3 Months Later

Hi There everybody.  It’s been a time of quiet and blog silence for myself as I have been trying to chart my next course of action and where my adventures shall take me.  Perhaps, God willing, I may visit family in friends in Israel too, though nothing is planned.

Anyways, let me get you guys all up to date.  I arrived home December 9th, and had a very quiet Christmas and New Years here.  I had been debating about what to do for work and, as it turns out, several opportunities have  popped up which have led me to believe that the Lord has my best intentions at heart in this time.  Even though I am not making a lot of money, I have never had a problem finding work.  This is important as I am looking to build my credentials here in film.

January was Missionfest Vancouver at the Convention Centre and I worked as a camera operator there during the sessions that they held there.  It was a lot of fun and has enabled me to get some other jobs earning money.  With this money, I am scrimping and saving and looking into getting my own Camera and gear.  This is important as I am already starting to receive freelance work and need the gear (the camera especially) to start on these projects.  Summer is looking like it may be a busy, and fun time.  I’m hoping to space pet projects that I have with some serious work.  Here’s to that down the road.

Like I said before I have not ruled out the possibility of travel down the road, but I am first working on getting established here.  If opportunities come up, I will pray and weigh the pros and cons when they arrive.

I may update this blog time to time, but, as you can see, I haven’t been updating much too often.  I am going to be updating my professional blog more often  http://www.jpaulchobaniuk.wordpress.com

I also have a personal blog http://pauleywood.wordpress.com that was retired when I started this blog and will unretired for some fun stuff.

Cheers to the next great chapter to be written.  God Bless  Paul

Final Thoughts

In a little more than a day I will be on my way home.  That journey will be 14 hours on a plane with a 5 hour layover in London airport, with lot’s of luggage that I hope I can check most of it.  Still, I am excited to be heading home, but I am also going to miss Israel a lot and will take many fond memories home with me that I experienced here.

If I can compare my 2009 journey to this one, it was a very different experience.  In 2009, I was a tourist, fresh off the boat in many regards and just excited to be here.  This time around it was a lot deeper.  I didn’t maybe experience as much Israel in the tourist realm (I had seen most of it anyways),  rather I experienced a little bit of the life, the daily grind, the struggle that goes with living in this part of the world entails.  I had a loving family here that looked after me, and also a great network of friends that I will miss a lot.

What does the future have in store for me and this land?  I can’t really say right now except that I hope to return here at some point soon.

The last few nights have involved going out and trying to visit people for one last time before I leave.  Thursday night I went over and hung out with Michael Hilsden and had a great evening there with him and his wife.  I also caught up with Yaniv and had an eventful night.  Friday, the whole family threw me a birthday party (my birthday is on the 15th December), and as a gift I received a Menorah, a Tallit (prayer shawl), and a kippah to take back home with me to Vancouver.  Afterwards, the gang had a get-together to say goodbye as well and we had a great time sitting around, listening to music, and remembering the last 9 months.

Today was pretty quiet, but Michael and his wife Beckie came over to visit and had some supper.  It was a lot of fun getting to know him and everybody else I met here.  I hope I can connect with a couple of people tomorrow.

So to everyone here,  thank you so much for making me a part of your lives and being good friends to me while I was here.  I will return the favour if you make it to Vancouver, and your always welcome.  Love all of you.  Paul

Also to everyone back home, I am super excited to see everyone there.  Hopefully, I will get an opportunity a some point to share my story with you guys.  Take care and see you in a couple of days.

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Me, Dan (looking like he got a text), Beckie, and Michael

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Shiny Happy People.

When depression strikes

Today has been a hard day.  I had a rough sleep and I was periodically up in the night.  Five times in total.  Then I have been dealing with a knot in the pit of my stomach that has had me very emotional and on edge throughout this day.  I was able to accomplish some of what I had set out to do today, but then the pain became just too much to bear and I curled up in the fetal position and tried to calm myself down.  The strange thing was that there was no obvious trigger that sent me into this dark emotional feeling.  I wasn’t feeling any apprehension about what I needed to do, or where I was heading.  In fact overall, I feel very upbeat with the way things are right now.

I mentioned some of the emotional symptoms, but physical symptoms came in as well.  Loss of appetite, the knot in my stomach,  high pulse, a bit of nausea, and feeling very fainting and cold.  A lot of shivering, I had to wrap myself in a warm blanket because I was super cold today.  The darkness was all about me emotionally and physically.

My rational for it, some people may explain it away on other things, was that I was in the midst of a spiritual attack.  A specific attack targeted at me to make me feel as sh*tty as possible.

Years ago I read a Peanuts cartoon strip where Lucy was afraid that Linus was going to be taller than her.  So in order to try to stop Linus growing she would put her hands on his shoulder and press down as hard as she could.  Today is that day for me.  I simply feel that a great hand is trying its hardest to bring me down.  To prevent me from accomplishing my dreams, to prevent me from growing as a person.

