Israel 2010 – Bethlehem Christmas Tour
Trip Recap-Bethlehem 2010
February 7, 2011
A first of its kind for Marilyn Hickey Ministries—the Christmas in Bethlehem trip was amazing, packed with great teaching, anointed ministry and blessed fellowship.
Our group of 35 travelers hit the ground running. Their first stop being was City Hall to hear a welcome address from the Mayor of Bethlehem. He was very touched that Marilyn and our group chose to visit and stay in Bethlehem. Our time with him ended with Marilyn presenting a donation of $5,000 for the Christmas Eve Manger Square event and prayer for him and this significant city.
Before the Christmas Eve service at Manger Square, some of the travelers were interviewed by a crew from the NBC Today Show. Over 90,000 people from all over the world, from all walks of faith, visited manger square on Christmas Eve. Marilyn taught on Hope for the Future, Finances, and Family, showing Jesus is our rope to Heaven. Shortly into her message, Marilyn had to stop as the Muslim call for prayer began and drowned her out. She waited graciously for its completions and said, “I’m used to this from being in all these different Muslim countries. I just love Muslims and Muslims just love me!” She ended by calling everyone to repent and invite Jesus into their heart. All over the crowd people prayed the sinners’ prayer. It was amazing with international press everywhere.
After speaking at Manger Square, Marilyn had the honor of having dinner with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
On the morning of the healing meeting, Marilyn anointed the hands of each traveler telling them to have confidence and let God move through them. The facility would hold 800 people and every seat was taken. After powerful praise and worship, Marilyn taught on John 5 about the man healed in the pools of Bethesda.
During the time of healing many were healed from back, hearing, foot and emotional problems. In total over 500 people stood for some kind of healing in their body. Approximately 300 people responded to the Salvation message and 200 stood for a deeper walk with the Lord.
Our Christmas in Bethlehem 2010 ministry trip was a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you, friends and partners, for your continued prayers and support.
Update 9: Last Stop-Jerusalem
December 27, 2010
On our last morning in Bethlehem, we had our Celebration Breakfast. We had a great time listening to testimony after testimony from travelers about how God touched the lives of the people who were attending the healing meeting last night. Some of the travelers witnessed to the fact that they felt even more ministered to than those they were praying for! Then we checked out of the Bethlehem hotel, saying goodbye to the wonderful people we met, and were off to experience our last border checkpoint.
Here is a brief explanation of how the border check points here work: every time we leave a Palestinian controlled area and go into an Israeli area and visa versa, we must cross a border control area with high, thick walls separating the two cultures. There are guard inspections, which may or may not be a quick process. Thankfully, all of our checkpoint experiences were routine.
Then we proceeded to Jerusalem, only about 10 – 15 minutes from Bethlehem. First, we toured around the old city while our guide talked about the significance of the gates and the areas surrounding the old city.
Then we entered one of the gates, visited the Cardo (ancient road built by the Romans during their conquest), the Western (Wailing) wall, the Southern steps, which are the original steps built by King Herod leading to the temple that existed during his time.
We then visited the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosques stand (in the same area that the Temple of Jesus’ time stood) for a look around, trying to visualize how Jesus will split the Mt of Olives in two and walk through the Eastern Gate which sits directly below this area.
Then, after a bite to eat, we proceeded to the Garden tomb area where you can view the hill of Golgotha, or skull, and see where many believe our Lord was crucified. From there we proceeded to Garden area where an ancient tomb lies which many believe was Joseph of Aramathea’s and the very one used to entomb Jesus after His suffering. Inscribed on the door leading to the tomb are the heart-leaping words: “He is not here, He is risen.”
After a time of communion, teaching by Marilyn on communion, and being led in worship by Shirley, we left and drove to our hotel in Jerusalem.
We had a lovely plated dinner for our Farewell dinner, an elegant change from our usual tasty buffets, and shared more life testimonies. It was then time for bed for a very short time and a very early rise the next day to head home.
Thank you again for all your prayers. This has been an amazing and anointed trip for everyone.
Update 8: An Awesome Healing Meeting
December 26, 2010
The facility for our healing meeting held approximately 800 people and it filled up fast. Shirley Wilkins, the powerfully anointed praise and worship leader who has ministered in song on virtually every MHM trip for the past several years, ministered Psalm 121 – my help cometh from the Lord. An appropriate song that helped set the stage for God’s move yet to come. We found out right before the meeting that a number of people from the Gaza strip got special permits to attend this event!
