In the principal’s office

At around nine in the morning we set out in two small groups to walk and pray for the Arabic village. We brought a list of specific prayer points in order to focus our time, a few New Testaments and Jesus films, and the hope that God would work through us to bring healing and transformation.

The group that walked with me enjoyed a very focused and blessed time of prayer while walking in the village. As each prayer topic was explained and prayed over, each member of the group felt a particular aspect of the need or a particular vision for how to move forward impressed upon their heart.

Several specific Scriptures came into Lucas’ mind as he was walking. First, he thought of Isaiah 40:3,  “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Later, as we prayed for education, the verse, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20) came up in his heart.

As we prayed about the social issues in the village, we discussed how many people in the village don’t realize that there is a better way of life, that God designed humans for more: for fellowship with Him, the source of all that is good. Jeremiah 29:13, which says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” came up into Lucas’ mind, and we prayed that such a desire to seek God would blossom in the village.

After the prayer walk, Lauren commented “this made me want to go home in my town and do the same thing.” Amen! May prayer walks be something that spreads around the world!

The other small group headed for a different part of the village. Partway through their walk, a high school security guard greeted them and invited them in for coffee. They were escorted into the principal’s office where they were offered chocolate, fresh fruit, and coffee.

The principal, a Muslim man, was very welcoming. Another teacher joined them for the conversation, a woman from a nominal Christian family.

When the team explained that they were walking and praying for the village, the principal and the teacher told the team, “It is so nice of you to pray for peace, love and joy in this place.”

The team asked if the teacher and principal had any specific prayer requests. They asked for prayer about the prevalence of foul language and bullying in the behavior of the kids at the school.

As they sat around the table, the group prayed for these things together. One of the team members remembers that after they prayed, the principal said he had “felt an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort” during the prayer.

When they asked if they should bring more teams to the school to pray, the principal and the teacher were very excited: “We would love to have you,” they said.

The next day, the teams returned to the same village to knock on doors and offer people New Testaments. They split into two groups again, and began walking, trying to retrace their steps from the previous day of prayer. At first, the outreach started slowly. Some people didn’t answer the door, and others did not accept the New Testament. But as the team persevered, the opportunities increased.

A Filipino woman answered one of the doors and invited the team inside. She asked “Do you have one [of the New Testaments] in English?” Sadly, the team had only New Testaments in Arabic. They were able to offer one to the mother of the house, who kissed it and thanked them for it once she cleared up that it was indeed a free gift and they did not want money for it.

One of the adult sons came in a bit later. He had a very “teacher” attitude, and he tried to lecture the group on the advantages of Islam. They stayed in the house for around an hour, drinking coffee and snacking on fruit.

The Filipino woman explained that she came to Israel to find work as a hired helper, and she helps this older woman with daily tasks. She has three kids back in the Philippines that she supports with the money she makes in Israel.

As they left, she showed them a house across the street, saying “A bunch of Christians live there.” When they visited that house, the mother informed them that the father had died six months ago. As she explained this, she was moved to tears. She offered them more fruit and they chatted for a while.

Meanwhile, the other group was invited into the house of a more religiously observant Muslim family. They didn’t accept a New Testament, but they invited the team in for cookies and drinks. Despite the language barrier, they had a lively conversation, as the Muslim family talked a lot about Mecca.

At another house, they met a young Muslim mother. She is not very religiously observant. She says she still talks to God in private, but she does not enjoy the forms and traditions of organized religion. She revealed that she actually works to promote women’s equality in the area, though she sometimes runs into resistance from her family when she wants to travel by herself or do other things that are not culturally acceptable.

The team prayed for her, and she said “I felt a strong positive power,” once they finished.

Thank God for this short term team and their work in this village. May the New Testaments they handed out be instrumental in changing hearts and lives, may the teams that come after them find many open doors to share, and may God answer the prayers of these teams as they walk the streets of this village. All to the glory of Jesus!

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