by Hilda Chen
Last Monday morning Oct 7th I was on the deck of the Ebenezer ship as it berthed in Haifa, after completing a three and
a half day voyage from Odessa  with 278 new Olim.  A thrill surged through me as once again, I watched the Jewish people gather their belongings and start down the gangway to step onto the Promised Land.  My eyes followed them into the Port building and to the customs officials.  Many would find the welcoming arms of family and loved ones awaiting them.  For all those sons and daughters of Abraham on that sailing from Odessa it was a return home.

My heart was overflowing with thanksgiving, my eyes filled with tears of overwhelming,  joy filled emotion that the L-rd has allowed me to not only observe but be an integral part of G-d's Holy call to gather His dispersed ones from the farthest regions.  Aliyah is indeed a Holy calling, one of the greatest blessings to Israel, even her very lifeblood, and the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

THE HOLY HIGHWAY of Aliyah from Odessa to Haifa is kept open by the prayers of faithful intercessors across the nations.  On our journey from Haifa to Odessa our days were spent in worship and intercession not only covering the Highway but also preparing the vessel to receive its precious cargo.  The journey took us through the Mediterranean waters passing by Crete to the Aegean Sea.  Acts 27 shares that Paul on his final journey to Rome harbored here and also experienced the tempest that caused his shipwreck.

Following the coastline we passed the Isle of Patmos where the Apostle John was exiled for the Word of G-d, and there was caught up in the spirit with a Revelation of Yeshua, and a decisive word for each of the seven Churches.  As we sailed passed the location of these seven Churches Revelation Chapters 1-3 became the foundation for our intercession.

NARROW STRAITS. The narrow waterway that divides Turkey takes us through Istanbul into the openness of the Black Sea. This is a strategic location as two road bridges connect Turkey on either side over the waterway.  The previous sailing in September there was a bomb threat to the ship from one of these bridges during its reutrn trip to Haifa.  The L-rd graciously confirmed His presence by having an eagle rest on the mast through these straits.

This waterway of Turkey is covered by Mosques on either side, and currently Turkey is politically aligning with Syria.  Intercession by the Church broke open the prison bars for Peter and supernaturally opened the gates of the city and Herod and
his evil regime were brought down, Acts 12.  The Church arising in intercession today will keep this Aliyah highway open, protect each sailing and see the powers of Islam that control Nations fall.

As we left Istanbul behind and headed out into the Black Sea we hit high waves and an incredible storm.  Brown bags became the order of the day.  By morning the next day with calmer seas we pulled into Odessa to a dock filled with children, Mum's and Dad's, Grand-Ma's and Grand-Pa's, dogs and family pets all excited that the day had finally come for what for some would be
their final journey home.  As the ship pulled out of Odessa eight hours later and final good-byes were said, Ezekiel proclaims the grandeur of this moment, "I will take you from the ations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, you will live in the Land that I gave to your forefathers".

THANK-YOU-FAITHFUL INTERCESSOR. As we were ready on our return voyage to head back through Istanbul
and Turkey we had an urgent prayer alert from a faithful prayer warrior in England.  It came by SMS on our cell phone  "There
is a problem with the bow of the ship".  We alerted the Captain and crew of the ship.  All areas were checked but no apparent problems found.  Due to the storm we had experienced the night before there were approximately 100 ships lined up to pass through this waterway.  Passenger ships are given priorty and as we picked up speed to pass through at night our increased
radar signals picked up a small fishing vessel with no lights on right in our passage.  Our horn began to blow, however, the fishing vessel did not move and we had to maneuver around it.  Had we dropped anchor at the speed we were traveling it would have ripped open the bow of the ship.  Thank You L-rd for faithful intercessors in the nations who hear and are obedient to sound the alarm.

THE RANSOMED WILL RETURN WITH SINGING. Another precious group of His chosen ones are securely home in the Land of Israel.  They have returned to Zion with singing.  Not only did we share with the Olim the scriptures of the Tenach, their destiny in returning to the Promised Land and danced with them to Hebraic music, but also the Ministry of Absorption personnel from Israel joined us in all our celebration times with the Olim.

Taking our hands as the ship pulled into Haifa, the Ministry of Absorption thanked us for "so faithfully carrying the Jewish people home, others have seen the intifada and became discouraged and even quit, but your ship still sails and the Olim still flow home.  You will never know what Ebenezer means to Israel."

Hearing their heart as well as their words, they were not only expressing gratitude that through the sailing's the Jewish people
were continuing to come home but were thanking us for believing in Israel and the G-d of Israel.  When nations are abandoning Israel they were so grateful for Ebenezers support for loving and comforting Israel in her days of deepest distress.  They were seeing this return of the Jewish people as a light shining in a dark place.

LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF DARKNESS. A dark place it is.  Threatened with terror on every bus and in every ship, accused by the nations of being the aggressor, the cries of her families bereaved of their children within, even  the warring peoples around her promise to destroy the nation.  Jeremiah saw this hour; "Zion stretches out her hand but there is no one to comfort her" [Lamentations 1:17].

The darkest hours, the most perilous days of Israel's deepest troubles are immediately before us.  Zion stretches out her hands.  Thank you for comforting her with your prayers and support.

There are many other things that I would love to have shared with you in this letter but somehow this past sailing has gone deep in my heart.  Thank you for sharing this experience with me and standing with me in prayer.

In Messiah's love,

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