours, we arrived in Nappanee – an Amish community about 5 miles from Wakarusa. When researching any of the RV manufacturers in Indiana, they always mention their Amish craftsmen who build the units. It didn’t really compute in my brain that meant Amish communities. I felt like was back in Pennsylvania driving around Lancaster County with all of the horse and buggies on the road.

One of the few hotels in the small town was called The Inn at Amish Acres and we decided to stay there. They offered us a room with a king-sized bed and a jetted tub! After the dive the night before, we took it and basked in rest and relaxation – after iHop. Yeah, I had been craving iHop pancakes. After stuffing ourselves with bread products at nearly 10 p.m. (which I don’t eat) we enjoyed what was left of the evening at Amish acres.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The big day for retrieving Sadie arrived. We drove the ten minutes from our hotel to the Primetime Service Center. Notice I wrote, Service Center. Our trailer was never in a manufacturing bay, but at the Primetime Crusader service center. We’re not sure why we were told they couldn’t get us into the service center, but they did. In fact, when we asked about that, the two people working with us looked very confused – especially the one who had told us that in the very beginning! Our trailer would never have gone into a manufacturing bay according to these two, so from the get-go, we were told a little fib.

Sadie at Primetime

Sadie looked shiny and new. All of the exterior cracks were gone. New decals were put on the sides because they removed the old ones with the sides. My husband discussed some of the issues they fixed or had inspected. The frame was not bent. The camber fell within the legal limits. The leaf springs were replaced and made the trailer sit higher. After we had the trailer with us a few days, we looked at the original photos of it when it had been delivered. It never sat as high as it does now which leads us to believe the leaf springs were never quite right. They said the axles were fine, but to us it looks as if we also have new axles.

Slide Slickers

The slides opened and closed smoothly though there were these long plastic strips called Slide Slickers taped to the floor where the two slide wheels came in over the linoleum. I asked what they were. Apparently, they learned that the slide with the refrigerator, stove/oven, pantry, TV and fireplace was a little heavy for the slide roller. Newer models have a different type of roller – a stronger one – which helps support the heaviness of the slide. Ahhhhh, so that’s what really happened! It was a manufacturer error that they upgraded on new models. When they realized their error, they should have recalled these trailers before they cracked rather than blame us for having too much weight! A little tidbit of information they hid from us so they wouldn’t have to fix our trailer. For anyone that has heavy slides and can see the marks on the floor, consider investing in a couple of Slide Slickers and save your flooring.

We had to make a detailed check of the trailer before signing off and taking it out of the lot. This is a very difficult thing to do. What do you check? The obvious problems were solved like the slit in the flooring, but they had taken out all of the slides to replace the sides. After putting on new sides, they put the slides back in. They removed everything that was attached to the exterior slides and then put those things back in. They had removed all the windows and front door and put them back in. They redid all the trim, re-caulked and the list goes on. How does one inspect all these details without actually living in it and finding the problems as you use it? We took about an hour to make sure the stereo system worked (one speaker wire had to be fixed), the TV turned on, the fireplace put out heat, the refrigerator door didn’t stick and all the lights turned on and off.

Before accepting our trailer, we were told we have a 90-day Warranty on everything they touched in the trailer – which is pretty much everything. Again, we were told at the get-go there would be no warranty – another fib? We signed the papers, handed in our travel receipts as they only pay one way, hitched up Sadie to our truck and departed the Primetime service center. We stopped in Nappanee to fill our propane tanks and we were ‘on the road again.’

Driving a fifth-wheel is very different from just driving a truck. We drive slower and go fewer daily miles. When driving to Alaska, we limit ourselves to only 6 hours per day or 300 miles so we don’t burn out with driving. Because of that it takes us 14 days with two-night stops on Shabbats. On the way to Indiana, we had beautiful weather, but leaving was a different story. A winter storm was crossing the midwest and though we missed the snow in Kansas and Colorado, we had to endure some rain across Indiana and Illinois and the front with wind, lots of wind across Missouri and eventually Kansas. This made the drive even slower.

As the navigator, I am responsible for finding rest stops as well as stops for the night. On one of our rest stops, I went into the trailer and decided to turn on the lights. NOTHING. I tried again. NOTHING. I asked my husband, “Don’t we have batteries? Shouldn’t the lights have come on?” Yes. He does a little trouble shooting to find that one of the things they did and neglected to tell us was to completely disconnect our batteries. While in the lot, we were hooked up to electric! Little problem #1 solved.

I have to give a shout-out to my brother now. As we were heading toward St. Louis, I found an RV park somewhat in the city (remember we didn’t know about the beltway). About an hour outside of St. Louis, he called and asked where we were and where we were staying. Because he has traveled across country numerous times, he completely nixed my choice. He said that we needed to take the beltway north around St. Louis and be on the other side so we would not encounter morning rush hour traffic. He actually said if we stayed at that place we would want to kill ourselves the next morning! I took the advice and began looking for a park on the west side of St. Louis. I found what looked to be an amazing place called Lakeside Park 370 in St. Peters, Missouri. It was a wonderful stop. And, it was only 5 minutes off of Interstate 70 when we took off in the morning. We missed ALL morning traffic! Again, shout-out to my bro!

With another long day ahead of us, the wind was not welcome. We had to cross Missouri and go halfway through Kansas with a stop in Kansas City at Cabela’s. For those who may want to know, yes, we saw flooding. We crossed the Missouri several different times, but only once was there obvious flooding. The mighty Mississippi flowed thick and muddy, but that is the norm from my experience. We did see a riverboat floating down the Mrs. Sippi (as my mom used to call it) which always reminds me of Mark Twain and “Huckleberry Finn.”

The Farm in Ellinwood, Kansas

Our last night stop on the road was in Ellinwood, Kansas, a small town outside of Great Bend and about 45 miles south of Interstate 70. Though it was a tad ‘out of the way,’ our dear friends and Alaskan ‘family’ Bob and Stacy live there on a farm. For the past two years, they were our camp host mentors, major support system and encouragement. They became not only friends, but like family in Alaska. Because of some health issues, they won’t be returning to Alaska this year and we had to see them, hug them, and tell them how much we will miss them and will pray that maybe someday they can return to Quartz Creek Campground. Our timing couldn’t have been better as it was Stacy’s birthday and we met some other wonderful people as well as had catch up time with some we already knew.

From Ellinwood, we continued our journey back to colorful Colorado. While we were at a rest stop, as I was putting the few things away from lunch, I noticed the light on the refrigerator blinking, “Check Gas.” Well, that’s not something I want to see. I told my husband and his initial reaction was that we blew through all of our propane the night before with our furnace. I objected. We had lived through sub-zero temperatures at Cherry Creek and never used two 30-lb propane tanks in one night. Even in Alaska when we use a lot more propane for daily living that never happened. We were both baffled by the incident especially after he realized that both tanks were still full!

As my husband was trouble shooting, he realized that we didn’t have propane to our stove either. Unbeknownst to us, there is a valve under the trailer that controls the propane to the fridge and stove. While Primetime serviced our trailer, they turned it off. Nice of them to tell us! All I can say is I’m glad we didn’t have a propane leak! Simple problem #2 fixed.

Moving back in

We arrived southeast of Parker, Colorado Friday afternoon and stayed at a sweet little campground called Casey Jones RV park in Elizabeth. In this city-run park, we were going to hang out a few days, rent a U-haul and retrieve everything out of storage for the trailer.

As I began making dinner at Casey Jones, I noticed water around my sink. I couldn’t figure out where it came from so I kept wiping it up thinking it was just from washing dishes. Nope. Somehow the entire piping under the kitchen faucet became loose and water was running out everywhere under the sink and into the cabinet below. Of course, like everything thus far, it was a quick fix, but now we had water puddles and nothing to dry it with except a few paper towels. A sigh of relief when it was mostly dry and there was no warping of the wood. Simple problem #3 solved.

We began putting together our new Berkey water filter. Yes. We bought a Berkey water filter because we are tired of buying cases of water especially when we are on the road and there is nowhere to buy them. Plus, we are becoming more ‘green’ and less ‘plastic’. Once it was together, we filled it halfway with water, set it on our island so it could filter all night.

While the weather was beautiful and not windy the day before in Colorado, we woke up to snow and cold again to move! What’s with that? And, the public water was frozen in the outside pipe so we had no water. Generally, we try to keep some fresh water in our tank for this very issue, but we were just getting settled again and well, we didn’t. We managed to have breakfast without water and went to pick up our U-Haul about 30 minutes away. We rented it for 8 hours, but they told us we could have it the weekend because they are closed on Sunday. At the time we didn’t think that it mattered, but that extra time became a blessing – a huge blessing.

It took us about 45 minutes to unload our storage unit. We then went to our son’s house for lunch and to gather as much of our stuff as we could in the truck and trailer. After another 30 minutes, we were back at the campground.

When I walked in the door, I heard running water. What? Why would water be running? Then I saw it. I. Saw. It. One of us had turned on the water at the kitchen sink, but because the pipe froze no water came out. One of us forgot to turn the faucet off! The water, whenever it unfroze, began to pour out of the faucet and into the kitchen sink. After it FILLED the galley holding tank, it filled the sinks and then overflowed into the kitchen and made its way into the bunkroom where the carpet was completely drenched. Water was everywhere! I mean everywhere! This time I did have towels and began soaking it up. We put a little heater in the bunkroom to help dry the carpet which took about 4 days.

The chunk of time it took us to dry up the trailer cut into the time planned to unload the U-haul and put all of our stuff away. Remember, no ducks should ever be put in a row! We needed that extra day of rental! Thank you Yeshua for always being ahead of the game! By the evening, mostly everything was put away inside of the trailer, but again my husband noticed water on the table where the Berkey had been sitting. I figured it was just water from all the water that seemed to ooze from everywhere after the flood. Nope, it was the Berkey. The spigot had not been tightened enough and nearly all of our filtered water had leaked out.

