Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cannanite Bedoiun Dinner

We had our last meal with the team tonight. The California team leaves at 5am in the morning. The Okinawan team leaves a day later. For our last dinner we went out into the hills of Jerusalem to a tent in the fields. We were greeted by Abraham who brought camels and we went to his tent and had a great meal. They gave us all costumes to wear and we sat on cushions and ate a traditional bedoiun meal. In the picture right above us, we labeled Karolina the Bedouin Queen, and sitting between her, is her two daughters. Well one of them is, Rosie on the left. What a great time to end our tour of Israel.

Our Last Supper in the Hotel

Last night was our official last dinner at the Hotel in Jerusalem. The hotel set us a beautiful table for the group. We has lots of fun. Patti Sedota did a fun game with us and afterwards, we sang songs to our tour guide and driver. We also had fun giving out awards for people in the group. One specific award was for the hardcore shopper, and you guessed it, Patti Sedota won! Boy, did we have a lot of fun.

Incredible picture of a Solar Eclipse

We had just left the Antonio Fortress (place where Jesus was judged and beaten by Pontius Pilate), when we saw everyone looking into the sky. There was a solar eclipse of 80% of the sun here in Israel. It was stunning! Everyone stood around staring at the sun. Thank the Lord, we had cloud cover, or we would have all been blind. The place all around us got dark. Again, it was an incredible sight.

View from the Mount of Olives

The team on the Mt of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. These guys are good looking, aren't they? In the background to the right you can see the famous "dome of the rock". We spent the whole day touring the old city. Everyone was blown away at what they saw today. God bless you all, Pastor Tommy

Monday, March 27, 2006

Camel riding in Petra

Everyone had a wonderful time riding Camels. After the camel ride, they were treated to a ride on some Arabian Horses. Doesn't Micah look like a pro! (Upper left photo) After a great day in Petra, we headed out for a good lunch, and then, back to the border by 7pm. It was a great day in Petra!

The Lost city of Petra

Today we traveled to Petra. This city is located in the country of Jordan. Petra is spectacular! We were blown away at the things that we saw. Words cannot explain the beauty, and the colors. At the top left, Rose, Patty, and Dave all bought headwraps at a store in Jordan. They posed for the cameras. Larry bought one, and we took this picture next to the late King of Jordan, King Hussein. He could have passed for his double. in the middle picture, the group stands amazed as they gaze at the great Treasury building in Petra (picture to the bottom left).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A day at the Dead Sea

Today we spent to morning and afternoon in the Dead Sea. We began our day at the Fortress of Masada. on the bottom right you can see the team high in the sky as we are overlooking the Dead Sea Valley. To the bottom left is Larry Torres next to the river of Engedi. To the center of the picture you see the team floating in the Dead Sea. The minerals are great for the body. Everyone had a great day. Tomorrow we head to the county of Jordan to visit the city of Petra. Right now we are in the city of Eliat, which is located on the farthest point south in Israel.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A visit to Tel Dan in the Northern area

Today, we took a trip to the Northern area of Israel near Mt. Herman. We visited the headwaters of the Jordan River in an area called Tel Dan. The area is beautiful with large streams filled with trout and rushing water. As we were there, a group of kids surrounded Richard Bueno and wanted him to play guitar. We kept telling them that he was a famous guitar player and that just fueled the fury. The kids were awesome, Richard was the hero.

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

This is our last day on the Sea of Galilee. This is a picture that we took from our hotel window. We leave tomorrow to go down south to the Dead Sea, Eliat, and the city of Petra in the country of Jordan. Thank you for all your prayers, as you lift us up before Jesus our King! Love, Pastor Tommy

Baptism on the Jordan River

Yesterday, we had an incredible baptism service. You knew the Lord was with us. At times it was surreal as God was moving in our hearts with worship. Richard, did a great job of leading in worship. God is so good. Love, Pastor Tommy

The Team in Israel !

Hey everyone the team is safe in Israel. We took this group photo at the Amphetheatre in Caesarea. They are doing great! The team is really beginning to gel together. All of the Pastor's are doing a great job of teaching the Word.

A day of touring in Galilee

We had a wonderful day touring on in the Galilee. In the upper pictures is the team on the Sea of Galilee with Pastor Jerry sharing in the Word. In the lower pictures are Melissa leading in Worship and the gals sitting on the Mt. of Beatitudes. It was an incredible time.

Surfing on the Mediteranean Sea

The team arrived in TelAviv around 5am in the morning. When we got to the hotel, Mario and Larry both wanted to go surfing with me. So at 5:30 in the morning we were surfing on the Med Sea. We had a great time. Melissa Joyce bought this candy in Germany. Check it out, it is a Wunderbar. Rob you are going to love it. Well, the surf is good, and so was the fellowship on the Sea.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Wife's Anniversary Message

Video Sharing at

Mrs. Ruiz here, just want to send warm anniversary wishes to my hubby, who is presently on a trip in Israel. Happy Anniversary Tommy, and thanks for twenty great, exciting, and ever changing years. God has been good, and His faithfulness never ceases to amaze me. I hope you enjoy this anniversary video I put together for you. Thanks to everyone who helped me get the pictures. Love you Tommy! Your bride, Anna

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

First Wednesday Night at Koinonia Cafe

Tonight was such a Blessing! We had our first Wednesday Night Service at the coffee house. It just has a warm and loving feeling to it. God just turned this old place into a beautiful master piece. Please continue to pray for the building as God will use it to be a Light to the people in Okinawa! Thank you for your prayers. God Bless!

