For those of you who have already signed up for our Root Source Israel trip, I look forward to meeting you! For those who have not, I want to give you 25 reasons to get moving and secure your spot without any more delay. Why 25? Read to the end!

Don’t miss out. Israel is changing!  (1 and 2)

Here I am typing out this blog post here in Jerusalem at 5AM local time, on what I have carefully counted to be my 49th visit to Israel. It never gets old. (3)

View of West Jerusalem from the Walls of the Old City

Exactly two years ago in 2016 I made my 40th visit to Israel and was somehow moved by that number. (4) The folks over at WND graciously gave me the chance to write an op-ed for their online magazine encouraging people to let go of their fear of coming to Israel. That op-ed entitled First Time in Israel? addressed that issue that was inspired from deep place in my heart. You see every time I go I get inspire in a different way. (5)   That Op-ed had 3 personal stories in it that itself offered three encouragements (6, 7, 8) for people to come.

I admit being a bit discouraged when that op-ed came out. Unlike my other published articles in WND in that era which had done much better, this one only had 1 “share”. I was heartbroken because I felt — no I knew — that coming to Israel could make such a difference in people’s lives. (9).  I just clicked on that link above and see that some 2 years later some people must have been finding it because it now has 27 shares. Coming to Israel teaches you that persistence (10) and patience (11) are necessary traits of those who ever want to make a difference.

My wife and I are going to be celebrating 30 years of marriage (to each other!) this April. Our coming to Israel will in some ways be a celebration of our commitment, just as God is committed to His purposes. Israel teaches you that today. (12)

In fact, our marriage has been strengthened by coming to Israel (13) because Israel more than any other place, is an opportunity to visualize the covenant love of God. (14)  We have been involved in marriage ministry and we have through that experience had to look hard at the concept of “covenant” many times. Coming to Israel reveals covenant concepts more deeply. (15) If God is faithful to bring the Jews back to Israel after 1878 years of exile, then we see his love for us in times of trouble is just as strong. Israel is a shining example of a journey from exile to wholeness. (16)

When we come to Israel in April, it should mark for me my 50th visit to the country, on its 70th anniversary. Many people find their visit to Israel is the “turning of a page” in their lives. (17).  It can also be a “marker” for a season of their lives, just as this tour will be a marker in the life of Israel — 70 years is a number of a generational marker. (18).

While the plane fare can be expensive, Gidon has worked hard to partner with a tour company that we have known for years (19), with people we trust (20), and who have worked to give us the best possible deal (21).

Speaking of my 50th visit, fifty is the number of the Jubilee. As you know Gidon and I wrote a book on that topic called Jubilee Now. I am wondering what God may say to me during that next visit related to the Jubilee. Will I see restoration of land or relationships in my own life? That wondering can be yours as well: the blessing from this land of what God might say to you while you’re here, comes to all who arrive with an open heart (22). And some of the best relationships I have in this world came through my visits to Israel. Perhaps God has that for you too. (23)

You see I believe — no I know — that everyone who comes to Israel with an open heart gets a blessing they don’t expect. It may come during the trip, or just after, or well after. (Or all three of them). But if you come here with an open heart you are blessing this land with your presence, you are blessing this land by the money you spend, and you are blessing this land by the prayers you pray when you are here. And those who bless Israel are blessed in return. (24)

In 2017 broke records in Israel for the number of visitors. Israel had never surpassed 3 Million visitors before, although it got close in 2016. But in November, when the 3 millionth person crossed thru customs into the country at Ben Gurion Airport, they were rushed to Jerusalem and greeted by Netanyahu personally. Her name was Iona Isac. By the way, did you notice that last name of this Jew? The bible prophesies that many people will known by that last names.  I see this as a sign that the people who identify with Isaac  (the Scythians mentioned in the New Testament were such a people) will want to be joined in with the people of Israel.

By December 31st of 2017 the records were tallied and 2017 was the biggest year for tourism ever a 25% increase. It is said that no country in the world has ever experienced a 25% increase in tourism from one year to the next!  But this is Israel, and it may just get more and more crowded every year in the future — and so the final reason to register NOW for our trip to Israel is because — hotels are filling up, we may have to close the whole registration process very quickly. (25)

I have never regretted a single visit. May you have the same blessing. But when God tells you to do something, it is never a good idea to delay. Get moving!

Bob O’Dell