Because the manufacturer insisted that we were overweight, we have spent months going through what we put into Sadie and removing what we really don’t use or need. As we put away everything that was in boxes, we filled a rather large plastic tub with more items. In the end, we have extra space in cabinets that we didn’t have before and, under the trailer in the basement, we have a lot more room. We believe we have lightened our load so to speak.

After leaving Casey Jones, we headed back to Cherry Creek for a few days. We made a small stop at Denver Mattress so the new mattress we ordered could be put into our trailer. After sleeping on it one night, we decided it was not for us. First, it was too soft. Second, it was too heavy. We couldn’t open the storage under the bed TOGETHER. This little purchase suddenly put the weight back in that we had taken out. Third, it was 14 inches high. It was too high for me to get into bed and I had to slide out. I didn’t want to spend my next few years climbing into or sliding out of bed.

The stop at Cherry Creek was also for us to do some renovation. Our trailer has a bunk room. It’s a wonderful place for storage, but really it couldn’t be fully utilized because it had a sofa bed. The project for our first day back at our ole stompin’ ground was to remove the sofa bed, put it in storage, go to Home Depot and Lowe’s to buy the necessities to make a closet for my husband with storage behind while still retaining the actual bunk for grandchildren. We also had to purchase a small chest of drawers for all the miscellaneous stuff we kept in smaller plastic drawers. There is also a small closet in the bunk room that is so narrow that only child hangers fit. We decided to put shelves in there for manuals and the like because none of the cabinets are wide enough for one single notebook. Who designs these trailers? They need women involved! By the end of the day, those projects were finished and, while my husband had worked on them, I made the developers of Command Hooks a lot richer.

The First Days of the Ninety

Upside down window trim

The next day we had to make a phone call to Forest River. They forgot to put trim in some places, they put trim upside down on one of the windows and they forgot to put the blind back in the bunkroom. For these issues of their carelessness, we need to see a dealer so we’re going to wait until we’re in Anchorage rather than delay our northbound trip any longer. The other smaller issues we decided we will fix.

Law and Grace in the Real World

Also, it was laundry day that I wanted to do at the park along with some errands. I won’t go into details about how horrendous my laundry experience was, but I will say that I won’t be returning to camp host at Cherry Creek State Park next year. From the word ‘host,’ comes the words ‘hospitality’ and ‘hospital’. None of those words describe Cherry Creek. Suffice it to say that the rules in the park are more important that the guests and even those of us who volunteer our time. Their recent volunteer newsletter says they save millions of dollars using volunteers, but they really don’t appreciate in any respect the needs of the volunteers.

In our nearly 30 years of walking out a Messianic faith, we have heard more times than we can count that we have ‘put ourselves under the law.’ Or, that the law is done away with for grace. Good teachers and judges even know that one needs both grace and law. Laws exist to regulate decisions, but sometimes circumstances require grace in the decision-making process. This is not something I witnessed while working at this park, nor is it something I experienced as a camper. In the end, my laundry was completed and we spent our final evening at Cherry Creek visiting with the two other volunteer hosts who I worked with during the winter.

We pulled out of Cherry Creek at 11:59 a.m. on Wednesday, one week after retrieving our trailer. I record this time because as a host we could never figure out why people would sit until one minute before noon and then leave. Noon is checkout and these particular folks were always somewhat annoying as we hosts have to wait until the guest leaves to prepare the site for a 1:00 check in. We decided, as a joke, to be those people and we pulled it off!

The Finishing Touches

From Cherry Creek, we had two more stops. The first was back to Denver Mattress. We returned the monstrosity for a lighter, firmer model. Once in the trailer, we made it up and laid on it a few minutes. We picked up the bed to find it could be easily lifted to the storage below. We then locked the door, put up the steps and began pulling out of the pick-up area. We turned the corner into the parking lot and my husband gasps. What? WE FORGOT TO PULL IN THE BEDROOM SLIDE! We have never done that, EVER. All I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh. We were and are so exhausted that well, we left the bedroom slide out and began driving! I jumped out of the truck, unlocked the door and pulled it. I am still laughing at our faux paus just grateful we weren’t on the main road when we noticed it!

Then off to our last big stop – Parker Trailer where Sadie will be receiving new and improved suspension, a new pin box with suspension (hitch) as well as upgraded steps.

While waiting for Sadie, we’re back at our son’s house and I finally have time to update our adventures. Overall, we are happy with Forest River/Primetime. As the manufacturer, they took responsibility for their product and made things right even giving us a 90-day warranty. Only time will tell how the work they did will hold up over the thousands of miles Sadie will be on the road. During our discussion with them about the events over the last six months, we expressed concern that our dealer in Loveland, after being sold in January, didn’t want anything to do with helping us. This was not good news to Primetime as this dealer still represents them and sells their products. It is very important to have a good relationship with with your dealer and they need a good relationship with the manufacturer.

