While most of Israel celebrates Biblical Jewish holidays in the traditional way, thousands in my generation gather for large New Age festivals every holiday. This past Feast of Tabernacles over 15,000 Israelis gathered for the 8th Beresheet (Genesis) Festival. The continuous party lasts 3 days and nights, with nonstop trance and Eastern music, drugs, Yoga, Kabbalah, meditation, campfires, dancing, art and commercial booths. For the last 3 years, believers in Yeshua have been hosting a tent and bringing musicians.
As a native born Israeli I first attended a festival at age 17, to hang out with friends. Now as a 21 year old believer and student in Revive Israel's Discipleship Center, I received an invitation to join 200 believers in an evangelistic outreach in October. Not knowing what to expect, I decided this might be a great way to share the gospel with people my age.
When we arrived on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, we built a Shai (Tea) Shop and started getting ready for the festival. We prayed, worshipped and got to know each other as thousands began to flood into the campgrounds. Over the holiday our Shai Shop stage hosted constant activities such as speakers (Sid Roth), live worship, and a special rock band from America. We worked in shifts to share the good news with the thousands that came to our tent. Our book store offered hundreds of free testimony books and the Brit Hadasha (New Testament), to anyone interested. Surprisingly, Israelis were very open and hungry to hear the gospel, and to receive prayer for healing. Some even professed faith in Yeshua as Lord and Messiah. This was very exciting to us all and made the hard work worthwhile.
On the main stage the Christian band, the Newsboys, lead worship and thousands of unbelievers danced as we worshipped freely. Also a Christian hip rock band from Chicago, Seeds, was a great hit. To worship in front of so many secular Israelis was a highlight for me personally.
Each evening we held a free meal in our tent for those with whom we had shared the gospel that day. On the last night the tent was packed with young people who were open to hearing about Yeshua. A young couple told me they did not want to eat but only wanted to sit in the "good energy" and in the loving, peaceful atmosphere of our tent.
With the help of the Jews for Jesus staff and our local Israeli group of believers, I doubt there was a person at the festival who did not hear about Yeshua. Everywhere you walked you could hear people talking and questioning each other about the name Yeshua! Amazingly, the anti-missionary groups (ultra religious) were quiet, perhaps because there was such a large, bold group of believers who were organized, united and full of faith. Years of offense and persecution have brought shame on the name of Yeshua in the eyes of my nation. I walked away from this event changed - never again to be ashamed of speaking His name.
Another highlight for me happened at the Sid Roth healing service. I was drawn to talk to a young Israeli guy who shared his hopelessness with me. He said his only hope was to die and that he believed that he is his own Satan and God. This broke my heart and we continued to talk. I felt God touching me with Godly love for him and I told him how much God loved him, even though he hated God so much. After several more meetings with a few of us, I am still following up with him by telephone. The Revive Team is praying for his salvation and we invite you to pray for him and the hundreds of others who have heard the good news of our Messiah!