This spring, 2007, God expanded the borders of Beth Shalom as we traveled to Israel with a state wide and international contingent. God honored the Marin & Sonoma County leaders by adding leadership teams from Pray California (Pray Cal) and Pray United Kingdom which included leaders from Scotland, Wales and England. Under the leadership of Pastor Jerry Bowers, these teams carried incredible capacity to share the burden of the Lord for Israel.
Our group was generous spiritually and materially. They poured out financial gifts, intercession, and prophetic acts throughout the entire pilgrimage. Once again we were able to bless our Arab friends who are laboring to bring a message of love to a community oppressed by hatred.
God faithfully ordered our steps and our entire experience was punctuated by divine appointments with ministry leaders and government officials. Worship was led by Lance Mayes (Run With Me) who consistently brought us into the presence of God with his timely expressions.
On our first day we went to Jaffa on the United States’ National Day of Prayer. Our international team prayed for the west while facing west. They prayed blessing on England, Scotland, Wales, and the United States from Israel, the place where the gospel went forth.
At Caesarea, where the blood of martyrs was spilled in the Roman games, we spent a long time in prayer and intercession for our families, Jewish and Arab children and the next generation.
Towards the end of the day we gathered at the Jordan River where many of us rededicated our lives to Yeshua and one was baptized for the first time. Pastors Sam Tillery,Leroy Dillon, Jerry Bowers and Mike Fletcher ministered in the water. Rosemary Schindler (Schindler’s Ark)and Katharine prayed for people as they came out of the water. That evening we visited The Galilee Experience where we were hosted by Eric & Teri Morey. Based in Tiberias, The Galilee Experience shows visitors a media presentation that walks them through 4,000 years of history. They have a great gift shop and online store.
Before attending Carmel Assembly on Shabbat we prayed at the traditional site of Elijah’s victory. As we worshipped we were joined by a group of Indonesian pastors and experienced the power of east meeting west.
Some of the most significant sites of Yeshua’s earthly ministry are in the Galilee. At Capernaum we saw the stones of the town and synagogue from the time of Jesus. As the living stones of the body of Messiah we followed Pastor Carter Woods (Vertical Call) in prayer for healing for those in our group and extended families.
In the Golan Heights we prayed for Syria and Lebanon. The Pray California team built an altar of remembrance on the highest point and consecrated it with water from Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite, California as we committed again to stand with Israel for safety and salvation.
We continued up to Jerusalem and Myles welcomed the pilgrims with the traditional prayer which consecrates sacred moments in time. So often people told us that visiting Israel was one of the most significant events of their life. In the garden of Gethsemane we joined with the prayer leader from the German prayer house.
Monday morning is one of the traditional Bar Mitzvah days at the Kotel (Western Wall). It is always a joy to see young men committing to make the torah a prominent part of their lives. Let’s pray that this is not just a ritual but that the nation will continue to turn to scripture and prepare for the Messiah.
Hanna Ben Haim, our awesome guide, led us to the Temple Mount where we prayed for the future of Israel and our Muslim neighbors. God will set things in order!
Our favorite day excursion took us to Shiloh where former mayor David Rubin once again did an excellent job of integrating ancient history with current events. Here you can see David being interviewed by national public radio from America.
We had an outrageous time at the Neot Kedumim Biblical Gardens where ancient history came alive and demonstrated the connection between scripture, the people and the land. Zechariah, a third generation scribe, happened to be copying the book of Esther when we arrived. God has a sense of humor, as Mordecai is Myles’ Hebrew name! It was amazing to see the scriptures copied using materials produced in the land where God placed His chosen people. Zechariah used a local reed for a pen, ink mixed from plants at hand and wrote on parchment made from gazelle. Bible stories were illustrated as we saw barley roasted for eating along the trail and how threshing tools were used to separate wheat and chaff.
The next day began with a visit to Israel’s National Museum which contains the scroll of Isaiah at the Shrine of the Book. A contingent from our group met with a representative from the Christian Allies Caucus. This coming winter, California Church leaders will host the Caucus in several statewide meetings. Our dream of growing cooperation between Jews and Christians is being realized. Our time at Yad Vashem awakened in our group a fresh understanding of the need for this cooperation as we proclaim together “Never Again.”
We left Jerusalem for a time of rest and reflection at the Dead Sea. This leg of the journey included a stop in Arad to pray for believers there. We were blessed to meet with Avner Boskey (David’s Tent) at Abraham’s wells in Beer Sheeva. He shared a timely word regarding the next generation and our responsibility to cover them spiritually and launch them into their destinies. Our time in the south included a life affirming trip up Masada.This desert fortress is a monument to national heroism colored by the specter of suicide. How refreshing to see our group experience the joy of the Lord in this sobering environment.
Sister Heather Butler, from Wales, blessed us throughout the journey with spontaneous song. Her prophetic gift often punctuated significant moments. It was a great honor to participate in her ordination led by Jerry Bowers who represented Missionary Church International.
It is impossible in this brief retelling to capture such an awesome experience. We have now hosted nearly 150 people. If you ask them, each would give a unique perspective on how God met them in Israel and how the trip changed them. As you feel that tug on your heart, yield to it and follow the Lord to His covenant land. We would be honored if you chose to come with us. But however you get there, don’t miss this wonderful experience.