It seems like it was only yesterday when my college friend Wade and I sat in my house in Tuscaloosa writing support letters and begging people for any penny they could possibly spare.
You see, Bruce and Heather had this idea to develop a “JH Ranch like experience” in Israel. What do you need to facilitate that?? Well of course nothing other than crazy adventure, practical application things like 60 foot wooden teepees!!
Since Wade and I worked for the Ranch, had both been to Israel and were both passionate about the cause, we took the reins and began sending out newsletters (ghetto looking, I think I created them in Microsoft Word) that we wrote including anything we could share with people about Israel. Anytime anyone expressed interest, they would go on the mailing list and we would proudly solicit them. Our motto was “every penny helps.”
Needless to say a few years and $150,000 later (the fruit of Bruce and Heather’s fundraising, lots of prayer and probably a few pennies from Wade and I), the money for the Alpine Tower had been raised. On the 2005 trip to Israel, I photographed as important people from Ariel, along with Ranch delegates did the ground breaking. Over the next year, the Alpine Tower was constructed. I am losing my mind and forgetting dates, but I dont think I saw it officially up in Israel – though I know I saw pictures.
Fastforward to today. We are no longer going to see the Alpine Tower, instead we are headed to see the Park. We werent driving to where the Alpine Tower was, instead we are driving to where it had been moved to. Instead of the Alpine Tower being the main challenge, it was now one of a few.
Wow. I was happy, yet nostalgic, and amazed all the same. I was in awe of the simple vision that the Lord had given to Bruce and Heather many years ago and how over the years He magnified it, developed it and brought the appropriate people to carry it through. With different challenges from import issues on the material to building freezes and everything in between, the Lord was glorified and through the power of prayer the dream had come into reality.
The Adventure Park is now a Youth Leadership Development Park for the ENTIRE nation. The Ministry of Education will use it, the Army, the youth – and everyone in between!! Its grand opening is set for later this year. There are some low ropes elements that are still being constructed, landscaping and piping (bathrooms, etc.) that needs to be finished and training that needs to be conducted before the Park will officially open.
Anyway, below are more pictures of the Park and two of the three main events…Since its not yet 100% finished, I think this may be an excuse for another trip to Israel in a few years just to see it fully completed and in working fashion. Who knows – by then they will have moved it again and added another 15 elements!
Us with the Alpine Tower in the background. We were planting plants in fulfillment of the scripture in Jeremiah 31:5 which reads “Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria…” Verse 6 goes on to say, “There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.'”
The word watchmen in the Hebrew scriptures is natzerim. This means “christian” so if you read it like that, it reads, There will be a day when christians cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.'”
CT3 digging our hole
Me planting and praying over my little plant!
Us in front of the Alpine Tower
Not pictured are the 757 and the low ropes elements.