Barak! There is so much I want to say about Barak! He was our tour guide. As we quickly found out, not only was he our tour guide but the best tour guide in Israel. Literally on the street people would stop and say you have the best tour guide in Israel. Other tour guides would stop and ask for his information. We saw his boss one night and we were raving and she said "oh, I know" . Barak is a humble man and something tells me we only know the half of how important he is!
So many of us on the trip really felt it wasn't a mistake that we all were afforded the blessing of Barak, but it was meant to be.
Barak is a Jew. That was one of the things that seemed it was meant to be, because of all my preparation in coming here, books, podcasts, tv shows, there was a central theme developing that you cannot understand the roots of our faith without understanding the Jewish Traditions and culture and alphabet etc.. Funny that the tour was called roots of your faith.
Nothing is by mistake. That was another theme and lesson learned which you also learn as you study the Bible and Barak helped point out. Jesus did this specific miracle here because it goes back to the Old Testament ... etc.
Barak challenged what for lack of better terminology is our Disney perceptions of some of the Bible events. And with his expertise laid out his cases. Not that they didn't happen, but not in the way we have envisioned or just the surroundings.
Barak, was an amazing shepherd leading his sheep! He was protective of us and I believe takes it personally if we were to get lost. He counts 3 and 4 times to make sure he has us. He has the patience of Job and from being with kids on tours for many years I understand the challenge and I learned from watching him how to lead.
Barak uses humor and had me laughing quite often. (sometimes Willy Wonka humor if you know what I mean)
Barak is passionate, loyal, very confident and is not phased by anything that would fall under the category of politically correct. You will never have to guess where he is at on any topic or maybe you! LOL
It's evident that Barak loves his family very much and honors them well.
Barak shared insight into Talia's name and had again some providential moments.
Barak really wanted us to experience and feel rather than just go to sites. Very much like jazz soloing, it's not about the scales but what you do from your soul with the scales and notes!
There will be many more insights I'm sure I will gleam as I get more perspective, but the last thing is the way he lead us physically and spiritually was with the Bible! A couple of these pictures I meant to take, the vast majority of them I did not and was trying to get just pictures of the landscape of city streets, etc.. I went through all my pictures and posted each one I found of Barak holding up the Bible for us to follow. Fist of all that has to be tiring. We saw so many guides have like a stuffed animal on a pole or ribbons on a stick or whatever. We were on a Holy Land Tour and Barak chooses to lead us by the Bible. One of the many revelations to me was you really seeing the complex nature of Jerusalem. It did not matter where we were, If Barak was allowed to be with us as a Jew, he was going to be holding up his Bible! Romans 1:16 I'm not ashamed of the Gospel! Then at every site, we opened the word and read. I heard a lot of explanations from other groups of what we were seeing but seldom if any ever saw people reading the word at these spots.
Barak will always hold a special spot in my heart and will be grateful for his contribution to my Spiritual growth.
Thank you Barak!
Oh, and Happy 40th!!!!
Max Colley III
Spirit Filled Jazz Musician