If we want to ensure America remains a close ally of Israel, and that our Jewish friends feel safe both here and in the Jewish state, then we must capture the hearts and minds of our young people. We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to grow up without knowing the truth: that our God cherishes the Jewish people, and that Israel is America’s greatest ally. This important dual revelation is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our country’s future leaders.
For many years, CUFI has invested in sharing this message with Christian college students. But now we are bringing this important message to high school students, as well. By the time they reach the intense pressure of college, we want them to be equipped to understand and defend their beliefs. For this reason, CUFI led the very first high school advocacy mission to Israel this summer. We took 24 high school students on a tour of the Holy Land, and its impact was far greater than we’d even hoped.
On this trip, these 24 young Christians were overcome with an emotional revelation of their deep spiritual connection to Israel. Seeing the land where the Bible was written and their faith originated produced not just a great love for Israel, but the experience also ignited their love for God and for each other.
The students were also strongly moved by the young Israelis they met. Standing in a bunker designed for children, they were shocked to realize that Israeli children grew up with a vastly different reality than the safety American teenagers take for granted. After meeting IDF soldiers and touring the northern border, our high school students marveled at the courage and maturity of the young soldiers protecting Israel. One of the young men on our trip exclaimed, “all these amazing men and women in the army, yet Bibi called CUFI vital to Israel’s national security!” His statement shows that the trip drove home an important truth for these high school students: that their role as Christian defenders of Israel is a vital part of their spiritual and moral responsibility.
As the high school students flew home, CUFI on Campus flew 34 college students to Israel for the Bonhoeffer Fellowship tour. These student leaders represent the most elite group of the CUFI on Campus program. They were carefully chosen for their extraordinary commitment to defending Israel and growing the pro-Israel movement on their campus. The Bonhoeffer Fellowship inspires students to put their faith into action by following the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who bravely resisted the Nazis in defense of the Jewish people.
In Israel, the Bonhoeffer Fellows met with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders to learn about the reality of Israel’s commitment to diversity, freedom, and peace. They visited a playground in Sderot, on Israel’s border with Gaza, where they saw the bomb shelters built to protect Israeli children from Hamas rockets.
The trip was transformational, both spiritually and politically, for these college students. It brought them to another level of personal passion and conviction to stand up and speak out for Zion’s sake. During one of the Facebook Live broadcasts from the trip, which you can watch on the CUFI on Campus page, one of the students said, “This has been something that completely blew my mind and changed the way that I see American Christianity.”
Both trips were made possible by the generosity of our CUFI donors. The students who went to Israel are immensely grateful for the opportunity you gave them, as are we, because they are the key to ensuring Christian support for Israel continues for many generations to come. These young people are on the front lines, facing intense pressure from their peers and teachers who spread malicious lies about Israel. The tools you gave them by allowing them to experience Israel firsthand are an invaluable advantage as they seek to defend Israel on campus.
Thank you for all you do to support CUFI and help us fight anti-Semitism with the truth about Israel and love for the Jewish people. With your continued support, we will win this fight. If you are able to give again to help us refill the CUFI war chest as we invest in the next generation, your gift will be greatly appreciated. As always, your prayers and support for Israel and CUFI are a great encouragement to us.
Blessings to you and those you love,
Pastor John Hagee
Chairman and Founder