Love Triangles (review)

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Love Triangles, Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today's IsraelLove Triangles, Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today’s Israel by Bobbie Ann Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her memoir / travelogue Love Triangles, Bobbie Ann Cole writes about her love affair with Israel. When she and husband Butch move there, it is to fill a six-month time period till their rented property will again be available to them. However, after only three months they begin thinking of applying for permanent residency, called making Aliyah* when you’re Jewish (as Bobbie is).

There is one problem. Bobbie and Butch are Christians. The interpretation of the Jewish immigration policy in the last years has kept many Jews who believe Jesus is their Messiah from gaining permanent residency. This has Bobbie constantly on edge, worried that she’ll jeopardize her chances of immigrating. And so she guards what she says, avoids establishing intimate friendships with the locals, and even changes who she associates with.

Much of the book is descriptions of biblically familiar Israeli sites. In vivid and picturesque language Cole describes what she hears, sees, smells and touches. She also recalls what happened in the Bible places like Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem and more. Repeatedly she mentions that in Israel she feels closer to Jesus than anywhere else in the world:

What I loved, but as someone relatively young in faith had never known before, was following Jesus all around the Land. That was a powerful incentive.

In our three months there, we had met Him in the Negev Desert, in Jerusalem’s Old City, and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. … We had discovered that even though the country was constantly on high military alert, there was what Butch referred to as ‘that safe, spiritual feeling,’ a serenity rooted in faith, a trust that God ‘has it.’” KL 129.

I found this book informational and inspiring in several ways. First, it opened my eyes to the way Jews who believe in Jesus are singled out as ineligible to become Israeli citizens. Second, Cole’s descriptions of modern Israel juxtaposed against her sometimes whimsical and imaginative retelling of what happened there in Bible stories made me want to visit Israel more than ever. And finally, through Cole’s story I have gained a new appreciation for Israel’s story and the love of the people for the land both in the past and present.

You’re probably wondering if Bobbie and Butch made Aliyah. Were they successful in immigrating? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

*‘Aliyah’ literally means ‘going up,’ a term originally used to describe how Jews from all over the ancient world would go up to the temple at the very top of Mount Zion in Jerusalem for Jewish pilgrimage festivals” – KL 768.

I received the Kindle edition of Love Triangles as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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She Does Not Fear the Snow (review)

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She Does Not Fear the SnowShe Does Not Fear the Snow by Bobbie Ann Cole

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bobbie Cole and her friend Terry were both on a quest to find new purpose and meaning when they toured Israel together in the spring of 2007. Bobbie wasn’t expecting anything from her visit to the King of Kings Church in Jerusalem. She was there simply because Terry really wanted to go and had cheerfully gone with her to her place of worship—a Jerusalem synagogue.

The almost electric current of love she experienced during the singing caught her entirely off-guard. Later, when several of the photos Terry took of the service turned out to capture not the congregation, stage, band, and overhead screen she had focused on, but a series of golden images resembling wings and flames, both women were puzzled and awed. Had there been angels in that service? Was God answering their prayers?

How God searched her out, planted her in a new home, and fulfilled deep desires she hadn’t even articulated is the moving story Bobbie Cole tells in her spiritual memoir She Does Not Fear the Snow. In it we meet a cast of characters as colorful as those in any novel. And we watch the unfolding of two love stories (one human, one divine) even as we see her grow as a Christian and navigate around the objections her family and friends put up to keep her from remarrying.

I loved this book and had a hard time putting it down! Cole’s writing was a highlight for me. The heart she puts into her vivid descriptions and detailed narratives made me feel like I was living the events: seeing the mysterious Iranian rug for the first time; peeking over her shoulder at emails as she and Butch began writing; feeling the resistance of her adult children to even meeting the man she was falling in love with; struggling with her as she tried to forgive, love, be gentle, patient.

I like how the chapters are divided into numbered mini-sections, each of which is a vignette or story on its own. There are lots of good places to stop if you don’t have long to read. And by employing these mini-stores she does a masterful job of showing what’s happening (vs. telling) leaving readers to draw their own conclusions about people and circumstances.

The message that comes through is of a God who sees, cares, and communicates His love in ways that many of us may not even recognize as divine communication. Anyone open to giving Him a try would be encouraged and inspired by Cole’s story.

Cole has made available several free resources to accompany the book. From her website download:

  • Encounters With Jesus blog where you can read more of Bobbie’s stories and the testimonies of others.

I received She Does Not Fear the Snow as a free gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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