This is Part Two in a series of articles showing God’s call on a family, their decision to move to Israel and what happened when they did.
In Part One, “God Has A Plan,” Scott Presson wrote about how God had moved upon the hearts of his parents to leave their life in the United States and to move to Israel.
On October 6, 1973, the armies of Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. Initially Israel was caught off guard, but in what came to be known as the “Yom Kippur War”, the Israel Defense Forces repelled the Syrian army on the Golan Heights and the Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula.
Earlier that year, my father had announced that our family was moving to Israel. My parents had quit their jobs and had given away nearly everything that we owned. My father had reasoned that there were would be folks who would be willing to assist a family “called” to Israel and he had an invaluable resource to help find those people; an address book that looked like the phone directory for a major city. My Dad was a prolific letter writer and in the days before computers and electronic gadgets, his address book was his lifeline to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people that he met over the years.
That summer and fall we traveled the length and breadth of the United States. My father’s contacts had opened up doors everywhere and my parents had spoken to any congregation or group that would have them. The core message was always the same; Adonai had told our family to move to Israel. When people asked what we would be doing there, my father told them that more than anything we were going to be a blessing to the Israeli people. I had heard the message so many times that I was tired of hearing it.
“Dad, can I ask you something?”
“How exactly are we supposed to “bless” Israelis?” To my mind “blessing” someone meant giving them something of value.
“Hmm.” He looked at my mother and she looked at him. He was thinking.
While I had their attention I asked another question, “Where are we going to live when we get to Israel?”
After months on the road, I could tell that they were tired and preoccupied. We all were. We were going to the beaches of North Carolina but the passing landscape had ceased to be interesting. Summer had turned into fall and with the exception of my brother and me, everyone that we knew had gone back to school.
My father cleared his throat, “I don’t know where we are going to live but I am believing that God will honor our step of faith and open up doors for us to bless Israel and that he is going to provide a place for us to live.”
From behind, I saw him square his shoulders and sink deeper into the car seat. The discussion was over. It was just as I thought. They didn’t have any concrete answers.
Little did I know that the Yom Kippur War had changed reality. If we had not already given up everything and traveled around the United States telling people that we were going to Israel, my father and mother may have altered their plans. Now, it was too late. We were committed. For our other family members, the war added another level of worry. My older sister was married and lived in the western part of Virginia. When my father announced that we were moving to Israel, her reaction had been one of apprehension and fear. One evening as she was crying out to Adonai regarding our safety, an angel appeared to her. The angel assured her that not only had my parents made the right decision regarding going to Israel, but that Adonai had assigned angels to protect us.
On a cold February day in 1974, we boarded a flight for Tel Aviv. Almost two years of planning had gone into this moment and what had begun as a far off idea about moving to Israel had become a huge step of faith for our family. The plane pulled away from the terminal and began to taxi towards the runway. Suddenly the engines reversed thrust with a loud roar and the plane began a wide turn back to the terminal. Everyone began to talk at once. My father got the attention of a stewardess.
“Why are we were stopping?” he asked, “Is something wrong?”
She uttered one word, “Strike” and hurried up the aisle.
Apparently airline employees in Israel had gone on strike and our plane’s crew had gone on strike also. We were seated by an access door and before long it opened and airline and union officials came aboard the plane. They crowded into the aisle in front of us, arguing in English and in Hebrew. After a long wait, they seemed to come to a consensus. They exited the aircraft, the door was shut and the plane began to back away from the terminal. A heavily accented voice came over the speaker system.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, after a minor labor dispute, we are now ready to depart for Tel Aviv.”
Everyone cheered. My mother mentioned that it was Valentine’s Day. As the plane took flight, little did I know that this day that represents love would be a defining moment in my life. In the future, I was destined to learn how God uses a step of faith to bless us and others and in the process I would fall in love with a people and a place that would change me forever.
Has God called you to take a step of faith? Perhaps you have a dream to do something for Adonai that is so big that there is no way that it will ever happen without his help. The truth is that we are all called to take steps of faith. In fact the Bible says “…it is impossible to please Adonai without faith.” (Hebrews 11:6). A wise woman once told me ‘Take every opportunity to step out by faith. You will stumble more than some, you will embarrass yourself more than many, but you will grow quicker than most!” Adonai has things for each of us to do that will bless us, help others and that will magnify his name but they require steps of faith. When we combine faith with trust in Adonai, he blesses whatever we do.
Trust in Adonai with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Next: Sanctuary of Hope and Tears: Find out what happened when a step of faith became reality. In 1973, God told our family to move to Israel. This is our story.