It sounds like it should be the start of a joke, with an odd punch line; but in fact, it’s how I began my recent trip to the US. Attending the NRB conference in Nashville for the third year in a row, I was blessed not only by the unconditional love and support expressed to me, and all Israel, from so many, but also by the participation of two pastors who have become dear friends, and who came to Nashville on their own – one flying from Seattle and one driving from Texas – to join me and participate in sharing Heart to Heart, the most tangible way to bless Israel and sustain lives in Israel.
Typically, I hesitate from listing names of people who have done meaningful things to help or support for fear of leaving anyone out. Nevertheless, in addition to my dear friends Pastor Jerry and Pastor Brian, I have been overwhelmed by the growth of support for Heart to Heart from people and places that I can only attribute to God Himself for opening the doors that have been opened. In noting several others, I ask forgiveness of anyone whose name I exclude. The support and fellowship from everyone is meaningful, and a blessing.
It’s hard to imagine that just weeks after hosting Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs, donating blood in Jerusalem for the first time in his life, I’d start off the convention meeting another Grammy Award winner, Michael W. Smith, who has endorsed Heart to Heart and has begun to share it to his fans as his expression of love and support for Israel.
At the same time, I had the privilege of meeting renowned producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey whose latest film, Son of God, is being met with rave reviews. They were warm and receptive and seemed to love the idea behind Heart to Heart, to ensure Israel always has a safe and plentiful blood supply.
Dr. Jack Hayford generously granted me a meaningful, private meeting in which he voiced unhesitant support for Heart to Heart. Beyond that, having the personal privilege of meeting Pastor Jack like this, sharing some very personal thoughts, was incomparable.
Part of the problem with a convention as big as the NRB is that for everyone I do get to spend time with, there are dozens with whom I’d like to do so, but for which there is little time. In that context though I knew he was there and hoped to meet, it was a special to bump into and reconnect with Steve Strang whose Charisma web site has graciously published my articles. Just in the few minutes together, we reaffirmed some of the things we discussed in Jerusalem a few months ago, and from which I pray bigger things are to come.
Dr. Robert Sterns, whose ministry, Eagles Wings, is not just one that’s always been supportive to Israel and me personally, but whose ministry I have been honored to support as well. It’s always a pleasure to fellowship with Robert and I am grateful and humbled by his support.
There’s something to be said for friends of friends associating together, and I am always in awe of how many of my friends are also friends, weaving one big extended family. Laurie Cardoza-Moore of PJTN is one of these. As a partner with Heart to Heart, she’s been of great help to support me, but also to give me ideas that will make our partnership and that of others so much more rich and successful. I am grateful to Laurie and her husband Stan, who produced the incredibly powerful “Israel Indivisible,” which if you haven’t seen, it’s well worth making an opportunity to do so.
Receiving a very well deserved award at the PJTN event, Annette Garcia of SON Broadcasting spoke powerfully, and passionately, about Israel and her family’s connection to Israel. As a partner with Heart to Heart, she will lead a group to Jerusalem next month where they will donate blood as a cornerstone of their itinerary, and tangible way to show their support and save lives in Israel. Annette’s wonderful team are just as special, fueling a huge heart for Israel in New Mexico.
Pastor Mark Biltz is known, and soon to be even more known, for his breakthrough decoding of God’s signs regarding the Blood Moons. In partnership with Joseph Farrah of WND, who I was also pleased to meet, he is sharing this “Super Bowl of human history,” and the implications it has for Israel and all of us. I will be writing more on that and how it connects to Heart to Heart, but for now, just want to acknowledge our time together, his friendship, support, and plans to lead a group to donate blood in Israel this spring.
I’d be deeply remiss not to acknowledge my friend Ken Barun of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn. who has become like a brother. His wife and family are like extended family, and while all the other Israeli and Jewish NRB participants attended the Celebrate Israel breakfast, I was the only Orthodox Jew in the BGEA breakfast at which I was honored to meet Will Graham, who spoke movingly about his grandfather and the special place Israel is for his family, and comedian Michael Junior who proved that one does not need to be filthy to be funny. Discovering that his church, Gateway, in Dallas, also supports Heart to Heart seemed more than coincidence, and I hope to be able to host him and his family in Israel at some point soon.
All of this is to say, there are great things happening for Heart to Heart. There were many more meetings with other people no less important than the few I have mentioned. I mean that sincerely. This is only in Nashville. Other stops along my recent US visit were no less supportive and special. I will write about these another time. But in short, I am humbled by, and in awe of, the doors God has opened, the grace I have received, and the growing support for Heart to Heart. Other than a meaningful way to bless Israel and save lives in Israel, this is witness to the reality that support for Israel from Christians worldwide runs deep. One might say, it’s even in the blood.
Please visit our web site www.afmda.org/heart-to-heart or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about what connects all these people to me and Heart to Heart, why two pastors from opposite parts of the US took their precious time and resources to come to Nashville to support me, or to find out about how to connect next time I am in the US or you are in Israel. Please share this opportunity with others who may wish to do so as well.
With a deep sense of gratitude and humility.