Thank you for your kindness and generosity in preparing us for this trip to Israel, our flights, insurance, and insight to expectations of the trip. You were so kind to meet us at the airport, help us through the terminals and take us to the hotel. We are so grateful to you.
We would also wish to thank Byron and Tammy, Kevin and an extra special thanks to Moshe. He is so kind, considerate and so very intelligent. I will remember his every word as I read my Bible.
The whole group of 27 are such beautiful Christian people, I feel as if I had known them my whole life.
I have read and studied the Bible for years but could never put myself in places where the events took place, now I too can say “I was there”. I haven’t been able to put my Bible down since I came home. There are not enough words to express the way I feel about this wonderful trip (I call it a journey through the Bible). Thanks to all of you who have made this an unforgettable experience.
April 6, 2009
Dear Byron, John, and Father’s House,
Thank you so much for sending me to Israel. I have tried to wait to write a thank you until I had time to process more of what we saw, heard, and experienced. The truth is, I am still in something of a state of awe at the wonder of God manifest by the whole trip.
It has been a long-standing desire of mine to go to Israel and see the places where biblical events took place. I could never have imagined the impact that being there would have on my understanding and perspective on the Word of God. There is a deep, spiritual stirring in my soul that is like a revival meeting but much deeper and longer-lasting in its influence. There is new fire in my preaching and new depth in my teaching. People here at First Baptist have commented about the difference they hear and see in me.
The things I have learned and believed for years have been re-formatted by the trip. I know them in a way I could not have known them before. It is in a small way like what our transition from hope to sight will be when Jesus comes: We hold to the reality, but we have not experienced it in its completeness. I know that I have yet to experience the fullness of Who God is and what redemption is, but there is a greater appreciation for the revelation of God in His Word and in His Son that makes the present reality so much sweeter!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for answering God’s call to send pastors to Israel. John, thank you for being with us and making the trip more wonderful with your songs and your servant heart. Byron, thank you for your heart to help move us toward revival through the experience of biblical places in Israel. You have blessed my life and enriched my ministry more than I can express.
I am encouraging every believer to go to Israel and experience the wonder of the land of Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and the disciples. We are praying and working on details to try to take a group back in 2010 because the excitement of the group that went has taken hold of the church!
This was the greatest journey I have been on in my life. I’ve not been out of the states, never even been to Mexico and all of a sudden I am invited to go as a part of a group to Israel…. It was just a life changing experience for me.
Having seen in my own mind, trying to picture where Jesus walked and what it was like to walk there and then to be there was such a phenomenal change in my life…and to walk, not just where Jesus walked, but as we walked thru the ruins of David’s house and remembering those stories…. I get God bumps right now just talking about it. But I didn’t really go having any idea how it was going to impact me and my ministry back home…. but so many people in our church have talked about it has changed the dynamics… of my ministry there. I don’t know that I sense it that much but they said they just sense such an intensity in the message…. Now even when I’m sitting in my easy chair at home reading my Bible and I read a verse and all of a sudden I realize I’ve been there.. I’ve been there and I see what that really was.
The trip was really totally and completely life changing for me personally and for me as a Pastor because it allowed me to see the Bible kind of in a three dimensional aspect as opposed to just reading about and studying about it. Actually going to the places, seeing the things we saw, meeting the people and being exposed to the atmosphere of the culture and all of those things, it was just a period of time that really has forever and completely changed my life.
My brother it has been too long sense I have seen you, Tammy and Isaac. I have such fond memories of our 2011 trip to Israel.
I have just returned from the second trip (June 2012). I can tell you that there is no such thing as a bad trip with Father’s House. My first trip was marvelous.
The team of you and Moshe did an excellent job and I loved every minute.
I was disappointed when I learned that Moshe would not be with us on the second trip. The second trip was as marvelous as the first. We revisited some of the same places and I departed from each with an expanded appreciation, blessing, and understanding of each. That is the way the body of Christ is supposed to work, isn’t it. John Turner and Ron did a masterpiece rendition at repeats and new sites.
I so much thank the Lord and Father’s House for making this possible. My life and ministry were changed after my first trip, but the second trip completed the transformation.
After 58 years of preaching/teaching the Word, I can tell you that theses two trips have enriched my teaching and reading the Word.
I want to extend my gratitude for a fantastic experience. I am already having a wonderful time with God, processing what I have learned! Thanks again for a wonderful trip. God is doing wonderful things through Father’s House.
You and the Fathers House Foundation have been a mighty instrument in the Lords hand to change my life forever. Scott and I have dreamed for years of going to Israel and often times would say to one another “someday!” you made that “someday” a reality in our lives.
When Scott first told me of the opportunity I was thrilled for him to get to do it. He wanted me to get to go too but I knew without going into debt we couldn’t do it and honestly I was fine with that. However, when my mother got wind of it she was not okay with me not going and offered to take care of all my expenses and come stay with the kids while we were gone. Thank you, Jesus!
