Keeping It Israel

Growing Up In Israel, Jess Cantelon of The Israel Video Project Tells His Story!

November 04, 2020 Jeff Futers Season 1 Episode 30
Keeping It Israel
Growing Up In Israel, Jess Cantelon of The Israel Video Project Tells His Story!
Chapters
Keeping It Israel
Growing Up In Israel, Jess Cantelon of The Israel Video Project Tells His Story!
Nov 04, 2020 Season 1 Episode 30
Jeff Futers

Jeff interviews Rev. Jess Cantelon of the Israel Video Project and Hiway Church in Barrie, Ontario Canada. Jess grew up as a young boy from age 5 to 12 in Israel. He shares his personal story of how that impacted him and what drew him back to Israel to serve at King of Kings Community in Jerusalem for a number of years as an adult. Also, hear Jess share why it is such a big deal for Christians in the church in North America to make a personal connection with Israel!
Check out our new documentary series "Miraculous Victories of Israel"


Support the show (http://www.firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate/)

Show Notes Transcript

Jeff interviews Rev. Jess Cantelon of the Israel Video Project and Hiway Church in Barrie, Ontario Canada. Jess grew up as a young boy from age 5 to 12 in Israel. He shares his personal story of how that impacted him and what drew him back to Israel to serve at King of Kings Community in Jerusalem for a number of years as an adult. Also, hear Jess share why it is such a big deal for Christians in the church in North America to make a personal connection with Israel!
Check out our new documentary series "Miraculous Victories of Israel"


Support the show (http://www.firstcenturyfoundations.com/donate/)

Chris Atkins, One Media:

Welcome to the Keeping It Israel podcast with Jeff Futers, where Jeff and his guests talk. Everything Israel as it relates to Christian faith and the church. If you are a Christian and you stand with Israel, you will be encouraged and challenged by this podcast. And if you're not so sure about the whole Israel thing, you need to learn how your faith connects with Israel, and why standing with Israel matters. Now, here's Jeff with today's guest.

Jeff Futers:

Welcome to the podcast today. And today, my guest is Reverend Jess Cantelon. And you might recall that a few weeks back we had Jim Cantelon on on the podcast and Jess is Jim's son. Jess, welcome.

Jess Cantelon:

Thank you. It's good to be here.

Jeff Futers:

It's great to have you tell us a little bit about yourself. I mean, I could, you know, probably do a quick hit list of things, but nobody knows it better than you. So tell us where you're at, who you are, who's your family?

Jess Cantelon:

My name's Jess, Jess Cantelon. I am the son of Jim and Kathy. Yeah, brother to Todd and Kate. Husband to Erica, father to five amazing boys. And we live here in Barrie. I'm the Lead Pastor of Hiway Church. And it's a Pentecostal church. I'm also ordained an Anglican. So it's a...I'm a bit of a Christian mutt. But yeah, I moved to Israe with my parents back in '81. So if you heard the story a few weeks ago from my Dad, I'm sure you did. But he was invited by the Israeli government to start a church in Jerusalem. And so he started what's now known as King of Kings. And it was a really exciting journey, I'm sure for him too, but for me as a kid, you know, I went to Hebrew public school, and just grew up as a Gentile amongst Israelis. And it was, it was a very unique upbringing. It seemed normal to me. But, you know, now that I have, you know, retrospect that I can see that it's... or hindsight and hindsight is 2020, right, I can just see that it's, it was a it was a gift. So I grew up in Israel, age five to 12, I moved back 28 to 35. And I just, when I went back, I went to work at the church that my parents had planted with Wayne Hilsden who...Wayne and Ann Hilsden who had taken over from my parents, when we left. And they.... I worked as their, one of their worship leaders and their young adult pastor. And the Lord just started, I guess, shaping relationships, making connections. And so since Israel, we have planted a church now we're in... in Quebec, now we're in, at highway church in Barrie, Ontario, just north of Toronto. And we still have a hand in life in Israel, and specifically, it's, we have a video project called Israel Video Project where we basically bring Canadians, North Americans people from all over the world on into Israel, with their iPhones, and I basically teach on location with a selfie stick and a Bible and I, I travel all over the over the country, and try to give people a vision for for Israel, and mostly a vision for salvation history that God has had a plan from the beginning, that faith isn't something that's just in our head. But there's also a physical aspect to it. And, and I think when people get to see Israel, they, they get, they have one of those, those moments where they realize, Hey, wait a second, there's more to this Christian thing than just going to church on Sundays.

Jeff Futers:

That's great. Well, you gave me a huge summary there of a lot of life. But one of the things, one of the things I wanted to ask you was, you know, because because moving to Israel as a kid, you know, has to have some sort of an impact. And I just kind of wonder, the change from Canada to Israel. What was your earliest recollection of being a child growing up in Israel?

