Busy and Emotional Final Day

No one seems to be in a hurry to leave Israel.  The land is beautiful and the sites are meaningful, but the people, the believers and the not-yet-believers, will steal your hearts.  Sure, we are all beginning to miss our family and friends back home, but we hate to see the end of our trip come upon us so quickly.

We get on the bus at 8:15AM and head to the Old City,  Our tour guide mentioned that the entire Old City is only 220 acres.  Wow.  That is really small to be the subject of so much history, focus and controversy.  It sits adjacent to the City of David where King David had his palace.  But Jerusalem is the epicenter of the entire world.  Think about it.  God called Abraham to it for the offering of Issac.  God gave it to his people, Israel.  God chose it as His city, the only place on earth where He place His name.  Solomon’s and Herod’s temples were located there.  Yeshua made his triumphant entry there.  A week later He was crucified there.  Three days later He arose there.  And it is to Jerusalem that He is returning to put His feet on the Mount of Olives and enter into the Old City through the Eastern Gate.  Wow.  Jerusalem, the center of it all.

We visited the Davidson Center where they show a film depicting what it would have been like in Jesus day to come and offer a sacrifice at the Temple.  Then we went around to the Southern Steps (on the southern side of the Temple Mount).  This is where the majority of the people would have entered the temple courts.  This is where Jesus would have entered the Temple.  We read each of the fifteen Psalms of Ascents, one for each of the “steps”.  The Southern Steps are made up of a small step and then a large step alternating all the way up.  There are fifteen large steps, one for each of these Psalms.  So we take turns reading the Psalms of Ascent, one on each of the large steps.  Next to the Southern Steps is a little cleft in the wall, just large enough for a person to nestle into.  We take some photos.

We head back to the western side of the temple mount where the Western Wall is located. “Wailing Wall” is a derogatory term used by the Muslims, so we use the formal name, Western Wall. Here we join the many faithful Jews and other followers of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, who come to pray and put their prayers into the cracks and crevices of the wall.  We also use our time here to pray for the “fullness of the Gentiles” to be complete so that the Lord will lift the partial blindness from their eyes so that they can see Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, their Messiah.

From there we climb many steps to take us back to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City where we do a little shopping and grab some lunch.  Then we load the bus and head for Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Museum.  We take a couple hours, but your could easily spend an entire day.  There is so much history here.  The emotion is heavy.  It is always a hard experience.  The Jews believe that the Holocaust was committed in the name of Jesus by Christians.  And although Hitler was into the occult and obviously (to us) not a Christian, he used the writings of Martin Luther and the church leadership of the day to accomplish his plans.  And many, many church leaders fell into compliance.  This is one of the reasons why many Jews want nothing to do with Christ.  Can you blame them? “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves”, Romans 14:22.

We finished our day with our friends, Eddie and Jackie Santoro.  They have amazing shepherd’s hearts and they are pioneers as Messianic believers in the land of Israel.  Also, our dear friend Ken Shostack joined us for dinner and prayer.  This was a fantastic and richly blessed trip.

Jennifer’s Trip Conclusion:

Imagine finding yourself smack dab in the middle of an epic adventure on a scale grander than The Lord of the Rings. That is what being part of the Israel team is like.

We are those who have been foretold long ago and are now finding ourselves mentioned in the pages of Scripture. Our journey started with Isaiah 60:8-9. We were among those who flew along like clouds bringing Israel’s children (Michael and Jacquelyn) from afar back to the land with us. We labored in David’s olive grove and on the Field’s of Wheat property fulfilling Isaiah 61:5, “Foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.” We shared of the Savior’s love with Malka just as The Lord declared we should do in Isaiah 62:11 “Say to the Daughter of Zion- see your Savior comes!”

On our last night together Eddie Santoro reminded us again what an amazing age we live in. He had been recently impressed by Hebrews 11:29-30. After mentioning all those name in the Biblical hall of fame who lived by faith and died in faith the text reads “Yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” They make up the great cloud of witnesses encouraging us, together, to throw off entanglements and run with us eyes set on Yeshua who is the author and perfect or of our faith.

With so much joy in our hearts how could we help but find ourselves all over Romans 15:10 “Rejoice you Gentiles with His people!” Until our feet are once again standing in your gates O Jerusalem, we pray for your peace, imagining the precious faces of our brothers and friends- Psalm 122: 8-9

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From Justified To Glorified

Before I update you about Malka, let me walk you through our day…

We had a bit of a “lie in”, as our Kiwi tour guide Jerry says, since we didn’t have to be on the bus until 10AM.  I think this was our only leisurely morning of the trip.  Amanda, who is working at Yad Hashmona, where we are staying, joined us bringing along her two roommates, Claudia and Marloes (Marloosh).  We drove to Kfar Saba to join the Ha-Ma’ayan (The Spring) Messianic congregation for their Shabbat service.  This is Danny and Tammy Meyuseff’s home congregation.  It was a very intimate family time as they were sending one of their own couples to Ireland to start a teaching ministry about Israel.  We all worshipped and prayed for the Lord’s protection and blessing on their move.  It was a fine example of an entire congregation coming together to bless and send.  There were many tears, both of sorrow and joy.

Danny, Tammy and Tammy’s sister Orna, invited us to their home for lunch and fellowship after the service.  After an amazing meal we got to hear Danny’s life story (and briefly Tammy’s and Orna’s).  Danny was a violent criminal, seriously into things we will not talk about here.  On his way out of the house to kill a man, the Lord spoke to him through his sleeping son.  And instead of following through, Danny went and checked himself into rehab and asked Yeshua into his heart and life.  Danny is one of the best examples of a new creation you will ever see.  He is humble and courageous.  He proclaims the name of Yeshua boldly yet in love.

