In 2012, I traveled to Jerusalem to seek a location for a Christian Zionism Museum. Through the museum, my plan was that the accounts of Christians who played crucial roles in helping to promote, defend, support, and establish the modern State of Israel could be told, as well as the stories of those men and women who fulfilled the moral duty to rescue Jewish people from the Holocaust. I believed the museum should offer interactive displays, areas for research, and also provide a bond between those Christians who have aided Israel through the years. My vision was to have a place where their achievements could be shared with thousands of visitors yearly.
During that trip, I met the owners of a five-story edifice at 20 Yosef Rivlin Street, just a stone’s throw from the Temple Mount. As Joshua circled Jericho, I prayerfully circled the blocks around the area, seeking God’s gracious approval to purchase the property. God granted me favor with the owners, for as we negotiated the price for the building, they not only lowered the price by $2 million but also carried the note interest-free to the end of 2014.
The Friends of Zion Heritage Center is now a reality and proudly stands in the heart of Jerusalem in a prominent location overlooking Independence Park and within walking distance to the Old City. It is one more building block in the plan and purpose God has surely had for my life.
The Friends of Zion Heritage Center is ground zero for the global Jerusalem Prayer Team prayer movement. With over one billion Christian Zionists worldwide, the goal is to unite them to stand with Israel and the Jewish people.
FOZ now has a vast social network platform to mobilize Israel’s greatest friends. The organization already has more than one million members in Indonesia alone and is presently growing at the staggering rate of two million members monthly.
Today my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God, as the dream He placed in my spirit more than 30 years ago has become a reality. When the contract for the purchase of the building that houses the Friends of Zion Heritage Center was signed, I was reminded once again that every promise from God is certain and sure, no matter how long we have to wait for it.
Abraham waited for the promised birth of Isaac for some 25 years, but in God’s perfect timing, the son of promise was born. When I first met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin more than 30 years ago, and we agreed to work together to build a bridge between Christians and Jews, part of that dream was to have a permanent presence in the Holy City. Now we proudly point to this beautiful facility that ministers to the physical needs of the Jewish people and to the spiritual needs of Christians worldwide. Don’t ever give up on what God has promised and placed in your spirit!
I had the privilege of meeting Corrie ten Boom before she died and hearing her story first-hand. She told me that she dreamed of her family’s home being restored as a witness of their love for God’s Chosen People. After her death, I flew to the Netherlands to visit the clock shop and follow God’s leading. As I walked around the shop, I asked about seeing the upstairs, where a total of 800 Jews had been hidden and saved during the Holocaust.
The owner advised me that the door was kept locked, as the area was only used for storage. My heart broke. I felt that the ten Boom clock shop should be open as a testimony to the world of the love of a Christian family for the Jewish people. As I stepped through the door onto the sidewalk, I prayed, “Lord, I want to buy this house and restore it. If it is Your will, please help me.” That evening, I drew a prayer circle around my desire to fulfill Corrie’s wishes. Knowing that Psalm 91 was her chapter of promise, I opened my Bible and read: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:1–2).
The next morning, I awoke confident in God’s answer. I returned to the clock shop and asked the owner if he would sell the shop to me. Just as he refused my offer, the clocks in the shop began to chime the noon hour. He turned to me and asked if I knew what day it was. I mentioned the day of the week. “No,” he said. “That is not what I meant—today is April 15, Corrie’s birthday. In her honor, yes, I will sell the shop to you!”
When the sale was complete, I vowed that no one would ever pay a cent to visit the ten Boom home—that the story of God’s love would be available to all. Since its restoration was completed, the clock shop has been open, free of charge, to thousands of visitors. Many leave with tears of remembrance and grateful hearts for the family that gave their lives to help Jewish people escape Hitler’s plan from hell. Some who have come were relatives of the people whose lives were saved by the courageous ten Boom family. All the work there is done on a volunteer basis. No one, including the board of directors, of which I am chairman, has ever received any compensation for our work, and we have paid all our own expenses.
After graduation, I joined the Army and was shipped off to spend 14 months in East Asia on a mountain the Koreans called Wong Tong Nee. Early one morning as I wandered around the mountain, I felt the overwhelming presence of God settling over me. Joy, unspeakable and full of glory, filled my soul. Like Samuel of old, my spirit whispered, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth”(1 Samuel 3:10). All too often our prayer is, “Listen, Lord, don’t you know I’m talking to You?” It is infinitely more important that we listen!
Finding a secluded spot, I sank to the ground and tears streamed down my face as Jesus gently reminded my spirit of His words to me when I was eleven. I whispered, “Will you ever talk to me again? I need to hear Your voice. I sense the same presence I did when I was eleven.” He did not answer me audibly, but suddenly I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to turn to Daniel 10:9–11. With tears misting my eyes, I pulled my Bible from my backpack and read:
Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.”
As the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, I stood, trembling and weeping. Eventually, the sensation of God’s presence lifted, but I possessed a newfound sense of peace. I realized then that I was eager to hear the voice of God again. I needed to hear His voice. It gave me the affirmation I desperately needed so I could overcome. It also gave me the divine direction I craved.
