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Ein Gedi celebration draws thousands of Feast pilgrims

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat addresses pilgrims

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Posted on: 
17 Oct 2011
Ein Gedi celebration draws thousands of Feast pilgrims

The ICEJ's annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles continued this week, with thousands of Feast pilgrims from dozens of countries around the world gathering at the Ein Gedi spa on Friday evening to worship the Lord and hear a rousing message from Brazilian pastor Rene Terra Nova. Tourism ministry officials were also on hand to encourage pilgrims to vote for the Dead Sea as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world. The ICEJ Media team fanned out to hear from pilgrims about their Feast experiences.

“I came here to pray for Israel, because those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem will have peace in their own house,” said Shola, a first time pilgrim from Nigeria. “My visit here has also helped me to see the Bible is real, alive… So I am not going to doubt the Bible anymore."

"We have heard that our president supported Israel in the UN and that made us very glad, and we hope he will keep supporting Israel. We all feel that you can’t fight what God has already institutionalized; you can’t fight it and you better flow with God.”

“This is my first trip to Israel, I came to attend the conference but also for holidays and so far it has been wonderful. The meeting [Thursday] night was awesome and very strong,” said Marita Hellstrom from Stockholm. “In Sweden the opinion towards Israel is not too positive, and when I told people that I was going to Israel, they could not understand what I was going to do here. Tonight, here in En Gedi I am expecting to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit together with people from different nations who all loves and supports Israel.”

“My reason for coming to Israel is because I love this country, and I love coming up to the Feast,” agreed Carmen Simons, a pilgrim from Cape Town, South Africa on her seventh trip to Israel. “Back home in South Africa people are very much in love with Israel, South Africans love Israel and that is why we come here to support Israel, that’s the reason for us being here, to tell Israel that we love them.”

“It’s my first time in Israel and my first time to visit the Feast. It has been a wonderful experience and I hope to do it again,” said Ronny Terson from the US. “I came with my family and I love Israel and support Israel financially as well as spiritually.”

The festivities continued on Saturday evening with a message by Pastor Michael Utterback, who reminded the pilgrims of the centrality of Israel in God’s Word.

On Sunday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat addressed the pilgrims at the Jerusalem Convention Center auditorium.

“Welcome to Jerusalem,” Barkat began. “Jerusalem is where our mutual history began. Here in the hills around us is where our forefathers, our prophets and our kings lived. My vision is to develop Jerusalem for the whole world to enjoy. To ensure freedom of religion for people of all faiths, we must keep Jerusalem the united, undivided, sovereign capital of the State of Israel!”

“Unfortunately, not everyone in the world seeks the best for Jerusalem. There are people that challenge our history. Some of our neighbors wish to see us thrown out from the promised land. Sometimes, we feel alone. But with courage we stand here. And your friendship is warming our hearts. I want to thank you for your prayers and your unprecedented support and passion,” assured Barkat.


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