Overwhelmed! That’s the word that comes to mind when I think back on my Israel trip in February of 2017. My name is Micah Smith, I am a worship pastor for StoneWater Church, and my life will never be the same after visiting Israel.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was overwhelming! So many times throughout the trip, I found myself humbled in the presence of God. I truly feel like I clearly heard God speaking vision and direction into my life in many different areas. God also gave me visions like I have never had before. Visions about my children and even future generations in my family.
I also had the privilege of leading our group in a time of worship in St Ann’s Cathedral. The moment I started singing, I was in awe of the sound I was hearing. An inexplicable sound that can only be created by the voices of God’s children worshiping Him. God’s presence was so real and tangible! It was an incredible moment with the group.
I was overwhelmed by the reality of who God really is. I constantly found myself in awe of the preciseness of God. It was amazing to see that everything God has done, is doing, and is going to do is exact, precise and His perfect plan. I could physically see how God created things, placed things, planned His creation and His people, and it was all for a perfect and precise purpose. It was so fascinating to take the knowledge I had of the Bible, and then see the physical locations where these events took place. Until I physically stood in these places, I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of what God was doing in those moments, and how it impacted His people.
I was overwhelmed by the group of people I was with and the leaders of the trip. Moshe took us to amazing places and the information he presented us with left me in awe. This is a journey you have to take to accurately understand the people, places and events that took place in the Bible. John and Roxie were incredible hosts! I loved being able to ask John questions that brought a lot of clarity to my biblical understanding. I was also blessed with an amazing group of people that attended the trip with me. We created great memories together, and it was a blast to experience all of this with them.
I can truly say that this journey to Israel was life changing for my family and I. God is continuing to use the experiences I had in Israel to teach me, and grow me into who He wants me to be. Thank you to everyone who makes these trips possible. I cannot wait to go back!
Check out Micah leading worship in St Anne’s cathedral here!
I can’t believe we have been back in the states for one week already. To say we wish we were still in Israel would be an understatement. Also, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the investment you made in our lives.
Though we have never met (hope that changes on our next trip to Texas), you have provided Ruth and
I the opportunity for our love for Israel to grow deeper. Your generosity and investment allowed us to explore the possibilities of hosting trips and observe what it would take to be effective leaders in that way. Having the chance to observe and assist John and Roxie as a primary task gave us a whole different view than being participants on the trip our first time. (As you know, John and Roxie represent the Lord and your foundation with love, wisdom, and grace. It was and is a huge blessing to have them as mentors.)
One other benefit of being on the trip (which was not something I was looking for but had heard from my dad and John) was gaining a clearer understanding of your passion for bringing pastors home to Israel. I can’t yet quantify the deeper connection of the obvious but I have a richer appreciation and connection to the importance of seeing the vision fulfilled.
I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store regarding my/our involvement making your vision a reality for more and more pastors. Again I thank you for believing in and investing in our lives. This trip drove home to me the truth that God is able to and will accomplish His purposes in our lives and the world. For He is faithful.
Many blessings to you. I look forward to meeting you in person possibly as soon as this summer.
From Byron Stinson, Founder, Fathers House Educational Foundation:
The work and journey of the Fathers House is very fulfilling and it is with great joy we hear testimonies like this. After 8 years we are blessed to have hundreds of reports from so many of you and we cherish each note.
However, I want to say, if we never receive a note like this we plan to move forward. If Satan himself sticks a knife in our eye we will continue to follow the bread crumbs of the Lord! What motivates us is giving Glory to God. Our path is sometimes hard and crossing the barrier of Jew and Gentile is tough! This walk is not for sissy’s, but compared to those who worked the land before us it is a cake walk.
Often I stop and think about those that answered the call of God. Men and women like Abraham, Sarah Jacob, Rachel, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, King David, Deborah, Gideon and more. 12 spies went out and only 2 answered the call to go in. Why? This journey is scary, confusing perplexing financially and even life threatening, work. Now we at Fathers House Foundation are taking more steps of faith. We recognize the times are here and we get to play a small part in the birth of one Covenant Nation. Jew and Gentile will become an inheritance to the Lord as the veil is lifted from our eyes.
We must not allow the rocks to cry out louder than his people. Please pray for us and ask the Lord to guide us. Our primary source of funding went dry and we need Him to open financial doors for us and close those doors HE wants to close. Thank you to all the pastors that faithfully have stayed in touch, lifted us up in prayer and continue to support us in so many ways. Thank you, Mike, for taking time to write this testimony, giving thanks and encouragement to our ministry. For those that have traveled with us in the past but now feel separated or have been led to take a different path we bless you and hope you are well. We know that often our part in your life and ministry was to help the spark ignite. If the trip we helped you take led your spirit to begin a new work, we praise the Lord with joy and love to see those works succeed. If you desire to re-connect you will always be welcome in our Fathers House. (Heart) We pray for blessings and love on the entire body of Christ.
Thank you, Mike, for taking time to write this testimony, giving thanks and encouragement to our ministry. For those that have traveled with us in the past but now feel separated or have been led to take a different path we bless you and hope you are well. We know that often our part in your life and ministry was to help the spark ignite. If the trip we helped you take led your spirit to begin a new work, we praise the Lord with joy and love to see those works succeed. If you desire to re-connect you will always be welcome in our Fathers House. (Heart) We pray for blessings and love on the entire body of Christ.
