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2010 A RECORD YEAR FOR ISRAELI TOURISM: Come with The Joshua Fund to Israel in May 2011! Also: working on a new novel.

>> Please pray for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his family after the death of Abbas’ older brother on Monday in Syria. Pray for the Lord to comfort the family and to draw them all into a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks.

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I know, I know, a lot of you were frustrated by the cliff-hanger ending of The Twelfth Imam. I hear you and I’m grateful for all your emails and Facebook posts over the Christmas holiday. While I wrote about this last fall, let me say it again because obviously a lot of people missed it: The Twelfth Imam is just the first novel of a three-book series. That’s right. The story isn’t finished. There are two more coming. In fact, I began working on the second in the series in December and started writing in earnest today. Lord willing, the book will be released in October 2011. I’d be grateful for your prayers as I write it, and let’s also pray that none of it comes to pass.

That said, some wonderful news out of Israel last week: “Estimates that 2010 would mark a record year for tourism for Israel proved correct on Sunday, as the Airports Authority released its final numbers,” reports Haaretz. “Approximately 11.485 million passengers passed through Ben Gurion Airport over the course of the year on international flights – an increase of 9.3 percent over 2009….Preliminary estimates last week showed that Israel received 3.45 million visitors over the course of 2010 — 14 percent higher than the previous record of about 3 million tourists in 2008. Tourism slid last year during the global economic crisis. The increase reflects improved security in Israel, where Israeli-Palestinian violence last decade sent tourist numbers plummeting.”

In May 2011, my colleagues at The Joshua Fund and I will be leading a “Prayer & Trip” to Israel that includes the 2011 Epicenter Conference. We would love to have you join us to walk where Jesus walked, to study the Word of God in the land where much of it was written, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in Jerusalem, to worship the King of kings in the City of the Great King. We’ll take you to The Joshua Fund’s warehouse and you’ll have the opportunity to do a humanitarian relief project to bless the poor and needy. You’ll hear amazing speakers like Kay Arthur, Anne Graham-Lotz, Pastor Skip Heitzig and Pastor Ray Bentley. And more speakers will be announced soon. Please click here for more information and to watch a video about the trip and the conference. We’d love to see you there!

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