Tyndale’s commitment to minister to the spiritual needs of people affects more than the work life of its employees. This mission often influences employees personally, and Tyndale’s president, Jeff Johnson, is no exception. From March 29 to April 10, 2016, Jeff traveled with a team of twelve from Wheaton Bible Church to help church partners in Israel make relational connections and engage in outreach.
Upon arriving, the team noticed that Arab peoples in the northern part of the country are beautifully hospitable and understand the importance of spiritual pilgrimage. Because of this, Jeff and his team were able to connect with individuals, families, and leaders as “Christian pilgrims” in the Holy Lands. In homes across the region (ten households in eight different villages), the team was able to share personal testimonies, listen to the life stories of Muslims, drink a lot of coffee, and learn about the surrounding region. Their contacts, hosts, and dinner guests included a Bedouin elder and area historian, a Muslim evangelist, businessmen, families, extended families, community leaders, and civil authorities. In several of the villages, the team simply drove in and walked around looking for a “man of peace” who would be willing to converse with or host the team in his home.
The trip was filled with highlights. Jeff and team members participated in an Easter celebration with people from many faiths. They were able to share about why Easter is so central to their faith through testimonies, a multicourse feast, worship, new friendships, and connections with many of the families who welcomed them during their stay. Other highlights included encountering many “people of peace” in a region that usually receives bad press, praying over families in local communities, and touring historic sites around Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem.
“Being able to stay in Nazareth and experience the tremendous hospitality of the Arab and Israeli people was an incredible blessing,” says Jeff. “We were able to learn about their life and faith while sharing our faith in Christ. The whole trip was a lesson on trusting the Holy Spirit’s leading on whose lives he wanted ours to intersect with in order to share the love of Christ.”
Below are a few pictures from the trip!
The team visited Nazareth Village, a beautiful site in the heart of Nazareth that recreated a first century village from the region. (Jeff Johnson is third on the right in blue.)
The team visited a household and shared a Middle Eastern meal, coffee, and discussion. (Jeff is second from the left in red.)
The team spent a morning at the Jordan River and shared testimonies. Several team members rededicated their baptism or were baptized for the first time. (Jeff is second from the left in the back row.)