When Paul reported back to the believers in Antioch after his first missionary journey, they marvelled that God had "opened the door of faith to the Gentiles." The Spirit was bringing to their remembrance the ancient promise: Messiah would not only "restore the tribes of Jacob" but would also be "a light to the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth." A door of faith was opened to the Gentiles that had heretofore been closed.
Present day believers also marvel, not only because the Gospel is reaching the ends of the earth but also because it is returning with grace and power back to its land of origin. The door of faith has swung open again for Israel.
At Tents of Mercy we celebrated our 10 year anniversary by hosting our first international conference, A Door of Faith. We chose this name because by God's grace, Tents of Mercy has been included in this new openness in the Spirit. Tents of Mercy is a door through which Israelis may return to the faith of their fathers and for believers from the nations to pass through into the hearts and lives of Israeli believers. Approximately 150 Jewish and Gentile believers from 15 countries entered this door to celebrate and connect with the Tents of Mercy family.
There was Leila from Finland who originally had no intention of coming; that is until she saw Eitan Shishkoff in a dream open a door to her with a word of Shalom and welcome. Or Francis from Hong Kong, who also received a heavenly dream beckoning her to come to Israel. Then there was Johannes from Germany. He did not receive a heavenly dream but was chosen for a divine appointment. As we headed back to our buses after our sobering visit to Yad VaShem, Jerusalem's Holocaust Memorial, Johannes strolled alongside a 75 year old Jewish man. Discovering Johannes was German, the man asked him, "Why do you come here?" Johannes answered with grace and humility, "God has stirred me to dedicate myself to love the Jewish people." The door of faith had just opened a little wider.
Ancient Stones and Living Stones
There are many wonderful tours to Israel where believers can view the ancient stones. It is inspiring and faith affirming to see the enduring memorial of God's dealings with Israel throughout history. There is something very special about standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee or gazing up on Jerusalem's golden walls. But to stand on Akko's walls and hear testimony of the amazing favour God is bestowing on the new congregation there, or to pray with local believers from Haifa for continued breakthrough in the city, that is indeed peering in through a door of faith. This tour made it possible to gaze upon the "living stones," the people of Israel from all backgrounds and cultures that God has brought back from the ends of the earth and redeemed to Himself in this land.
The door of faith not only allows us to see what God is doing in the cities and towns of Israel; it is through this door that we see what our heavenly Father is doing in our own hearts. For many of our guests, this conference was an opportunity for the Spirit to speak into their lives.
God's salvation purposes are wrapped up together in the destiny of Israel so it is no surprise that He would speak to folks about how their personal destinies fit into these purposes. There was Harold and Stella from New York and Mary from Finland who heard the Spirit's call to return to the land of their fathers and fulfill the prophetic word to make Aliyah. There was Makato from Japan and Scott and Alanna from Massachusetts who heard the Spirit say, "Partner with your brothers and sisters in Israel. Be a part of what I am doing to bring Israel back to myself." These are only a few of the many conference participants who made deep connections with Israel and Tents of Mercy.
Here are a few more responses from our guests:
"Thank you for the love you showed in hosting us. We will have you etched in our hearts forever and will pray that all the lost will come to know Yeshua as Saviour and Lord." "We did not come with expectation...nevertheless the whole experience has been beyond anything I could have expected...the genuine desire for us to come... From the moment the conference started I knew I was a part of family." "I know that I am to help the Russian Jews in Russia and here in Israel. The Father will lead and guide the logistics and timing."
...And my personal favourite:
"Getting such a large number organised and moved from one place to another was incredible. I am sure the shepherds of 6 million sheep in New Zealand could never do as good a job..."
The "Door of Faith" was not only opened for our guests but also for us who call Israel and Tents of Mercy home. We are still beaming like proud hosts who know their guests have been blessed. But we are even more encouraged by the comfort and support of our brothers and sisters from the nations. They have walked through the door of faith into our hearts. We are linked to them as partners for the sake of the Gospel.
Last April Eitan Shishkoff penned an article for the Oasis magazine entitled "A Door of Faith," inviting readers to our conference. Looking back his words were prophetic:
It is no superficial cliche to say that we are partners. This partnership is holy. We believe strongly that it is time for us to come together from all over the world and get to know each other better. ...Those who have been giving to and interceding for the ministries of Tents of Mercy are family to us. We want to spend time together. We want to show you the Israel we know - the Israel where new congregations are springing up - the Israel where Jews and Arabs love each other in Messiah - the Israel where a most dynamic revival is about to take place.
We have seen the reality of this covenant friendship in action. We have come to understand that though our primary task is to be an oasis of mercy and healing for weary Israel, we are also a door of faith for the nations to walk through in partnership together with us. Linked by Yeshua's love, we will not rest until Elohim "establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth."
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