Once again the almond trees around Jerusalem are opening their white blossoms, awake while other trees are still sleeping. In Hebrew, the roots for “almond” and for “being watchfully alert” or “persevering” are the same. Each year this bright and lovely “wakefulness” serves as a reminder for us of God’s diligence in “watching over His word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:11-12).
Bat Tzion—Daughter of Zion gathering at Kiryat Yearim.
Roni v’simkhi Bat Tzion, ki hineini-bah, v’sha’khanti b’tokeakh!—“Sing for Joy and be Glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst!” (Zechariah 2:10)
A week from this coming Friday, February 1-2, Israeli women from around the nation will gather at a location in the mountains outside of Jerusalem for a second “Bat Tzion” national women’s gathering. The first conference was held a year ago at Magdala on the Sea of Galilee. The theme for this year is Rinah! – “JOY!” In challenging times, we must learn to walk, to proclaim, to sing in the joy of the Lord which is our strength!
A tragic development occurred only three weeks ago, when Alina Wieja from Poland, one of our main speakers and a dearly loved woman of God, was taken suddenly to Glory following an extremely brief illness. She was the key speaker at our conference last year—through her ministry many Israeli women were healed, strengthened and challenged and encouraged into their callings. The fact that it was the joint vision of Alina and Norma which began these gatherings of women adds a particular poignancy to her loss. We believe that what God began though that vision will continue—in the strengthening, equipping and advancement of His army of holy daughters in Israel.
Over the past year I (Norma) have become aware of a shift beginning to occur in the atmosphere over women in the Body of Messiah in Israel. In certain areas previously almost totally dominated by men, their voices are rising to be heard as teachers, intercessors, and prophets. I have seen women sharing in national gatherings, teaching in congregations, and assuming new places of leadership. Only this past Shabbat in a Hebrew congregation in Jerusalem, two women participated in the reading from the Torah, and the pastor called on the women of the congregation to rise up and, like Miriam the prophetess, step into the places God has for them in worship, in dance, in proclamation of victory! I am convinced that events like last year’s Bat Tzion conference, and those smaller gatherings which preceded it, have had small but significant parts in contributing to these changes which the Holy Spirit is currently bringing about in the Body of Messiah in the Land. We have far to go, but significant steps have been taken. Women are now coming together, encouraging and ministering to each other with more confidence and hope.
Please begin praying with us now, in advance—as on February 1st many Israeli women will gather to a hilltop west of Jerusalem, near to the place where the Ark of the Presence of God once rested, for worship and praise, for teaching and testimony, for mutual encouragement and fellowship; to seek together the face of the Lord, to listen for His voice, what He is saying, instructing, how He is equipping for these coming months!
* That all those God is calling to attend this gathering of daughters of Zion will come safely together; that no one will be kept back who should be there.
* That God’s Holy Spirit will be present, that Israeli women will be touched and walk in a new level of joy; that He be the lifter of their heads!
* That the spiritual atmosphere in the Body of Messiah in Israel will continue to open, making place for the unique giftings and callings which God has reserved for women in this hour…and for them to walk graciously and with confidence in those callings.
* That the speakers and worship leaders for the conference will be protected and all be able to attend; that they will be led by the Holy Spirit, and move in anointing and sensitivity to its leading.
* For Chaya Mizrachi and Norma, the organizers of the gathering, that they will be given grace to oversee it with integrity, discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit.