Friday, February 25, 2011

Home from Israel

February 25, 2011

Dear Pastors:

On our last evening in Israel, Sgt. Major Itzik and Sgt. Major Yossi, of Givati Brigade, called wanting to have supper with us. So we had to make a hurried up trip to Ashdod to eat with them. The meal for my "unescorted Football Players" and I, cost over 2900 shekels, and at about 3.40 per $ I was out some change, but the LORD GOD OF THE HEBREWS WILL reward me even though "I had to pay" then. HE is the one who said in Luke 10, "Whatsoever thou spendest more, I will repay thee, when I come again."

As my unescorted football players sang in that restaurant, "God is sooo good. He answers prayer. He is coming again." I am just "fool enough" to believe that.

Harvey Douglen, the owner of the Ramada-Jerusalem (you ought stay there anytime you visit Jerusalem — just mention my name when booking your hotel, and book directly with Harvey) provided a nice suite for me, where at one time during the visit, we had 17 Jews in that room listening to this ole man blather! The suite has a Jacuzzi in it. It is deep. I was in such a hurry to shower before heading to that Ashdod meeting, I realized I was washing my hair "with my glasses on," and then, when stepping out of the tub, my right foot missed my bath mat, and that slick tile floor put me on my backside. My first thought was, "I ought to sue Harvey for this." Then, GOD told me, "Jimbo, you can’t sue a Jew." HE didn’t even have to quote Gen. 12:3 to me. I immediately thought of the curse of it!

But, the fall really hurt me. I may have broken a bone in my right wrist and one in my right leg. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I’m just too old to fall like that. Or maybe, I am really a "sissy", and, as my wife would say, "When he was born, his big brothers didn’t want a sissy baby brother, and he has pretended for almost 71 years he is not a sissy, and so he got to believing it." Maybe I no longer believe I am not a sissy, and so really I am!

I feel like former professional football player, 295 lb Paul Blair has been blocking on me, and Reggie White, whose picture is up in the Ramada, has been tackling me, so, after going to bed at 10 pm and getting up at 1:30 am last night, I am hurting. It is now 5:50 am and I have already written a long letter.
I will tell you this, I haven’t laughed as much on any trip as I did this one. Those HAC fellers came with some questions about some JAV stories of my time there in Hammond, Indiana as an Associate Pastor to Jack Hyles, FBC, Hammond, and Executive VP of Hyles Anderson College, in which the renditions have made me as tall as that feller in Tulsa said, "I saw Jesus last night, and he was 918 feet tall," back yonder when I first came to OKC, Oral Roberts! Ole JAV ain’t 918 feet tall. But, I really got a bang out of correcting those stories and bringing me down to a fat 5' 8" in height.

Justin, one of our black, deaf, OBC boys made friends with a Jewish lady named Lori, on the plane going over. She was putting on a wedding for someone at the Hotel while we were there. The day and time came for the wedding, with Justin tapping my shoulder three times to get my attention, telling me, "It is time!" and so I sent Jason Engelman (whom I call "bird legs") with Justin to find Lori’s wedding.

Jason came back in a little bit and said "We found her. It is wild over there." I said, "Jason, don’t use the word "wild," just say unique. They are Jews." So, I took former NYC cop Morty Dzikansky, his wife Merlyn, and their 11 year old Zach, and their twin son and daughter and off we went to the wedding.

On arrival, there is this attractive, fortyish, Jewish lady, Lori, breaking our "no touch" OBC rule with her arm around Justin’s shoulder. He seemed to be enjoying all the attention. Fellers, that lady Lori’s smile is a lesson to all we Independent Baptist Pastors. She smiles as well as does Arieh Eldad’s wife. He is a member of the Knesset and lives in Kfar Adumim.

(The Deaf fellers with me pulled a "gotcha" on me the other day. They had someone come tell me Justin had swiped a real, live bullet from one of the IDF sites we had visited. So, my irascibleness boiled over immediately and I stormed down the hall to the connecting rooms where them deaf fellers were staying. I walked in, and gave Justin one of my "meanest looks," which the Bride of my youth doesn’t like for me to display, "Boilingly asking, Where in God’s dear name did you get that bullet?" He looks at me with his "scaredest look" put on his face, and then slowly holds up an 8 x 10 piece of paper with "GOTCHA" printed on it."

So, solemnly I said, "Fellers, you are going to begin to learn now why you should never "mess" with "a messer!")

(Brother Boykin is our Asst. Bus Director at WHBC. He had made for me a pen out of a 30.06 bullet. The pen has a plastic top. The bottom is the metal bullet. TSA found my two live bullets in my beret on arrival at TSA on the 13th. But, security here, Israeli security in Newark, in Tel Aviv, and again TSA in Newark on the way home never found the 30.06 pen bullet, which I found in my Givati Fleece jacket yesterday. TSA is really protecting us! Feel safe when you travel. A "feeling" is all you have!)

Well, lo and behold, while we are talking with Lori, up waltzes a New Jersey Jewish lady, who knows Merlyn. Morty and family go to meet that family. I went to meet the Ramada Rabi, who has a son named Immanuel (just think about that) who, when I met him, was a Paratrooper, and is now a boxer.
Immanuel, the ex-paratrooper, present boxer, came to our suite, for me to give him several of the Football Booklets I had prepared. He is a better Jew than Morty for he wouldn’t ride in the non-shabbat elevator up to our 8th floor. Morty would and did with me punch the floor number for our room.]

Well, in our suite, we wound up with a passel of Jews in there that evening. I gave them the "ole jav" rendition of present day events, which the lady from NJ’s dad held a different view than I. I said, "I hope you are right and I am wrong." Well, lo and behold, he was right, and ole JAV was wrong. It isn’t the first time.
One of our "unescorted football players" asked the question, "Dr. Vineyard, (making me feel important) How do you make all these contacts with Jews?" Morty’s wife, Merlyn, pops up and says, "I shall tell you. Preacher (Morty and her call me that) is an opportunist." (I do hope she meant it in the "good sense" and I hope I have enough sense to keep that opportunism in the good sense, for I know some, who are opportunist and do take advantage of all the people I know in Israel, for the "mooching opportunist’s" benefits and that of the moocher’s family.)
Katyusha rockets fell around Beersheva and in the Negev the other day. We had gotten out Dodge before they fell and were in no danger. The press and even some of our fellers call them GRAD rockets in error. Them "ain’t" (thats Texas talk) GRADS. Them are Katyushas. The UN settlement of the 2006 2nd Lebanon War ruled that the Palestinians could have no more KATYUSHAS. So they simply renamed them GRADS. But, call them what you may, they are still KATYUSHAS.
(I know a feller, a Preacher, who acts like he is tough. He could whip me in a heartbeat — if he could keep my hands from getting at his throat. He probably weighs close to 300 lbs. I have told him on several occasions, "I would like very much to see your reaction when a Katyusha fell nearby.")
One of my other "real laughs" on this trip was in our suite, I think, on the last day. I was giving the "unescorted football players" one of my many lectures. We were all serious. Now, get this picture. I am sitting at the end of a large football shaped table. Dr. Brian Korner is immediately to my left. Tony Beaudry, former Professional wrestler, 6'5", 250 lbs of bad due is to his left. Dr. Jeff Harris, former All State Kentucky Football Player, now Baptist Preacher in Elizabethown is to his left. Oscar, who is a Peruvian Christian now in a Baptist Church in Tulsa, and an American Airline Pilot, a Mexican American is to his left. Warren Garraway, retired New York State Engineer, called now as a Soul Winning Evangelist is to his left, and then our son John is on their left.
Dr. Bruce Engelman is at the other end of the table. On my right is David Sloan, and then some OBC fellers and some HAC fellers. Over at the other end of the suite is a "bar." And it’s a bar like you’d see in a BAR. Behind the bar is a feller who inadvertently puts his weight on the top shelf underneath the bar.
IT FALLS TO THE SHELF BENEATH IT WITH A LOUD BANG. I bet (if I was a gambler) that Bruce Engelman shot six inches up out of his chair. Just about everyone in the room jumped. I am not a jumper, and do not jump at such noises. If it's gonna kill you, you are just wasting energy to jump. BUT, I SURE DID LAUGH!
The Givati Brigade is having their "thing" for the 197 families of their KILLED IN ACTION soldiers June 23rd, 24th and 25th. THEY HAVE ASKED FOR OUR HELP AGAIN. I haven’t promised them anything. But, I am going to try to raise the $30,000 they’ve asked me to help with. If you could help with that, Checks should be made out to Yedidim of Israel and sent to 5517 NW 23rd St., OKC, Ok, 73127, with the memo stating "June Givati KIA thing."
The Givati Brigade gets all these families together and tries to help them "feel good" for three days in lieu of the sacrifice their families have made in having a son Killed in Action! Some of you fellers don’t like my doing that, but, that's OK, I am a giver and not a taker, and so I enjoy it, and I think my Heavenly Father is pleased with it. If HE AIN’T, it won’t be a "hair off your leg," but it shall be off mine.
Our son John stayed with our son Tom while in OKC. Tom took him to the Airport early this morning. I called him a while ago. He gave Boogie a USC Leather Jacket the other night at the "Boogie Banquet." Someone climbed my case about calling it the "Boogie Banquet" telling me I ought be more respectful of the Vice Prime Minister of all Israel. I retorted in my best "smart alec" way, "I was being respectful in "huggin him whilst he was a huggin me" the other night. He and some others call me Jimbo. I call him Boogie. When they feed me they can call it a "Jimbo Banquet." When I feed him I shall call it a "Boogie Banquet." Anyway, John’s words on the phone this morning was, "Be sure to tell Boogie I want a picture of him wearing that USC jacket." He wants to show it off (that's what my wife says I do) to some of his USC friends.
So, maybe, Anat, Boogie’s Chief of Staff, who reads my (Will Rogers type)"writ," will read these lines, take his picture, and email it to me. Ifn she don’t, I suppose I shall have to email John a Picture of he and Boogie holding the jacket. That will then have to suffice till I get down to Boogie’s Kibbutz to help out with him when he does his milking chores, at which time I shall say, "Hey Boogie, my buddy, could I persuade you to put that Jacket on Johnny gave you from USC and let me take your picture?"
Beit Kobi needs 150,000 shekels for operating expenses. Beit Kobi is a "Home away from Home for IDF soldiers" who have no home in Israel. If you could help with that, you can either send the money to me, or send it directly to Beit Kobi. You can google them up. I told Aviva I would go to work on that. Dr. Garry Way’s church has probably helped both Beit Kobi and Givati more than any other church in America. Maybe they will be able to help again. I sure hope so.
Well, it is now 7:00 am. I need go out and visit with the Bride of my youth, my Precious Dawga Jo!
I remain, sincerely and gratefully, your dutiful friend and obedient servant,

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