On Monday, April 22, two weeks after a cross-country trek to Indiana, numerous ‘misadventures’ and moving back into our ‘home,’ we wait for sunset and the beginning of Passover, symbolic of the spiritual new year. As we move into the days of Unleavened Bread, we will pick up our fifth-wheel and begin our Exodus from Colorado to the last frontier of Alaska.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

No Ducks, No Rows

Wouldn’t this be nice?

In October 2018 after we returned from Alaska, we took our trailer to the dealer in Loveland, Colorado to inspect the crack that had developed on the exterior midline of the rig. After a thorough inspection, they informed us that we not only had the 12-inch or so crack in the middle of the trailer, but each of the four slide-outs had cracks on each upper corner. They had never seen a trailer with so many cracks!

As the trailer was still under a structural Warranty, they contacted the manufacturer, Primetime at Forest River, who said they could fix it mid-February and it could take up to eight weeks to complete. The other openings were in July and October 2020! Though February put a little crimp in our plans with regard to camp hosting at Cherry Creek State Park Campground, we accepted the offer because we needed to start our trek north back to Alaska in mid-April. We wanted our trailer to be ‘like new’ so we wouldn’t worry about it falling apart on the road – something one of the Forest River folks told us could never happen.

In December 2018, we sold our home in Nebraska. We packed all of our belongings and put everything in storage in Colorado near our son’s house. As the weeks progressed in January, the dealer, at the request of the manufacturer, came numerous times to check the camber and take multiple photos of the cracks. He also took photos of the twisting of the refrigerator, the cracking in the ceiling of the shower and the twisting of the front door. He noted that all of the doors slowly shut themselves, something they didn’t do when we bought the trailer. We learned through the photos that the leaves on our axles were flat and possibly the reason for the cracking from a bent frame.

The manufacturer insisted we were overweight which caused the leaf problems. We didn’t agree with this assessment as we had weighed our trailer twice when full and once totally empty. Though it may have been ‘close’ by some estimates, it was definitely not overweight; it was a problem with the manufacturing. We have learned through research they produce everything to the minimum requirements by law.

While waiting for mid-February to arrive, we met a family at Cherry Creek who had had similar issues with their Heartland fifth-wheel. Theirs was also under warranty when the cracking began and it was taken to the factory and fixed -– superficially they learned. While driving to Canada, their entire trailer began to fall apart on the road. They had to limp it to an RV park where they left it for parts because Heartland refused to help them as their Warranty had expired. The manufacturer didn’t take any responsibility. When they saw the condition of our trailer, they freaked out because they knew what could be in our future.

As mid-February approached, we contacted our dealer to find out when the manufacturer would be arriving for our rig. After all, we had to pack and remove all of our belongings and rent another storage unit. Though our trailer wasn’t the size of our house, it would still be a major project. They made a call to the manufacturer; we made calls to the manufacturer and someone, somewhere did not make the appointment for our trailer back in October. Forest River explained they were booked until July or October. We were overwhelmed. After having a meeting with everyone at the Loveland dealership to discuss what was happening with Forest River, they admitted NO ONE followed through by making that appointment! What were we going to do? We have to be in Alaska mid-May or we lose our jobs!

My husband tried calling one person at Forest River who was so rude he hung up on us. We were no longer under Warranty, (it expired the end of October) and they didn’t need or want to help us. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We met with the dealer again with some ideas, but even though they liked our suggestions, they had been bought and the new owners didn’t want anything to do with our situation. We were the previous owner’s problem. So, a no-go on the compromises. It appeared we were stuck. I began praying for Yeshua to be the Warrior I know he can be.

One evening my husband decided to write a letter to Forest River. A good friend had found their Code of Ethics online and he used that as the basis for the letter. He sent it to everyone’s email he could find online from the CEO to the janitors.

Suddenly, the phone began ringing. They had no openings for us in service, but they would take the trailer and fix it in the manufacturing bay. They were going to inspect the frame and camber, replace the two exterior walls, the leaves and check the axles. This would not be Warranty work, but ‘good faith’ work and they would not guarantee the work when it was finished. Not sure how ‘good faith’ means you don’t guarantee your work, but at least we had forward motion. They would be able to pick it up at the dealer within a couple of days!

We began packing and moving as quickly as we could – in spite of the suddenly frigid and snowy weather which is how we moved out of our house! Once the trailer was completely empty, everything we owned was in a storage unit and we found ourselves ‘homeless.’ Thankfully, we have a son and daughter-in-law who graciously took us in and allowed us to live with them until the trailer could be fixed. We said ‘good bye’ to Cherry Creek State Park 10 weeks earlier than our agreed ‘contract’ and moved in with our son.

We drove our trailer to the dealer and a day later it was picked up by a transport company and hauled across country to Elkhart, Indiana, the hub of RV manufacturing. Every Friday we received an update with our trailer’s progress. Lippert (who makes frames) came to check the frame and said there was nothing wrong with the frame. The camber was within the legal limits. The leaf springs were replaced. One side was replaced. The other side was replaced. The vinyl flooring that had torn because of a messed up slide-out was replaced (something we didn’t know they were going to do).

