Hi Pastor Terri and Pastor George,
I just wanted to give you a brief recap of my Israel trip and let you know where the money was given, that the church people sent with me. A few days before the trip started Lauri Sanders decided to come on the tour. She flew separately and met me in Tel Aviv.
I experienced a whole new level of favor and open doors on this trip. Before we left on the trip, the pastor that headed the tour gave me a word that I would “see feathers on this trip, and it would be a sign of God’s favor and His anointing on my life.” I saw feathers everywhere, in the strangest of places. I would look down and there at my feet would be a white feather. A few hours later I would be sitting on a rock and look down and see a feather…feathers everywhere…
Anyway when we were in Tiberias we were at the Jesus boat and everyone was in the gift store shopping and I walked outside by myself down to the end of the pier where we get on the boats. There was a young girl who was lying down on the rocks and when she saw me, she sat up and asked if I would take her picture. She handed me her old scratched up phone that you could barely see anything on and I took a couple of pictures of her. She asked where I was from and I told her Texas. Then I asked her where she was from and she said, “Jerusalem.” I said “what are you doing all the way up here?”, and she said “I’m looking for work, there is no work and I don’t have a job.” It was then I noticed she had a backpack with her that looked like she was living out of it, and she was pretty dirty. Suddenly it dropped in my heart that she was desperate and down on the docks considering selling herself for money. I reached in my purse and pulled out some cash and handed it to her. Her eyes flew open wide and she said, “What is this? What are you doing?” I said, “My church in Fort Worth, Texas gave me money to bring to Israel, to give to people who need it. So I want you to have this, go get some food and a place to sleep. This money is from Hashem.” She cried, and she looked up and said, “God? Wow…I just can’t believe it. Really? This is for me?” And I said, “Yes” She immediately got up and walked with me back towards the building. It was like she was beaming from ear to ear and hugging me and thanking me. As she was leaving I took her picture….
When we got to Jerusalem, we ate lunch one day at Mahane Yehuda Fresh Market. Guy Leibovitz our guide wanted to take me to this place for lunch, where Jews who have returned from the Diaspora in Iraq cook family recipes. As we walked up to the restaurant, there was table of guys sitting eating, and Guy said to me, “Look there is a table of American Soldiers.” We were seated near them, and I asked Guy, “How do you know they are American soldiers?” And he said, “Oh I can just tell by the way they look, the way they are dressed and that it is table of all men. Why don’t you go ask?” I said, “No you go ask!” He said, “No Julie, you go ask it will be fine.” So I got up and went over to the table and I said, “So our Jewish tour guide saw your table and said, there is a table of American soldiers, was he right?” They all smiled and laughed and were passing looks between each other and said, “maybe” Then one of the guys asked me where I was from and I said, “Fort Worth TX” and then a couple of the guys spoke up and said they were from Texas too. I asked them what they were doing in Israel and they all got quiet and said, “We came for lunch” and then they laughed. They were friendly and smiling but trying not to say too much. I went back to my seat and when I sat down, the Lord said to me, “I want you to buy their lunch.” So I went and talked to the owner and told him to let me know how much their bill was that I wanted to cover it. He said, “Ok.” Later I went back over to the table and they said, “Thank you!” And I said, “I just want you to know that my church in Fort Worth just bought your lunch, thank you for your service. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.” They said, “Wow! Thank You, what is the name of your church?” I said, “Eagle Mountain International Church.” They said, “Can we get our picture with you?” I said, “Sure.” Then as we were deciding where to take the picture, I asked them what they could tell me, and they said, “We are Army and we are over here for 2 weeks of training.” We took pictures and one of the guys asked me for my contact info and then they were talking Texas sports, we chatted for a few minutes and they left.
About a month later I received in the mail, a plaque from their unit that was a certificate of Appreciation for Eagle Mountain International Church for supporting them. On the plaque is a picture of their Special Forces Unit skydiving in formation over the coast of Tel Aviv. I was floored that they took the time upon returning from their trip to have this Certificate printed up and signed by their Master Sergeant and their Commander and then framed it and sent it to me. How special! Every time I look at it, I remember them and say a prayer.
Another day in Jerusalem I went into Esther’s scarf shop. I was talking to her about business and she was telling me how much people in Jerusalem have struggled. Only the past few days since we had been there were there any tourists in the city. While we were in Israel, John Hagee had 500 people there. Prior to that there were no tourists for 2 months. Esther said she has poor people coming to her door every day asking for food. After shopping I handed her some money, and her eyes got really big. I told her that my church in Texas had sent me with money to give to the people of Israel in need and I told her, “If you need it, please use it, but if you won’t use it for yourself, help the hungry.” She said, “I can’t believe what a blessing this is, I will give it to needy families that come to my store.” She went on and on about how amazing this was that Americans would do this.
Later that same day, we went and visited Moshe and Dov in Shorashim Bookstore. Moshe said that there were desperate families in Jerusalem. He said, “Only in the last 2 days have we seen people in the courtyard! It has been deserted.” We talked about all of the beggars…the numbers of people begging have multiplied by 10 times, and he said, “Some of them are legitimate but some of them are scams.” So I handed him some money and asked that he would do with it as God showed him what to do. I told him that I don’t know who is legitimate and who isn’t but he does and I know he has access to help people that I know nothing about. He was overwhelmed with gratitude when I told him that people from our church wanted to help Israeli’s in need.
We took a bulletproof bus in Hebron and spent the day touring around with David Wilder. He talked about the difficulties of where they lived surrounded by PA on every side and building freezes and to top it off they are in the middle of where those three teenagers were kidnapped. The PA side of Hebron had dozens of people arrested with ties to Hamas, which was one of the factors that pre-empted the rockets from Gaza in June. (Side note did you see a week after our being in Hebron, the IDF killed the two Hamas terrorists responsible for the kidnapping of those Jewish teenagers in Hebron.) I also gave him some money to help support the Jewish families living in Hebron. I told him that the money came from church members who loved Israel. The military presence in Hebron is multiplied times 10 since I was there a couple of years ago. One lady on our trip had grown up in Ethiopia and you can imagine how surprised the Ethiopian Jewish Soldiers were when she spoke to them in their native tongue.
A few days before we left I was asking the Lord to show me what to do with the remaining money. I was visiting with a friend of mine, Yaniv who lives in Jerusalem and he was telling me about trying to help the hungry families that needed food. He opened up his wallet and showed me that he had been buying grocery store vouchers to give families so they could buy food for the holidays coming up. I pulled out the remaining money I had left and at first he refused. He said, “No, no, no Julie me and my family are ok. Praise God He takes care of us.” I said,” Then use it to help families that you know are in need.” Finally he agreed and said that he would buy vouchers to help people have food for Rosh Hashanah. I said, “Tell them it is from Hashem.” He said, “I will!”
It was an amazing trip of open doors, special favor, divine connections and being a blessing…
We prayed on the Lebanon border, prayed at the Syrian border and were standing there watching as the Fijian UN Peacekeepers were released in front of the UN compound, we prayed at the Jordan border, in the West Bank, In Hebron, at the Checkpoints and of course in Jerusalem. Lauri Sanders and I did a prayer walk around the Old City gates, we prayed from the middle of Old City on a rooftop where the 4 quarters meet. We were given access to places that people at first said, “No it’s not open!” Then they would stop and look at us and say, “But for you it is open, go ahead.” Favor literally chased us down! Lauri and I looked at each other and laughed often and said, “The favor of God!” Everywhere we went people went out of their way to do good to us, help us, give us stuff and went above and beyond to bless us! To God be the Glory!