Jess Cantelon:

Well, I moved to Israel on my fifth birthday. So had my fifth birthday on the plane. This is back in the days where they would let people into the cockpits This is pre 911 obviously. And so I remember being welcomed into the cockpit and getting to fly the plane, you know, pretend to fly the plane up on a big Boeing 747. They sang Happy Birthday to me the whole plane, they had a cake for me and all that and it was. So I remember I remember vividly, I remember landing and remember our first few days there at five. And you know, I went to it, when you have these drastic changes, changes in your childhood, it, you remember them. So I remember life before five I remember life after five until twelve, because my life is sort of the sub-divided into little sections. So the mind is able to remember these things. So yeah, I remember you know, being the only blond kid is for the Russians showed up, at least we thought we were the only blond kids, blond kids in Jerusalem, and, you know, and so not fitting in entirely. But, you know, I got to my my best friend to this day, and he lives in Israel, but he was, he's a son of a professor. And he grew up while his dad was doing a what do you call it, like a scholarship or Professor exchange in doing research in Minneapolis, so he, though he was an Israeli couldn't speak a lick of Hebrew. So we learned Hebrew together. And so that was a real good, you know, point of connection for me. And that really brought me into into the life of an Israeli. So while I look different than most of them, I was, you know, accepted as one of them. So it was, yeah, I mean, I've, you know, vivid memories from all all those childhood years.

Jeff Futers:

Yeah. Where are you at in birth order in the family?

Jess Cantelon:

I'm number two.

Jeff Futers:

Number two. Okay. So it was it? Was it harder for your for your older sibling? Easier?

Jess Cantelon:

I think I don't know. I mean, you know, we all have different personalities. I think for, for him, he didn't have the same friendship connection as I did. You know, so it was it was more difficult, though, we're both quite athletic. And, and that speaks volumes with, you know, in terms of kindergarten politics, or, you know, playground politics. So, you know, we were always fine that way. But I mean, he, he would, he would be called names, and then he would act, you know, badly. Not badly. He'd just, he would fight his way out of the situation.

Jeff Futers:

We're not telling any stories out of school, I hope but...

Jess Cantelon:

No..He would fight his way out of situations. And it was good for me, because I had an older brother who would fight his way out of situations and so people didn't mess with me so much.

Jeff Futers:

And I guess for your your younger sister, it might be might be a little easier, because less

Jess Cantelon:

She was three, and so she went through

Jeff Futers:

Yeah less memory beforehand.

Jess Cantelon:

through the JK/Sk system.

Jeff Futers:

That's what she knew.

Jess Cantelon:

So that's what whe knew, yeah,

Jeff Futers:

Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Great. Well, so you, you're part of the congregation, your dad's there for a number of years, and then you you move back to Canada. But that wasn't the end of your Israel story. You mentioned that, that eventually, you sort of track back in that direction. Tell us a little bit about how that happened. And were you married before you went back?

Jess Cantelon:

Yes, yes.

Jeff Futers:

You were.

Jess Cantelon:

Oh, so when I left? I was 12. And I remember having a very clear sense at 12 that I was going to be back, it wasn't a question. I just knew I'd go back. Now. I'm not a you know, crazy Israel guy. I think that it's just a place where I grew up. For me it's you know, if you grew up in London, Ontario, be like London, Ontario, Jerusalem is my home city. So I know pretty much every nook and cranny. And you know, I've we spent our Saturdays you know, let's say eating breakfast, kissing Mom, dad goodbye and coming back for dinner. And in between, we just be everywhere in the city, with our skateboards and with our bus tickets. And, and we'd just have to check in at lunch. And just like make a phone call at lunch. Just say that we're okay. And that's it. It's all we did. Right. So I mean, I, I basically had free rein, you know, the life life is changed it's not as free now. In terms of parents there are just as nervous as parents here now, so it's, but it wasn't like that when we were growing up. Right? Um, but yeah, so I 12 I had the sense that I was I was going to be back and and it wasn't until I was 28 and a whole string of events happened. I was youth pastoring in Toronto. I was a worship leader in a church plant in Toronto. Both those jobs kind of ended concurrently while it. While that was happening, I was renovating my house to sell it. And Jamie Hilsden came to visit. And it was just talking about we were just talking about life, he helped me renovate and he's a good old friend, and he, he said that he was chatting with his dad. His dad was saying that they wanted to have a, an evening of worship in Jerusalem. And he wanted... his dad wanted Jamie to do it. And Jamie said, I don't think I'm the guy. I think Jess, Jess should do it. And anyway, just one of those conversations and I ended up calling, calling Wayne and saying, Hey what do you think about us coming to join you in Israel? He called me back the next day. I just left a message he called me back the next day and said yeah, let's do it. And I said okay. I said, Well, give me give me a few months because there was a big conference that was happening with the Anglicans at the end of the summer that was gonna be quite a catalytic conference in terms of the direction of the sort of the new movement within Anglicanism. In terms of, well it's kind of it's the ancient movement, but the more conservative orthodox movement, and, and we wanted to be a part of that, we had a pretty strong calling to them as well. But I called them back within a within a day because my wife said, You know what, Jess, I think we should just do it. And if your wife who has lived in Brampton, her whole life, says, Let's go to Israel, you got to figure it's the Lord. So I thought, I thought at this point, I said, Okay, let's go for it. And, and we'll see, see what happens. And so we moved to Israel with our 18 month old. And it was, you know, a whole other whole other experience.

