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Pastors enjoy Holy Land visit after Israel lifts travel restrictions

A visit to the Holy Land helps the Bible come alive for pastors and serves as a transformative moment. Not just for them, but for their congregations benefitting when they return. After most travel was shut down because of the pandemic, many of them are excited to have an opportunity to experience Israel with the support of Eagles’ Wings ministry.

Israel reopened fully to tourists in January and in March dropped all vaccine requirements to enter the country. The move is expected to cause a sharp rise in tours. Metro Voice in March hosted a tour and was one of the very first evangelical groups to return to the country this year.

“We are so glad after two-and-a-half years that we could come back to the land to bring these pastors, because we’re living in a moment in the Christian church that we’re reconnecting to the Jewish roots of our faith and standing in support of the modern state of Israel,” Bishop Robert Stearns, founder of Eagles’ Wings, says. “And these pastors are just every day gaining a sense of focus and clarity and commitment to what God is doing in this place.”

Pastor Malik Edwards of Relentless Church has been to Israel before. He said this trip was different. “I’ve been here a few times, but this particular time it’s really touched me, not only  to tap into my Christian roots but really to tap into the Jewish roots,” he said.

Israel saw a record number of visitors in 2019 before Covid lockdowns swept the planet. Over 4.5 million tourists visited that year.

For these pastors, it is an opportunity to experience the land where the Bible comes alive.

“Honestly, it means finding history and bringing it to life for me,” said Pastor Graig Pridgen, pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church. “We read the Bible constantly. I preach from the Bible and over these past nine days, I’ve actually walked the Bible.”

Stearns said the pastors “are having their paradigms shifted. They’re having their hearts, softened and awakened.”

For years, Stearns has led the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, and he said, it’s more important than ever.

“Even during COVID, we went virtual around the world, because we believe at least one day a year, the hearts of the global church should turn back to Zion, should turn back and, and pray for the coming of our king, the return of our king,” he said. “And so this has taken on all over the world. We want to have our nation praying for the peace of Jerusalem. So I invite all believers to set aside the first Sunday of every October as the global day of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.”

If you would like to plan a tour to Israel for a group or church, contact Anita Widaman at 816-524-4522.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice