Flying from Auckland, New Zealand to Tel Aviv, Israel was a long journey!
After a total of 25 hours flying time plus layovers in Tokyo and Frankfurt we arrived late at night and ready to find a bed! As we mentioned on the previous blog, we knew that the immigration at the airport wouldn’t look fondly on us entering the county if they thought we were there to do ‘missionary work’, so we had the whole team under strict instructions to only talk about tourist activities in the country, especially as a few YWAM teams had been turned away at the border in the previous few years. Thankfully, despite immigration telling us they were ‘very suspicious of our team’ and questioning a few members for a bit, we made it through and headed to Jerusalem where we were to stay for the first couple of weeks.
One of the things the first ministry we worked with was keen for us as a team to do while we were with them was to spend 2 hours everyday in prayer and worship. At first this was a big stretch for a lot of people on the team as doing this for such an extended period of time was not something they had done before. However, throughout the 2 weeks of doing this, everyone gradually started to see the value of this time. As we spent time worshipping God and interceding for the nation of Israel, we recognised that we were achieving more in the spiritual realm than we would ever really know or probably understand. More often than we realise causing a change in the spiritual world, through prayer and worship, opens up the way for change to happen in the physical world. As we gave ourselves to lifting up the name of Jesus, and crying out to the Father for His chosen people and their nation, God in return gave us more and more of a heart for this nation, and the more of a heart He gave us, the more we wanted to intercede for them. And so the cycle went on and increased. We also knew we were laying such a strong foundation for the rest of our time in Israel. As we started by pursuing God’s heart for Israel, and He gave us His heart, we would be far more effective in what He had for us for the rest of the time there.
Soon after arriving at the ministry’s guest house, we found out that what we had been hoping to do for our time there, other than the 2 hours of prayer and worship, hadn’t worked out and we had a large amount of time open to us. This was pretty stretching for us as leaders to lead a team of 13 students in a country we’ve never been to before, not knowing any organisations or people in that area and right at the start of our outreach! God was really present in this time though and we really felt Him leading us one step at a time. We used this time get to know the culture and people we had come to serve and bless and also to invest further in that foundation of prayer and worship. We looked for and relied on the Holy Spirit to lead us daily as a team in who he wanted to connect us with and how He wanted us to bless them. We ended up doing a variety of things including speaking to people on buses and on the streets which led to some great conversations, giving food to the homeless, we visited holy sites and prayed around them, we joined with some believers in prayer and worship, we spent some time at the holocaust museum which really helped us to understand the people more and some of the oppression they’ve suffered throughout the years. We also were able to meet with the founder of Jerusalem Institute of Justice and hear about the amazing work they do advocating for holocaust survivors, soldiers, and victims of trafficking. (http://jij.org/) With JIJ we had the privilege of helping put on a party for holocaust survivors and elderly homeless people and had the opportunity to bless these wonderful people in some small way.
So a different start than expected but a good one! Here’s some pics…