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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger

(May 27, 2001)

The Hallelujah, a large wooden boat similar to the kind Jesus sailed on, glides to a stop at a dock on the Sea of Galilee. Overhead, the sun cuts through the morning’s haze on this balmy day as dozens of U.S. tourists disembark from the boat. "Every place I have read about in my Bible has become so real to me since being here," says Elva Ahearn, who is touring Israel with several others from Westwood Christian Assembly in Seattle, as she leaves the dock. "This is a trip of a lifetime."

The Western Wall in Jerusalem continues to be a popular tourist site.

Despite media reports of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, thousands of Christians are trekking to Israel, a country of only 6 million residents. "We are fortunate the American Christians are our biggest supporters," says Tsion Ben-David, a director for Israel’s Tourism Ministry. "More than 60 percent of those who come to Israel from the United States are Christians."

Many, like Ahearn, say the opportunity to learn more about Jesus diminished fears of traveling to a country some think is on the brink of war. "In a spiritual sense it’s like coming home," says George O. Wood, general secretary of the Assemblies of God, who has led 18 tours to Israel and says he feels "absolutely safe" visiting the country. "Six million people go to work and school every day in Israel. Random acts of violence can happen anywhere in the world."

Sitting on marbled floors in the ruins of a former synagogue in Capernaum, nearly 100 U.S. tourists sing "Father, I Adore You" before listening to their guide, who also is their pastor, deliver a sermon. Nearby, standing in the shade of olive trees, Sylvia Kidron, 53, a Christian and an Israeli citizen, says Americans should not fear coming to Israel. "There is no reason for Christians not to come here," she says, adding that most of the tourist areas are open and safe.

Since fighting between Israelis and Palestinians intensified last October, an estimated 600,000 tourists, who would have brought $1 billion in revenue, have canceled trips to the Holy Land.

Despite the slowdown in tourism, daily routines in Jerusalem continue. Children attend school. Couples sip Turkish coffee in street-side cafes. Tourists pose for pictures in front of the Western Wall.

But the thin alleyways of Jerusalem’s bazaar reveal the drop-off in Israel’s tourism industry — especially in the Christian and Jewish quarters. In these areas, which are normally bustling with tourists, shopkeepers spring to their feet at the sight of shoppers. "Look at this place," says one shopkeeper. "It’s empty."

Jael Shilo, a tour guide, is optimistic that tourism will bounce back because of the country’s rich history and spiritual significance. "Israel is the best place for believers to visit," she says. "The value for Christians is experiencing the places where Jesus ministered."

For many, that is enough to venture to an unsettled, but holy, land.

— Kirk Noonan

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