Because they will not ‘guarantee’ their work, we spent the weeks pondering and struggling with the idea of trading it in and buying a different trailer. Through the process we learned there are two types of Warranties on trailers – fulltime and not fulltime. We had a not fulltime Warranty and were living in it fulltime so in effect it invalidated the Warranty, but no one ever gave us that information when we were buying the trailer or when we were using it fulltime! Fulltime Warranty trailers are constructed somewhat better and have a few features we could really use. Unfortunately, the trade-in value didn’t put us in a price range for buying another trailer. Plus, we do like our trailer and it is our home, but we do use it more than 95% of the people who buy this type of 5th-wheel.

During our wait, one of the manufacturing plants for Forest River blew up. It destroyed everything and would takes weeks to figure out the cause. Though we prayed for our trailer to be in that explosion so we could get insurance and buy a fulltime warrantied trailer, ours was not in that building.

We continued to wait for the Friday email updates.

We also attended an RV show in Denver to look at new trailers and review the one we really liked. Unfortunately, the dealer didn’t bring the one we had looked at so we visited some of the booths and talked extensively with the MorRyde folks. We wanted to add suspension to help our trailer with the terrain, not on the Alcan Highway, but the roads in Alberta and Wyoming and even Colorado which are worse than anything we encounter driving through British Columbia and the Yukon!

We found a place that could install the new suspension so we’re probably going to keep our trailer and upgrade it. We are also going to do some remodeling inside to help with some of our storage issues. Even so, we still are not sure of what we’re actually going to do and when we’re going to do it. In order to remodel, we need time at a campground and everything around us is filling up, including Cherry Creek. We still vacillate between a new camper and keeping the old one depending on what the place says regarding the suspension when they inspect it. We still don’t know if we trust the work that Forest River is doing. Thus, we have no ducks, no rows, but continue living day to day by faith in what God is doing, waiting for a miracle if that is His will, and just walking this ‘misdaventure’ out step by step.

Last week, according to the email, our trailer was nearly completed. It went through a rain test and a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection). Today we received an email that we can drive to Elkhart and pick it up next Wednesday, April 10, 2019. The original discussion back in October with Forest River included them paying our expenses to drive to Indiana. We now wait to hear if that is still the case, but maybe, just maybe, we have one duck waddling around right now.

As with everything in life, whether it’s a house, a car, a trailer, a boat, there will always be issues. The greatest thing I’ve learned through all of this is about faith and prayer. When we didn’t know what was going to happen after finding out no one made the appointment, I prayed that Yeshua would be the Warrior He is and battle mightily for us. He did. Each day is a waiting day, but also a living day, expecting God to continue to amaze.

I placed a prayer request in the box at our congregation with nothing more than the words, ‘A Miracle.’ I was expecting one thing, but since that Shabbat, other miracles are taking place that keep me praising the God of Israel for His faithfulness to us in everything. Our God can never be put in a box because there is no box big enough for him (I should know because everything I own right now is in boxes), but also because He works outside the box. He is freer to work His will when we have no ducks and no rows because then He gets all the glory for everything.

What a blessed and glorious life we are living. Through these events God has given us everything we need for our life and will continue to do so in ways we will never imagine. For everyone who has prayed with us and for us, thank you. You have all been encouraging and supportive and well, it’s almost time for the next phase of the modern-nomad life of living a dream.

History of Israel and Palestine

It always confounds me that people continue to believe the political rhetoric bouncing around the international community with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Some years ago I was invited by an Arab Israeli woman to speak at a presentation about the history of Israel and the Arab people because she said that I understood more than most the situation in the Middle East. I won’t say that I do because I have very limited understanding of the big picture, but I know enough history and much of it has been covered up by lies perpetuated by the Arab world, especially the so-called Palestinians and their Hamas leaders.

This particular young Arab woman and another one from Jordan explained to me their own family history. Both had grandparents living in Palestine in 1948. Both had a choice to make. One grandfather chose to stay in Israel, become a citizen and continue to raise his family. Today he has a son who manages a bank and granddaughters who work along side Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv as a doctor, lawyer and engineer.

The other grandfather who made his home in Gaza chose to leave Palestine and make his home in Jordan. Because Jordan doesn’t recognize Israel as a legal state, this young woman has relatives that she has never met living in Gaza. She is quite happy being Jordanian and believes her grandfather made the right decision in spite of the separation of family members.

What is Palestine?

Palestine is the name given to the Promised Land of Israel over 2000 years ago during its Roman occupation in order to infuriate the Jewish people.  It has never been the name of a legitimate nation or state, but a geographical term used to describe the region at certain times in history when there was no nation or established state.   Palestine comes from Peleshet meaning ‘rolling’ and is translated Philistine in the Bible.   Peleshet was first used to describe the people who migrated from the area around the Agean Sea and the Greek Islands.  These people created five city-states, one of which is Gaza.  

