A letter from a Chosen People Ministries tour group
Having just returned from an exhilarating and spiritually enriching journey to the Holy Land, we the members of the Chosen People Ministries’ Israel tour would like to share our testimony about our trip.
Much has been shown both in the news about the present “Intifada” (Palestinian uprising). We see daily footage on CNN and other national news programs depicting the violence in the West Bank and Gaza. Regrettably these images portray Israel as a country under siege where no one is safe amid the lawlessness and anarchy reigning in her streets. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All of us were affected by the unrest prior to leaving on our trip. Indeed, friends and family alike were urging us to cancel; they were certain we were in imminent danger. Now we are home and declaring how grateful we were to have taken the trip.
What follow are excepts of letters written from our Jerusalem hotel rooms to our tour leader, Dr. Ben Alpert of Chosen People Ministries.
Poignant words of encouragement were written by D.C.: “There was not one time throughout the whole trip that I felt unsafe. All I felt was God’s protecting spirit.”
M.R. wrote: “Never once did I feel uneasy. Life continues in Israel as it does in the US. In fact, I felt safer in Israel. God is there, you can feel Him. I have never felt such peace in all my life. I felt like I was at home.”
S.W. continues, “At no point during my two weeks did I feel the least bit uneasy. Israel actually felt safer than most urban areas in America. Because of this trip, I am persuading family members to go to Israel next year.”
As believers and supporters of God’s Chosen People and the nation of Israel, we urge you who have it on your heart to visit this sacred land not to cancel your plans.
We urge you to stand by Israel and bless her with your presence in the land. And so, too, shall you be blessed. To those loved ones and friends who will undoubtedly ask “How can you go now?” we would say, “How can we not go now?”
And here is a letter from Uzi Gafni, Deputy Commissioner for North America, Israel Government Tourist Office:
A picture is worth not only a thousand words, but also millions of dollars of advertising. News photos of strife and conflict are worth even more, particularly in regions such as the Middle East. But the media tends to ignore the quiet coexistence between Jews and Arabs that is a part of everyday life inside Israel.
The day after a news sensation, neighbors still shop and work together, and come together in special dialogue efforts. The “day after,” however, doesn’t sell newspapers or boost television ratings. The media doesn’t report on events like reconciliation meeting taking place regularly today in mixed Jewish and Arab communities of Jaffa, Acre, and Nazareth.The story of bridge-building efforts underway today in the Land of Israel remains largely untold.
Israeli Arabs and Jews are working hard to create a haven of peace and quiet in their homeland, and to build a model for dialogue that could be emulated in relations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Your pilgrimage to the lands of ministry of Jews around the Sea of Galilee can help support these grass-root efforts to promote Jewish and Arab coexistence.
Such a visit is not only a voyage to the roots of Christianity, where the spirit became flesh, it also sends a loud and clear message to people everywhere proclaiming “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”