Once again we were privileged to lead a varied group to Ha Eretz (the land) this year. We partner with Rosemary Schindler who has a ministry called Schindler's Ark, through which she carries the mantle of Oskar Schindler to bless the Jewish people. I first met her at a very unique Judeo-Christian Zionist congress, which she hosted in Berkeley California. Rosemary works with World Express travel, and helps us tailor our pilgrimages to maximize the power of prayer and transformation for every one who comes with us.
The business leaders from Santa Rosa, Lawrence Lehr and John Rechin also brought a fresh view of the believer's need to bless Israel. This autumn, John will lead a crew of church people to build the Cotati Jewish Free Health Clinic. Imagine! Church people will build a medical facility so volunteering Jewish doctors can serve the indigent, largely Hispanic population. It is a win-win-win endeavor. What a blessing to join with John and Michelle as they found their Dutch relatives memorialized in the Grove of the Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum. They have the desire to help the Jewish people in their DNA! At the museum, John exhorted us to go all the way with God.
Dr. Sam Tillery and Pastor Rick Bassett also blessed us with rich spiritual input during the tour.
Our guide was Hanna Ben Haim. She and her husband Eliyahu were close friends with Derek Prince, elder statesman in the Body of Messiah. Derek was a major influence on an entire generation of leaders. Hanna and Eliayahu were his caretakers for the waning years of his life. She adds depth in the word to her knowledge of the land and history of Israel. She is an awesome guide.
We were blessed to have private meetings with major Christian and Jewish leaders. Tom Hess spoke a powerful word to us about the faith of Abraham. As always my beloved wife Katharine graced us with prayer and the presence of the spirit.
Our first night, in Tel Aviv, we had the privilege of hearing Pastor Naim Khoury and his son Stephen. Pastor Khoury is a hero of the faith. He leads the congregation in
Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee. Several of us took the opportunity to commune with God and pray for the peace of Israel. This picture expresses the creative power of the one who "neither slumbers nor sleeps". (Psalm 121:4) Today as rockets threaten the tiny nation of Israel, there is a greater power, the Creator of the heavens of the Earth, who is watching over her.
Monday is bar mitzvah day at the Western Wall. Here we see young boys becoming sons of the Torah. They are making a public commitment to follow the ways of God. This is a celebration of life marked by singing, dancing and rejoicing. You can see the scriptures bound on their arms and foreheads in literal fulfillment of Deuteronomy 6:8.
Pastor Ben Medel, our Native American brother, Myles, and Pastor Hans Trebe our German brother led communion at the garden tomb. It was a special blessing to have Pastor Ben Medel and his wife Carol with us. As a Native-American leader from our area in California, he brings a unique understanding of the protocols of God, especially in the necessity of believers honoring the Jewish people. To stand and pray with Ben in the land was a profound experience for me.
Another wonder was seeing the transforming power of God in the life of Pastor Hans Trebe. Hans is a compassionate leader whose own life preaches the power of God to see us through the trials of life. I believe God will use him to help Germany find its redemptive purpose, becoming a friend to Israel.
R.C. Carillo consistently brought us into the presence of God with his gift of worship. The presence of God was powerful as we recognized the fellowship that we have across racial and national lines.
Caesarea Philippi where Yeshua spoke about the authority of the believers and the inability of the forces of darkness to prevail against us. This was the site of Pan worship literally known as the Gates of Hell. (Matt. 16:18)
David and Karen Davis welcomed us to an incredible Shabbat at Mount Carmel. Their dance team released the power and anointing of the Lord. Carmel Assembly is a place where
Arabs and Jews live together in peace and worship the God of Abraham. It overlooks Haifa, where cooperation between Jews and Arabs is a daily part of life in business and civil affairs. The recent rocket attacks are a stinging reminder of the hatred that the enemies of God have for any shalom between the cousins who are the children of Isaac and Ishmael.
One of the highlights of our trip was our day in Shiloh. Former MayorDavid Rubin guided us through the history of this sacred place where the Ark of the Covenant rested for 369 years. David was the 1,000th victim of terror. His gripping testimony reminds us of the power of the God of Abraham to preserve and prosper His people.
This year we were privileged to visit the cheder (children's school) where elementary school students memorize the Torah. It is ironic to see this productive, creative, loving community portrayed in the news as a "settlement" of hostile occupiers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Situated in the ancestral mountains of Israel, which the world calls the west bank, Shiloh is a beautiful example of the abundant life of Torah- observant Jewish people.
The flags of Israel and the USA fly together over our "Jesus Boat" on the Sea of Galilee. God is unveiling the prophetic destiny that these two countries share. In spite of negative world opinion, America is awakening to its spiritual roots (John 4:22). Israel, the only flourishing democracy in a sea of dictatorships is again being threatened with annihilation. It is incumbent upon us as Americans to stand with our Israeli friends. We live in a time much like the book of Esther. She was called upon to intervene for the survival of the Jewish nation.
Today, we who love the God of Abraham must be ready to lay down our lives for the Jewish people, the "apple of God's eye" (Zech 2:8).
These covenant pilgrimages are unique. Join us next year. We leave for Israel May 1, 2007. Let God speak to you and through you in His land.