Updated: Oct 8, 2020
This weeklong journey was inspired by the passage in Zechariah 14, "And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16) Tabernacles is a feast that unifies the nation of Israel in covenant with God, and as we see the future fulfillment will serve to renew the covenant of allegiance to Our Messiah as King. Especially this year during COVID lockdowns, we wanted to widen our kids perspectives to beyond our 4 walls, and beyond our community into the world. Our kids are still young, and so their global perspective is still in the “can we drive there” comparison. But beyond the lesson to our children it was also a great excuse and opportunity for me to connect with friends and peers around the world who are giving their lives to serve in ministry, often in a foreign place they’ve adopted as home.
While food was the vehicle, I wanted the main thrust to be prayer for a spiritual worldwide harvest and for the workers in the fields (Matthew 9:35-38; John 4:27-38 ) and specifically emphasizing the 10:40 window. While I’m not certain that the concepts were solidified during this week of Sukkoth, I do believe that a strong foundation has been laid for us to point back to on future conversations.
My favorite part of this activity, beyond eating all the tasty foods, was to reach out to our friends in all the continents. It was actually a lot easier than I expected to find at least one representative from each continent. I had asked each person to, if possible, send a selfie video answering a few questions to engage the kids in their stories and work. And if possible to include their families as well. I was a little last minute in this side of the project, so next year I plan to get an earlier start. But at the very least I can show the kids faces of people who need our prayers throughout the nations. And I received back several videos to show the kids, which really blessed me as well! Not to mention it put me back in touch with relationships I had neglected over the year.
Overall this was a ton of work, but we all thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately, we might have enjoyed a little too much and we might walk away from Sukkoth this year about 5 pounds heavier! In hindsight I might not have done this until my kids were older and could properly enjoy the efforts and help more with the preparations. With younger kids, I’m learning that I ought to simplify a whole lot more. But as a mom, I just get too excited and over ambitious with my ideas to incorporate all the senses into the learning experience. Tailor this activity to fit your family, and don’t try to kill yourself or your budget (like I did) to fit it all in. Fortunately we celebrate Sukkoth every year, so we have plenty of opportunities to try new twists. Ultimately, the goal is to introduce and disciple our kids (and ourselves) into a Kingdom perspective and heart for global harvest and prayer.
*Note: In general we follow the Biblical pattern of evening starting the day, but for the sake of repetition and our own learning rhythm, we focused on each continent from Breakfast to bedtime.
*This was a shabbat so we chose to keep meals simple with yogurt for breakfast and cold cuts for lunch.
First Night--Family Heritage & North America
North America was our first continent to visit as this is where we are from. I needed an easy and fast meal (Greg's birthday had landed the night before and I was still recovering from the aftermath of birthday festivities) and I didn’t feel like burritos which involves a lot of sides although it might have preserved my theme a little better. I went with an easy favorite: Spaghetti bolognese. I told my kids about their Italian heritage. I told the story of how my moms grandparents immigrated to America from Italy through Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty leaving their 8 year old son (my grandfather) behind in Italy, only to follow them a few years later once they had established a home and livelihood. It was a great family history lesson to kick off North America. Greg comes from a family of Texan Farmers, so we did a Big Smoked Brisket the next evening for dinner.
Served with Sourdough boule & Salad
DINNER-USA (Texas Style)
Brisket: Home smoke Brisket
Sides: Ranch or Chili beans, Roasted potatoes, Salad, Cornbread Muffins* , Lemonade
*(I mix coconut oil with sunflower oil for a flavorful twist)
Day 2--South America
While being a predominantly "catholic" continent, it is quite secular, and full of much corruption. Religion is a culture, and not a relationship. We are praying for the leaders of all the nations, for Divine intervention and direction, and for the believers on the ground who are working to bring the gospel. We also tragically learned that human trafficking is prevalent and seldom prosecuted in Brazil starting at age 14! (It might also be in other nations, but this was from a friend who works with the girls in Brazil to get them off of the streets and share Yeshua's love with them.). But where there is darkness, there is also great light. Brazil hosts a body of believers that is one of the most passionate Israel loving nations in the world. Hallelujah!
*This carried over from Mexico which blends in with the South American flavor
(Scrambled eggs with black beans and cheese topped with plain yogurt and wrapped in a tortilla)
I made up my own concoction of taco meat, potatoes, and onions mixed with shredded cheese folded into dough pockets
Dulce de Leche* and Apple Slices
*Is a very common dessert in the nations of South America
While we've never been to Africa, we have friends serving in most of the nations of the African Continent, and someday, should the LORD tarry, we would love to bring the kids on a ministry trip to Africa. The beauty of Africa is mind-blowing in contrast to the incredible poverty. Whether showering from a bucket, or hand washing all clothing, to treacherous journeys off road that take a whole day, our prayers are with those who are risking their lives and sacrificing their comfort to bring the gospel of hope and a livelihood to the people in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. In spite of the comforts and advancements of South Africa, the nation is torn apart with distrust and racism. And Ethiopia is dear to our hearts as so many new Olim to Israel have migrated from Ethiopia to seek a new life. There is a spiritual oppression among these people groups, but oh how great the freedom in Messiah when salvation is accepted.
The kids did not enjoy the Ghanaian Fufu or Ethiopian food at all, but it was a good lesson to the kids to not complain and that many in the world are hungry both for food and the gospel.
Braaiboodjie (I might have been been guilty of making a fusion Braaiboodjie with the pita on the sandwich press, but I think it was close to perfect)
Ethiopian Injera and Beef Stew*
*to skip long intimidating recipes, buy Berbere seasoning ahead and mix a generous portion of seasoning into ground beef and cook in a skillet until it crumbles.
By far, this has been our favorite day full of tales of Kings and queens, castles and yummy foods. But it brings with it sobering truth that as the gospel hit Europe first through the growth of the early first century church and Paul's journeys, there is also a darkness setting over Europe. A void being filled with secularism, hedonism, Islam, and even witchcraft. In a retreat we spent in Switzerland we experienced the strongholds and occult symbols in the high places, and heard the stories of modern witch doctors holding the "cultural Christians" in bondage. Like all over the world, revelation of Yeshua is needed. Germany still needs healing from the sins committed against God's people on its soil. And England, like much of Europe, is quickly being populated by Islamic ideology where religious complacency had left a void. And all over Europe is an ever increasing rise of anti-semitism.
Sausage (homemade from beef), Over easy eggs, Baked beans, Pan seared tomatoes, White toast and jam, English tea
German Pretzels * and Beer
*These Pretzels were AMAZING and surprisingly "easy". Don't skip the 20 second dip into the boiling Baking Soda Water
With Scottish Shortbread
Served with remaining pretzels, roasted potatoes and sourdough bread, (and wine optional), and a large fresh garden salad dressed with fresh thyme and Pomegranate Vinaigrette (every Swiss home has an epic home garden from which they dine)
Much of the Famous 10:40 window rests on the Continent of Asia. Several friends are working to translate the Bible to some of the few remaining unreached people groups. The Joshua Project has a great online resource to view what estimated people groups remain unreached. We have a thing in our family that anytime we see 11:11 on our clocks we pray for the persecuted church. It's become so much a part of our culture that often if I haven't looked at the clock and remembered by lunchtime or dinner, the kids will add the persecuted church into their own bedtime prayers. Voice of the Martyrs has great resources for prayer. The soil in these nations is often very hard and often dangerous, yet the fruit is so incredibly bountiful. The believers of China suffer much persecution, and yet their heart is to bring the gospel BACK to Jerusalem via their Asian Continent, through some of the most dangerous and hostile nations. And in Korea, we pray for their zeal to remain pure and undefiled by cult leaders and that the people would be drawn by authentic Yeshua serving communities. For the Philippines we pray for breakthroughs in the Islamic community. And for India, that the people would have a revelation of their creator and one true God set above all the false gods of their culture.***
*I didn't end up making this, this year, but I want to add this to our menu next year and prep it ahead.
Korean inspired Spring Rolls
(rice wrap, sushi rice, grated carrots, salmon, grated cucumbers, soy sauce)
Chinese Orange Chicken
Or Filipino Adobo Chicken and rice*
*We went with the Filipino chicken not only because it was easier and new to try, but mainly because we have multiple friends in the Filipines.
***In the future I would like to spend more time eating and praying through more of Africa and Asia.
Australia/Papau New Guinea/New Zealand
Sadly, while the islands boast of great natural diversity and beauty, they also are very secular. We pray for revelation of Yeshua's salvation, and that the Word of God would go forth. Many of our friends were evacuated from the PNG due to COVID, but testified of the locals taking on the mantel to share the gospel with zeal and passion. Praise God for this testimony. I am reminded of Joseph's words to his brothers "What you intended for evil, the Lord intended for good" (Genesis 50:20)
(supplemented with eggs/fruit/yogurt/oats)
(I couldn’t track down Marmite/Vegemite)
DINNER (High Shabbat Meal to kick off the last day of Sukkoth)
Australian Meat Pie
Day 7 & 8 --Shabbat Rest and Leftovers.... & Honeycomb
There is no shame in cleaning out the refrigerator for a smorgasbord of the nations! Let's celebrate with all the remaining delicacies the promise that all the nations will be gathered together to worship in the presence of God (Zechariah 14) and that a great multitude will be in heaven as seen by John in his vision of Revelations where every nation, tongue and tribe is found.
Day 8 is particularly special. It's the celebration of the Torah, where we official complete the last reading of the scroll and roll back the scroll to Genesis 1:1. This is particularly joyous and is called "Simchat Torah"--the joy of the Torah--and is commemorated by reading through the prominent stories of the first 5 books of the Bible and dancing with the Scrolls. This is a perfect opportunity to teach the joy of God's word to our children, giving them honey to show them how sweet the Word of God is, and to celebrate our salvation through Yeshua and to again pray for the lost in our communities and around the world.