~ Byron Stinson
When I was asked about going on a journey to Israel, I had some fears to overcome. I’m a hamburger
eater. I don’t really like vegetables at all. My view of any country outside of the United States was that vegetables were the main course of every meal. So, I pictured myself starving to death if I ever went outside of the U.S. Thankfully, Byron convinced me that I’d only need one good meal in the 10 days. He promised me McDonalds (which I never got to have by the way) so that I’d be able to eat at least once.
I also had amenity fears. To me, every country outside of the United States, the people lived in homes made of straw and mud and very few “American” style homes. So, I kept thinking about that as well.
Through much prayer, I decided to take the journey and boy am I glad that I did! I took 2 pounds of beef jerky with me to make sure I had a little something to eat just in case though. But, my very first meal in Israel was at a restaurant that had hamburgers! Then, we arrived at the very modern and beautiful hotel. This just happened to be Shabbat and the food was AWESOME!
From start to finish, I enjoyed every moment and still vividly recall so much about the trip and the education that I received there from Moshe, Byron, and John.
When I came back, I couldn’t wait to share all that I had learned with my friends, relatives, and anyone who would listen! I even did a presentation at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church, where I was the interim pastor. Today, that is where I am incredibly blessed to be the Lead Pastor.
So what’s been going on since I came back from the journey?
I have read the Bible two more times. It is amazing how when I read now, I can picture in my mind what it may have looked like that the time. As I read about Moses, I envision them wandering around the wilderness. When I think of Joshua, and two million Israelites, I can picture them at Gilgal. When I read about David and Goliath, I can picture each army on either side of the Valley of Elah. I saw the stream where he chose his round stones. I can somewhat picture Old Jerusalem and what it must have looked like.
My relationship with God has grown by leaps and bounds because I’ve seen, with my own eyes, many of the things mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. I have seen where Jesus was born, where he spoke on the mount to the crowds, and where he took his steps toward Calvary. I am still in awe! When I reflect on all the work God has done in my life and in those around me, I like to think that some of that is because of the way my passion for Christ increased because of my journey.
If you get the opportunity to go, remember, fear is not of God! Go and be blessed! Stand with Israel NOW!
My journey to Israel was God ordained from the very beginning. I was in nursing school and we are limited on how many days we can miss. This was the first time ever the college decided to close down the entire week of Thanksgiving. The insanely busy schedule of a nursing student doesn’t leave much room for anything that doesn’t involve nursing. Waking up an hour earlier to dig into the Word like I did before work started getting less and less every day; attending church and Stonewater U classes every week started to turn into online services and not attending to try to squeeze in any time to study.
I have grown a lot over the past few years in my walk with Christ. This trip took the intimacy I have with God to a whole new level. I was excited about this trip and spending a week in the Holy Land, being where Jesus walked and spending much needed time in His Word. The second day in Israel, Roxie asked me what the Lord was speaking to me. To be honest, it took me a day or so to calm my excitement down and hear what He was speaking to me. He was telling me to “be still.”
With that I finally slowed down and started soaking everything in. My uncle had shared some insight with us, when you look around Israel there is a lot of trash on the roads, stone buildings, not what you picture when you think of the Promised Land, but it is like our hearts, filthy, full of trash, and ugly, yet we are Holy because God says we are, just like His Land.
Standing at the true birthplace of our Savior, the first place we worshiped and I couldn’t get any words to come out; I was humbled, and moved to tears from being overwhelmed with feeling His presence. This wasn’t the only location this happened at.
God has done some amazing things in my life, even earlier this year, but He showed up in a huge way while I was in His land. There was a strike with our airlines and talk of maybe not making it back in time, which would’ve had me missing exceeding the number of days we could miss in school, 2. John had the travel agent working to get my mom and I on a flight out on different airlines but it would have to be early. Without a second thought I said, “no, absolutely not.” I felt God saying “are you really going to put all your trust in me or take the first opportunity to get back?” The strike ended for us to get back on schedule, before going back on strike a couple days later.
I felt Him putting a whole new passion in my heart. There were some fires being started by terrorists all throughout the land in Israel, including Jerusalem. Not once was I afraid, I felt at home and safer there than I do even here. I feel like God was starting a wildfire in my heart, and John and Moshe’s passion for teaching fanned the flames. I have been non-stop in the Word since I’ve been back, and God has opened a huge door for me to go back this February for a month and learn more about Him.
“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrew 12:29
John, for me this trip made the Bible come to life. It has made me crave and yearn for Jesus even more. It is amazing what God has revealed to me during this journey…. He has started his own uncontrollable wildfire in my heart and has used you and Moshe’s passion for teaching to fan the flames.
God’s message is everywhere. From the beginning of time, God has spoken through and in the land of Israel. The land speaks of God and His majesty, His love, and His grace. God is not finished with Israel & the amazing thing is we get to be a part of what He is doing there!
An incredible teacher, amazing heartfelt fellowship, probably the most spirit filled journey I will ever experience, feeling such a connection to the Lord. Words are inadequate to describe the feelings and emotions this journey brought about. Wish every Christian could experience this. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The biggest impact for me was the role women have is so much more impactful than I ever realized. Thank you so much to both you and Roxie. You made it memorable!
God is real and His word is proven true.
I just keep thinking how I can read the Bible in color now! Being able to “picture” it will change my relationship with God. Also gave me such a hunger to grow in my walk! Thanks for everything. What an amazing time!