As the North America coordinators for the All Nations Convocation Jerusalem, we’ve been asked a lot of questions about what it will be like to spend two weeks in Israel. What is the transportation like? How do we get from the airport to Jerusalem (and back to the airport at the end)? Are there laundry facilities available? What is the food like? What is the weather like? What do I pack??
We know that coming to a foreign country for two weeks, for the first time no less, is really intimidating! So first of all, we want to commend you for being brave, trusting the word of the Lord, coming to meet the King in Israel, and blessing His people. The Lord will honor you for honoring Him in this way (1 Samuel 2:30)!
In an effort to bring some clarity, specifically with the Convocation attendees in mind, I want to address some of the questions we’ve received.
first things first.
Again, we are so honored that you’re choosing to come encounter the Lord in Israel and seek His face here! We know He will honor your trust and sacrifice in accepting His invitation to come, and He will take you deeper in intimacy with Him and share more of His heart with you. A huge part of His heart is for Israel, specifically Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
As you prepare to come to Israel, pray that your heart and mind would be totally receptive to the Lord and His truth. Ask Him for eyes to see and ears to hear. Pray for revelation and downloads to hit your heart and mind as you’re here- and even while you’re preparing for this trip! Ask Him to align your heart with His desires for Israel. (That one’s a doozy… the Lord will run with that one, I promise.)
getting into Israel.
If you’re coming from the USA, you don’t need a visa to come to Israel! You’ll just need a passport that has your legal name and is good for up to 6 months after your trip to Israel. Upon arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport, you will be issued a 3 month tourist visa / green card that will act as a visa. However, there is no prior paperwork you need to complete to get this so it’s called the “visa on arrival” process. You’ll just scan your passport, look into the camera lens on the kiosk, and it’ll print it for you. Hang onto this visa card! It’s best to either have this, your passport, or both documents even when traveling around the country. There shouldn’t be any instances where you are asked to show it, especially in a tour group, but it’s best to have at least the visa card on hand at all times.
There are currently no Covid-19 restrictions that Americans need to worry about- on both the Israel and US sides of things. Praise God! There are no requirements, by the state of Israel, for a vaccine certificate, recovery certificate, PCR test, or Rapid Antigen test. There were never vaccine requirements to enter the US, but as of June 10, 2022 there are no longer requirements for a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test to reenter the US either!
The only thing you’ll need to complete before stepping on the plane to Israel is the Entry Form. This needs to be done within 10 days of your arrival to Israel.
When you arrive to the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the first thing you’ll want to do is be excited that you’re finally in Israel!! Once you’ve taken a moment to feel that joy and the relief that you made it, you’ll follow the crowd up to a hallway with some biometric passport stands. This is where you do the whole put-your-passport-on-the-scanner-get-a-green-card thing. Make sure you look at the camera so it can see your face! We also usually take off hats for this picture, and I take my glasses off since I’m not wearing glasses in my passport photo.
When you have your visa card, keep it out. You’ll have to either show it to someone or scan it at an entry point to get through various parts of the airport.
After you get your visa card, you’ll keep walking to Passport Control. This is where they will ask you why you’re going to Israel, what you’re doing here, and check your passport and visa card. Answer them briefly and politely (there’s usually a line and they don’t need to hear your life story) and you will most likely get moved along quickly. We’ve never had any issues, the security guards have always been kind to us, and the most we ever got questioned was when we had our big group with the students. If you are in a group, make sure they know you’re all together and they’ll probably ask things like “How do you know each other,” etc. Not a big deal, but necessary for the safety of their people.
When you make it through, you’ll want to go pick up any checked bags that you brought. All signs are in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, so you should be able to find your way fairly easily.
Once you have all of your things, you’ll walk past another potential security checkpoint on your way out of the airport. I say “potential” because they’ll look at your bags as you walk past and essentially profile you and that determines if you get stopped or not. We’ve never gotten stopped, but one time right after I walked past with my bags, the guy walking behind me (not in our group) was stopped and had to put his bags through the machine. Just be aware of your surroundings and if they ask you to stop, do so respectfully and you won’t have any problems. 🙂
When you finally get into the Arrival Hall, look for some people in ANCJ caps and t-shirts who are holding an “All Nations Convocation Jerusalem” banner. Those are your people! You’ll wait with them until you get a large enough group to fill up the bus, and then this bus will take you from the airport to your hotel in Jerusalem.
Once you’re in Jerusalem, you will either be in the hotel where the event is happening (Ramat Rachel) or be transported by a shuttle that JHOPFAN provides to get there.
Breakfast and a buffet dinner are provided, but if you choose to eat lunch, you’ll need to find and pay for that yourself. There is a café close to the Ramat where you can get reasonably priced coffee and sandwiches which is a good option. There’s also a supermarket and some restaurants within 10 mins walking distance from the Ramat as well if you prefer that.
There are paid laundry facilities in the hotel, so you can choose do laundry if you need to.
In general, the weather will be warm in the daytime and then cool off at night. The highs are projected to be around 28 degrees Celsius/82 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows are projected to be around 18 degrees Celsius/64 degrees Fahrenheit. Many sessions will be inside where there is air conditioning, so dress for warmer weather but maybe bring a light sweater if you tend to get cold easily. There will be some outdoor sessions and events as well, so make sure you are prepared for that. It isn’t expected to rain, but it’s always smart to bring a lightweight rain jacket or a small umbrella just in case. On the Mount of Olives or places with slightly higher elevation, it can get very windy which makes it a little chilly in the evenings. I’ve already started bringing a sweater or jean jacket to Shabbat dinners- and I’m always glad I do!
