Friday, December 4, 2009

IN HIS STEPS ~ a pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine for service, peace, and growth in Jesus Christ

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7
I am so very excited to be part of a 30-member mission team from my church, National Community Church, to Israel and Palestine next April. NCC decided not only to tithe 10% of money this year, but 10% of their people, so there are 10 mission teams going out into the world ~ from Thailand to Spain, Las Vegas to Israel & Palestine, Bolivia to Ethiopia, Nicaragua to Puerto Rico, Uganda to Ghana, and second Saturday missions in Washington, D.C. The purpose of our trip to Israel & Palestine is to serve refugee children, support peace efforts between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and provide encouragement to the Christian community in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Christians make up about 1.1 to 2.4% of the population of the Palestinian territories. The Christian population in Israel is estimated to be around 2.4%. We will be joining our brothers and sisters and be the hands and feet of Christ in this region.
While our team is in Israel/Palestine, we’ll be visiting places of worship, talking to Jews, Muslims and Christians, working with community leaders, and serving children at a refugee camp. We will have the opportunity to grow in our faith as we walk in the dust of many of the most important historical and spiritual sites from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Among others, our team’s partners will include the Jerusalem Church of Christ, a mixed fellowship with Israeli, Palestinian-Arab, Russian, American, and Armenian backgrounds; World Vision; GMU’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution; and Dr. Bernard Sabella, Executive Director of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees.
Our team began meeting in preparation in November and will meet monthly in preparation for this trip. We will be doing in-depth scripture study together, committing with NCC to read through the Bible in one year and reading other literature pertaining to the region and cultures we will be entering.
I am writing to ask for your support. Primarily, to support me and this team with your prayers. Some of my specific prayers are:

~team unity in purpose, service & love to God’s glory
~prepare our hearts and those we will meet & serve to encounter God’s presence
~protect the team & it’s mission from enemy inspired boundaries & barriers
~strength & wisdom for Pastor Dave as he leads the team
~we be surrendered to God’s power & greater purpose for our lives
~we grow in our relationship with Christ and continue to be prepared to live as full-time Christians
~you experience joy in your team partnership
Secondly, I am asking for support in raising funds. I readily confess to you that the hardest part of preparing for this mission trip is sending out letters requesting support. This trip is yet another way God has stretched my faith and trust in Him to do what I cannot. I prayed for several months about going on a mission trip this year, and where God would have me go. The barrier to my saying yes was fear about having the funds to do so. It was a sweet day last month when I allowed God to break through that fear and assure me if He was asking me to go, He would provide for me financially. He confirmed my “yes” with the scripture from Isaiah as affirmation that day. I am trusting that He will provide enough money to allow me to do his work in another country. He has enabled me to sit down and write this letter, describing my intention to join this trip and thus further His work in Israel & Palestine.
Just the Facts:
Israel & Palestine Mission Trip ~ April 29-May 10, 2009
Cost: $2,600 ~ includes meals and lodging
If you feel called to donate: Make checks payable to National Community Church and put the words “Israel/Palestine – Tobi Benton” in the memo line. Mail checks to:
National Community Church
Attn: Pastor Dave Schmidgall
205 F St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
***All donations are tax-deductible as long as they are made out to National Community Church. All donations go to the cost of my trip and not to any other church activities.***
Thank you for your support. It may be in thinking of me occasionally, partnering with me daily in prayer, or sending a donation towards the trip. In any and all ways I am grateful for you.
I pray that you will continue living into your name, “Follower of Christ,” and that you will be surrounded by the faithful ~ for encouragement, strength, challenge, and the fulfillment of the love of Christ. Many blessings!
In Christ Jesus,

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