ISRAEL 2011 Report
VISION MUSIC AND DRAMA TEAM
A ministry of San Diego Christian College, Department of Music
“Your team helped me to understand the importance and value of street-based outreach on a professional level, and the beauty of your multiple public performances was in the fact that you were above par for such types of projects….”
God grants VISION permission to visit “The
“I was also impressed with your flexibility, willingness to try new things, and servant hearts….” “Your contributions to furthering the Gospel in Israel are highly valued and most appreciated.” —Bill Rogers, our primary host, serving with OM in Israel “I would welcome back your group in a heartbeat….Through your group I was able to witness the powerful effect on people when others sing for them in such professional and even more important, in such a personal manner.” “I’ve seen my fair share of dramas...but your group showed me how powerful and effective really, really well acted dramas can be.” —Michael Moore, co-laborer in Nazareth and nearby communities “It was a very blessed time that we spent with you.… The team was very serious in what they did where they showed much love for the people.... I think they were well trained…. We look forward to work with you again.” —Bishara Deeb, Arab pastor and head of White Harvest Ministry, an evangelistic work among Jews, Muslims and nominal Christians in Israel.
VISION XIX, Right to Left (the way Hebrew is read!): Ed Dickinson (SDCC Alumnus and Missionary with San Diego Hebrew Mission), Valerie White, Amanda Graham (Student Director), Nick Mitchell, Heather Lawton, Trisha Guinn, Luke Kanagy, Caleb Davies, Priscilla Norman, Mike Alvarez, Emilie McDonald, Lindsey Davies, Lizzy Byrd, Larry Wilson (Faculty Adviser). The background? Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.
hen the possibility arose for this year’s VISION Team to minister in Israel, our San Diego contact, Missionary Ed Dickinson, said, “You shouldn’t just pray about going to Israel; you need to ask God’s permission to visit ‘The Land.’”
Taking that admonition to heart, the team began praying in those terms. In the process, two members needed to leave the team and were replaced, resulting finally in the team God had chosen for this trip. We are humbled by that! Our three-week journey May 11-June 4 took us to multiple regions in the central and northern parts of the country, allowing us to walk not only in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus Christ, but also in paths trod by Abraham, Joshua, David, Elijah, Peter, Paul, and so many more figures of both Old and New Testaments. We can truly say that we’ll never read our Bibles in the same way again! Our primary focus in Israel, as divinely appointed, and planned by our knowledgeable hosts, was on street ministry—planting seeds of the Gospel through both performances of songs and dramas and distribution of literature.
“A Sower went forth to sow….” VISION XIX TAKES ON A MULTI-FACETED STREET MINISTRY This year’s VISION members, forming the 19th team since its inception in 1992, found themselves in a venture much more oriented to ministry on the street than in any prior year. Nearly every performance opportunity through the three weeks was done as an uninvited troupe performing in a random place to attract attention, portray the Gospel in songs and drama sketches, and pass out literature to those who stopped or passed by. In addition, many of our ministry tasks didn’t involve performing at all, but were part of an ongoing outreach plan headed up by Bill Rogers, who serves with Operation Mobilization (OM), and is headquartered near the Sea of Galilee. These activities can be described in three categories:
1. Neighborhood saturation through prayer walks and literature distribution
his plan, based on the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, involved canvassing an entire neighborhood of Tiberias by teams of two people in four phases over a period of three days. Phase 1: Preparing the ground. Each pair slowly walked their assigned streets, praying for each house, apartment, person seen, etc. – in essence, bathing the entire area in prayer without attracting undue attention.
Luke Kanagy and Emilie McDonald distribute Gospel literature in Phase 3 of the “Sower Plan.”
Phase 2: Planning the strategy. In this phase, they walked again, this time scouting for the mailboxes and gates to be used the next day for placing literature.
Phase 3: Planting the seed. During this pass, the students actually delivered the Gospel tracts and related information. This was an upper-middle-class neighborhood overlooking Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, consisting of mostly Jewish people, some Orthodox and some secular (non-religious). Phase 4: Watering the soil. Finally, the team re-walked their assigned streets, praying for the seeds that had been planted and asking God for the fruit of the harvest from the good ground. After the prayer walk, we had the privilege of highlighting on a map the streets our team had worked, as part of an ongoing plan involving groups both before us and yet to come. Future visiting teams will eventually blanket all of Tiberias as part of this plan.
