Monday, November 16
7:00 p.m. Local Time
The sky was growing dark as Moshe pulled his car off the street and into the small parking space at the apartment complex. With him were Tasha and Ingrid, and the three quickly entered the building and climbed up to the third. Ty and Blake were waiting.
The meeting had been planned at the behest of Pastor Ben long before Ty and Blake had made the trip to Israel. In his thinking, the best way for the Dempseys to get their bearings was by having a sit-down with Ingrid and Tasha. They knew the inner workings of Celebration Center and its outreach nearly as well as he. Moshe could fill in the blanks with what was taking place in Israel on a larger scale. All along, Ben had hoped Moshe and Ty would hit it off and fall into the same mentoring relationship he had established with the fighter pilot.
Ty was surprised by the enthusiastic hug Ingrid gave him. It was as if she were greeting a long lost brother, which in her mind, he was. The embrace she gave Blake was more like a mother hugging her daughter. Her welcome settled the nervousness Ty had been battling as how he would be perceived. He had no intention of taking over Ben’s place in any way other than temporary. Besides, the styles of the two men were probably quite different. Ingrid’s warmth demonstrated that style wasn’t the point. That Ty and Blake were in God’s will, in this place and at this time, was all she needed to know.
The women promptly headed into the kitchen to help Blake prepare tea and sandwiches. Ty and Moshe sat down in the small living room.
“Did you get a chance to go out into the streets?” Moshe asked with the hint of a smile lacing the corners of his mouth.
Ty knew exactly why he liked this guy. From their first meeting on the tarmac, Ty could see the same cockiness he’d loved in his little brother Nathan. The ‘I can whip the world’ attitude was subdued and tucked just under the surface, but there none the less. Ty was reminded that only a matter of weeks had passed since he’d witnessed his brother’s casket being lowered into the hard ground at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. Though Nathan and Moshe looked nothing alike, and their ages were different, something about the Israeli’s persona gave Ty a sense of bonding. He found himself smiling right back.
“Actually, I did. We’re both a little messed up from the trip, but I can stay in one spot for only so long. I stepped out and took a walk toward the town square.”
“Were you shocked by what you saw?”
“A little. It looked like what happened in Kansas City, but there were more people bottled into a smaller space. Plus, there was only that one food line for all those folks. I admit my feeling of helplessness was more than I expected.”
“You aren’t sorry you came?”
“No,” Ty responded with a smile and a shake of his head. “No, it just made me stop and pray. Look, this is obviously where God wants us. We’re here for as long as we are needed.”
Moshe stared at Ty with a grin until Ty questioned the look by shrugging his shoulders.
“What is with you preacher types?” Moshe asked. “You always seem to be looking for things to pray about.”
“Moshe!” Tasha had been listening from the kitchen, which was no more than a few feet away. “You shouldn’t say that.”
“Nah, I’m serious. Pastor Ben is the same way!”
Ingrid stepped in and handed out cups and saucers for tea. She was smiling. “But Moshe,” she interjected, “that is what all believers do, at least the ones who have learned to trust Yeshua in everything.”
Moshe thought about the statement for a moment. “Hey, I’m still learning, okay? So Ty, what else has caught your interest today, beside your lovely bride?” His question was met with a definitive backhand from Tasha who had sat down beside him.
Moshe noticed how Ty and Blake glanced at each other, then away. But the look was not what he was expecting. The quick exchange carried a hint of anxiety, and he instinctively knew something was wrong. His question had touched some nerve when it shouldn’t have.
“Alright, what’s wrong?”
Ty caught Blake’s eye with a look that had “should I tell him?” written all over it.
Moshe was insistent. “Please, tell me what is going on. Maybe I can help.”
Ty reached for his Bible.
“Oy vey! Here we go again.” Moshe’s eyebrows went straight up.
For the next few minutes Ty walked Moshe, Tasha, and Ingrid through everything they had found. No questions were asked. The three simply sat and listened. The women had stunned expressions on their faces and had been rendered speechless.
When Ty wrapped up, Tasha let out an audible groan, “Dear Yeshua.”
Moshe took Tasha’s hand and looked at the other members of the group. He cleared his throat and looked directly at Ty. “Guys, it gets worse. This whole thing will probably begin tomorrow night.”
Fields of Nazir Traning Facility
Monday, 8:30 p.m. Local Time
Ben could hardly stomach the food he was shoving down his throat, not because it was bad, but because his insides were twirling. Four times the big C-130 had lifted off. Four times it had landed, and each time it was accompanied by the orchestrated chaos of offloading. His body didn’t know whether it was flying, moving at full speed, or sitting still. That made for one bad case of nausea. And yet, he knew he needed to replenish his system, even if the food ended up coming back the way it went in.
There was no conversation on the part of his comrades, no orders being issued, no energy to do much of anything. Four days of hard training had caught up with everyone.
Ben, for one, was content with the quiet that had descended. The only problem was how the current inactivity allowed his mind to think of home, particularly of Ingrid. Thoughts of his church, and the people that desperately needed help were there as well. In part, he regretted leaving one of the only true multi-cultural assistance ministries that had been created in the aftermath of the Haifa bombing. But, he knew he had heard from the Lord when he decided to leave. He was where he was supposed to be. That knowledge didn’t make life any easier whenever his thoughts turned to his wife. He missed her desperately.
Ben pushed his tray aside coming to the conclusion that he had no desire to eat. Just then the door opened and Hannah Lira entered. Her face was broadcasting that she had something serious to share. All activity in the room ceased immediately. Every eye focused on the diminutive archeologist.
“Good evening, gentlemen. We have a new twist to our little plot and I wanted to make you aware of what is happening. I know you have been out of the communications loop since you began your training. Well, it’s time you were brought up to speed, so gather around.”
The men repositioned themselves around the tables closest to Hannah.
“That little exercise you carried out today was very important,” she began. “In fact, it was a marvelous show, particularly for a lone observer hidden in the hills.”
“You mean this whole thing was staged?” spoke up one of the commandos-in-training.
“Not the mission, just today’s part of it. You would have gone through this aspect of jump training whatever the case, but it was reprogrammed for today in order to catch the attention of an interested party. If everything goes as hoped, the necessary movers and shakers will begin moving and shaking.”
“I’m confused,” said Ben.
“Don’t be,” Hannah responded quietly. “That’s not really what I wanted to share with you. Other events are transpiring that are going to force us to train a little harder and a lot faster. In fact, we must now be ready to undertake our mission by no later than the last week in November. That is a week ahead of schedule.”
“Why” asked Gilad Belfer.
“Something is about to happen that is going to speed up the process.” She nodded for Zev to unroll and display a large map. “Israel is about to expand its territory.”
Ben’s head snapped to attention. He wasn’t alone.
Hannah couldn’t help but be humored by the reaction. She’d been privy to certain information since the government had initially formed the idea to recover the Ark. “Listen, haven’t you guys ever read your Torah? We are about to see a major fulfillment of prophecy, and the result will be the establishment of the ancient boundaries enjoyed by Solomon.”
She proceeded to walk the team through specific prophecies and compared them to what IDF was about to do. When she was done, the men sat in stunned silence. Understanding dawned. The end was near, and they had a part to play in making it happen.
Jimmy Root Jr
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