Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Return from the Holy Land

Teaching the Israeli Youth
It was early Monday Morning at 6:00am that I boarded a plane for Israel with my long time friend Pastor Mike Harris from Calvary Chapel Beachside. We were also joined by my long time friend Pastor Pete Nelson. It was hard to believe that I was heading back to Israel, having just toured there this April.   We had been asked by an organization called the Joshua Fund to come and participate in a Youth Conference held on the Sea of Galilee. When touring Israel, the Sea of Galilee has always been one of my favorite stops. 
When we arrived we went to the sight of the conference. It was located right on the shore of the Galilee. Now there is a reason why most churches do not tour Israel in August, it is blazing hot. At times it felt like it was over a hundred degrees. Even in the shade you could not escape the sun. We began to prepare for the conference with the Jewish Youth Leaders who hold conferences for Israeli youth from all over. They had hired a company to come and put up a stage with a sound system. As well as lighting and place of shade throughout the camp sight. After the sight was set up, the youth began rolling in on buses from all over Israel. There were over 300 young people, ranging from ages 15-21 that came from different parts of Israel. They were all messianic Jews. Meaning that they believe that Jesus is their Messiah. What a joy to be around Jewish believers. So many of these young people are ostracized in their schools for their faith. 
The conference was called Walking on Water. And the emphasis was upon living by faith. What a great title. Here we were on the Sea of Galilee where Peter and Jesus had walked on water. Amazing...
Team Galilee
What made this conference unique was this was the first time that American pastors were joined together with Hebrew pastors teaching the Word of God. Also we had Scott Cunningham and his band fly over from the UK to share in music. There were also Hebrew Worship teams as well. It was our prayer that we could be a blessing to our brothers and sisters there. To come alongside of them and support the work they are doing. 
Sunrise on Galilee
Relationships were built with the young people and the staff by serving them and ministering to them. We also had the chance to teach the Word. For me personally, I taught a workshop on "The Person God  Uses". On Friday Night I taught the main session on Matthew 15: the feeding of the four thousand. Teaching through a translator can be challenging. You want everything to come out right and be understandable to those listening. My translator was an amazing young lady who knew Hebrew and Greek and English. I felt like Friday night my prayers were answered as I was able to connect with the young people from Gods Word. After the session I had some great opportunities to pray and minister. 
The conference turned out to be a blessing. The young people were encouraged and strengthened in their faith. The Jewish staff who put the conference on were also encouraged and knew that they were loved and supported. 
Sunset on the Mt. of Olives
Sunset over the Holy City of Jerusalem
One of several highlights for me was waking up early on the Sea of Galilee with my Bible. The Sun rises coming up over the Sea. Also Teaching Gods Word. Also we had one free day in the city of Jerusalem, where we went and toured as much as we could, ending the evening on the Mt. of Olives as the sunset over the city.