Marty Shoub with the Korean contingent
As my wife Jan and I were preparing for our trip many of our friends asked us the same question: "You went to Israel last year, so why do you want to go again?" The answer is simple: During the Esther's Call conference early in 2007, we were richly blessed as we learned what God was doing in and through the Messianic Congregations in Israel. This year we felt drawn back to see first-hand how God has been moving there.

Tents of Mercy's network of ministries partnered with Revive Israel to plan and host Shofar 2008, based on Israel's great need of revival. The prophet Joel wrote that revival would come as God's people would do three things: 1) blow a shofar in Zion, 2) gather the people in a sacred assembly, and 3) intercede as priests (see, Joel 2). Accordingly, the conference invitation went out for people to "... join us in nine richly-packed days of worship, touring, insight from God's word, on-site intercession, and a knitting of our hearts and yours."



A total of 135 pilgrims from 8 nations; Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Singapore, United States, Norway, and South Korea all answered this call.

I am excited to report that the Lord has been at work in wondrous ways too numerous to detail in the short space allotted here. But I want to share just a few of my most cherished memories, starting with photos taken during our times of worship.

Worship Services

It is difficult to find words to adequately describe how wonderful it was to worship with the Messianic Congregations. In every service, the believers in Yeshua warmly welcomed us and made us feel that we were part of their family - We really sensed the Lord's presence in the Scripture-based worship and prayer, singing sometimes in English, sometimes in Hebrew, and sometimes in the Spirit, we felt a special bond of unity in the Lord. Talented, totally committed, sold-out-to-the-Lord young people ministered alongside their elders; the anointed worship aboard the boat on the Sea of Galilee ... And we will never forget the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) at Tents of Mercy with the glorious praise, worship, dancing, and Shofar blowing.

Touring

Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum. With each visit I have gained a deeper understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust, and that anti-Semitism existed long before Adolf Hitler came to power. During a group discussion afterwards, we all had a chance to share our thoughts and feelings about this tragedy and how we had been affected. Katya Morrison helped us to understand that the impact of the holocaust still reverberates through Israel and the Jewish people - many people are still suffering and need our help.

Western Wall, with Golden Dome of the Rock visible at the top
Western Wall/Temple Mount. I believe this is the most significant place in the universe. We know it is the site of Solomon's Temple and the Second Temple, and according to Jewish tradition, this is where God created the universe, God created Adam, and Abraham placed his only son Isaac on an altar of sacrifice. On the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount, I stood in awe, knowing that Jesus climbed those very steps many times as He and his family came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts.

Insight From God's Word

Seminar by Dr. Dan Juster: "Where in the World are Israel and Her Neighbors Headed?" Dan presented convincing evidence that there are no good, man-made solutions for Israel's ongoing conflict with the Arab/Muslim world in general or the so-called 'Palestinians' in particular. The good news is that the Jewish people are asking what to do, and the Messianics have the answer - revival!

Seminar by Eitan Shishkoff: "The Place of the Gentiles in Israel's Salvation" Eitan recalled how Joseph worked with the Egyptians to save the world from famine, and how King Cyrus of Persia enabled the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Citing verses from Isaiah 60, Eitan described how Jews and Gentiles will partner to bring glory to God and fulfill His purposes in the Land.

Intercession and sounding the shofar at
the Khan al Umad, the hostel of the pillars, in Akko
Seminar by Avishalom Teklehaimanot: "If You Extend Your Soul to the Hungry." Avi related how the local Jewish community has responded positively to Tents of Mercy's humanitarian outreach efforts. In fact, the local government social service agencies have invited Tents of Mercy to help meet the needs of people that the agencies cannot support!

On-Site Intercession

Sounding the Shofar
at Mt. Yonah
City of Akko. During a walking tour of the port city of Akko, we paused at strategic points to sound the shofar and intercede on behalf of the city and nation of Israel. The inset in the photo above captures the blowing of the shofar and intercession in the courtyard of the Khan al-Umdan, the hostel of the pillars, built in 1784-5.

Har (Mt.) Yonah. Atop a mountain named for the prophet Jonah, Leon Mazin taught that Jonah recognized that Nineveh was a heathen city in great need of repentance. But because he knew that Israel also needed to repent, Jonah was afraid that, if Nineveh repented first, the Lord would then turn His wrath on Israel! Following a time of intercession, the sound of the shofar rang out across the Jordan valley to the east and toward Nazareth to the west.

A Knitting of Hearts Together

Brass band playing dinner music
atop the roof at Return to Zion
It is always amazing to see how people from many nations can come together and, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, immediately begin to experience 'instant camaraderie.' A special bond of unity and oneness grew stronger as we worshipped, broke bread, toured, and interceded together.

We were touched time and time again as each congregation greeted us with a warm welcome, gracious hospitality, and appreciation for having come to be with them. At Shavei Tsion in Haifa, we were feted to an unforgettable evening on the rooftop, overlooking the city and the harbor. We enjoyed fellowship and delectable food, with music provided by Israel's only Messianic orchestra, many of the musicians were members of the congregation.

Modern Dance being
performed after dinner
Our evening at Return to Zion concluded with very professional performances by the congregation's dance troupe. How did congregational leader Leon Mazin and his team pull all that off?

Thinking Back ... Looking Ahead

On our flight back to the United States, I reflected on what we had seen and heard - how God has supernaturally set the stage for revival in the Land, and provided resources to the Messianic Congregations, given them favor in local communities, knit their hearts together in unity, and inspired the next generation to take on the mantle of leadership. As we eagerly anticipate the next conference we can scarcely imagine what God is going to do in the days ahead!

 

By Ron McDaniel

The author expresses his heartfelt thanks to his wife Jan and fellow pilgrims Frank and Relda Castles, Ken and Sue Henline, and Susan St. Clair for their encouragement and substantial inputs to the preperation of this article.


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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: The Corruption of Usury
Eitan Shishkoff: Reflections on the Akko Riots
Asher Intrater: Glorified and Human Appearances of Yeshua
Eddie Santoro: Immersion of the Eight