Over recent months, I have been asked several times to tell about how Highway to Zion Ministries came into existence. When I began to recount the story, I realized that we are in our seventh year of ministry!
We all know that the biblical significance of the number seven is noteworthy – the seventh day rest, Shabbat, the fullness of God’s creation completed, all the sevens in prophecy, especially in Revelation, the seven times marching around Jericho, the seven times around the altar during the Hoshana-Rabbah of Succot…..completeness, perfection, fullness, satisfaction….yes, the number seven is full and rich with biblical significance. We could even say that Yeshua Himself is fulfillment of the number Seven!
I am not saying that the seventh year of Highway to Zion Ministries is in any way comparable to all the wondrous sevens of the Bible! But it did cause me to think back again over these years and back to that day when I heard Him speak to my spirit about stepping out and giving back to Him what He put in concerning His great love and the connection of that intimacy with Him to the restoration of Israel and the return of the Great King!
For those who have heard me re-tell this story recently, please forgive me for telling it one more time, but I really believe He wants me to say it again. I pray that it will encourage you to step out in the gifts He has put inside of you. That is all He requires of us – to complete the work He gave us to do. It’s really not as big a mystery as I think we are expecting when we realize that we are on the edge of doing things that we’ve never done before – exhilarating, but also very “reasonable”, in the sense of Romans 12:1 - it is our reasonable act of worship!
It was during Succot of 2006 when Highway to Zion Ministries was conceived. I was in Israel, in my room at a kibbutz hotel called Ramat Rachel on the southern end of Jerusalem – the view from my room was a beautiful vista of the city of Bethlehem. I had been going back and forth to Israel for many years, my first trip being in 1983, but it had been several years between visits, and He was showing me things and refreshing my heart and renewing my calling on that trip.
On that particular day, I had decided to stay behind and not go with the rest of the friends in the group for the trip to Masada. Instead I remained in my room all day…..and Yeshua danced with me there (Song of Songs 2:4). I really didn’t understand what to do next, but I heard Him say, deep in my soul, that He had taught me much about Israel, the restoration of His people, His soon return, and also much about worship and intimacy with Him. He was saying to my spirit that I needed to do more to impart this sense of worship and intimacy and understanding about the call for Zion’s sake and also about walking in the destiny and the plan He gives us.
I knew that this was a very significant moment and season and that He was expecting a response. He had prepared my heart, and I was totally abandoned and reckless in the Spirit when it began to dawn on me that there was a door opening and that He was taking me through. I felt very vulnerable, but I just said, “yes, Lord, I will do it”. No clue, really, about exactly what it was that I was supposed to do! And I think this was the first lesson – He gave me a passage that is now seared into my heart –
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
So, I just started walking it out, step by step, listening intently and obeying as much as I could really understand. I hope this process will be helpful for some of you – but it was actually a practical matter of looking around at where I was, the people in my life, the spiritual connections, and places where I might give what I had to give. I saw such a great need in the evangelical church to understand the connection between Israel and Christianity. There had been so many times when I waited breathlessly hoping that the pastor in the church where I was a member would step all the way out and embrace Messianic faith.
I started there, in the church I attended, offering to teach classes on “Jewish Roots” topics, and then I presented my entire plan for building a ministry to Israel to the senior staff of this large church hoping to build this “Israel ministry” under the umbrella of this church that had been my home for 16 years. I forgot to mention that because of my zeal for Zion, and my ardor to express God’s zeal over Zion, I had managed to alienate the very influential international missions pastor of the church when he took issue with my biblical Zionism – to be clearer – he simply could not accept that my Zionism is biblically, and not politically motivated, but the Lord used all of this, and the conflict actually became very helpful in clarifying the direction that the Lord was leading.
Fast forward – that first year of ministry in 2007 was mostly at this church and mostly just me by myself – if Highway to Zion was a business, I guess you would say that 2007 was a “D/B/A” year – Cathy Hargett d/b/a Highway to Zion Ministries. Yet, all of the major goals and directives from the Lord concerning Highway to Zion were there in their “seed form”, complete with taking a group on an immersion tour to Israel during Succot that year.
