About 150 evangelical Christians from all over the world gathered on the border between Israel and Jordan to pray at the eastern gateway to the Promised Land on Thursday at a site packed with biblical and prophetic significance.
“This is the eastern gateway opened up — this is no small matter,” said Karen Dunham who runs a ministry in Jericho.
The army opens up the restricted site at the Jordan to Dunham every year in order to pray there. This year the army even suggested that she bring a bus load of new Muslim converts from her church to join the prayer meeting. The site is opened once a year to both Catholics and Orthodox Christians to perform baptisms at the Jordan. Dunham first joined the others at the invitation of the army, but when she explained to the army that, as an evangelical she didn’t quite fit in, the army offered her a day exclusively for evangelicals.
An offering collected to help the Israel Defense Forces build up the site was in turn given by the army to help Palestinians in Jericho. An Israel soldier guarding the border said that unlike the usual tension that is reported between Palestinians and Israelis, the atmosphere was amicable there and is with Jericho residents.
One soldier told Israel Today that he could sense the spiritual aspect of this event. When asked whether there could be a possibility of peace beyond even this event, he said, “At this place right now, anything is possible.”
Several Palestinians from Jericho joined in the worship and prayer at the border. The women, although converts, still wore the Muslim headdress while some of the men still are Muslim.
“I’m Muslim but what does it matter?” said Shadi Mahmoud Fuda. “I go to hear Karen everyday. She teaches the Bible and about God.”
Iyad Abu Rashed said the atmosphere in Jericho has changed in the three years that Dunham has been in Jericho.
“Freedom has come not from (US President George) Bush, (Palestinian leader) Abu Mazen and (former leader Yassir) Arafat, but it comes from Jesus,” he said.