Modern Zionist Movement

Theodore Hertzl, born May 2, 1860, is considered the father of the Zionist movement promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine.  As a German journalist for a French newspaper, he covered the Dreyfus affair in which a Jewish French Army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany.  It was a profound antisemitic incident that divided France for many years.  While in Paris he witnessed crowds chanting “Death to the Jews!” that changed him from a German supporter to one who began challenging wealthy German to Jews to leave Germany and return to Palestine to establish a Jewish state.  He feared that as quickly as France turned on the Jewish people, Germany would too.  Hertzl died in 1904 before he could witness the events that would directly lead to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Balfour Declaration

On November 2, 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration.  This public statement supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This was the first time in modern history that a major government supported a ‘national home’ for the Jewish people.  The wording in the document had no precedent in international law and was intentionally vague with regard to an actual Jewish state.  There were no specific boundaries given though the British government explained the wording did not mean a Jewish home would cover all of Palestine.  The British also wanted to protect the civil and religious rights of the Palestinian Arabs as well as those in the growing Jewish communities.  No one wanted antisemitism to increase or label the Jews as ‘strangers in their native land.’  In essence this was the beginning of the two-state solution that is always being discussed by the international community today.

In 1922 the League of Nations confirmed the Balfour Declaration and it became known as the British Mandate or British Rule.  The boundaries of Palestine included Trans-Jordan which was eventually removed by Winston Churchill.  Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine trying to escape the chaos caused by the Russian Revolution as 100,000 Jews were killed during this time.  

Pioneers in Palestine

Early Jewish immigrants to Palestine were pioneers in the land and began establishing self-sustaining economies.  The Jezreel Valley was drained and converted to agricultural land.  The Jewish National Fund, a charity that collected money worldwide,  purchased more land for growing the ‘national homeland.’ An underground Jewish militia was created to defend outlying Jewish settlements.  During the mid-1920s, more Jewish people arrived in Palestine.  They set up businesses and created the Jewish National Council which oversaw education, health and security.   The Hebrew University was established in Tel Aviv and Technion in Haifa.  While Jewish immigration increased; the Arabs began rioting. 

Who Owns the Land?

In 1929, animosity between Muslims and Jews intensified over the Western Wall (Wailing Wall, Kotel).  Jews were banned from using any furniture such as chairs for the elderly as the religious Muslims claimed the area was their property and that the Jews were seeking control of the Temple Mount.  More riots ensued in the area and eventually the ancient Jewish community in Hebron came to an end.

The Bible first mentions Hebron with the Cave of Machpelah or the Cave of the Patriarchs.  About 4000 years ago Abraham purchased this cave in which are buried Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.  Today it is enclosed by a mosque proving who actually owns the land as Islam did not exist until 600 A.D.   King David ruled Israel from Hebron about 1000 B.C. for seven years before moving the capital to Jerusalem.

Growing the National Homeland

Between the two world wars, using the terms of the Mandate, the British rejected all majority rule or any other measures that would give the Arab population control over Palestinian territory.  In this way they continued to support a growing Jewish ‘national homeland’ along with an Arab presence.   

Before World War II, Jewish immigration increased with an agreement between the Nazis and the Jewish Agency Ha’avara.  Jewish possessions were confiscated in order to purchase 14 million pounds worth of German goods for export to compensate the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine.  Although many Jews wanted to leave Nazi Germany, the Nazis prevented them from retaining any money keeping them from paying the British government the necessary immigration fees.  Still, Jewish immigration continued and the purchased goods helped the economy to flourish. The British used the taxes paid by the Jewish population to build a port and oil refineries at Haifa and the industrial age began in Palestine.

In the 1930s, 250,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.  Most were German doctors, lawyers and professors.  With the rise of the Nazis and antisemitism, more and more Jews tried to leave Europe, but every country in the world closed their borders to Jewish immigration, including Britain closing Palestine to any further Jewish immigration. 

The White Paper

The “White Paper of 1939” written by Nevill Chamberlain in response to the Arab Revolt (1936-39)  called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state with both Jews and Arabs jointly governing the area.  It effectively rejected the idea of partitioning Palestine.   It also claimed that with 450,000 Jewish people having settled in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration of a ‘national homeland’ had been met.  The document limited Jewish immigration and restricted Jewish rights to purchase land from Arabs.  Both the Arab and Jewish leaders rejected this proposal. 

Civil War in Palestine

On April 2, 1947, Great Britain sent the issue of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.  In July 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine met with Jewish and Zionist leaders.  The Arabs boycotted the meetings.

The report from the meeting proposed “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem” to be governed by the international community.  On November 29, 1947, this resolution was adopted by the United Nations and Jewish immigration began again.