I realized that God was asking me to do more than serve there in my church - He was calling me out (John 10:3-4) – I began to see that it was going to take more chutzpah and more pressing in and that I was to lead this ministry myself, not give it to someone else. In 2007, the ministry was incorporated. There were several people who came alongside me and encouraged me – my then daughter-in-law was a major affirmer of my calling and she shared my heart for it and joined with me particularly in the worship aspects. My brother, Chris, and my cousin, Jan, my childhood friend, Bunk, and my precious friend, Titia, were early foundational people and became Board members.
By 2008, I was being asked to speak at different venues and to teach classes. I began writing articles and newsletters and communicating about Israel via email. I also met a wonderful group of people in Indiana, the “Indiana Girls”, through my good friend, Susie. Once again, we took a group to Israel and these dear ones plus some “Alabama Girls” were the core of that group and to this day, many of them are still on our intercessory prayer team.
Our Executive Board grew, and we all began to serve together – sometimes in churches, including mainline and evangelical churches, or business offices or home groups. We began to offer “Assemblies” and invite special speakers and to support Messianic Jewish believers in Israel, and we continued to take people to Israel and saw many released into their spiritual destinies. We began developing friendships and relationships with others in the Jewish Roots/Restoration of Israel movement, both here and in the Land.
In 2009, we continued with growing all aspects of the ministry and welcomed new people as leaders and teachers – many who came out of traditional church backgrounds, which was absolutely thrilling because we could see that the remnant who will stand for Zion’s sake in these last days is rising up and it is not confined to the expression of the early days of the modern restoration of Israel movement which actually paralleled the Charismatic movement in many ways, but later became almost exclusively “Christian Zionism” in its focus, more political, and less prophetic/Messianic, than the movement today.
In all the following years, we have grown and learned and fought many battles along the way, but it has been very exciting and very purposeful. I can honestly say that even at my weariest moments, He has filled me with zeal to finish the race marked out for us. Today there are many others who minister with Highway to Zion Ministries – those who teach, who intercede, who prophesy, play instruments, dance, worship, administrate, and lead. The ministry has been a platform for many to begin new seasons of their spiritual destinies. It is a great wonder to me to see this happen because I honestly don’t know how to explain how this revelation about Israel and abandoned worship of Yeshua ha Mashiach releases people into their spiritual destinies – I just know that it does!!
I praise His Name (Baruch ha Shem!) for those who minister at Highway to Zion today – especially our Board, Intercessors, Teachers and Worship and Dance Ministers, who have so tirelessly served Him and Zion and continue to pour out their gifts. Special thanks to God for our current Executive Board: Chris, Jan, Bunk, Jeff, Titia, Greerman, Fran, Derek, and Thomas – you are so anointed!
When I look back over these years and when I look up fervently continuing to seek His face today, I know this is true – that it is love from Him and for Him that compels me. It is the Sh’ma that resonates in my soul “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength….” (Dt. 6:4-5; Matt. 22:37-40) For this reason, we live. Oh, God, thank you for letting us live so that we may praise You! (Ps. 119:175)
As we are still in the early part of this seventh year, I know there is much revelation yet to come, but I am already sensing a fresh wind of the Spirit. I have that sense inside that once again He is asking me that question, “do you love Me?”….and, oh, how I do, but I want to love Him more. I want to serve Him more. I am sensing that He is once again saying, not only to me, but to all of us with ears to hear, no matter what we’ve been through or where we are in life stages, that He is filling us with fresh faith, with power and strength in the Ruach ha Kodesh, to move yet higher with Him, in Him, and that He is asking us to give back to Him what He has given to us – in a deeper, fuller, richer way than we have before. He is taking us from strength to strength until we each appear before Him in Zion. (Ps. 84:7)
Thanks to all of you for being worshippers and lovers of the God of Israel and who stand with Him for Zion’s sake. It has been a journey of ever-increasing love for Him and love for His people – the first and second greatest commandments. I love serving Him with all of you – this is real Life, friends!
All praise to Yeshua ha Mashiach – the fullness of Seven! (Rev. 1:4-5; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6; Isa. 11:2)