2. Sending seed on wheels all over Israel
ne Saturday, our host Bill Rogers took us to Golani Junction, a major crossroads west of the Sea of Galilee. Thousands of cars pass through there at the end of every Israeli weekend, heading back home from various religious, recreational, and family-related activities. Bill provided some 2,100 tracts with the Gospel message in Hebrew, plus some Arabic materials, for the students to pass out as cars stopped at the red lights there. Nearly every driver took the literature, and the students passed all of it out in less than two hours. By the end of the day those seeds 2 San Diego Christian College
of the Gospel were spread throughout much of Israel! Why Saturday? It seems this sort of activity is often done in Israel for both religious and commercial purposes. Orthodox Jewish youth frequently hand out literature at this intersection, any day of the week but one – Saturday, the Sabbath! The team embarked on a similar ministry a few days later in the city of Karmiel, on the driveways leaving a major shopping mall. We pray that some seed has fallen on good ground, as Jesus’ parable of the sower describes.
Priscilla Norman and Luke Kanagy work the eastbound lanes of Golani Junction, the major intersection in northern Israel.
ABOVE: VISION presented their song and drama packages three nights on the beautiful promenade fronting the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv. BELOW: Trisha (in gray) and Lindsey (in white) taught Nick and Mike a new drama called “In the Light” less than a week before the trip. It turned out to be very effective in street ministry.
The Tayelet (Promenade) along the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias proved to be an excellent location for VISION’s street presentations. The team performed 20-minute drama and music packages between fountain and light shows put on by the city several times nightly over the water, attracting many to stay and watch them. After each set, the team would pass out Gospel materials and engage people in conversation.
3. Public performances on the streets of various cities
hile VISION’s ministry in years past has typically been focused on churches, youth groups, concert halls, orphanages, and most notably, public schools in various countries, none of these were viable options in Israel. The primary opportunities for the team this year, in terms of performing their songs and drama sketches, were on the streets in public places where a crowd might gather.
In Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, now primarily Arab in population, VISION performed at midday in a shaded area next to “Mary’s Well.” A group of Arab young men were the main audience at this hour, and they paid close attention to the presentation, one even recording video on his camera. They also received Gospel tracts in the Arabic language.
Locations for such ministry included Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee; a college campus at the south end of the Sea of Galilee; the city of Karmiel, in western Galilee; and Haifa and Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean coast. In every situation, the team handed out literature and CDs with the Gospel message, provided by our local contacts, and we engaged in conversations afterward.
This neighborhood in Tel Aviv is populated largely by immigrants from various African countries. After their presentation,
As always, we prayed then and continue to pray that the seeds find the right “soil” where they can spring to life through faith in Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah)!
team members fanned out all over the park to share the Gospel through literature and conversation. Summer’11 VISION Israel Report 3
M i k e A l va r e z Going to the Land God chose for His people was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. Not only did we walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and the Apostles but we also spread the Gospel in the footsteps of the Gospel. We sang in the country where the ultimate sacrifice happened. We worshiped God in the place that God Himself had taught, preached, and loved. The mission was to speak to the Jewish and Gentiles in Israel, and the experiences were life-changing and spiritually growing. Lizzy and I had a conversation with a Jewish man who knew of Yeshua (Jesus) but did not accept Him as Messiah. At the end of the half-hour conversation the man said something that I will never forget. “Israel needs more people like you, those who have given their lives to God, and it shows.”
“Israel needs more people like you — those who have given their lives to God, and it shows.”
A man d a G r aham The most important lesson that the Lord taught me while on this trip is that He will use me in whatever way He sees fit in the scheme of His eternal plan. Overcoming the need to be used in the way I feel most comfortable was a great realization for me. Though our ministry opportunities took a different shape than the team was used to, I have a wider understanding of the way that the Lord uses people to share about Jesus. If I am passing out a piece of Messianic literature or talking to a stranger about the Bible, I am sharing in the work of the Lord equally as much as if I were singing a solo in a concert or performing a drama role. I also learned the value of planting seeds. The ministry we worked with had a strong philosophy about planting as many seeds as possible and looking forward into the future where those seeds can grow. I continue to pray that some of the seeds we planted will one day take root in the lives of people in Israel. The Lord allowed us to have several “divine appointments” to be in the right place at the right time and receive the opportunities and encouragements He had planned for us. What a faith lesson to be able to see places where so many major
I don’t know what God was doing in that man’s heart, but I am so blessed that the divine appointment occurred. I believe he will see Jesus differently now, due to the amazing work that the Holy Spirit did that night. This trip meant so much more because of the labor and work and trials that God placed in our lives and our faith truly tested. I loved Israel, and I would go again to do work for Christ. If there is anything I can say to those who have never been to Israel, it’s this: Go with the intent of spreading the Gospel.
