This article was first published here on January 1st 2018.
The Golan Heights provided a stunning backdrop for the Katzir (Harvest) National Youth Conference held a few weeks ago during Chanukah 2017. In August, during the previous Katzir event, the youth (ages 14-18) experienced a profound and gracious move of God's Spirit, leading 24 of them to publicly declare their heart's desire to turn to God in repentance and to embrace Yeshua as their Savior, Lord, and Messiah.
Knowing that an initial declaration of faith must be followed by a walk of devoted discipleship, we took as our theme Yeshua's enduring invitation, "Follow me." The morning Scripture readings, messages from impassioned speakers, and deep times of worship all worked together to bring the young people to a clear understanding of what it means to follow Yeshua with our entire lives.
We watched them respond in extensive times of prayer in the presence of God, after hearing His word unpacked. In fact, many young men and women lingered after an evening meeting was over, allowing the Spirit to wash over them. This renewal and cleansing is especially significant for high schoolers. Added to the normal doubts and identity struggles of adolescence, peer pressure pushes hard against any genuine faith in God in the secular environment of most Israeli public schools. But active belief in Yeshua as Israel's Messiah is "beyond the pale." Their peers have zero understanding that you can be Jewish and affirm Jesus as our King Redeemer. So, when they arrive at a Katzir gathering there is intense need for encouragement and re-energizing of their spiritual life.
These photos provide a dim reflection of the joy and reinvigoration we were privileged to witness.
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There have been comments to this article ...
12:19pm 02Jan18, Frank Onofrio: You are doing exactly what Yeshua would want you to do & I cannot wait for the majority of Israelis to become believers! It has been my experience that Jewish believers make some of the best preachers due to their insights into Jewish culture, traditions & very deep insights into the Bible that Gentile preachers would normally not be aware of.
-- Eitan Shishkoff replies: I believe we are at a unique junction in history. The Jewish people are back in the land (soon the 70th anniversary of modern statehood). And there is a visible remnant of Yeshua's local disciples rising up. In fact, we've just spent a generation of pioneering and are now passing on the torch to the next generation to take this much deeper into the fabric of Israeli society.
2:04pm 02Jan18, Phillip: I am so thankful to Adonai for the way that he is making for his loved ones to experience His love, grace and truth. To see the next generation to be equipped to be the next Joshuas, Ruths to take back the territory that has been lost. So go forth with Yeshua's provisions and see him even more.
5:41pm 02Jan18, Monique Wilson: I am amazed what this ministry is doing. I may not be there physically, but I am blessed to be a part of this ministry.
10:47am 07Jan18, David Bowen: A great photo. With young people like that you must feel hope rising within you. Nothing can stop the purposes of the Almighty.
11:37am 22Jan18, Anon: This is beautiful ... makes me wonder what are you doing so differently in Israel than the synagogues in the States to see the fruit of your labor.
-- Eitan Shishkoff replies: I'm not sure that our fruit is so much greater than our
brothers in the States. We're not yet seeing a major harvest.
What I'd say is that the fallow ground is being broken up. But
here are a few potential factors: