Bonds of Love
Jewish and Arab Pastors Retreat

Wartime in Israel has been a heavy, difficult and also transformative time for all of us.

As pastors and leaders of the local body in the Land, we have felt the weight of responsibility on our shoulders now more than ever before to bring unity to the forefront of everything we do and everything we are.

Having the opportunity to gather together with fellow Jewish and Arab pastors for a special desert retreat called “Sit at Yeshua’s Feet” was so crucial for us all. Being able to pray for one another, to hear about each other’s struggles and challenges during this difficult time, to encourage one another, and to hear Arab pastors pray for peace in Israel was truly special.

The Arab pastor also courageously shared about the deeper issues of violence and crime within the Muslim community in Israel, asking us all to join them in prayer against this wave of darkness and violence in their society.

Having the time to go into our prayer caves in the desert and spend one-on-one time with the Lord changed something deeply in all of us. Many pastors came out of their prayer caves with powerful words of encouragement from God for each other and for the nation.

It was amazing to hear each story, acknowledge each other’s struggles and carry each other’s burdens.

When it comes to Israeli pastors, on top of the daily ministry and family challenges, the topic of war has left none unaffected. Every single one is facing the hardships this war has brought on us.

People have a lot of questions and doubts, and as pastors and leaders of the body in Israel we have the responsibility to fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit and the joy and wisdom of the Lord, so we are able to impart and share it with those who are struggling during this time of war, loss and uncertainty.

Being a pastor means giving your heart to your people, which also means we have to ensure we keep it filled with God, so we are able to offer encouragement and comfort, as an answer to people’s despair and hopelessness.

Every morning we started the day with a simple, yet powerful worship session led by young leaders, and it was absolutely amazing how the Holy Spirit would just come down every single time, bringing a sense of supernatural unity amid simple single guitar acoustic worship.

One of the most remarkable highlights of this retreat was to sit by the fire and hear fellow pastors and leaders share testimonies and stories of those who experienced October 7th on different levels.

A powerful testimony came from a congregational leader who is also an officer in the IDF.

On October 7th he was called in, and on that same day he entered Gaza. What he saw and experienced would scar anyone forever; Hundreds of dead bodies, of both Israeli civilians, soldiers, as well as Hamas terrorists. But he focused on the Lord and pressed forth in doing what he was sent to do that day, and miraculously the Lord protected his mind and heart from post trauma.

He was able to face the indescribable evil and barbarism by claiming the blood of Jesus over his life, his mind and his soul, and he felt God’s presence even in the darkest moments, protecting him.

While he was deployed and moved from place to place, he took the opportunity to shine God’s light and shared openly to all the soldiers and security forces he came across that day. Every single one of them that came in contact with that officer, received prayer from him and all of them came out intact from the confrontation that ensued after the massacre of the morning of October 7th.

Prayers were the greatest weapon! It is what saved countless people and worked miracles for so many.

Sderot was one of the southern towns along the Gaza border that was deeply affected, both by rockets and terrorist invasion that bloody morning of October 7th.

To hear the Sderot pastor speak and share his testimony was incredibly powerful; the truckloads of terrorists he saw from his window that morning driving down Sderot streets is an image he can’t erase from his mind.

God miraculously took the entire Sderot congregation out of the city that day, and everyone managed to evacuate safely, while many other Sderot residents were killed by terrorists while trying to flee the city during the attack.

For the rest of the world, it’s April, but here in Israel, six months later it’s still October 7th.

People are still dealing with so many issues, challenges and struggles of what they lived through and are still living every day during this terrible time of war.

To hear so many stories and testimonies from fellow pastors and leaders while we all sat together at Yeshua’s feet in the desert magnified the importance of unity and togetherness that lifts us from the darkness and helps us shine God’s light on each other, as well as on our nation that desperately needs God’s love

We all came out of that retreat refreshed, encouraged, blessed and united, now more than ever.