Whenever someone visits the Holy Land, their life is changed. Such was the case with Shaw, a graduate student and member of the Fellowship family.
Israel is truly a land like no other. I visited Israel for the first time in the summer of 2017 and was completely taken aback by how loving and welcoming the people there were. It was the strangest feeling ever — a land and a culture so far removed from my own that still welcomed me warmly and invited me to take part. Israel does that for you; Israel welcomes you as her own.
It was probably 100 degrees the day we crossed over from Jordan and into Israel. Everyone on our tour bus — myself included — had waited for this day with much anticipation. We had heard so much about Israel from those who had visited this ancient land before and whose lives were forever transformed.
I, on the other hand, wanted to see for myself if this land and its people were indeed as beautiful as the tales about them had implied. As excited as I was to immerse myself in the history and the mystery of this land and its people, I was also skeptical. My skepticism did not rise from a place of hate or distaste for this land or its people; after all, I am a Christian and a pastor’s kid. My mother and father had told me to love Israel and pray for her peace. “It’s what the Bible says,’’ they asserted. Rather, I could not comprehend how a nation or its people could be so close to God’s heart and how so much of world history could revolve around them.
Little did I know that the next week I would spend traveling across this beautiful land would be God’s way of calling me to be a watchman on its walls, a watchman for both this land and its people. This was the beginning of a new chapter for me, a chapter where God gave me the privilege to be His servant — a servant unto His land and unto His people.
The story of Israel is one of hope, redemption, and the promise of God’s faithfulness. The story of Israel’s people lies in their pursuit of the same. As believers, we have a moral obligation toward the preservation and protection of both the eternal Jewish homeland and the Jewish people. One thing was clear during my time in Israel: this nation could always use another voice, another advocate, another activist, and most importantly, another Christian willing to fight for the truth.
I left Israel with a profound understanding that the land is, indeed, “Holy” and that the Holy Land’s people are truly chosen. Israel introduced me to Jesus all over again. It challenged my perspective and enlarged my vision of what is possible. Most profoundly, I was made aware that loving God’s nation is the epitome of what it means to possess the heart of God. To love what He loves enables us to partner with Him in revealing the Kingdom of God. I am so honored to be a part of this fellowship and to play my role in helping unite both the Christian and Jewish communities for the glory of God.Tags: Christians IFCJ Israel Shawrath Anthony The Fellowship