Day 8 (Final Day) – Yad Hashmona

yad-hasmonaOur final day together was spent at the community of Yad Hashmona, and with our friend Asher Intrater. Yad Hashmona means “Memorial to the Eight.” You can read about their interesting history by visiting their website.

The community — known as a “Moshav” — is made up of about 150 Messianic Jews and Christians from all over the world. Through our connection with Asher, Aglow has built a strong relationship with Yad Hashmona over the years. We spent a wonderful afternoon together, worshiping, listening to an inspiring message from Asher, and enjoying a meal together. We very much felt like part of the family.

After saying our goodbyes, we drove back to Tel Aviv for our final evening together, eating traditional Israeli food at a restaurant on the beach. It was a great way to end a wonderful tour.

As first-timers to Israel, Druci and I were overwhelmed at the significance of each stop we made along the way. From the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to the Sea of Galilee, to the Golan Heights, it was all incredible. We can see now why many people visit Israel over and over again. It’s impossible to take it in with one trip.

We’ll be back!

Day 7 – Cana, Nazareth, Mount Carmel, Tel Aviv

We’re winding down our trip, but we’re not slowing down.  Today, we traveled from our hotel on the Sea of Galilee, south to Tel Aviv on the Israeli coast. On the way, we stopped in Cana, Nazareth and Mount Carmel. We also drove through the Jezreel Valley and passed by Megiddo. If these names are familiar to you, it’s probably because in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation,  Armageddon is referenced to designate the actual location of the last world war, which is within the valley of Jezreel – Megiddo.

Cana of Galilee
Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus performed his first public miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast when the wine provided by the bridegroom had run out. Cana is traditionally associated with the modern Israeli Arab town of Kafr Kanna, our first stop on our way back to Tel Aviv.

After arriving, we gathered at a chapel, and after worshiping together, Glenda shared a message on covenant. She and Jane then led us in another time of worship. It was an intimate moment with our Savior at the location of His first miracle.

jane_cana_double-portion-cupBefore ending our time together in Cana, Jane held up a goblet, and before drinking from it, declared fresh revelation and an increase of anointing — a double-portion anointing for Aglow, and for everyone in the room. It was a powerful, meaningful, symbolic act of covenant between us and the Spirit of God.

At the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a small backwater town. Today it is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”; the population is made up predominantly of Arab citizens of Israel, almost all of whom are either Muslim (69%) or Christian.

Driving through the city, we made our way to the top of Mount Precipice where our guide pointed out significant locations in the surrounding countryside such as Mount Tabor and the Jezreel Valley.

Mount Carmel
You may recall that Mount Carmel is the location of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. The roof of the chapel built at the location, provided an excellent view of the surrounding territory, and an ideal high place for intercession. After an inspiring message from Nancy McDaniel, Aglow Prayer Director, we went up to the roof and declared His glory over that place. It was a powerful time.

Following our time at Mt. Carmel, we made our way back to Tel Aviv, the starting point of our Israel adventure. Only one day left of the tour, and we’ll spend it at the moshav Yad Hashmoda, the home of Revive Israel.

Day 6 – The Golan Heights, Mount of Beatitudes

Today we traveled from the Galilee to the far north, where Israel borders Jordan and Syria. The first stop on our journey was at Kibbutz Misgav-am, right on the Jordanian border. There was a man there who shared with us about this kibbutz (learn more about kibbutzim in Israel). He was quite a character, and told us that they only recently had opened up the kibbutz to tourists. He thought it was kind of funny that the frequency that they can receive tourists is determined by whether or not their neighbors are shooting rockets at them!

On our way to the Golan Heights, we visited an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) outpost. The young soldiers greeted us warmly as we exchanged handshakes and hugs. From the age of 18 every Israeli male and female gives three and two years, respectively, of compulsory military service. My impression was that these young guys were proud to be serving their country, and passionate about their role as Israeli soldiers. It was a joy to be with them.

The Golan Heights
I had heard of the Golan Heights, but I didn’t really know much about it. I so appreciate our very knowledgeable tour guide, Noam, who helped us to understand the situation. The western two-thirds of this region are currently occupied by Israel whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria.

There is a demilitarized zone that runs along the ceasefire line (since the 1967 Six-Day War) and extends eastward.

As we approached the overlook where we were going to pray, we noticed a number of IDF soldiers. They were actually blocking the parking lot. We found out that a mortar had recently been launched in Syria less than 5 miles from this spot (we could still see the smoke), and that it wasn’t safe for us. We could hear gun fire and explosions in the distance.

We moved out of there rather quickly and went up to the second place we were intending to visit, at the top of the hill. This overlook was safely removed from the conflict, and so we were able to line up along the wall, facing Syria, and we began to pray.

It was a powerful time of prayer and proclamation at the edge of one of the most war-torn places on earth.

Mount of Beatitudes
On our way back to the hotel in Galilee, we stopped at the Mount of Beatitudes. The gardens and chapel there, built by the Franciscans, is beautiful and makes for a very serene setting. We were met there by Jane and the Israel Counsel. They led us in prayer for the persecuted church.