When I recognized this, I did the only thing I could think of,  I started praying.  While curled up in the fetal position on the couch I was praying for my health and well-being, but also praying for friends, family, and the world because this oppression may be for someone else in danger.  I curled up an hour on that couch praying to the Lord for all these things, and I would like to say that the pain went away, but the pain didn’t turn off like that.

 

Right now,  I’m feeling a little better but I still am suffering from this condition.  I have never been diagnosed as bi-polar, nor have I really suffered something this suddenly before.  It was an awful feeling, where God seems far away even though I know he’s near.  I am continuing to try to work my way through this emotional pain through prayer and I would ask all of you that are reading this to remember me in prayer right now as I am pretty upset and physically ill.

 

 

One of the things that is consoling is that the bible has an abundance of verses dedicated to this very feeling.  This is one from the Psalms.  I’ve talked about David’s battles with depression before (not sure if Psalm 34 is actually a David Psalm or not).  The Psalm can be dark and depressing, but always have hope attached to them as well.  Here is a verse from Psalm 34.

 

 

 

Psalm 34:17

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

 

Thank you for all your support throughout this time here in Israel.  My time is coming to an end here and I would just like to bless you guys for all the support and everything that I have been through here.  ❤  Paul

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The Small Things

Really when one comes to Israel it is so easy to get caught up in everything that comes with the Territory.  There is the history.  There is the politics.  There is the ever-looming threat of conflict that can weigh on any person that grows up here.  Israelis are used to being loud, boisterous, and a little obnoxious from time to time.  Maybe it is because, in this ever-changing microcosm, they are not necessarily sure what is going to happen next.

I’ve grown in this microcosm for a year almost (if you count my trip here in 2009) and the intensity of the place does turn you into a different animal here.  It is real important to take the time and observe the small things that make this country worth having.

One of those things is Shabbat.  I stand firmly behind Shabbat as something every country should observe.  One collective day where that the country takes to catch its breath and relax.  There is no having to work, unless you’re in an essential service.  Business doesn’t happen on Shabbat.  People are free to enjoy to enjoy life, and not worry about what will come next.  Shabbat is time with family, friends, and God.  Those are the most important things in life.

I spent Shabbat Eve with family and then friends.  Friends that I’ve made in my time here that have become family.  This was one of the last times we will get together before it is time for me to head home to Vancouver.  Over a bottle of wine we shared music, politics, funny stories, and what the future has in store.  A lot of the future is still dreams, some of it is rapidly becoming reality.  In my case, I go back to Vancouver with no idea of what is in store next.  In a way I feel like I am getting a fresh start there.

It is Hanukkah here.  The festival of lights.  At night observant Jewish families will light one candle on their Menorah for every night of the feast (8 nights).  As the holiday progresses, more and more candles are lit until then, on the last night, the whole Menorah is lit up with candles.  A Hanukkah Menorah will have 9 candles.  Four candles on each side with a candle in the middle.  I asked about the candle in the middle.  It turns out that it is the servant candle and it is placed in elevation to the rest of the candles.  The servant lights the other candles but is esteemed over all the rest.  It is a microcosm for Judaism and Christianity.  The servant’s heart will be elevated over everyone else.  It’s a small observation with, a simple, yet profound statement.

Through all the memories that I have of this place, it is almost like I have lived another life.  It may sound weird to those that haven’t experienced it, but for those that have ever come here and immersed themselves in the society they totally understand.  The extremes are here.  There is tremendous joy, happiness, peace that go hand in hand with pain, loss, and frustration.  It is definitely something strange for a Canadian to observe, but in observing it I have learned many things.

One last thing I have learned it that God is in the details here.  His provision is eternal to his people.  Israel is a miracle.  That it is exists to this day, is a miracle.  That a rag-tag group of Jews and Christians from the four corners of the earth would be involved in prophetic events foretold by Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah over 2500 years ago, is a miracle.  That, I am able to witness it firsthand and play a small role in that, is amazing.  The small things, seem so small.  Then you look at the big picture, and that little small thing that somebody did, turned into something that ended up changing the world.

God bless you all.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Vancouver and sharing all my stories with you.  Paul.

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Jewish Calendar and my Birthday

Hello everybody, it has been a wild ride so far here in Israel with not too much longer here to go.  Just under two weeks till i am home and dealing with the effect of jet lag.