At the end of our time together, you will be transported back to the Ben Gurion Airport via bus with other delegates. You will go through security, check your bags, and begin your journey home!
Transitioning back into the rhythms of our “normal lives” is always difficult at the end of longer, spiritually meaningful events. In order to help your transition back home (without losing the fire you received in Israel!), here are some things to keep in mind:
- I– Invest. Invest in what God is doing in Israel and in organizations that support Israel.
- S– Spiritually Intercede. Pray for Israel! Pray for the peace of the nation, of Jerusalem, of Israel’s relations with other countries, and for the salvation of the Jewish and Arab peoples. Keep an eye out for JHOPFAN’s Prayer Alerts, or send a request to join our Praying with the Stevens page on Facebook for regular prayer requests for our global community.
- R– Remember God’s Promises. There are many Israel-specific prophecies and promises in the Bible that still need to be fulfilled. Search out what God has promised Israel in His Word and pray that they would come to pass. Remember that we have been grafted in and Christians have not replaced the Jews. God’s covenant with them still stands; they are still His chosen people. We need to love them as such, especially in this age where antisemitism is on the rise in many cultures around the world.
- A– Advocate. Again, antisemitism is growing in the hearts of many cultures around the world, especially among young people. Stand up for the truth of Israel and the value of God’s people!
- E– Educate. Research and educate yourself on what God says about Israel and the truth of their history. And educate others in your family and community (kindly, with grace and love)!
- L– Leave to come to Israel again someday! (And bring friends!) This is an annual event, and we love to see familiar and new faces each year. This is a time to connect with God and likeminded people in a unique way, and we’d love to see you again!
- And please stay in touch. We’d love to stay in contact, answer any questions that may come up after the convocation, and even help you plan a trip for next year!
Thank you again for joining us in seeking the Lord in Jerusalem! May He continue to bless you, your family, and your community even after your trip to Israel as you continue to pursue His heart in your hometown. We pray that God continues to turn your heart towards Israel and that He uses you to impart His heart for the Jewish people to your home community!
example packing list!
We helped lead a team of students to Israel in April. Part of leadership “scouting” trip in February was to figure out what we were going to see, where we wanted to go, how we were going to get there, and what we would need. I made a packing list for the 2 weeks that we were in Israel and presented that to the students as something they could work with to know how to be prepared.
Coming for ANCJ is a very different experience than backpacking around Israel with a bunch of college-aged young adults, so I modified the packing list a little for this specific gathering. 🙂
- Backpack or suitcase (for main storage)
- Daypack/fanny pack (for daily use)
- Converters, adapters, and chargers for electronics (Israel uses eru outlets)
- (optional) Charging banks for phone
- Phone and earbuds
- Plastic bags to separate wet or dirty clothes in your bag
- Life straw/water bottles (it’s good to drink filtered or bottled water)
- Vitamins / supplements / activated charcoal / any meds you need
- Any First Aid materials
- Bible, journal, pen
- Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor (if needed), deodorant, chapstick
- Outdoor shoes (something you can walk in and potentially get wet)
- Bathing suit
- Tops – mix short sleeve and long sleeve (some places are a little chillier and windier)
- Bottoms – can mix pants and shorts (also dresses and skirts for women)
- Underwear/Socks (5-14 days worth depending on if you want to do laundry or not)
- Sleep clothes
- A nicer outfit for Shabbat and strict Holy Sites (see specifications below)
- Try to bring a white top for the opening night with the 144 harpists (who will be wearing all white garments as a prophetic act) – it can be an all white outfit and women can wear white dresses if you’d like.
- Hat (optional)
In addition to the above list…
Men– Bring a nicer pair of pants (knees must be covered) and a shirt for Shabbat and stricter Holy Sites, such as Temple Mount.
Women– Bring either a nicer pair of pants and shirt, a dress, or a skirt and shirt for Shabbat and stricter Holy Sites, such as Temple Mount. Please note that bottoms need to go down to your ankle, the neckline needs to be modest (up to your collarbone for Temple Mount), and shirt sleeves (or covering) need to cover your arms down to at least your elbow for Temple Mount.
**Also, remember to bring any feminine hygiene products if needed. There are things for sale at some convenience stores, but it’s better to just have what you need in your pack.
If you’d like any more info on what Temple Mount is like (including some clothing standards), check out this blog post.
- Extra Money for lunches (if you’re not fasting) and souvenirs [$100 US ≈ $333 NIS – costs of goods are similar to US]
We are so excited to welcome everyone to Jerusalem in September! Hopefully this helped answer some of your questions, but if you have more questions or would like more information about ANCJ, please reach out to us! We would love to talk to you about coming, whether it’s this year or next.
The Lord has an appointment with His people in Israel. We’re ready to meet Him. ♔
“Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain… Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”Zechariah 8:3, 20-23 (ESV, emphasis mine)
We pray for much JOY and SHALOM on you, your families, and your groups as you prepare to come up to Jerusalem to seek the Lord!
Blessings, the Stevens. ♡
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