Final Gathering
After dinner that evening, we gathered for a time of sharing and giving thanks for a wonderful time together. Even though we have several days left, a number of us will be leaving the group, so it was our last opportunity to be all in one place.

A number of the trip participants shared about how much it had touched them to be in the land. It was a great time of celebration!

Day 4 – Watchmen on the Wall

WOW-commissioningWatchmen On the Wall is a program developed by Aglow to provide training  that equips intercessors to pray more effectively for the issues facing the land and people of Israel, and to speak up knowledgeably about Israel and the Middle East.

On Day 4, we commissioned more than 50 new WOW intercessors on Mount Scopus, and then moved on to the ramparts in Jerusalem to pray. This was a powerful time of prayer, dedication, impartation, and commissioning. WOW graduates are passionate about Israel and have  a commitment to learn, to pray and to speak with a solid understanding of the issues in the Middle East so that they stand as informed advocates for Israel.

WOW Commissioning 2015 from Aglow International on Vimeo.

Day 5 – Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Magdala, Jordan Baptism

As first-time visitors to the Holy Land, Druci and I have found ourselves constantly in awe and continually trying to get our heads around what we’re experiencing. Day 5 was no exception, as it included floating on the Sea of Galilee, visiting the ancient synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus declared that He is Messiah by reading from Isaiah 61, the home of Mary Magdalene which is now a fascinating and inspiring archeological site, and getting baptized in the Jordan.

Our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee was a highlight of the trip. It’s mind-blowing to think we could have been on the very spot where Peter walked on the water!

During our visit to Magdala Center in Galilee, one of the volunteers describes a mosaic depicting the healing of Jairus’ son.

Getting baptized in the Jordan was an unforgettable experience. Druci and I were baptized together, by our dear friend and spiritual mom, Glenda Fleming. I’ll never for get Glenda’s prayer as she called us into our destiny and spoke words of faith over us.

Glenda’s husband Billy passed away earlier this year, and the Jordan River was one of his favorite places. Before our time of baptism, Jane asked Glenda and Billy’s daughters, Jamie and Leslie, to share a few words about their dad and the significance of this place.


Day 3 – Temple Mount and Western Wall

Much of our third day was spent walking and praying. What a privilege to be in this city — one of the oldest in the world. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again, and every layer of its earth reveals a different piece of the past.

This is the place where Abraham was ready to give his only son, Issac, as an offering to the Lord. And this is the place where Jesus will set up His Millenial Kingdom. Jerusalem is mentioned over 1000 times in the Bible (but not once in the Koran).

It was difficult to take it all in, as we walked and prayed through God’s Holy City. For this blog post, Druci and I want to offer a simple video with images of the Temple Mount and Western Wall, for you to watch and pray along with us, for the peace of Jerusalem.

Day 2 – Mount of Olives, Garden Tomb

Our first full day in Israel was packed with activity — and intentionality — as we carried out our assignment here in the land. You’re probably aware that an Aglow tour of Israel is not just about seeing the sights: this was certainly obvious as Jane briefed the group on our first morning and shared her heart about what it means for us to be “as one” with our Messianic brothers and sisters. Her message to us was clear and powerful, and it prepared our hearts for the prayers and proclamations we’d be making on the Mount of Olives that morning.

After listening to Jane and getting our marching orders, we boarded the buses and made our way to the Mount of Olives. There, we were joined by Asher Intrater and his team, and together we proclaimed “Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai” (Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”.

We finished the day at the Garden Tomb, where Nonnie shared a powerful message and led us in communion. Druci and I are a bit overwhelmed with everything. It still doesn’t seem real that we’re actually here. To walk where Jesus walked; to be in the Land; to experience — just the atmosphere of the place; it’s incredible.

What a day!

Aglow in Israel 2015 – Day 2 – The Garden Tomb from Aglow International on Vimeo.


boarding-the-busToday was arrival day. Druci and I left Seattle on a beautiful Spring day and after transferring planes in Paris, touched down at Ben Gurion Airport  in Tel Aviv 18 hours later. A large crowd of Aglow women and men arrived at the same time — some on other airlines — and together, we boarded buses for Jerusalem. It was great to see some old friends, and to make new ones. For many of us, it’s our first time in Israel. We’re all filled with expectation for the amazing things we’re going to see, and experience, in this beautiful country.

The journey to Jerusalem took a little over an hour. On the way, our guide shared may interesting facts about the land we were crossing. It’s one thing to read about Israel, but to actually drive through the countryside and see how everything is laid out gives you a different perspective.

Listen to a short clip as our guide shares about the land:

I had no idea that just the ride to our hotel would be so fascinating!

Tomorrow, we’ll get an early start with breakfast at 6:30, followed by an orientation with Jane, then it’s on to the Mount of Olives which should prove to be one of the highlights of the trip! For more information, see our trip itinerary.