Our Shofar 2008 conference was just five days away when I received the invitation:
We would love if you can make it to Limuru II
You know this is our baby. We have to nurture it ...
Last year I travelled to Limuru, Kenya as a guest of the first Africa/Israel Prayer Altar. Indeed, something precious was born in the heavenlies at that event - God had touched these dear saints so deeply with His heart for the people of Israel and I longed to return. The conference this year was to be held at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. I was so busy with the last minute preparations for our own conference, Shofar 2008 that I did not know how to reply. Our conference ended October 3rd and the Limuru II conference began October 5th.
Shofar 2008 was an incredible experience but the hosting, planning, and running around left my "gas tank" somewhat empty. As much as I loathed saying "no," I just couldn't imagine heading into another intense intercessory conference. Sadly, I replied that I couldn't make it this time. Winnie Bomani, host of Limuru II replied immediately urging me to reconsider. My body was saying "no" but my heart said "yes." Two days after our Shofar 2008 conference ended I was on my way to Kilimanjaro.
Our Heavenly Father longs to share His heart with those He loves. It is no wonder that in these days He is stirring so many of His children from around the globe with a glimpse of His heart for the land and people of Israel. From Far East Asia to Western Europe and in-between, believers have come to Tents of Mercy; in their eyes I have seen the light of God's love for this little land and people so battered over the centuries by oppression and hope deferred.
I have a special place in my heart for my African brothers and sisters because they too know much about oppression and hope deferred. And many believers in Africa are catching this same vision for Israel from the Father's heart. At the first Limuru conference I witnessed African believers leaving puddles of tears on the ground as they prayed for the Jewish people. So it was with great longing that I returned to Africa, to Tanzania, to join with the believers there in prayer for Africa and for Israel.
The conference coincided with Yom Kippur, a special day in Israel. As a nation, despite our many failures to obey the God of Israel, on Yom Kippur we still all honor Him by refraining from our regular day to day activities and leaving our cars parked on the curb. It is not just the Jewish equivalent of "everyone in church for Christmas". The country shuts down and it is a wonderfully peaceful and sacred day. Yom Kippur is my favorite day in Israel, but I had no regrets spending this particular Yom Kippur at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.
It is my custom to join our people in observing the fast on Yom Kippur; not in hopes of obtaining atonement from sin for the year - that was settled once and for all by Him who was made sin that we might become the righteousness of God (II Co 5:21) but to identify in repentance with my people. Of all the ministry God calls us to do in Israel I believe this is the most sacred and important work. My hosts were eager to join in intercession for Israel, and decided that the whole conference would fast together in solidarity. Our time together was no less holy than any assembly I have participated in here in Israel. As I led in some of our traditional prayers the Spirit of God moved over us in deep repentance and mourning.
Later in the afternoon we joined together to pray for Africa. All of Africa had severed diplomatic ties with Israel following the Yom Kippur War (Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Mauritius were the only exceptions). Here, thirty-five years later I joined with African believers in repentance for what their leaders had done. There are many factors involved in the difficulties plaguing Africa, but many of her spiritual leaders point back to this decision as the seed that brought so many hardships since then.
God set His seal on our time together by performing a notable miracle. On Yom Kippur, a young woman from a nearby town lingered outside our meeting tent to listen to what was transpiring inside. She had been mute for 5 months, able to communicate only by writing. Sometime during the day she heard a voice tell her, "Speak!" She replied, "I can't speak ..." Of course, as she heard herself replying in the negative she knew immediately that she could. She had been miraculously healed! The day after Yom Kippur this same young woman spoke to the assembly and gave honor to the Lord for healing her.
As the Lord continues to bring us ever closer to the "restoration of all things," He is uniting the hearts of His people in the nations with the hearts of His people in Israel. It was my privilege and joy to be a small part of this knitting together on Yom Kippur, 5769.
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Approaching Rabbinic Tradition|
|Revive Israel Updates|