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I am Armando Lagda Valdez, married to Lilybelle Grace Mamaril. God blessed us with four kids (3 boys and 1 girl), plus added precious children under our care. I am a product of “Calvary Bible Institute” – supervised by Sir Ken Sandberg. My wife and I are pastoring a church in Davao City, that is affiliated with – Maranatha Fellowship in Maryland, USA (IPHC). We have established relationship with Sir Ken & Ma’am Cris and partnered with them in equipping the saints through conferences, summer camps and at CBI. And just recently, after our Sunday morning service (Nov. 8, 2009), we received a phone call with the grandest surprise – A TRIP TO ISRAEL! It blew me away and made me shout for joy! Hallelujah, glory to God! To step in the soil of Israel was only a dream that we hope would come true sometime in the future. Now, that the door to visit the birthplace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is in progress, I can’t explain the thrill and excitement going on as the days go by. The trip to Israel is truly a big inspiration to us and this is happening because of the Lord’s kindness through my Bible School mentors (Sir ken & ma’am Cris) and through your generosity. Honestly, we don’t really know how to express the gratitude and the joy that is within us. Words may fall short to express it, but we sure are grateful to the Lord and to you. May the good Lord multiply your blessings! Again, i want to let you know that we appreciate the love, the blessings and the big heart. Thank you for sponsoring our trip. Indeed, we don’t know how to repay you. Simply, because we don’t have the capacity to do it. But the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach will! God bless you and your family Sir Byron and Ma’am Tammy. God bless you sir/ma’am John Turner. God bless the “Father’s House Foundation”. God bless “CBI” family. We look forward to see you on December 5 & 6, 2009. To Sir Ken and Ma’am Cris, thank you for the high level of trust and favor. God bless us all. In Christ, Armand & Lilybelle V
Even after studying the materials suggested before going on this wonderful experience, I see that it is almost impossible to visualize and understand G_d’s word without seeing it in context. Just as the settlers and Native Americans used the materials that were at hand for their shelters, so did the Israelites. I had never pictured homes, inns, stables, castles and fortresses built in chalk limestone caves, but that was what was available to shelter them. Seeing, no, experiencing the recent archeological discoveries will touch your soul just as Pilgrims to the Promised Land have been moved for years. Praising G_d at the same locations that Israelites praised him in the past may bring you to tears of joy. It was easy to see individual members of our tour group were touched at different locations we visited according to their needs and G_d’s gifts. Come home to the Promised Land, even if it only for a short time, your life with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will grow, especially as you share your experiences. It is very easy to share the Word, when you are asked about your trip to the Promised Land.
As soon as I returned from my first trip, I started saving for the next one. There is nowhere in the world quite like Israel.
Distances of populated sites to others were much closer than previously thought; Historically, the same sites were richly reused. Mountains much steeper than pictured before; great effort, thought, & preparation required then & now to scale them & transport goods & people. The Bible is more personally real now in understanding site, task, & time difficulties faced by the Jews. Seeing, hearing, & witnessing the Bible places unfold: “They were here” & “I am in the same place!” The guide and leader of the group were well educated with clear delivery. Safety minded. Compassionate, pleasant, & professional. Free connections on the bus to the internet, laptops, & cell phones. Materials beforehand & “live” on location. More time to study!! I would recommend a Father’s House Trip to others as it was excellent on all counts.
I knew a year ago that I wanted to go on the Israel trip. I saw the transformation in Roxie that I knew that I wanted to go if the opportunity came about. When we arrived in Israel we were greeted with welcome home. This is really appropriate since Israel is the birthplace of Christianity. Our family roots are there. My heart seems tied to Israel in a way I can’t really describe. For me the trip has really created more of a hunger to understand God’s Word and pay attention to every jot and tittle. I’m having fun seeing connections that I’ve never seen before. I loved seeing the covenant signs Israel having fun seeing passages about covenants. We stood at the gate where Boaz gave his right sandal to redeem Ruth. We learned that right is right and left is wrong. Right is clean and left is unclean. Then in Gilgal where the children of Israel had their camp when they crossed in to the Promised Land there is a huge outline of a “right” foot/sandal in boulders in the midst of the camp. What a reminder that they were in a conditional covenant with the Lord. If they obeyed they would be blessed if they disobeyed they would be cursed. Now go with me to The Cave of John the Baptist. You go into the cave and then descend steps that lead into the water. Before you get to the water you find a deep impression of a foot. Those coming to be baptized would put their foot in the depressions cleanse and anoint it and then go into the water to be baptized. Afterwards, they would come out of the water and break the jar against the wall of the cave. What a picture of no longer being a slave to sin that would have been for them. They have entered into a new covenant written on their hearts. Now picture us at the wailing wall. What a visual of Israel breaking covenant with the Lord. They are standing on the outside of a broken wall to worship. I was so moved standing at the wall, touching it, and praying for Israel and the Jews. What a privilege to be a Gentile believer and to be in a covenant relationship with the Lord. Our sign of being in covenant is the seal of the Holy Spirit that was given to us when we believed in Christ.
