A group of African-Americans Christians recently traveled to Israel and established important ties with the Jewish people.
CharismaNews.com reports that 26 African-Americans from the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA), a predominantly black church, were selected to make the trip.
While in Israel, the members of the NBCA explored Christian and Jewish holy sites as well as biblical and archaeological landmarks.
"Just being in Israel, in the holy land, and walking where Jesus walked (are) incredibly inspiring," said Barbara Wright, president of the Senior Women's Missionary Union of the NBCA. "We are all one in Christ."
Another traveler shared how the trip was a faith-strengthener: "What most people don't understand is that in Baptist culture we preach about Israel every Sunday, about the Jewish people and the trials of Moses and the Red Sea—everything that is not only in our Bible, but what starts in the first five books," explains Rev. Deedee Coleman of Oak Park, Michigan, the head of a 1,500-member congregation who has been to Israel more than a dozen times.
"When I went to Israel the first time, it changed my life, because I can now hold the Bible in my hand and can preach it with a clearer focus, because I was on the ground and I have seen it for myself," Coleman continued.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who founded the Fellowship of Christians and Jews, says African-Americans are important partners for Israel.
"African-Americans are the Jewish people's natural partners," says Yael Eckstein, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's daughter and senior vice president of The Fellowship. "They know what it means to be suffering and reach freedom, to be slaves and come to enjoy the full benefits of American peoplehood. ... We have not had positive ties throughout the years because no one ever put an effort into creating those ties."
Others who made the trip to Israel said that they came to understand the plight of the Jewish people better than they had by merely listening to the American media.
"I learned to not believe the American media 100 percent, and their slant on what this nation is," said Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr., who helped organize the Israel trip. "It is best for people to come and see it firsthand, and they will see a totally different view of Israel."
Publication date: June 2, 2016