Pastor Mac and Lynne Hammond’s Recent Trip to Israel
On November 12-19, 2012, Pastors Mac and Lynne Hammond and Dr. Billye Brim led a tour of around 30 pastors who have never been to Israel to tour the land where Jesus walked.
The timing proved to be interesting as Billye explains in her blog on November 12:
…Things have “heated up” in the South and in the North. Over a hundred missiles launched from Gaza on purpose. And two evidently errant missiles from the Syrian Civil War have landed on the Golan….
Despite the news, the trip continued as planned. Each of those attending knew the safest place to be was where God wanted them to be.
The team brought prayers and support to Israel during this time. Some of the sites they visited were the Golan Heights, Tiberius, Migdal, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem. So much could be said about the impartation of love for Israel that these pastors received. As one pastor stated, “I’ve be on a high since the second I stepped off the airplane and haven’t come down since. I’m in awe.”
The violence in the nation escalated during the trip. Over a million people were sent to bomb shelters from Tel Aviv to southern Israel due to rockets fired by Hamas at the Gaza Strip. Billye’s blog explained:
…As you have probably heard, Israel is at war with Hamas. Terrorists fired hundreds of rockets into Israel before Israel took the step to launch an operation into Gaza. The air attack is called “Pillar of Cloud” named from the Bible. The entire operation from the sea and land is called “Pillar of Defense.” Please pray. … We are not in the South (where the war is) but in the North. Many of you are sleeping now as we begin our day. … Today we travel the length and breadth of The Golan. We will be on the Syrian border and at Misgav Am on the Lebanon border. We pray as we travel….
A couple days later, the team’s visit to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem was interrupted by rockets booming and air sirens going off. They were directed to go to bomb shelters as quickly as possible. Hundreds were packed into these tunnels. The team was separated during this time, but prayers for peace and safety was on everyone’s hearts and minds. Billye blogged about the experience.
…The mood where I took cover was positive. People not afraid. However, one woman in our group went under an arch where a group of high school age girls was crying. The missiles landed quite far away. And we were told we could leave the protected area….
The trip continued through all of the disturbances. It was an act of solidarity to continue learning about this beautiful nation while praying for Israel right in the middle of this chaos and difficulty.
Tim Burt, one of the associate pastors at Pastor Mac and Lynne Hammond’s church who helped put the trip together, relayed this good experience: “[My wife] and I were with the group at The Garden of Gethsemane, The Upper Room, and coming out of the tomb of Jesus. We all sang in the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit fell and as we sang in tongues many, many people also there joined in. It sounded like a heavenly choir with angelic music. Shivers ran down my spine and I could hardly keep from crying the presence of God was so strong.”
Throughout the trip, the pastors on the team shared with Pastors Mac and Lynne and Pastor Tim how blessed they were to have been given this rich experience. They were thankful beyond words. They came as tourists but left as Zionists, greatly wanting to support the Israel that they now understood so much better.
The team safely returned to their homes on Monday, November 19 with a renewed love and passion for Israel and the Jewish people—the apple of God’s eye.