Marilyn started the meeting by showing the 2003 Lahore, Pakistan IMU to the crowd, and that certainly built some excitement and raised the level of expectation for what the evening would hold for the attendees.
The teaching was on John 5 where the man was healed at the pools of Bethesda. Marilyn then went straight into calling for various healings. First, for women who wanted children. About a dozen stood for healing to receive this. Then backs and spines: about 75 stood and about 55 came forward to testify of their healing. Next was hearing problems, and 10 people stood to receive healing for this. Then foot problems – about 50 stood for this. Then she called for people who needed healing anywhere in their body or mind, about 500 stood, all over the hall!
Then Marilyn talked salvation and shared her testimony of her prayer at 16 years of age to ask that the Lord would come into her heart, a prayer that still is alive in her heart to this day – oh how beautiful to see about 300 respond to this call! Then, since the hosts weren’t open to a call for Holy Spirit baptism, she called for those who wanted a deeper walk with the Lord, and about 200 stood! We had two pastors from France in our group, and along with a few of the travelers they led the people to another area where they could pray freely and rejoice as many received this precious gift.
A very significant thing happened as many people testified to their healing: the healed included a woman from England, many from Bethlehem, some from Jerusalem, Gaza, and Ramallah! You know that these testimonies will reach far and wide, and we’re convinced Gaza will soon swing wide their doors to Marilyn hosting a Healing meeting there, too!
After the meeting, we all had dinner among the people, and were so blessed to have been able to break bread with them and share in their lives for this brief time.
This has been an amazing trip–shorter than most but packed with great teaching, anointed ministry, and blessed fellowship. Thank you for praying!
Update 7: On to Jericho
December 26, 2010
This morning after breakfast Marilyn and the travelers prayed for all the Partner prayer requests that came in from all over the world. Then Marilyn anointed the hands of all the travelers in anticipation of tonight’s Healing meeting, stressing to have all confidence in God working through them, and not in their own abilities.
We then embarked on our drive to Jericho, another Palestinian controlled city with important biblical significance. It is in this area that the stories of Zacchaeus who climbed the tree to see Jesus, the mount of temptation where Jesus was tempted and withstood Satan, and where Rahab helped the spies and in turn her family was spared when her city was destroyed by war, all took place.
Once in Jericho, Marilyn taught on the importance of the Word – memorizing it, speaking it, and doing it.
We then proceeded to the Qumran caves, where the ancient Dead Sea scrolls were found. The travelers did some shopping then proceeded to the Dead Sea. Those who wanted to dipped their feet into the black muddy shoreline and then into the sea. The sea is the lowest place on earth–salty and dead, but also healing!
Everyone is eagerly anticipating the healing meeting to take place tonight.
I will email again and finish the events of today in a separate email after our healing meeting. This has been a short, yet powerful and impressive trip!
Update 6: More from Christmas Day
December 25, 2010
After passing the Bethlehem border, we drove to the Mount of Olives where Jesus will return one day, splitting the mountain in two. Marilyn taught on baskets – Paul, the fish and loaves, the man lowered by his friends- and shared a personal testimony of the value of holding on to baskets and not giving up. The travelers prayed for each other to hold on in faith to the promises relating to our baskets. Excellent teaching, and everyone was so excited!
We then went down the “Palm Sunday Walk” to the garden of Gethsemane where we saw the 8 last remaining olive trees that have grown up from shoots of trees that existed during Jesus’ time, so these trees are more than 2000 years old! The church built on that site is called Church of All Nations, aka the church of Agony, since this is the area where Jesus sweat drops of blood and was arrested.
From there, we drove by the old city walls, viewing the southern steps, which existed during Jesus’ time. Then we had lunch at one of the few restaurants open during Shabbat (Sabbath).
Then we when to the shrine of the book which houses the dead sea scrolls, ancient manuscripts discovered in caves in the desert.
Back to hotel, and then to dinner where we honored the 3 travelers born on Dec 23rd and 25th with the happy birthday song, and had a little gift waiting for each of our travelers. Marilyn taught on hope – such vital teaching! We ended with a beautiful song by our praise and worship leader, Shirley, and then we all retired to peaceful sleep.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
Update 5: Marilyn Teaches at the Mt. of Olives
December 25, 2010
On Christmas day, Marilyn and the Travelers toured many historic sites included the Mt. of Olives. Marilyn took advantage of the opportunity to teach at this inspirational and anointed location.