On Monday I was curious on finding out my Jewish birthday.  The Jewish calendar is different from the Gregorian (Western Calendar).  I don’t know all the details about the calendar, but apparently they sync up every 19 years.  So I went on the interwebs to search for an app that would tell me when my Jewish birthday was.  It wasn’t too hard and I punched in my information.  December 15th, 1976.  Lo and behold it punched out the date Kislev 23, 5737 (The date I was born in the Jewish calendar).  Then it said that it would be occurring on Tuesday, November 26th.  Yesterday.  So yesterday was my Jewish birthday.  I didn’t really celebrate it, but it was nice to know.  Next year the calendar actually syncs up again with my proper birthday.

Israel of course uses the Western calendar for most things, and the Jewish calendar is more for religious significance and holidays.  Some things change like the fact that a Jewish day is marked from Sundown.  Stores will close early on Friday in order to prepare for Shabbat, which starts that evening.  Then on Saturday night, a lot of shops will re-open (many stay closed too) to mark the next day.

Last night I was out at a bar and sitting around having a beer, when I struck up a conversation with an Ethiopian Christian by the name of David that was there as well.  I mentioned that it was my Jewish birthday and he had some goodies that he had got from his work for Hanukkah.  I took the chocolate bar and it was very nice of him to offer it to me.  He was eager to know what Canada was like.  I think he would like to travel there and live there someday.  I couldn’t help him too much with that because as a naturalized Canadian, I didn’t really know.  He was born in Addis Ababa, lived in South Africa, and had spent the past several years living in Israel with his wife and now a 10 month old son.  He showed me some pictures of his family and I mentioned that I had a nephew right around the same age back home in Canada.  Then he brought out his Aramaic bible that he carries everywhere with him.  It was great to talk to him and know that there are so many different Christians all around the globe, something so easy to overlook in North America.  We tend to think it is all about us, but the truth is, we are not that many.

Today,  I woke up from a decent sleep and plugged in my Ipod to shuffle and a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while.  I heard it and was struck by the melody and the message of the song.  I loved it and then realized it would fit a film perfectly that I had been working on, so I went back to that film in did and a special edit on it.  It was amazing how well the song and the film synced together though.  I may upload it to show you guys, but I need to get permission from somebody before I can do that.

Busy packing away, getting stuff done, and trying to see the last little bit of this country that I can before heading home.  I will see you all soon.  God bless.  Paul.

P.S.  If your interested in finding out what your Jewish Birthday is, go to this link and fill out the information.  You will need to know roughly what time of day you were born.

http://www.chabad.org/calendar/birthday_cdo/aid/6228/jewish/Birthday.htm

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Greetings Everyone

Contrary to public belief, I am not back home in Vancouver.  Yet!  I made a post on Facebook talking about how I was shopping with my brother at Safeway and he put me in his pocket.  For the folks that read between the lines, good for you.  For the folks that didn’t quite understand, here is the explanation.

First off, the being put into his pocket is the dead giveaway I think.  I was chatting on skype video style with my brother yesterday when he had to run an errand to pick up some groceries at Safeway.  So off I went via skype chat to Safeway to grocery shop.  The being put into his pocket was when I was busy at the checkout and put his phone into his pocket.

So There you go, a simple explanation for my Facebook post.

It is two weeks tomorrow til I get back and I am looking forward to seeing everyone.  For those that care,  I am arriving at YVR December 9th at 6:30pm.  If these details change I will let you know.

I started packing my bags yesterday.  When you are living abroad for a year, it means that you have a lot of stuff to pack.  I’m deciding things to pack, things to leave, and things to chuck.  The key thing is space and weight.  I have two suitcases, one carry on, and a computer bag to worry about.  I am dreading Ben Gurion airport with all my luggage.  The only airport in the world where it takes longer to leave than arrive.

I will be looking for work when I get back.  I haven’t quite decided my long-term plans yet, but obviously having decent work back home will help my decision.  If you know of anyone hiring, then let me know.  To start with I’ll take even short-term stuff if needed just to get me settled.

To that extent, I have been working on a show reel.  I think i am going to change it a little bit, but this is two minutes of my camera work.

So there you go.  The music is titled “New Land” and it is a royalty free piece of music that we had here in our database.

Anyways,  things are going well here.  It’s cooled off here quite a bit.  Days will sometimes still hit the low 20’s, but nights get real cool.  Definitely sweater type stuff.  Still dry though.  We will see what happens in the last couple of weeks.  It is supposed to rain today, but it still looks pretty nice out there.  Sunny with a bit of cloud cover.

God bless you all.  See you in two weeks.  Paul

Some more pictures from the other day.

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Old City and Days Less

As I run out of time, I am taking more time to get out and explore.  Sometimes you get so busy that you forget to just take the time for yourself to enjoy.  Well on Wednesday I was able to get out and explore myself.  It actually killed a few giants with one stone.  First,  I was able to tick a few things I wanted to do off my list.  Second,  I could take the camera and film some landscape and city shots for cutaways.  However, the real reason I wanted to go was because I have been working on a camera show reel and I was missing a shot that I wanted.  I really wanted to get one more good landscape/time-lapse to throw in.  So I was able to get a few and now the decision of what to put in/leave out is weighing on my mind mildly.

