Mark Tedder, a pastor in Monument, is sharing his experience after returning from a seven-day mission trip to Israel.
He and his wife, Carrie, visited several war-torn areas of the country with a group of more than 70 people from 10 different countries. Throughout the trip, the couple spread worship and song as they saw the devastation affecting communities firsthand.
“We have developed a love for Israel, for the people. And they are in their most desperate time right now so we showed up for them," said Tedder.
The group planted 400 evergreen trees in memory of some of the Israelis killed, cooked breakfast for soldiers, packed boxes of food for those displaced, and painted a youth center and bomb shelter while visiting with hundreds of children.
Tedder also described the devastation they saw as they entered areas just miles from the Gaza border. Be'eri, a kibbutz in Israel near the Gaza border, was one of many communities invaded by Hamas. Tedder said they entered the home of a woman who was burned alive as she took shelter from the attacks on Oct. 7.
"Her home was completely destroyed. We walked through the rubble, the broken roof tiles, to get into the threshold of her front door. There were toys out front that were actually machine-gunned," he said.
Throughout their journey, Tedder and his wife spread worship through means of music. Tedder said the two first pulled out a guitar and keyboard in the lobby of a hotel in Jerusalem.
“We just played over them," he said. “They started slowly kind of coming up, a couple of soldiers with their M16 rifles on walked over and sat and just listened. They didn’t say anything, they were just so attentive and they looked so tired.”
They quickly learned how their role as "musicianaries" could bring hope and healing to so many, even for just a short moment.
"You could see the demeanor change and their faces relax and just even if it was for an hour, hour and half," he said.
Now back home in Monument, Tedder said he and his wife plan to return to Israel for a few months at a time to continue teaching religious leaders there how to spread worship.
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