Over the next couple of weeks our two teams to West Asia will be sharing some reflections on their time on the ground. Simon Gray from Team Lakeside starts the series….
 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV
What does rejoicing look and sound like? An old olive farmer describing how work can be worship for him; a glass of tea offered by an unemployed woman and her husband; exploring ancient walls and hidden passage ways with young schoolboys on their lunch break; an old barber thinking carefully to get the right prophetic word for a customer; a potter welcoming a moment of prayer in his shop; sharing with a Syrian refugee about Aleppo; hearing the affection in the voice of a waiter talking about a phone call with his young son, far away; standing atop a tall ladder, picking olives and stealing a look at the light of the sun setting over the hills. And recognizing that when the people are silent, even the stones cry out about the long and deep, and very real, spiritual history of the town.
Has the olive crop failed? Again, I am reminded of an olive farmer explaining that even a 2,000 year-old tree, if tended and pruned to let in the light, and with the weeds dug out from the base, even this old stump can bear fruit – and some of the best.
Spending a week prayer-walking through an old city in West Asia – what a great way to spend a week! Thank you for praying for us as we walked.