Now that I have been I have since told Scott, “you can’t ever go without me!” Now that I know what an amazing and life changing encounter it is I want to go back again and again. Unlike other vacations ( I realize this was anything but a vacation but it was in the sense that we were away from responsibilities from church and home) this one didn’t leave me with a longing to get back to my home in Burleson but it left me with a bit of a realization that I was home. I was grieved when the day came to get on board that plane and head back to Texas. I truly understood why Moshe greeted us upon arrival by saying, “welcome home!” That land is my home, it is where all the roots of my faith are, where all my spiritual fathers and mothers lived and loved and grew to know and love our God and Father, God and Son and God and Spirit.
Our first Sunday back we took some time to share about some things we saw and did and how it impacted us. I told them it was like going to the place where your grandparents were raised after hearing them describe and tell stories of it for years and years. I told them I truly felt as though I was home and that I wanted to go back again and take all of them with me.
Although we don’t have a date yet we are looking to do just that sometime next year. I have already started a “Back to Israel Fund.”
God is so good and so worthy of our Highest Praise. He has blessed us in so many ways none of which we in any way deserve yet he was pleased to just shower good gifts on us just because we’re his kids. Thank you for being a vessel of honor for service in his house to all of us who went. May you be blessed in every way as you continue to seek to fulfill Gods plan in your lives. You are dearly loved and highly esteemed.
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel towards you for what you have done in my life. A number of years ago when I was doing some work to help in the aftermath of Katrina I met a new Christian who was telling me about his story. He said that God had totally “messed up” his life! He went on to explain that God had so changed his life that he would never be the same in a good way God had changed his whole perspective of life. Well this Israel trip and what I saw and heard has totally “messed up” my life! In a good and most incredible way!
It is as if blinders have been removed from my spiritual eyes! Every passage, every reference to God’s people, a place so captures my attention that I get hung up in a verse or two and feast upon His Truths. The perspective of what God did where it took place layer upon layer literally blows my mind! I can’t take it all in. And I feel like I am just getting started. Needless to say, it has transformed my life, my preaching and my ministry.
How God allowed my life to be connected with you, with Bono, Moshe, the Fathers House… Well, that still amazes me! But I do know this, what you have sown into me has spread to our church! Like a wild fire, the desire to go to Israel is spreading we will, Lord willing, go with the Fathers House next year. This is the plan we believe God is leading us in and I can’t wait for it to come about!
Your gift came at such a good time for us. Leslie and I needed a break together. We are so blessed to have such a gracious and loving church family, but our time away was refreshing and invigorating. In fact, Leslie and I have resolved one day to find a spot on the Sea of Galilee to just spend a week or two! Who knows what will happen but we take great delight in even thinking about it.
Well, more could be said. Yet “words” seem so inadequate in expressing the overflow of my heart.
Thank you. Thank you for your gift for your investment in me for looking beyond the things of this world that you might sow for the next. That is a rare thing in our day yet I believe you have brought the Father and all His House great joy and glory in what you have done.
May the fullness of His Spirit rest upon each of you this day, and like Joseph of old may He cause to prosper all that you set your hands to! To God be the Glory!
The recent trip to Israel was a tremendous blessing. I personally have been able to travel to the Promised Land now on three different occasions. While each one was special, I think this last trip was the most meaningful because of who went with me. This is the first opportunity I have had to take members of the Bono congregation as well. Seeing their joy and amazement at being in the land of the Bible was priceless. The trip to Israel, over 3,000 dollars. The gasoline to the airport and home again, 60 dollars. The smiles and tears on faces of those who saw where Jesus walked, lived, taught, and died…PRICELESS! They will never view the Word of God in quite the same light again. Chris Ellison, fellow Bono traveler, perhaps summed it up best. When ask what he thought about the trip, he said “It’s not just a story anymore!” The Word has taken on new meaning and a passion for learning more of God has been stirred. I would encourage, challenge, implore…beg if need be…any Pastor to find his way to a Father’s House tour of Israel. It is unlike any other tour and is certain to spark renewal in the hearts of all those blessed to go. Not to mention, the Word promises that God will bless those who bless Israel. Be blessed by the Father’s House so that they in turn will be blessed in future trips and so that you might bless others with this life-changing experience. Just let the blessings flow!
The phrase that I use over and over again when people ask me about my trip to Israel with the Father’s House Foundation is “I literally saw the Bible come alive!” What do I mean by that? I mean that while I have never doubted the inerrancy of the Word of God, it is something else to stand in the places that in times past, I had only read, studied, and preached about. I gained new geographical and theological perspectives on the Scripture that I never expected.What it has done to my preaching has been phenomenal! I started both a discipleship class and a sermon series called “Lessons From The Holy Land”. My congregation feels like they are diving deeper into the Word than they can remember doing in a long time.