"Let them give glory and give Him praise in the Islands
Tapei Tea Plantation
Walking through the tropical forest in Taipei, my senses were flooded
with vibrant sensations. Various shades of bright green stretched out as
far as I could see. Light rain sprinkled off and on, feeding the already
thick humidity. Exotic birds called to one another through the thick
foliage above in a language even more foreign to me than the Mandarin
spoken by my friends and hosts.
We (David and I) were visiting the tea region in the North of Taiwan, an
area populated by families who had been growing tea there for many
generations. Interspersed through the tea tree orchards we could see
temples erected to honor Buddhist idols. Local residents, as well as
visitors from other towns and countries, make pilgrimages to these
temples to bring incense and seek spiritual guidance from their gods.
Coming from the desert land of Israel, where everything but the sea seems
to be in shades of light brown, the scene was refreshing to my eyes. It
was beautiful, exotic, foreign - a totally different world than any that
I was familiar with.
And then we arrived at a gate. Our kind host Pastor Joseph and dear
friends showed us the Chinese writing at the gate. It read something like
"tea harvesting six times a year." We went in through the gate up the
stairs and greeted the farmer. When he heard we came from Israel and we
were Jews, he leaped with joy and could not contain his emotions of deep
love and bewilderment...then he quickly sat us down and told us his story.
Ching is the fourth generation working his family's plantation.
Though their farm is not large, they have always maintained a high level
of quality tea making. His heritage is not just tea making but also a deep
seated faith in God and His son Yeshua with a passionate and devoted love
for Israel. He told us how he wakes up early before sunrise and goes out
to his tea field to meet the Lord in prayer for Israel. According to
Ching, it is these prayers in the field that have made his plantation
fruitful enough to harvest six times a year (usually a good harvest would
be three to four times year).
To hear this man's heart, even with translation, transported us to
God's throne and we marveled at His faithfulness. This experience
will remain in our hearts for a long time. Here was a man of faith, who
prayed for Israel, meeting "Israel redeemed" as it were, in David and me,
continuing in faith and hope renewed. That was the purpose of our trip.
Our hope was renewed that even in the remote hills of Taiwan, God had
raised faithful watchmen to stand guard over Zion.
Sign at entrance to Ching's tea plantation: "Tea harvested
here six times a year"
Bread of Life
Shortly after this encounter we were blessed to attend an important
meeting for the community of believers from the Bread of Life Church in
Taipei. This mega gathering was to honor the senior pastor as he entered
into a new season of ministry.
Touring their facility, we were inspired to see two large prayer halls in
which the community devotes time to prayer. On a regular basis they pray
with a focus on Israel and her salvation. Pastor Chou, the father of this
ministry is handing over the baton. In our brief time with him, we could
see the mark of humility coupled together with a bold faith like David -
able to conquer the Goliaths confronting Taiwan.
We went there to represent Israel and took part in praying over the
leaders. Standing before thousands of believers we prayed the Aaronic
Benediction over the community. Standing in this prophetic, priestly role
moved us to tears.
Tokyo "Love March"
In the wake of the natural disasters that have literally washed over
Japan, we had been invited by our dear friends in Tokyo to march with
them in a "Love March" for Japan. Almost 1,000 people strong, we walked
in the streets of Tokyo, local believers together with other foreigners,
Taiwanese, Brazilian, and we two Israelis, declaring in the spirit the
love of God for Japan. More than anything else, what was evident to us
during the march was the stark contrast between the mute desperation for
change and the explosive joy of redemption available in Yeshua. Revival
has been slow to come to Japan, and as our brothers and sisters there
believe, when the Japanese open their heart to receive the love of the
Father in the "land of the rising Sun," the movement of salvation to the
Gentiles will have come full circle; and then this wave of salvation will
flood back towards Israel.
Avi and David in Tokyo
Discovering over and over again the love and devotion of beloved friends
in the nations, who pour out themselves in prayer for Israel was an
awesome and humbling thing. We were immeasurably blessed to extend a
declaration of blessing over Japan and a prayer that indeed revival will
come to her.
Marching in Tokyo
While history tells the stories of trade and exchange from the Middle
East to the Far East, we are on the verge of a new era. I believe the
Lord will trumpet a move that will provoke Israel to zeal for Him. Both
Taiwanese and Japanese culture place high regard on honor and respect for
ancestors. How fitting that believers in these two nations are being
connected together through their mutual honor and respect for the
patriarchs of Israel, the ancestors and fathers of their faith.
In this priestly pilgrimage we saw these two island nations, Japan and
Taiwan, interlinked with a common destiny. My travelling companion,
David, received this verse from Isaiah 42:4 just a few hours before we
received the invitation to go: "and the islands shall long for
His instruction". This trip was a reminder to these two islands to
long for His Torah that comes out of Zion. We add our prayers that He
would meet their cries and fill the Islands with His Glory.