RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — An evangelical Christian pastor from Uruguay fulfilled his promise to plant 1,000 trees in the Jewish state.
One year ago, after planting a tree with the Keren Kayemet Leisrael organization while on a visit to Israel with a group of Latin American pastors, Jorge Marquez vowed to raise the money to plant 1,000 trees. He returned on Sept. 14, reported Latin American news AJN website on Tuesday.
Together with almost two dozen members of his congregation, Marquez planted the trees at the KKL planting center in Tzorah after they recited a Planters’ Prayer together. The Argentine-born clergyman moved to Uruguay in 1991, where he founded the Life Mission to the Nations church.
“What an honor it is to plant a tree here, in God’s chosen land,” said Sonia Tomeo, a member of the group, as she planted her tree. “To be able to plant a tree here is a privilege. I hope God will allow me to return here. God prophesied that he would make the desert bloom.”
Roni Kaplan, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Communications Advisor for Latin America and founder of “Huellas del Cielo,” which brings Evangelical Christian groups to Israel, also greeted the group, “May you realize many blessings here, and may you always be in the position of being able to give to others.”
Márquez promised to plant another 1,000 trees in Israel next year.
In March, Uruguayan Jews paid tribute to the memory of David Fremd, who was stabbed to death by a Muslim convert one year before in the small town of Paysandu. The 55-year-old businessman was stabbed in the back 10 times by the killer, who reportedly yelled “God is great” in Arabic. Later the killer declared that he “followed Allah’s order.”