Monday, March 20, 2006

We made it! We are in Israel!

Praise the Lord! We are now outside of TelAviv in a beach city called "Hertziliyya". I chose this site to begin our first day in Israel because it is a beautful hotel right next to the Mediteranean Sea. I took this photo just a few minutes ago from our hotel view. We plan on getting a little more rest (we got in from the airport at 4:30am) then I will take the group from Okinawa down to the old city of Jaffa (Joppa), this is the second oldest city in the world. You might remember the Bible story, there was this guy, Jonah who ran from the Lord. He went down to Joppa and took a boat, trying to get as far away from the Lord as possible. Also, in the book of Acts, Peter was on the roof of Simon the Tanners house, and there recieved a vision from the Lord, that he was to go down to Cornelius' house and share with them the Love of Jesus Christ. The rest is history, the Gentiles hear and recieve the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Also, today we will be taking Takako and leaving her to minister at CCTelAviv to help the Apple's with ministry for the rest of the time we are in the Holy Land. Please pray for Takako, we know that the Lord is going to do wonderful things through her, as she serves the Lord here in Israel. Pastor Tommy

Sunday, March 19, 2006

We are in Frankfurt, Germany

Hello everyone! Right now we are in a city right outside of Frankfurt called "Kelsterbach". We landed in Germany at 6am and our flight does not leave until 6pm. So, we rented 2 day rooms at the Ibis hotel. The girls in one room, Will and I in another. The weather is so cold in Germany, unbelieveably cold! So cold, that a few days ago it snowed and there is still snow on the ground. I had the chance to go running and see the landscape. It is beautiful, we are near a river and a forest. All the leaves are gone, but it was still pretty. We do have an important prayer request for you. Larry Torrez was not able to fly out with us do to some paper work that needed to be done. So, he is flying out today (Sunday) from Okinawa. He needs to transfer just like us in Germany. I will go in a few hours and work out the new details for him. Can you please pray that everything works out for the Lord's glory. We really were bummed out that Larry was not able to fly out with us, but God has other plans. He is definitely under control.
God bless you all, Pastor Tommy

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Away to Israel !

Well, we are on our way. I am blogging you from Taipai, Taiwan. We had a short flight from Okinawa, about 1 hour. We fly out of here in about 2 1/2 hours. From Taipai, we fly to Frankfurt, Germany (13 1/2 hours, yikes!) then from Frankfurt to Rome, to Rome to TelAviv. As you can see, we will be fly for some time. Please keep us in your prayers, we are all excited about the tour in Israel, and meeting up with the group from California and the Philippines.

20th Anniversary!

Hello everyone! Well, can you believe it, Joanna and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage on the 23rd of March. Wow! It has gone so fast. I am the most blessed man in the face of the earth! Thank you Jesus for my wonderful, beautiful wife! When you get a chance, please click the comment button below and leave us an anniversary greeting. We love you all, Pastor Tommy

An incredible blessing

I was loading up the chairs that the Lord recently blessed us with, and I just had to take a picture. After we loaded the van I reflected on how much the Lord has used this vehicle for the coffeehouse. When we began 6 weeks ago, we used this van to load up concrete and rubbish to take to the dump, we also used it time and time again to load 2x4's and sheets of plywood. And now, all these chairs that the Lord blessed us with. They are used, but new to us. I saw the original price tag for them, $134.99 per chair, and we got them for only $15.00 dollars each. What a blessing! When you get a chance, please click the audio button below and hear what else the Lord is doing.
God bless you all, Pastor Tommy

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thursday night Bible College

Thursday night we study in the Book of Genesis. We will soon be approaching our midterm in a few weeks, and the group is doing good. It is always a blessing gathering together to study God's Word. Please continue to pray for the Bible College students. Also pray for the group that gather's together on Tuesday night, as Joanna teaches the gals in "Women in Leadership".

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday morning in Ginowan City

We had such a wonderful Sunday morning service. Saturday morning after my run, I was praying in our neighborhood and asked the Lord that He would pour out His Spirit on this Sunday morning and that He would lead people to Jesus Christ. There are some Japanese people who have been attending our services who do not know the Lord. For weeks I have been closing the messages with a salvation message and it has been so clear that Jesus is our hope for eternal life. Well this week 2 Japanese gals gave their hearts to Jesus Christ for the first time, their names are Naoko and Miyuki. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for them, that they will continue to grow in the Lord. It is so amazing to see the Holy Spirit touch people's lives. Please continue to pray that the Lord will send more Japanese people to the church, and that they would be touched with the Love of Jesus Christ. God bless you, Pastor Tommy

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Well everyone, we just want to thank you so much for all your response on naming the coffee/outreach house. We kind of put together so many different names. We wrestled with some of your ideas because they were so good. Because english and other language names are catchy to the Japanese, we decided on this one. "Koinonia Cafe", it really says it all, fellowship coffeehouse, hang out joint, where brothers and sisters can share the Love of Jesus with anyone who would come in. Tim Newell put together these designs, and he is working on the signage for the front of the building. All major construction is complete, we are now putting in the flooring, looking into furniture, buying A/C units, and will be looking into expresso machines soon. We need so much prayer. Please continue to lift up this venture of faith. I love what Pastor Jon Courson says "every christian should be involved in some thing that will fail miserably unless the Lord is in it". We need the Lord Jesus Christ to be leading and guiding us, every step of the way. Love, Pastor Tommy