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!
Our trip to Israel with the Father’s House was truly heart changing. I had heard from people who have been to Israel before and how God seemed to speak to them in the Holy Land. I wondered deep down, would he speak to me, what would it be like, what if he didn’t? With all those thoughts swirling around my head, my prayer was God speak to my heart. As a man, pastor, husband, and dad, I struggle with pride. I did not want to come back and be a know it all about Israel, I wanted to come back with a changed heart. And that’s exactly what happened. Sure, I learned, experienced, and gained tons of knowledge and I will never read the bible the same or preach the same again, but God’s greatest gift to me was a more loving heart. I tell people that Israel made me a better LOVER. I love my wife, my kids, others, and my God more and it’s easier to show it. The second to the last day of the trip John gave us the opportunity to be baptized in the Sea of Galilee. Inside I thought, I’m a pastor, I’ve already been baptized, I baptize others, I don’t need to be baptized. But then at the same time I felt our Father say, Do this for me, humble yourself, who cares what others think or say, do this for me, humble yourself for me. The wrestling match continued until the spirit won out and I got dunked. It was awesome. Humbling but awesome. It just felt right. Thank you for that opportunity. It was one of my highlights.
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 first journey to the Promised Land in 2007 altered my course. When Byron said, “Let’s go to Israel,” I was dumbfounded. All kinds of thoughts were swimming in my head. “Why should I go to Israel? Is it safe? Is it necessary? WOW! That’s where Jesus walked…” Obviously, the end result was a 15-hour plane ride and an amazing trek in a blue van with Byron, Moshe, Justin, and myself. Any doubts of traveling to Israel disappeared instantly as we stood looking over the Holy City, Jerusalem. I could not help but think about Matthew 23:37 where Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” I was hooked. The Bible sprang to life in a way that commentaries, videos, and imaginations were not able to produce. My journey to Israel caused God’s Love Letter to me, the Word of God, to take on new meaning. My personal readings of the Scriptures were and have never since been the same. My preaching had new direction and passion. My life was changed. Since that first time in Israel, I have been blessed to go back to the Promised Land on many other occasions. Each and every time, whether going to previously visited sites or not, I have left with fresh fire from and renewed purpose in the things of God. As you may know, the Lord has recently brought me to a new place in ministry. I no longer Pastor a church but have the privilege daily to challenge churches across the world to stand with Israel and strive to understand more of the Hebraic roots that so enrich our Christian Faith. Because of that first trip, a journey I believe EVERY pastor MUST make, I know that believers today play a vital role in the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel. Thousands of years ago, God called Abram to leave his home to travel to a new home that would be called Israel. On that tiny sliver of land in the Middle East, God began to reveal Himself to the world. Still today, that tiny sliver of land is the stage upon which God is showing the world that His plan of redemption and grace is free to all who will trust upon His only begotten Son, our Messiah. Talk about a change in direction! Baruch HaShem…Bless the Name !
John, many thanks to you and Roxie for all you do and brought to the trip. Dotti and I both loved your hearts for Jesus and teaching. Couldn’t have survived without you two. Blessings and love, Wade (and Dotti) Cloyd
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Support Father's House by purchasing the HOT CHILI book!!
Author Byron Stinson has dedicated all proceeds from the sale of this book to benefit Father’s House. Though it is especially geared for truckers, all readers will benefit from these life lessons. Byron and his coauthor, John W. Turner, Jr., detail stories that are sure to invoke sentiments common to any trucker. Both men speak from experience. Not only have they "walked the walk" of the trucking life but they can also "talk the talk." Life as a trucker can seem futile at times. Far from it! Life has a deep and meaningful purpose. This book has been priced to make it easy for you to load up with plenty of copies to give out. Thanks!!
The Father’s Heart…
His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, (Eph 2:15-16)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9)