A Georgia pastor caught in Israel when war broke out is thanking God for orchestrating the rescue of him and 30 other people stranded in Nazareth.
Pastor Todd Cox of StonePoint Church in Cumming, Georgia had been in Israel for 7 days. During that time, he baptized 16 people in the Jordan River and also renewed his vows with his wife at Magdala. All was happening according to plan until Saturday morning October 7th.
“That’s when we got the information that the war had broken out, that about 4,000 rockets had been fired in the south,” Cox told CBN News.
Pastor Todd said his first instinct was to protect his people. “I was in the Coast Guard and so I’m a rescuer at heart and I’m a leader and take-charge guy. It certainly made me want to do something and to jump into action. But the good news is the Lord really just gave me a sense of peace and calm,” he said.
Although they were up north in Nazareth – a safer part of Israel – they realized that could change at any moment and began to look for options to return home.
“We contacted, of course, the Embassy. We filled out paperwork with the State Department to let them know where we were so they could get in touch with us if there was an emergency. And there were some options to fly out of Tel Aviv and to Istanbul but those went away. And of course, people were a little worried about going down to Tel Aviv because of rockets,” he said.
Cox had been posting about their situation on Facebook and the first miracle happened when a friend saw the post and connected them with Republican Rep. Cory Mills of Florida.
“The next day he flew out to Jordan personally, flew out to Jordan, came across the border, made his contacts and met us in Nazareth and got on the bus with us in Nazareth, and escorted us all the way across the border,” Cox said. “He personally took care of us and got us into a hotel in Amman, Jordan, where we were able to fly out the following day. I just truly believe that God used my friend and Representative Mills as his instruments to rescue us,” Cox said.
Judy Paxton, Pastor Todd’s mother who was also on the trip, agreed.
“Absolutely, he’s my hero,” Paxton said. “He (Mills) came in with a plan and made us all feel at ease. And somebody had sent a passage to me saying, ‘He will send his angels to rescue you.’ And so, I showed Rep. Mills that verse, and I said, ‘You’re the angel that God sent to rescue us,'” she said.
News of the rescue quickly spread. Mills told Fox News, “I hope that them being home now and actually getting out and being in a safe space, will give them the confidence that Americans won’t be left behind,” he said.
The lesson in all of this for Pastor Todd – stay close to Jesus. “If we’re not close and we’re not listening and we’re not tuned into His voice, then we’re going to miss it. And so, I just want to encourage people to be close to Him, to be in his Word, to be listening to His still small voice,” Cox said.