Before leaving Greece on October 25th, we had a divine encounter with 2 intercessors based in Thessalonica – Todd Pekel and Mike Long (see below). Having just returned from a “birthing prayer houses” conference in Israel (Rick Riding), they were fired up about the prayer network developing across nations such as Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Lebanon. They had also caught the vision of the Isaiah 19 highway being fulfilled in these days. The Greek word for crisis is ‘krisi’ meaning judgement. This had clearly begun with the household of God in that land but man’s extremity was God’s opportunity there.
The day before we entered the Land, 79 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.
The first stone we saw in Eretz Israel was a living stone – Brian Slater of Chosen People Ministries (see below). Against overwhelming odds, Brian and his wife Racheli have established an humanitarian aid centre in Netanya. This is feeding 400 people a month – Ethiopians, Russians, Holocaust survivors. This mercy ministry is being supported by the messianic congregation there. One of the pastors – Lev Guler (also below) – came to meet with us later. Before making Aliyah, Lev had received a revelation that Yeshua was the Jewish messiah; he thought he was the only one! On arrival in Israel as a Russian immigrant, he, his wife and child had 50 kg in 2 boxes to their name. Together with Kiwi Evan Thomas, they now pastor a congregation of nearly 200 souls.
The next morning, being Shabbat, found us at the Mount Carmel Ministry Centre. Drawing on the spirit of Elijah, we dealt with some symbols of false wisdom and religion by burning and smashing them. After receiving a warm welcome from Peter and Rita Tsukahira, we joined their morning service for a strongly anointed time of worship and teaching. The message which Peter brought on the true meaning of worship touched each of us deeply. An outward sign of this was that Jeanette gave her walking stick away. This was, in fact, the third form of ambulatory aid to have been dispensed with by tour members! We came away from that meeting with an even stronger assurance that we had come here for such a time as this – to stand with those who are standing in the gap for the Land.
As we drove down to the Galilee via Nazareth on that Saturday afternoon, messianic leaders had gathered in the forest to fast & pray for the situation facing Israel. In the evening, one of them – the Pastor of the messianic congregation in Tiberias, Claude Esagouri, shared his story with us. The unity amongst the diverse 200 messianic congregations in the face of dire threats from without and persecution within the Land was a sign of real hope for Israel and for the rest of God’s people everywhere.
Once we started exploring the Galilee on Sunday 28th, it was not long before the opportunity arose for us to respond to this living word in the appropriate manner – exercising faith. We considered the tension between law and grace as we broke bread on the Mount of Beatitudes. Not long after that, Heather, Jeanette and Robin took the opportunity of being baptised in the Jordan river. Given our recent experience, it was not difficult for any of us to identify with them as they relinquished their soul / flesh lives in favour of ruling and reigning with the only One who can make us right with Him (Romans 5:17).