More than 2000 years ago, on these hillsides outside Bethlehem, the angels announced to the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:10-11. The message of a Savior still reverberates across the hilltops and valleys today.

“Being able to speak openly about Jesus in the Holy Land was truly an honor for me. Proclaiming the Good News of great joy took on a whole new meaning!” Reid recounted. “I was so pleased to be part of this new strategy in the Holy Land, and it truly was a historic event for many of us.”

Reid Saunders, along with fellow evangelists Alan Greene and Keith Cook; BMX athletes John Andrus and Vic Murphy; musicians White Ribbon Day, Abby Roberts, and Shannon Butcher; and a team of thirty people had the opportunity to minister and proclaim the Good News of Jesus at outreach events near the Shepherds Fields area of Bethlehem in March, 2018.

Working with our connections at Holy Land Missions and the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, we were able to present the gospel to hundreds of invited Palestinians guests. More than 200 people in the Bethlehem area responded to the message during a series of breakfast meetings, children’s programs, music concerts, and dinners events.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that these types of outreach events have been allowed or tried in the region. Many attendees came in spite of protest and threats from family and other Palestinians. Some will face opposition and persecution for their faith. We ask for your prayers concerning the new believers and for the peace of Jerusalem.  Jewish and Palestinian Christ-followers we met on the trip are in awe of how God is beginning to move in a powerful way throughout the Holy Land. It is exciting to be living through these times and see these fundamental changes!

The trip concluded with a six-day tour of many popular historic sites. Karen Olson, who was able to go on the tour with her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren, remarked “Since this trip to the Holy Land, the Bible has come to life for me in new ways. I often find myself moved to tears knowing I walked where Jesus walked. I was at the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus fed the 5,000, calmed the storm, walked on water, and cast out demons. It was a life-changing experience!”

The next RSA trip to Israel is scheduled for Spring Break 2022.