What possessed me to consider a pilgrimage to Israel? When I heard of the trips of others I wondered why they would want to visit a derelict and controversial place with an unstable political situation that seemed to regularly break out in war and conflict.
The journey began in prayer. Desiring to enrich my prayer time with the Holy Spirit I asked the Father what He would like me to pray for....I was surprised to be asked to pray for Israel and the Jewish people as I had no knowledge of how to do it well; being ignorant of detailed background and historical information. As usual God only wanted my agreement and would leave all the details to be filled in later.
I decided that the best background information available to me was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, especially as Jesus was constantly quoting out of it as relevant to His day and the Day of His coming. I began to read a chapter at a time taking notes and then to pray the chapter back to the Father in the way of interceding for the people and the land. This study became a joy to me and released passionate prayers of love and hope for the Jewish people and for the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
I made the decision to take God at His Word and if it said Israel then it meant Israel. So often I have placed myself or the church into the text to receive a present and personal meaning but Jerusalem means the city that God loves. I know He also loves me but Jerusalem is a real place so is Mount Zion. I know because my feet were there standing in the places that God speaks about. With that decision established I read on.
By the time I reached chapter 14 I was beginning to understand a little of the Father's Heart for this nation and I heard His voice again saying thank you to me for doing this for Him. How awesome to be thanked by the Father. He went on that, as a reward, I was going to go to the land of Israel and my response was, Thank You. My joyful willingness to go was another surprise to me and revealed that my own heart had changed just within two weeks of beginning the prayer study.
I continued the study doing at least a chapter each day and made no attempt to prepare to leave the country for Israel. I thought that I would most likely know what to do when I reached the end of the book. It was at this time that the dreams about gold began again and the feeling of covering in bliss surrounded me during the day.
Janet is the Director and a friend from the Healing Rooms where we minister healing to the sick and afflicted on Wednesday mornings and I was with her in her car when I saw two women wearing gold coats within a few metres of each other. The coats were exactly the same, exactly, and a deep gold colour. I knew in my spirit straight away that there was an anointing of the Holy Spirit released to both of us to do something together. As we were having lunch with the Healing Rooms prayer team Janet announced that she was going to Israel and I answered immediately, "So am I." She asked me when I was going and I replied that I didn't know and asked her the same. She too replied that she didn't know but by the end of the afternoon we had booked ourselves on a tour of Israel in 10 weeks time. We scarcely believed our own audacity but it was true. We were going to Israel on the 25th April 2010.
We did invite our husbands and family emphatically stating that it was a pilgrimage and not a holiday that was going to be an intense week of travelling and pilgrimming. They released themselves from any involvement other than blessing us as we went.
I completed my prayer study before we left and joyfully ascended the skies in an El Al aircraft to Tel Av iv. And we did ascend with joy because the weeks prior to our departure were heralded by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland that produced dust clouds of ash keeping planes grounded over England and Europe. On the Tuesday before we left I made a petitioning request to God of the whole earth to please subdue the volcano and clear the skies by Thursday so that the airports would be ready for us on the Sunday unless He had a purpose for the volcano right now and that I would be happy to go some other time. I did remind Him that I was in a dream where Janet and I were laying on top of a mountain over the Sea of Galilee praising Him and enjoying His goodness and that I totally had faith that we would be going on Sunday and coming back in clear skies the following Sunday. That evening the volcano had subsided by 80% and by Thursday the planes were flying again.
I praise God for this wonderful reward of walking in the land where Jesus walked and having such a strong response to the land and people that made me want to write some words about it. All the photos are Janet's and many more can be viewed on my Face book album.