Before leaving the spot that day, I gathered twelve stones and set up a small altar. Sometime during the day, every day, I returned to that spot to pray and seek God. During the monsoon season when the rains came, I could be found wrapped in my rubber poncho praying by my rock altar. In the middle of the blistering summer, with temperatures rising above 110 degrees, I would pray in the shade of those rocks. In the frigid winter, when the wind chill factor dropped to 20 degrees below zero, I would wrap myself in layers of clothing and go to pray at my altar of rocks.
Years later I returned to South Korea with Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. It was then I discovered that after I had fulfilled my military obligation and gone home, Dr. Paul Cho purchased the mountain and made it a place of prayer, which came to be called simply “Prayer Mountain.” During that trip, Dr. Cho said to me, “You were the first Christian to pray atop the mountain.” He called me “Holy Ghost Kimchi Man, Seed of Abraham.” I know now that God wanted me to learn to pray, to listen to Him, and to seek His will and plan for my life atop that lonely mountain. I knew that a plan had been established for me; I just needed to know how to allow God to unlock His purpose in my life.
When Israel issued its declaration of statehood in May of 1948, David Ben-Gurion assumed the joint offices of prime minister and defense minister. He demanded that the various armed factions that had been fighting to protect Jewish families and towns from Arab attacks be merged into one fighting force, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He masterminded the creation of many of the burgeoning state’s institutions and various internal projects to aid development. He organized, for example, Operation Magic Carpet to airlift Jews from unfriendly Arab countries, the founding of new towns and cities, and a national waterworks along with other infrastructure projects.
He continued to encourage pioneering and farming in the remote areas of the land. Ben-Gurion achieved Theodor Herzl’s dream, his passion for a Jewish state, and was then entrusted with its guardianship. The newly acknowledged State of Israel was all that Herzl had imagined. As Yoram Hazony, author, philosopher, and political theorist, wrote: “Ben-Gurion found himself overseer of a state that was neither neutral nor multinational as Judah Magnes, Martin Buber, Lessing Rosenwald or the ever-present U.S. State Department had hoped to see formed. It was, instead, in the most precise way conceivable the state about which Herzl had written in The Jewish State—a place where non-Jewish residents were welcomed ‘to participate in the up-building of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship,’ but one whose significance, single-mindedness, and function would nevertheless result in ‘the right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate…in their own sovereign state.’”
When Ben-Gurion stepped to the podium at 4:00 p.m. on that warm Friday afternoon in May, he carefully read the statement that declared Israel’s sovereignty. The following day, May 15, Egypt launched her military aircraft toward Tel Aviv in retaliation. It was Shabbat, and there would be no official response until Saturday evening at the conclusion of the holy day. As the prime minister again delivered a news bulletin to his awaiting audience, he announced that an Egyptian warplane had been shot down, its pilot imprisoned, and the aircraft added to the Israeli Air Force. He also reported that the United States had been the first nation to recognize Israel’s independence.
Ben-Gurion’s announcement was the initial step in a war that would last one year, three months, and ten days. It would test Israel’s very resolve and preparedness. It was a war very few expected the newly reborn state to survive. Azzam Pasha, the Arab League secretary-general incorrectly asserted: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.” It was an opinion widely shared around the world. But it was an opinion that did not take into account the promises and prophetic plan of God.
At the outset of the confrontation, it was obvious that Israeli forces were greatly outnumbered. One army, alone, the Egyptians, boasted 40,000 ground troops armed with approximately 135 armored fighting vehicles, heavy artillery, and 60 planes in its arsenal, including bombers and single-seat fighter planes. Forces in Egypt and Jordan had been trained and led by British army officers. The Israelis were faced with those daunting figures, yet marched forward determined and unbowed.
Hannah, wife of Elkanah, a Kohathite of the tribe of Levi, must have felt a great sense of despair when, month after month, she remained barren. Hannah might have felt that by not bearing a child with Elkanah she lacked status and merit in his eyes. She cried out to God again and again until the answer came.
Hannah’s prayer of despair was answered in a miraculous way that brought about the birth of Samuel, who would grow up to be a great prophet in Israel. He, in turn, would anoint a shepherd boy named David to become king and establish Jerusalem as his capital city. It was this same David who would write, “Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
My wife, Carolyn, taught me a faith lesson when our fourth and last child was born. I had secretly wanted a son to love, probably because I never had a father who loved me. I thought I would only have my three beautiful daughters, which was fine with me; they are my sweethearts! But God gave Carolyn and me another child.
Carolyn obstinately refused to listen to the opinions of others—those who told her she would have another girl. She believed God had told her a boy was on the way. Her belief persisted even after the doctor announced that she would have another girl. Let me repeat that: She believed God! She was totally convinced—against all odds—that our baby would be a boy and declared that he would be named Michael David Evans II. I reminded Carolyn that I didn’t have a middle name.
Of course, it didn’t faze her at all; the new mother won that battle! Soon after our son’s birth, I appeared before a judge to have my name changed to Michael David Evans. Both my son and I are now named “David” as are hundreds and thousands of boys and their fathers worldwide. Michael David has grown up to be a godly man of integrity. I have told him, “I was named after you. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”
Hannah’s miracle son, Samuel, grew to be a man of integrity and prayer. He stood before the people of Israel on one occasion and said, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). Samuel grew up to be more than simply an answer to prayer; he became a priest, judge, and prophet who later anointed both Saul and David as kings over Judah.