In the past month, many rockets were fired towards Israel from Gaza. Some rockets never made it out of Gaza and caused destruction and injuries there. Some rockets did cross over, but were taken down by the Iron Dome defense system. A few Gazan rockets landed, some causing deaths, injuries and destruction.
Now there is quiet, and the “Red Alert” sirens are silent. There is now another sound, not in Israel, but in America and other countries. That sound is the bustle of people heading off to visit Israel. Many Jews, particular those Israelis who live abroad, had not been deterred by the rockets fired from Gaza, and they made their scheduled summer trips. Others, Jews or not, decided to cancel their scheduled trip, while others decided to wait for the war to end, and now they are rescheduling.
Many Christians stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel. One such Christian is Pastor Kevin Dieckilman of Simi Hills Christian Church, who heads the One Heart For Israel organization (http://www.oneheartforisrael.com/).
On August 31, 2014, Pastor Dieckilman, leading a group of 26 Christians, 17 from California and 9 from New York, were at the Los Angeles airport ready to depart for Israel. At 5:00am, like a soldier on duty, yours truly was at the airport to see the group off and find out why they are going to Israel, a country that just entered a ceasefire with Hamas, after 50 days of fierce fighting, while everything is still shaky over there.
Pastor Dieckilman’s group consists of members of three different churches, two from California, and one from New York. The California churches are New Wine Church in Fullerton, and Hiding Place Fellowship, in Simi Valley. Recovery Church is in New York. Some of the group are already in Israel, and soon they will all be together.
Pastor Dieckilman said a few people were so concerned about the war they canceled their trip, but most were ready to go.
I spoke to members of the group while they were waiting to book in, and this is what I heard:
William: “Visiting Israel is my lifelong dream and I have never been there yet; the country is my home.”
Susan: “It is my first trip to Israel. I just lost my husband to cancer and this trip is a healing trip.”
Andrea: “I am from Hungary. I have lived in the US for 12 years and my dream is to go to Israel to get closer to Jesus and after all Israel is the Holy Land.”
So it seems that neither rockets nor war can stop the pro-Israel Christians from visiting Israel. I believe the more we can encourage such defenders of Israel, the stronger Israel will be.
God Bless the Christians who stand for truth and freedom, and with friends like you, Israel is not alone.