The UN General Assembly’s vote created a rift between the Jewish community and the Arabs in Palestine.  Civil war broke out and the Arab nations created the Arab Liberation Army and Egypt joined in this ‘holy war.’ They blockaded all of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem.  Though the Jewish paramilitary (Haganah) had about 100 armored vehicles to try to supply the city, they were destroyed along with hundreds of military men.

The Arabs who lived in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem or other Jewish-dominated areas evacuated east to other Arab areas.   Because the United States withdrew their support for the partition plan, the Arab League believed they could put an end to the plan.  The British decided, however, on February 7, 1948, to support the annexation of Arab Palestine.  The British Mandate would end in May 1948.

The State of Israel is Born

David Ben-Gurion reorganized the Haganah.  Every Jewish man and woman had to receive military training.  Golda Meir raised money from Jews in the United States and through Stalin’s support, they were able to purchase military weapons in Eastern Europe.  Ben-Gurion created an offensive plan, rather than defensive, to establish Jewish land continuity by conquering mixed areas. Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Beisan, Jaffa and Acre fell, resulting in more than 250,000 Palestinian Arabs leaving the area. This refugee situation caused the larger Arab states to intervene.

On May 14, 1948, the British forces left Palestine ending the Mandate.  The Jewish People’s Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel.  Immediately, the United States and Russia recognized the new state.  The Arab League of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and began the first Arab-Israeli war.  

The First Arab-Israeli War

The Arabs used the British military equipment left behind and went on the offensive.  Because Israel had not been a state before May 15, they could not buy heavy arms.  The UN declared an arms embargo, but Czechoslovakia violated it and supplied the new Jewish state with heavy military equipment and planes.  The Haganah became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  

Jewish immigrants, many of them WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors, began arriving in Israel.  They joined the IDF.  After an initial loss of land and its occupation by the Arabs,  the Israelis eventually took back that land along with some of the land that had been included in the proposed Arab state.  At the end of November 1948,  local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On December 1, 1948,  King Abdullah announced the union of Jordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan River; only Britain recognized the annexation.

Israel signed a truce, no actual peace treaty, with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.  Israel’s new borders  (The Green Line) were established even though the borders were not recognized by the Arabs as legal international borders.  Israel had taken control of the Galilee, Jezreel Valley, West Jerusalem, the coastal plain and the Negev.  The Syrians still controlled a strip of land along the Sea of Galilee originally given to Israel.  The Lebanese occupied a small area on the border between Israel and Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea and the Egyptians kept the Gaza strip as an occupied zone.  Jordan remained in the West Bank where it was originally given land.    

On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.  Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, only 6,000 men and women were killed in the War of Independence.  According to the UN, 726,000 Palestinians fled or were evicted by Israel.  Those who remained had the option of leaving or becoming Israeli citizens.  

Jerusalem of the Jews

On May 15, 1967, Naomi Shemer’s song “Jerusalem of Gold” began to dominate the Israeli airwaves.  Two days later Syria, Egypt and Jordan and eventually Iraq gathered their troops along the Israeli borders.  On May 26, 1967, Egyptian President, Abdel Nasser, declared that the “basic objective of the battle will be to destroy Israel.”  

On June 5, 1967, the morning before the new Israeli defense minister was sworn in, the Israeli air force launched pre-emptive attacks destroying the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces.  They also defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.  By June 11, the Arab armies were defeated and a cease-fire was called for by the UN.  This became known as the Six-day War, once again started by Arab nations losing more land.

Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.  The Sinai oil fields made Israel self-sufficient in energy.  East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel.  Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship.  For the first time since the end of the British Mandate, Jews were free to visit the Old City of Jerusalem. For the first time in centuries, they were allowed to pray at the Western Wall.  In Hebron, Jews regained access to the Cave of the Patriarchs for the first time since the 1300s.  Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem also became accessible.

Land for Peace

On November 22, 1967, the UN Security Council adopted the ‘land for peace’ concept which called for “just and lasting peace” based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for the end of all states of belligerency, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries.  The resolution was accepted by both sides, but with different interpretations.  This has been the basis of all subsequent peace negotiations.  

“Land for Peace” is based on Israel Giving Up Land for ‘peace from their neighbors.’  This concept implies that Israeli withdrawal is linked to its neighbors’ willingness to formally make peace.  This never actually takes place because even though Israel gives up land, its neighbors still do not recognize their sovereignty as a nation. 

