I first visited Israel as a tourist in 1994. Seeing The Land and touching the earth where the fathers of our faith walked stirred me in a profound way. From that point, I sought ways to return to Israel and bring others with me.
Even though I loved coming to this country as a tourist, I knew that some day I would be asked to do more. For almost 10 years, The Lord kept a quiet stirring in my heart to prepare to give more to Israel.
In the spring of 2001 Don Finto spoke at our Messianic congregation in Memphis. Don's opening remarks are branded forever in my memory. He said, "I bring you greetings from Eitan Shishkoff and Tents of Mercy." At that moment, The Father showed me clearly how the stirrings He had kept alive in me would be fulfilled. He told me that I was to serve as a volunteer for Tents of Mercy. He told me not only when I would go but for how long. His Voice was so strong and clear that I did not hear the sermon. I spent the remainder of the service submitting to the Will of the Father.
Following the service, I was so overwhelmed by the experience I could not talk to my husband Jeff about it. The next day, as I began to explain my experience with God, Jeff stopped me. He explained that at the same time the Lord was speaking to me, He was also speaking to him, confirming that what I received was from the Lord!
My husband and I began to prepare for me to be away for three months in 2005. But the one thing that continued to bother me was "why?" God had not told me what I was to do. Every time I asked Him, I received no reply.
In February 2005, Jeff was offered a promotion that required us to move from Memphis. In order to sell our house I stayed home while Jeff moved six hours away. As well as this shift in our plans, our middle child became engaged. The wedding was scheduled for two weeks prior to my leaving for Israel. Now not only did I have a house to pack up, sell and move, I also had a wedding to plan in a city on the other side of the country!
About 3 months prior to my scheduled departure for Israel I had to fly to California. I took Golda Meir's autobiography with me to read on the long flight. As I settled into my seat on the plane, I complained to God that going to Israel really was not convenient right now. Perhaps He could find another time for me to go when it would easier?
As the plane taxied down the runway, I opened Meir's book to where I had left off. The words struck me with prophetic impact. Golda was speaking to an American Jewish women's group. She told them, "Amazing things are happening in the land of Israel. Is it too much to ask you to inconvenience yourself a little to be a part of that?"
On September 18, 2005, I was aboard a plane leaving JFK to Tel Aviv. I would not see my country, my husband and my children for at least 3 months. And I still didn't know why!
Two months into my service, I now have my answer. An exciting new program for volunteers has been birthed under the growing umbrella of Tents of Mercy. This program will work in conjunction with the municipality of the city of Akko. We believe God is stirring the hearts of individuals all over the world to come and work side by side with the local believers to bless the city of Akko. Each volunteer will be asked to serve at least a month and three days. We will operate as teams, rendering assistance wherever the municipality tells us there is a need our team can fill. While this program will not be "evangelistic" in the traditional sense, we will be obeying Messiah's words, "inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." (Matt. 25:40)
As the details of the new volunteer program are solidified, we will be able to take applications from those of you who feel led to this work. God may be speaking to you that He wants you to prepare to serve Israel for one month (and 3 days) in Akko. We will keep you informed on the progress of the program (Send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive these updates.)
Having been in this land for two months, I can attest that Golda Meir's words were accurate; amazing things ARE happening in Israel! What an honor it is to be just a small part of what God is doing here!
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