My day started out by catching a ride to the central bus station and then grabbing the train to Damascus Gate, just in the fringe of East Jerusalem.  Walking North from there about 300 meters is the Garden Tomb.  The Garden Tomb is something that I saw back in 2009, but had yet to make it there this time.  Until Wednesday.  The garden is lovely, and so peaceful.  It is interesting because it really is like an Oasis in the middle of this crazy city.  You go in and it is like you are transported to another world outside of the hustle and bustle.  The fact that it is so significant, quiet, and peaceful, despite the fact that there are tour groups there all the time is a testament to the place it is and the Holy reverence due it.

I took the short walk through the garden to the lookout over skull hill.  Golgotha, the place of Christ’s crucifixion has been translated as “place of the skull”.  Well you can look over this hill that has a rocky face that looks very much like a skull.  New Testament text states that Jesus was crucified before Shabot, which means that his place of burial would have had to have been near his place of death.  After sun down, Shabot starts and there is no work to be done, which means that Jesus’s followers would have had to of worked quickly to ensure getting the job done in time.  So two minutes away, there is the tomb where they laid Christ’s body in and started to grieve.

Of course, we all know what happened next.  Sunday comes around and the tomb is empty.  Jesus’s followers are confused at first, but then Jesus appears to them in resurrected for over the course of 40 days and proves his triumph over death.  Hallelujah.

It’s a great place to go, and pray, and just take a minute to spend in reflection of this awesome event.

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As you may not know, the Garden Tomb is not universally accepted as the actual site of Jesus’s Death and Resurrection.  There is another site, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that is also claimed by many as the authentic site.

But what a contrast between the two.  The Church is a big stone monolith with aspects of incredible beauty in the architecture and artwork, but is chaotic as crowds of pilgrims fight for room between the stone pillars.  It is noisy as echoes upon echoes of dialogue from the many tour groups there are an annoying distraction from the purpose of the place.  I almost didn’t go, but decided I better to see it and get a fresh perspective from my experience four years ago.

Four years ago I got yelled at by a priest for wearing a hat in the middle of the church.  Oops, sorry.  Apparently God the Son, Jesus, is not a hat person, but God the Father, YHWH, is because you can’t go pray at the Western Wall without one.

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Anyways,  the Garden Tomb was my first stop on the day and Church of the Holy Sepulchre was my last.  What did I do in between?  Well I wanted to get some nice video shots with the camera, so I was strolling the streets of the old city looking for some interesting things to film.

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I entered the Old City through the Damascus gate, which took my into the Christian Quarter of the City.  Throughout the city there are merchants selling there little trinkets and such.  Many try to get you to buy, but a firm no and keeping moving is the solution.  Avoid the window shopping.  I filmed a nice time-lapse at Damascus gate, then kept the cameras running for several minutes as I walked the streets of the city.

I eventually made my way down to the vistas that overlook the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.  Another time-lapse (actually a few) were done here.

The Dome of the Rock is controversial because it is a Muslim shrine on the location of the most holy site in the world.  A lot of Christians have issues with it.  They don’t want to film it, they don’t want to look at it, and they don’t want to regard it in any way.  I think this is a mistake.  To not acknowledge the Dome of the Rock is to throw away 1300 years of Jerusalem History.  History that shaped the way we view Jerusalem today.  While I believe in a Jewish Temple there,  I do think that to disregard that history makes us no better than many Muslims, who revise history all the time to exclude Christians and Jews.

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Either way, it’s there.  It is a stunning structure.  Agree with it or not, but don’t deny it’s existence.  That’s just silly.

I made my way down to the Wall.  I still had my camera with me, filming much of the way.  I had been down to a wall a few times already, but this was the first time I had gone down by myself on personal time.  It was amazing to go pray there.  While I believe that prayer is powerful no matter where you are, I kept help but think that maybe I was just a little better focused in composing my thoughts to the almighty there.

After that it the sun was starting to set.  I began to wind up my adventure in the old city, with the detour at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to come.  I exited the Old City by the Jaffa gate and proceeded to head up Jaffa street to my favourite little Shawarma stand for some good eats, before catching the bus back home.  All in all a good day.  A lot of walking, and went to be early that night.  Needed the sleep.

God Bless you all.  I can’t believe that in not much more than two weeks I will be back in Vancouver and seeing many of you for the first time in almost 9 months.  Keep me in prayer.  I have a lot of stuff I need to get done, and a lot of stuff I want to do in these final two weeks before I end up departing.  God Bless.  Paul

Below are some more pictures of my day.  From churches, to mosques, to buskers, and everything else.  Enjoy.

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