On June 19, 1967, Israel offered to give up the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan in exchange for peace.  Their offer was rejected by the Arab States: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

Yom Kippur War

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what is known as the Yom Kippur War.  They wanted to regain the land they lost in the war of 1967: Egypt wanted the Sinai and Syria wanted the Golan Heights even though they were offered the return of these lands for peace.  Because the war was started on a high holy day, Israel’s losses were great, however, in less than 24 hours, they mobilized two armored divisions which soon had the Syrians retreating. The Israelis captured territory deep inside Syria almost to Damascus.  Ten days after the start of the war, Israeli forces penetrated Egyptian defense lines and came close to Cairo. Eventually through diplomatic talks, Egypt and Syria regained a portion of their territory and UN buffer zones were established between them and Israel.  Israel withdrew from the Sinai as part of the peace agreement facilitated by the United States and retained control over two-thirds of the Golan Heights.  In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Testing Land for Peace

In 2005, the forced eviction by Israel of its settlers and military forces from the Gaza Strip was a ‘test case’ of ‘land for peace’ with the Palestinians.  Seventeen Israeli settlements  known as Gush Katif with 8,600 residents were forcibly removed from their homes on August 15, 2005.  On September 12, 2005, the Israeli Army withdrew from each settlement up to the original Green Line.  All schools, libraries, community centers, office buildings factories, and greenhouses which could not be taken apart were left.  Synagogues were burned by the Palestinians, “The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy… It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed.”

Later, it was reported that the evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip were transformed into military bases used by Palestinians to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state.  The ‘test case’ for ‘land for peace’ didn’t work.

After the withdrawal from Gush Kativ, the Palestinian Authority took control of Gaza.  On January 25, 2006, Hamas won the elections in Gaza and the West Bank.  Rockets launched against Israeli targets continued from the beginning of the expulsion and have increased since that time.  The area is now being used to smuggle weapons into Gaza through tunnels that are also used to kidnap Israeli soldiers.  

Jerusalem and the Golan

After nearly three thousand years, on December 6, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On March 28, 2019, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Even though Israeli control over the area has not been challenged, this policy will not change 50 years of international views of the Golan Heights as being occupied territory.

What is important to remember is that Israelis and Arabs do live side-by-side peacefully in Israel. It is the media and the international community that would like the world to believe otherwise. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by the terrorist group Hamas and their ultimate goal, along with most of the surrounding nations is not peace with Israel, but a complete destruction of the country and its people.

(Taken from multiple internet sites so the information is easily accessed for those who want to know.)

Tentstake Ministries Publishing, 2019

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Sabbath, Our Reminder

Just the other day I received a call from my son. When I answered the phone he said, “Shabbat Shalom!” I replied, “Shabbat Shalom?” to which he responded, “Why are you so shocked that I said Shabbat Shalom on the Shabbat?”

To be honest, my son was in the death-throes of higher education for the last ten years, the last 3 1/2 of which were in the medical field and very demanding on his time and his brain activity. He even told me once during those years to not talk to him as he had no more brain cell receptors! He had nowhere to put the information! As he has had about 6 months to decompress since graduating, the seeds of his childhood nurturing are starting to sprout in ways that blesses me as his mother. As the study brain cells no longer take up as much room, the original brain cells carrying his spiritual training have room to move around and reestablish themselves.

Because it was Shabbat, he wanted to chat about the Sabbath He began by asking me why God created man. My initial response was ‘to give Him glory’ believing that was the correct answer. He told me that was a good response, but was not the reason God created Adam.

Why did God create Adam? Simply, Adam was created to tend and cultivate the Garden of Eden.

“Adonai, God, took the person and put him in the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15).

As he continued his discourse about the Sabbath, my son made two observations. Man was not created to sit in a cubical working his days away. Man was created to interact with the earth. From when he was in medical school, I remembered another conversation we had about our feet and the earth. He told me that research shows numerous health benefits on the human body through the earth’s electromagnetic field. The only way to reap these benefits as a human battery made of minerals and water is to run barefoot through the grass with our feet touching the ground. In other words, get out of the cubicle, take off your shoes, wiggle your toes in the dirt or sand and be healthier. As he now lives in a place where there is a huge garden for him to tend with flowers and fruit trees, along with a goldfish pond and a little bridge over the waterway, he is being electromagnetically recharged from his years of intense battery meltdown.

The second observation was about technology. The more tech phones, computers, video games – that people become immersed in, the less they need or want God. They are electromagnetically pulled away from having a garden-conscious relationship with God because they are too busy filling their God-void with whatever the electronic devices tell them to think about and perform. Of course, even an all-consuming education or hobbies can do the same thing because nothing can fill the God-void except God. And, He has given us a way to do it when we enter into the Shabbat, and we reap a blessing.

My son continued by saying that God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone because these were the commandments He wanted His people to really know and understand. Though there are other commandments throughout Leviticus and Numbers, these TEN are the ones that are most important to God’s heart, revealing His nature. These TEN are the ones that He handwrote for His people, us. And, Sabbath is number 4 following no other gods, idolatry, and taking His name in vain.

The conclusion of what became a study on Sabbath was that God created the Shabbat and we as His people are to remember it because He wants us to remember we were created by Him in an eternal state of rest and peace. To separate ourselves from the Shabbat, the one day that God actually set aside to meet with with us as in the Garden, is to lose all rest and peace, both spiritual and physical, and forget that one day the Shabbat will be restored for all eternity. We lose our connection with God in the present and ultimately our connection with Him in eternity.

“Then he [Yeshua] said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind …” (Mark 2:27).

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, Jacob Almanrode, D.C.

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