Amanda has served faithfully as VISION’s Student Director for the past three years. ABOVE: She pauses just before stepping into the empty Garden Tomb. The inscription on the door quotes the angel’s pronouncement, to which we answer a resounding “He is risen indeed!”
Mike preached his first sermon on a rooftop in Tiberias, alternating between English and Spanish before an audience that included people from several South American countries. In addition, Bill Rogers interpreted the message into Hebrew.
San Diego Christian College
events of the Bible occurred, such as the Temple Mount, Old Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, and many more! All I read and hear about from the Bible comes to life in a new way as a result of the places we were able to visit. The VISION XIX trip to Israel was truly a blessing in my life. I cannot think of a better way to finish out the ministry I have been able to share in with VISION at SDCC than traveling to “The Land” and having the privilege to walk where Jesus walked and to minister to His Chosen People.
The students share their point of view Emi l i e M c Dona l d
P r is c i l l a N o r man
When I think of evangelism, I think of scores of people lined up waiting to hear the Gospel, yearning to hear something different than what they are used to. I have even been on mission trips where that was the case.
The first time we met our host Bill Rogers, he shared a passage from Second Chronicles, chapter 20. Here was a Bible story that took place only a few miles away from where we were at that moment, a fact that blew my mind.
That, however, is not so in Israel. I felt very frustrated many times by the fact that we were trying to minister and that people didn’t want to hear. Many wouldn’t even stop and look at us. I then realized that this is because of their hardened hearts toward God. Romans 11:25-26 tells us that eventually Israel will be saved. Once I realized this and submitted my pride to God, I greatly enjoyed ministering. Knowing that we might be kicked out of every place we went to, I became fine with that and was excited when we weren’t told to move or to leave. I also learned that God has way better plans than what we have for ourselves. Often we would set up to perform in a place and then be told to move. A few minutes later we would end up ministering in a better place to people who God knew needed to hear what we had to give. So, while there were not usually scores of people lined up to be ministered to, I’m glad for those with whom we were able to share, and for the seeds that were planted in their minds. Israel is an amazing place that really needs the Gospel. I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to share the truth there with the VISION team. This experience helps me to understand better who the Israelis are, what they have gone through, what they are going through now, and how I can better minister to Jewish people wherever I may be in the future.
As the people of Israel faced their enemies in battle, King Jehoshaphat sought help from the Lord, who said, “Do not be afraid...for the battle is not yours but God’s...You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm...and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.” The next day, Jehoshaphat “appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise Him in holy attire as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.’” The Bible goes on to say that as soon as they began to sing and praise God, He set an ambush against their enemies and defeated them. As soon as we decided to go to “The Land,” we were in the midst of a spiritual battle. Satan did not want VISION XIX in Israel. He knew our talents and skills, he knew we were there to worship the one true God and to share His love with people.
“Satan did not want VISION XIX in Israel.” I’m not going to lie, I was a little scared. I was afraid that we would be useless and that we would lose this battle. But God used this scripture passage at the beginning of our trip to remind me that the battle was His. All we had to do was worship Him. All we had to do was trust Him. We did a lot of street ministry while we were there. People saw something different in our team. There was POWER when we sang the name of Jesus, Yeshua! There was POWER when we performed dramas about what He had done for us. There was also LOVE that shone from our hearts and our faces as we worshiped the Lord. There was LOVE when we talked with people after a performance. There is only one God who is powerful and loving. Yeshua is His name and He used us to plant seeds in the hearts of many. I’m still AMAZED that I was able to be a part of it all.
In addition to sharing her talents in singing, acting, and playing violin, Emilie boldly set the pace in stepping forward to share the Gospel through conversation when possible, supplemented by literature in a variety of languages.
After our program in this predominantly African immigrant neighborhood of Tel Aviv, Priscilla shared her smile and testimony with audience members.
Summer’11 VISION Israel Report 5
The Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem, the part of the original wall of the Temple Mount closest to the original “Holy of Holies.”
Caesarea, where Peter came to heal Cornelius' servant, and where Paul was imprisoned until he appealed to Caesar and was sent off to Rome.