Update 4: Manger Square
December 25, 2010
Before the Christmas Eve service at Manger Square, some of the travelers were interviewed by a crew from the NBC Today show.
Update 3: Marilyn Speaks at Manger Square
December 25, 2010
God used Marilyn in a wonderful way tonight. The crowd at Manger Square was estimated over 15,000-20,000 people with Muslims, Christians – Catholic, Orthodox, liberals, atheist, etc…many of them young people. Shirley Wilkins, our praise and worship leader, sang “Mary Did You Know” and the crowd loved it. Marilyn followed with 20 min teaching on Hope. At the beginning of her teaching the Muslim Call For Prayer started and drowned her out. She had to stand there until it finished. Without missing a beat she came out of it and said, “I’m used to this from being in all these different Muslim countries” (and you know what came next)…”I just love Muslims and Muslims just love me!” Then the crowd burst into cheers and they instantly loved her.
She taught on Hope for Future, Finances and Family showing Jesus is our rope to heaven. She ended in calling for everyone to repent and invite Jesus in their hearts. All over the crowd, people prayed the sinners prayer, raised their hands…..it was really amazing, with International Press everywhere. Two of our travelers were interviewed by NBC’s Today Show and NBC too group photo of our travelers.
Following the platform Marilyn and Stephen attended a dinner for leaders and press, with Palestinian President Abbas which was hosted by Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Following this, Marilyn hosted a dinner back at the hotel with the travelers for a time of reflection and singing Christmas Carols til midnight. What an evening!
Thank you for praying!
Update 2: An Amazing Experience
December 25, 2010
On the morning of Christmas Eve, the travelers work up, had breakfast, prayer and praise and worship and were eager to start the day.
First stop was Maher’s shop in Bethlehem, which proved to be one-stop shopping, as his shop had everything from olive wood nuts to holy bolts. The travelers ALWAYS love to shop! Maher, by the way, is the tour director here on the Bethlehem side. We have another tour director on the Israel side. Because of politics, our Israeli tour director is not allowed inside Bethlehem, and so we are working with two-a very unusual situation-but God is good and it’s all working out fine.
We have also had to contend with the unusual situation of police checkpoints in various places because of the whole Israel/Palestine issue. This trip has been an eye opener as to daily life and feelings on Palestinian side.
After shopping, we all went to Shepherd’s Field to one of three cave areas where the shepherds of old Announced the good news of His arrival (Luke 2).
The the group went to the Church of the Nativity, where a catholic church is built around the accepted site of of Jesus birth.
After that, back to hotel to freshen up and return to Manger Square.
We eager anticipate how God will use Marilyn to speak to the thousands expected to attend the Christmas Eve service at Manger Square.
Update 1: from Bethlehem
December 25, 2010
All of the travelers made it to Bethlehem with no lost luggage, and greatly anticipating what the Lord will do in their lives and in the lives of the people of the Holy Land during this brief trip.
Our group consists of 35 travelers, two from France, one from Honduras, one from the Virgin Islands, one from Trinidad and Tobago, and the rest from various states in the USA.
On this first day, we ‘hit the ground running’ and soon after the two flight groups landed, we made our way to City Hall in the center of Bethlehem, to hear a welcome address by the mayor of Bethlehem specifically to our group.
Many thousands upon thousands of groups visit Bethlehem, especially in this season, but not many groups actually stay here, so our trip is not only special for us, but for the people of Bethlehem.
The mayor warmly greeted our travelers, gave a brief history of Bethlehem, and seemed very touched by our interest in his bustling city. The time ended with Marilyn (along with Ex. Dir. of Global Ministries at MHM, Stephen Kiser) presenting a donation of $5,000 to the mayor towards the major Christmas Eve Manger Square event which will host thousands of attendees, including our group. Marilyn and the travels took this opportunity to pray over the Mayor and his city. It was powerful!
After his address, we headed back to the hotel to have dinner, orientation, and rest up for our busy day ahead.
Merry Christmas from Marilyn and the travelers!
Christmas in Bethlehem
December 21, 2010
Marilyn and her team of holiday travelers are excited to embark on their trip to Bethlehem.
Please pray for safe and peaceful travel, good health and God appointed encounters as they make their way to this Holy place.