Shalom Everyone & Happy Passover!
Sorry about the late contact! We don’t have Internet access at the house so it’s been hard for the team to communicate as much as we’d like. As always I hope everyone has been taking care and doing well. Thank you for all the birthday wishes and the encouraging notes since I’ve left the states! It has been once again a reminder to my timid heart that I am not walking alone on this journey. Who would’ve known that I’d be celebrating my birthday in the Holy Land ?! Regardless, thanks for all your notes of love & encouragement. I miss everyone and wish you all were here to see this beautiful country.
This first week has week has just been a myriad of emotions as we have been settling in. Our initial days in Israel have been quite intimidating and nerve racking since the second we stepped off the plane. We already ran into some trouble as one of our teammates was held at passport control. As we prayed and waited, she was released after a couple hours of fear infused interrogation. A couple days later as we were leaving the house to tour the city, we ran into a couple of Orthodox Jews spying on us with camcorders. They somehow snuck into our private gated neighborhood and began taking shots of all of our faces and then interrogating us stating that we weren’t permitted to stay in the house. We’re still suspecting that they were from the Yad Lachim, a worldwide orthodox Jewish anti-missionary organization. We hadn’t even begun to have our prayer & worship sets and already we were being attacked. I was scared at first, but then realized it was a sign we are doing something right. How they got our information is still a mystery, but it showed us the warfare is real and the enemy is scared. It’s comforting to know our greatest weapon of Prayer & Worship is unstoppable & untouchable. We are praying that one day they will realize we came to pray for them, and not against them. (Matthew 5:43-48)
Looking beyond our “smooth” welcome into the country, we toured the beautiful city of Jerusalem and got a taste of the culture and the spiritual climate of this historic city. Only one phrase can really describe the spiritual state of Jerusalem: Active Warfare. From the Islamic prayer calls that we hear on loudspeakers 5 times a day, to the Orthodox Jews & Orthodox Christians battling through religious traditions, to the “Religious Jewelry” (a.k.a. witchcraft) sold on the streets, these forms of religiosity flood the heart of Jerusalem from gate to gate. Physically, Israeli police & Palestinian authorities cover the land with M16’s on hand, and handguns are so common my bagel guy has a glock (Yes … hahah I already have a bagel guy). Spiritual warfare can be literally heard, seen, smelled & tasted in this religious Mecca, and the remnants of warfare is everywhere. With this new playing field at hand, the heart of our school is becoming clearer and clearer. Our weaponry in this battlefield won’t be handing out tracts and preaching on the street corners, rather we’ll be praying & worshipping to bring the presence of God to break the strongholds of God’s land. King David sings that our God is enthroned by our praises, and we’ve come to do exactly that. Love is the only power that will break the chains of religiosity & evil (no matter what belief system), and our heart is to pray over our brothers & sisters in love.
We’ve currently joined up with Succat Hallel, a 24/7 prayer & worship house located at the heart of Jerusalem & the City of David. Succat Hallel has staff & volunteers praying & worshiping round the clock 24/7 overlooking Mt. Zion and the Mt. of Olives. The second prayer house is in the City of David that is currently an Arab neighborhood. The City of David house is geographically a couple hundred feet from where the original tabernacle of David was located. As you read this, archaeologists are currently digging and uncovering ruins of King Hezekiah’s Tunnel & King David’s temple dating as far back as 3000 years ago; so much for any hearsay about the Old Testament being fairy tales. Essentially, we’re in the center of it all, and it gives the team goose bumps that as David’s temple is being uncovered, we are reigniting the Davidic form of 24/7 prayer & worship to bring heaven down in the middle of an Arab neighborhood.
From my quick description of Jerusalem, it’s easy to think we’re behind and so far from our goal, but the testimonies surpass above and beyond the remnants of warfare. The ministry we are working with is spreading the Gospel like wildfire across this nation of Israel in illogical and miraculous ways. God’s favor is over them as they now working directly with the Israeli Police force, gaining governmental access to any area of Israel even during war to hand out bibles (Gaza/Jericho), and reaching the unreachable families who are in danger. They are teaching willing Muslims the bible in groups of 400, healing the sick (i.e. cancer), reuniting families during warfare, and bringing the power of God’s love to the hardest of hearts. These bold individuals are being handed the strategies of God and are doing everything according to God's voice.
Even now as I sit and write this letter, I can hear the prayer calls to Allah over the Jerusalem. Thankfully Jesus has brought our team to pray & worship to minister to the Heart of God for the broken hearts of His beloved City. The word says that the fruits a tree produces will determine what is good – from the looks of it, God is bringing love, healing and life to this city, and our team with your prayers have the pleasure of jumping in to this river of God’s heart. Thank you for reading if you’ve gotten down this far, I know the update was long, but I really wanted to give you guys an idea of where your prayers are going. You may be on the other side of the world, but your prayers reach heaven and are changing lives daily in the Holy Land. I miss you all and hope to see you all soon.
Love yall more than ya know,