Israel Beckons to Pastors, Leaders Who Made ‘Amazing’ First-Time Visits

JERUSALEM, Israel – For years, the Eagles’ Wings ministry has brought Christian leaders from around the world to experience Israel. That’s because its founder, Bishop Robert Stearns, wants them to feel the same transformation he did and spread the word.   

“I don’t think there’s anything more crucial in this hour than to connect Christian leaders to biblical literacy, and where better for the Bible to come alive than in the Land of the Bible,” Stearns asked.

“When we walk here and we meet Jesus, the Jew, in His context, all of a sudden, we understand the covenantal continuity of God – from Abraham to Isaiah, to David, to Jesus, to Paul, to the nations of the earth.  Connecting believing Christians to Israel is paramount to strengthening, defining and expanding our faith,” he explained.


Many of the first-time visiting pastors and leaders in a recent group were from Youth With A Mission (YWAM).

Tommy Manay ministers in the Philippines with YWAM.

About his Israel experience, he said, “It’s been really amazing because I’ve been reading the Bible most of my life and actually seeing the place where everything happened, and walking the same places Jesus went, it makes everything so much more real.”

Gabriel Surydom is leader with Fire and Fragrance, in South Africa.

He called the Israel adventure “amazing.” “I think that it’s wild to see the Biblical narrative come to life, he said. “And I think one of the biggest things that caught my attention is that after close to 2000 years, the Jews belong, and how God’s faithfulness brought them back.”

He added, “As South Africans seeing (a) new South Africa and what God has done in our country, I just felt this experience gave me so much hope. If God can do that after 2000 years and bring all of them together, then in South Africa, nothing is impossible to what He wants to do with us.” 

Sun Awh, YWAM’s Kona, Hawaii, campus director, noted that a visit helps clarify what they as leaders are reading and seeing in the media about Israel.

“It’s such a key, controversial topic across the nations. So, for us to get on the ground, listen to different stories, all the different perspectives, is so wonderful,” he (????) said. “Every day I’ve been praying out of Psalm 122, especially here in Jerusalem, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” 

Stearns says the numbers and influence are adding up around the globe. “By God’s grace and with the partnership of amazing people like CBN, we’ve been able to bring close to 500 global Christian leaders now from 25 different nations around the world, and I honestly believe that it is one of the most transformational experiences for a young leader.”

He continued, “For so many pastors and leaders, going to the Holy Land is a bucket list item that, too many times, they don’t fulfill till their 60’s or 70’s toward the end of their ministry. When we are able to identify young leaders who are on an upward trajectory of their ministry and bring them into alignment of what God is doing in this land, the modern-day miracle of the land and the people of Israel – that takes that experience and allows it to expand in their own sphere of influence.”

Stearns explained that 68 percent of the leaders brought to Israel for the first time by Eagles’ Wings have returned with a group from their church within 12 months.

“So, we are exponentially increasing connection to the land by investing in the lives of young leaders,” he said. 

Stearns contends that a first-hand experience allows visitors to see beyond bias and hopeless headlines. 

“I think the mainstream media loves to blow things out of proportion and create false narratives.” he said. “When people come to the land and they see the incredible peaceful co-existence that’s happening on the ground between Jews and Christians and Muslims, and Arabs and Druze – and just the complexity of the land here, and yet the great harmony we see most of the time day by day. 

He added, “You begin to deconstruct the fake news, to deconstruct the false narrative and there’s a lot of hope that comes, right? The national anthem of Israel, Hatikvah (The Hope) – there’s a lot of hope that begins to come that praying for the peace of Jerusalem is not just a metaphorical ideal but it’s a reality if we add our strength and our work to that prayer.” 

Another of Stearns’ efforts compliments his ministry of bringing global leaders to Israel: The Global Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, held the first Sunday of every October.

“The Body of Christ worldwide just lost our patriarch, Jack Hayford, who was my co-chairman in this,” Stearns explained. He was with me with (CBN Founder) Pat Robertson when we launched this in 2004 in the Rose Garden of the Knesset, and by God’s grace, it has now spread to 170 nations. Our material is in 29 languages around the world.

Stearns added an invitation.

“So, I invite the global Body of Christ to set aside the first Sunday of every October to fulfil our Biblical mandate to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. When there is peace in Jerusalem, there will be peace on planet earth, and we will see the return of Messiah.” 

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