The synagogue in Capernaum, on the very site where Jesus often taught. Peter’s home was also here, as was James and John’s.
never be the same!
s VISION member Trisha Guinn, put it, “This trip definitely changed the way that I picture people and places when I read the Bible! Instead
of seeing some random desert in the middle of nowhere, I can see the images in my mind of all of the places that we
It’s hard to imagine a greater thrill than singing a song of the Lord aboard a traditional boat on the Sea of Galilee, the very sea where He calmed the storm and walked on the water!
visited and plug them into the stories I read. I also learned a great deal about God, myself, and others on this trip….It
was an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything else!”
Mt. Carmel, where God sent fire from heaven in Elijah’s confrontation with the 850 priests of Baal.
6 San Diego Christian College
The Jordan River, just below the Sea of Galilee, a possible site of Jesus’ baptism.
The Dead Sea, site of Sodom and Gomorrah, and where David later sought refuge from Saul.
“VT got away with murder”
n this dramatic fashion our partner in ministry Ed Dickinson described the experience of “VT” (as he likes to call the VISION Team) in the city of Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. “In San Diego,” Ed pointed out, “we don’t expect riots, like there could be in the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem or on the Promenade in Tiberias [caused by extremely orthodox Jews who object to presenting Jesus as Messiah]….Last summer OM (Operation Mobilization) had to evacuate Tiberias. “VT’s clear Hebrew [singing] and powerful dramas were irresistible, and God answered a lot of prayer!” Ed, you were an answer to our prayers as well. Thanks for your role with VISION XIX in Israel! Ed Dickinson, SDCC alumnus and missionary with San Diego Hebrew Mission, accompanied VISION to Israel.
he students and I are overwhelmed and humbled by the opportunity to visit The Land, to walk in the footsteps of the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, and to sow seeds of the Gospel among people who are seeking their Messiah, but haven’t recognized that He has already come! We claim the promise implied in John 1, verses 11 and 12: “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet, to all who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” May there be souls in heaven, who move from the “verse 11” category to the “verse 12” category, due in a small way to VISION’s ministry!
Thanks again to all of you who supported VISION XIX in prayer, giving, and other ways throughout the trip. Continue to pray for Israel. As Paul put it in Romans 10:1, “...my heart’s desire and prayer
VISION XIX carried on a tradition from previous teams, spelling out their name in some interesting setting — this year an ancient courtyard in Jerusalem.
to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Let us all join in that prayer! Larry Wilson VISION Faculty Adviser
Department of Music 2100 Greenfield Drive El Cajon, CA 92019 (619) 201-8700 sdcc.edu Summer’11 VISION Israel Report 7
A LAND ON (the) EDGE Israel is a place where the tension is never far below the surface and occasionally breaks out. Both the ancient and the recent history of The Land are overshadowed by war and violence, with multiple races and religions all claiming ownership. Within the borders of Israel, Jews, from the extreme orthodox to the most secular, as well as Arabs, both Muslim and nominally Christian, dwell uneasily together. In addition, it seems that the nation is besieged all around with hostile countries, including their immediate neighbors Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, as well as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, all of whom have expressed their desire to push the Jews into the sea, and wipe Israel off the map. Truly, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was a miracle of God, and its continuation into the present and beyond is no less supernatural. As Psalm 122:6 commands us, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” and may I add, pray for those who have come to know Jesus as their Messiah, and all who strive to spread His message there in The Land.
Department of Music (619) 201-8700 sdcc.edu
about the Music and Drama Team
eaturing students from various degree programs who seek to use their musical and/or dramatic gifts in the Lord’s service, VISION ministers locally during the school year in churches and outreach programs. Musical expressions include traditional works to today’s most popular worship charts. Their dramatic sketches consist mostly of pantomime to musical background, which presents powerful truths from God’s word in a visual and memorable way.
During the month of May each year, the team travels abroad, singing music in the language of the people they visit. Past VISION teams have ministered on five continents, including such countries as Brazil, South Korea, Spain, China, Malawi, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, and Poland. The May 2010 was to Ukraine and most recently May 2011 to Israel. Nearly 140 SDCC students have served on the team throughout its history. Several of them now serve in full-time missions around the world, including some whom the Lord called back to the same land they visited while with VISION. Ministry efforts in these countries typically include evangelistic programs in public schools, orphanages, civic cultural centers, outdoor venues, and churches. The dramas are especially powerful overseas, with no language barrier at all. They have been used by God many times to lead people to Himself where the spoken word has not penetrated. Auditions for the team are held during the first week of classes in Fall semester. Scholarships are available. For further information, please contact Larry Wilson at (619) 201-8765 or the department office at (619) 201-8763. 8 San Diego Christian College