CHN is a network of volunteers from churches throughout the United States of America and throughout the nations. Our mission and passion is to carry on the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ.

December 2007

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)

Dear Friend,

Trusting that all is well with you and your loved ones. We are all fine, and praising God for all that He is doing. He is so Faithful! As we draw near to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we give Him glory and praise and honor for Who He is, and for what He has done for us. Because of His birth, there was the Cross.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land, which was a life long dream come true. I went with Eagles Wings ministry, with Robert Stearns, and it was an experience that I will always gratefully have edged in my memory. If I do nothing else for the rest of my life, I can honestly say that I am satisfied. People have told me that I would not return the same, and that is so true! I saw the Bible come to life over there! Now, when I read the Scriptures I have pictures in my mind of what the places looked like, and how the people most likely lived in those days.

Our group  visited the cave where it is said that He was born. In the fourth century Constantine built a church above the cave, and others after that renovated and elaborated the structure. My thoughts when I saw the cave were that Jesus came to this earth as a humble, new born baby, not drawing attention to Himself. It was the angels who drew attention to Him, leading the Wise Men and the Shepherds to where He was.

The wise men were trained students of the stars, and when they observed the unexplainable phenomenon in the heavens it was somehow interpreted  by them as a sign of the birth of the King of the Jews. Their visit served to emphasize Jesus’ Kingly identity, and  affirm Bethlehem as the origin of the Messiah. Just think back to that holy night when the angels announced His birth! Glory! 

One thing that impressed me about Israel was the very high mountains, and the streets made with stones. There were hills everywhere, you are either walking uphill or downhill on those stones, or on sandy desert ground. When I pictured Jesus and His disciples going up a mountain to pray, or to teach and feed the 5000 I saw how high those mountains are! (Matt. 14:19-21) The people had to have strong legs to be able to do that walking and climbing! Because of artists renditions of Christ, we somehow have the picture of Him being small, slim, and weak. Take my word for it, people living in those days with no paved roads to walk on had to have muscular legs and they had to be strong. We visited the mountain where He fed the 5000, and very interestingly saw how all those people could hear Him when He spoke! There is an echo! We called out and our voices came right back to us! I always wondered about that!

Our group also took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, and as we were singing and worshiping Christ, we could almost see Him walking on the water towards us. Just think this was the same body of water where He walked! This was one of the highlights of my trip.

Another very important highlight was gathering together at the Garden of Gethsemane, sitting in the area where Jesus cried out to His Father to take the cup (of suffering) away from Him, but not His will, His Father’s will be done. The area is surrounded by Muslims now, and you could hear them praying their daily prayers from their Mosque  as you walked towards the Garden. Suddenly, in the midst of cool Olive trees and greenery, it was quiet. All you could hear was the chirping of a bird nearby. There was a hush, a holy hush that came upon that place. You could feel the very Presence of God, and you could meditate upon Him in silence. We sat for a long while praying, and then moved over to a spot nearby to partake of Holy Communion. As the group gathered together we prayed and meditated upon the events that led after Jesus prayed to His Father. We saw where the Tomb where He was laid; we went to the Upper Room where the Apostles received the Gift of Tongues on the Day of Pentecost.  This was what the trip was all about. This was the reality of our pilgrimage to Israel.

We swam in the Dead Sea; we sat on a high mountain overlooking Jerusalem as Jesus did when He prayed for His people; we walked the Via Della Rosa; (Because of a knee problem, I could not do that, it is something I will always feel sorry about) we saw the Temple where Jesus threw out the money changers; we saw Nazareth where He grew up. We saw the River Jordan where He was Baptized by John the Baptist. We saw many Old Testament sites too. We saw where Abraham and Lot parted when Lot chose to go to Sodom & Gomorrah. We saw where Moses died; where the people crossed over to the Promised Land; where David slew Goliath, where Elijah was taken up by God, and so much more.

This trip also included many spots that depicted the horror and triumphs of the Jewish people. We visited the Holocaust Museum, Independence Hall where Israel became a State. Next year Israel will celebrate 60 years of being a State. We visited churches where such wonderful work is going on. One is ministering to Arab Christians who are persecuted because they are not Muslim,  another was a Lutheran church that has been bombed 16 times, and each time they rebuilt. We went to the Wailing Wall where the Jewish people go to pray. We prayed and placed our prayer requests in the cracks in the wall. It is thought by the Jews that this spot is the closest to the Holy of Holies. I placed a prayer request  there for all of CHN intercessors and partners. However, those of us who are Christian know that because of the birth, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can now enter into the Holy of Holies to the very Throne room of Grace, and present our needs to Him. (Heb. 4:16) Praise Him for all that He has done! Happy Birthday Jesus! Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas!

In His Service,

Pastor Barbara