19 – 29 April 2012
If we had to choose a motto for this year’s trip to Israel, it would be: „from glory to glory“. The impressions and experiences were so numerous that I want to simply share a few highlights. But to summarise we could say we were in the right place at the right time and were able to observe God in action. What a great privilege!
1. Three Israeli public holidays occurred during our ten-day trip: Holocaust Remembrance Day; Memorial Day for soldiers killed in action; and Israel’s Independance Day. We were very moved to experience how close joy and suffering are for the people of Israel. On Memorial Day for those killed in war the war sirens were blown in every town. The WHOLE COUNTRY stood still to observe one minute’s silence It left a lasting impression. In the evening there was a memorial service, which we were allowed to join in. Less than 24-hour later the atmosphere had completely changed: flags could be seen everywhere, people danced in the streets and fireworks were set off. The Israelis celebrated the 64th. Birthday of the foundation of their country. What a faithful God we have!
2. We were able to visit the only Messianic/Christian old people’s home in Israel in Haifa. Initially, through watching a film we learnt about the work and its founder. Afterwards we were able to spend time with one of the residents, Heinz Pollak. He is 99 years old, a Jew, and comes originally from Germany. Most of his family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Second World War. However, Heinz was smuggled out of Germany by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was very interesting and moving to hear just a part of his story. He told us that he had forgiven the Germans and before we left we prayed with him.
3. We had the privilege to travel, as a group. to the so-called West Bank. We drove in an armour-plated bus with church members., who were also armed. Our Orthodox driver (!!!) drove us straight into the Palestine controlled area . We experienced an amazing assortment of events on this day: we visited Shilo, Mount Garizzim and Ebal (blessings and curses) and listened to a profound message from Ofer Amitai about the character of God. What also preoccupied my thoughts was the difference between the Jewish and Arab areas.: Hardly had we crossed the checkpoint, the country no longer looking cared for, the houses were run-down, everything was dirty and the mummed women unrecognizable in their Burkhas. It was though we were in a totally different country. This completely other mentality is strikingly visible. But at the same time we drove by Jewish settlements. Surrounded by high walls of barbed-wire and guarded by innumerable soldiers, one could see from afar how inside the settlements everything was green and lush. Despite everything that they must suffer, these people are really blessed, because God is on their side.
4. This year we did not go, as has been our custom, to three places. God had closed the doors to these, but , at the same time, opened new ones. So we drove from the Sea of Gallilee southwards to Beerscheba and could see with our own eyes the word from Obadia 1:20 being fulfilled. (This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev. – NIV). We visited a Spanish-speaking church and spent a very encouraging time with its leaders. They have been through many challenges and hard times and we washed their feet as a sign of the Father’s love that they have not been forgotten and that HE sees everything. Many tears were shed and we could see how a number of the lies of the enemy lost their power and were defeated.
There are many other things to report. From our cleaning and painting activities; from the clearing-up operation of the rubbish on the mountain where JESUS preached the Beatitudes („Sermon on the Mount“); from the many times of prayer and worship or from all the wonderful brothers and sisters who we met.
But above all we can say:
Baruch HaBa BeSchem ADONAI! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the LORD!