One American’s Israel Tour Story

—By ICEJ USA Staff

Shawn Landis (kneeling) from the United States with other Hands-On Serving Tour volunteers

Shawn Landis had been to Israel four times already, but his trip this past March on the ICEJ Hands-On Serving Tour was profoundly different. This time Landis journeyed from his home state of Pennsylvania to Israel with four others from the United States to not just visit key Bible sites but love and serve the Jewish nation as they continue to fight Hamas and heal from the horrors on October 7.

The group that included 23 Christians from 12 nations took part in relief projects, like harvesting farm produce and serving meals to security personnel and first responders. They received security briefings, prayed along Israel’s borders, and engaged with Holocaust Survivors at the Haifa Home. But possibly the most moving time was at the sites of the October 7 mass terror attacks in southern Israel where the true intentions of Hamas and the atrocities of what happened were evident. It was a visual the group will never forget.

Among many impactful conversations, Landis recalls one that happened the first day in the Land while picking oranges at Yad Mordecai with a young Jewish girl named Alison. She asked how he felt as a Christian coming to a predominantly Jewish nation, and Landis shared from his heart how it was the birthplace of his faith: “Being that Jesus was a Jew and many of His original followers were Jews and salvation is from the Jews, I am coming to where it all began.” The two had a wonderful conversation. “To see Israeli’s resilience and learn what was happening from their perspective was a great encouragement” he said.

“Scripture instructs us to support Israel, and sometimes the best time to support someone is when they’re grieving. Friendship is not just about being there for the good times; it’s also about [being there in] the rough times.”

Everyone came home transformed and better equipped to be a voice for Israel as they fight this existential battle for their right to live in the land promised to them through Abraham.

Join us on an upcoming tour.