Danny blessed us by sending us home with olive oil and anointing oil from olives picked by our fall 2014 team, and date honey.  We arrived back at Yad Hashmona ready for our debrief.  On each trip we set aside three hours to sit together as a group and discuss what the trip has meant to us; to process together.  We keep saying that this trip is like drinking from a fire hose.  Three hours flew by and before we knew it we were late for dinner.  Our dear friends Herzl and Dana joined us and we spent a couple wonderful hours with them.

If you remember, our dear friend Malka, a sabra Israeli (born in Israel), who has been battling cancer for the last two and a half years, accepted Yeshua as The Messiah and invited Him into her heart on Wednesday night.  She made a clear profession of faith that we all heard and in which we all rejoiced.  Eddie and Jackie Santoro, John and Tikvah, Shani and Ilana, all Israeli believers, witnessed and prayed for her in Hebrew.  What an amazing night!

On the bus to Danny and Tammy’s house we got a text message from Ken, her husband, that she was in the emergency room.  A half hour later we got another text.  This one said that the doctors were giving her morphine and that it was just a matter of time.  Before we left for our hotel we received yet another text saying that the doctors told Ken to gather the family.

Michael, Jacquelyn and Denise had planned to go to the hospital after our debrief.  But at 7:30PM we got a text from Ken telling us that Malka had died two hours earlier.  It was at the same time we had been praying that if this was Malka’s time to go Home, that the Lord would make it quick and ease her suffering.  Michael, Jacquelyn and Denise all went to Ken’s home to comfort him.

Michael has known Ken and Malka for many years.  I first met her in 2010 on our first trip to Israel.  In 2012 she asked to visit our tour group and asked for prayer for her cancer.  We talked openly about Yeshua.  She eagerly came back for prayer and fellowship in 2013 and and again in 2014.  Each time we talked about the peace and freedom only found in Yeshua.  We had no idea that Wednesday evening would be the last time we would see her on this earth.  We love Malka and are so glad to know that she is with her Savior, Friend and Messiah.  Now our thoughts and prayers are with Ken.

God’s timing is always perfect though we can rarely see it at the time.  We have been so blessed on this trip.  Although we have often felt the enemy’s attack, the Lord has been faithful to take us from one amazing encounter to another.  As Michael says, “From glory to glory”.

One last amazing day before heading home.  See you all soon.

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Yea Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow

Guest writer: Michael Weiner

It’s Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, it is the first day of Ramadan (a month long Muslim holiday of fasting and prayer) and it is our day to go to the Mount of Olives (a hotbed of Muslim unrest on an ordinary day). But we are there by divine appointment and proceed all day long unmolested.

At the top of the mount, there is an offer to ride a donkey or a camel (none of our group is willing). Both purveyors shout, “Taxi, taxi,” but still no takers. The view from here is spectacular. Most prominently, we see the Golden Gate where Yeshua will return to Jerusalem to take up His throne on the earth (read Zechariah 14 to gain some perspective). After reviewing the geography, we begin our descent that lands us in the Garden of Gethsemane. After much prayer we begin a significant walk through the entire Old City, all the way to the Jaffa Gate, where our bus is waiting.

At the beginning of that long walk, as we cross the Kidron Valley, we pass Absalom’s Tomb (King David’s rebellious son). To this day, Jewish parents bring there children to this place so the children can throw stones at the tomb and affirm their intention not to be rebellious.

Back on the bus, we travel partly across Jerusalem to the Machane Yehuda Shook (a large outdoor market) which is always busy, but especially so as Jewish Israelis hurriedly prepare for the Sabbath, during which they will neither buy nor sell. This is where we buy and consume our weight in the freshest and tastiest pastries in the whole world.   Why does everything taste better in Israel? …it’s the seeds!

From the shook, we walk to the prayer tower for an hour of prayer over the city, all to Jacquelyne’s accompaniment. The rest of the afternoon, we (do something we rarely do) split up. Some go to serve one ministry while others go to serve another. We clean, sweep, wash, and paint; all to make a lasting difference and to express our heart to serve.

We welcome Shabbat at the Lone Soldiers (HaMiflaht – the refuge) where Israeli soldiers without families in Israel are welcome to join in one big family meal and fellowship. Our day is complete; mission accomplished. We have prayed, we have worked and we have rested. Shabbat Shalom.

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If you’ve been on one of our trips, you know that a morning at Revive is a unique and sacred time.  Worshipping with our Jewish brothers and sisters and whoever else from around the world happens to be here this week, we are united as ONE in Yeshua.  This morning it was a large group of believers from Korea who joined us.  The far west and the far east were represented with Israel smack dab in the middle.  After a coffee break we all enjoyed the insightful teaching of Asher as we looked into God’s word.  These are all the makings of a remarkable morning. Followed by lunch with our Revive friends and more time to celebrate our bond as family.

Our afternoon took us to Danny’s olive grove, which he operates for the landowner, David. Starting in September, the land will begin the year of Shmita, or Sabbath rest. This happens once every seven years.  While it remains fallow, the fruit falls on it’s own and is gathered by animals. But no harvesting is done in accordance to the Torah. It’s a time for the landowner to practice obedience with the knowledge that the next year, in this case – the Jubilee (50) year, will prove far more fruitful for his faithfulness to God’s word.  Pruning these trees who are about to enter a year of rest was a time we will cherish. Followed, of course, by praying for Danny and sharing our Tennessee t-shirts with him and David.

The Santoros invited our leaders to come to their home for dinner.  The rest of the team had a rare free evening to relax at Yad Hashmona . And now, time for shmita…

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