Jeff Futers:

You, you mentioned about your wife, on two different occasions. First, my first trip to Israel, that I really wasn't all that excited about going on. It was my wife, who told me to smarten up and just go because she said it was an opportunity to go with my dad. And she said, When are you gonna ever have an opportunity like this again, to travel, you know, somewhere overseas with your dad? And I was like, oh, okay, whatever. You know, and but that that trip changed my life and and then when we were approached about being involved with First Century Foundations, I was dragging my heels again. And she just looked at me one day and said, what, I don't understand what you're waiting for you. This, this is what you were made to do. You know, like, she said, You've talked about Israel and traveled back and forth Israel all these years. What? Why? So So yeah, wives are all knowing and ever wise is what I say.

Jess Cantelon:

The Lord knew what he was doing.

Jeff Futers:

Yeah. Question about your wife. Where'd you go on your honeymoon?

Jess Cantelon:

Israel? Yeah, Israel.

Jeff Futers:

I knew the answer that question, but I wanted to

Jess Cantelon:

Great, leading question. I my, basically the tour, the tour guide, who did business with my dad for, you know, 20 some odd years, decided to bless us with with a wedding gift. And he basically paid for our honeymoon. And so we had this amazing honeymoon, we went for two weeks, we spent a week in Eilat down in the south, and then Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and in Jerusalem we met with Wayne and Ann, and Wayne and Ann were talking about saying, Well, you know, if you're if you're coming, you need to really know that the Lord has called you to come. And Erica looked at me said, What? What do you mean, we just got married, I didn't know we're moving to Israel. Or we decided to go. Oh yeah, we'll be here someday. And she said, well that's something could have known two days ago. Right? or whatever, last week. And anyhow, it was, it was really, really nice. It was nice for Erica to see where I grew up. To understand why I when we're driving on the 401 and I say hey, can you just roll down your window and just point to that person to make sure we can get into the next lane get, move on because there's not enough space? I'm not gonna do that. And thinking it's a shocking thing to communicate with other people on the road while driving. And since then, she's been you know, jumping to it before since we moved to Israel, she's she jumps to it before I do now she ah, you know, Israelis, they just communicate the whole way. They're driving, they're talking, they're yelling, they're pointing. They're certainly not a Canadian thing. So it was good for her to, to understand, have some context for our own cultural clash. You know, she's very British British influence and I'm very Middle Eastern influence. So it's a like you know...

Jeff Futers:

It's great. Well, you bring great perspective to the to that whole journey. I know that when you came back from serving in Jerusalem, you planted the church in Quebec. There was a time that maybe you thought you were going back to Israel for a little while. But that wasn't meant to be. But it was kind of around then that you connected with Clyde and Marion, is that right? With First Century Foundations?

Jess Cantelon:

Actually, it was actually when we went back to Israel in 2004,

Jeff Futers:

Oh it was that early? Okay.

Jess Cantelon:

And so I had, you know, I had this call with, with Wayne. And, and I, then I found out that it was a situation where you had to raise your own funds and all these things. And I thought, Oh, man, what am I going to do? And he said, Well, you should, you should contact Clyde Williamson. And so I, my first meeting, my very first meeting after chatting with Wayne, about going to Israel's with Clyde, and they just ah, they just walked with us the entire time they walked with us through our journey in Israel, and they walked with us as we came back to, to Canada, just as we transitioned back, and they're just, you know, fabulous. They pray for us, they supported us. They just, they're really, really caring when they came to Israel. We'd always visit and have have food and you know, it's I very much value their relationship and, and their ministry and your ministry, you know, it's made a big impact in our life. So...

Jeff Futers:

They certainly have left an incredible legacy. And, you know, this is kind of the year that we're that we're officially watching Clyde pull back a little bit, but we're putting together a bit of a video project. I haven't told him yet. Hopefully, he doesn't listen to the podcast, but we've, you know, gotten greetings from a lot of a lot of the folks in Israel and, and so COVID has changed how we're going to celebrate them, unfortunately. But we want to be able to do that and and do that well, they're great, folks. That's cool. So now you're you're back. You're in Barrie. You know, you're you're pastoring, one of the local churches. I can say here, because I live here too. But you pastor one of the local churches here and what does that look like? And and how how has your, I guess your Israel experience your Israel journey impacted? Any and all of that?

Jess Cantelon:

Yeah, well, it's interestingly, I mean, while while we were sort of thinking about going back to Israel after church planting in Quebec, we, we went to Israel for a few months, just to do a sabbatical. And, and I started doing I started a video...this video project that I mentioned earlier in the, in the, in the episode, just to, to communicate with a local church weekly, just to say, Hey, you know, this is this where this happened. And here's a short little five minute teaching with my iPhone, that's what I was thinking of doing. But I shared the the thought, the idea with my leadership, and my overseers. And they said, I love this idea, but I want you to do it for all of Canada. And and then the other guy said, I also want you to do it for the States. And so suddenly, I had a big audience, and I had to actually do a good job. So I bought some equipment and learned how to edit. And it was this the first episode we did, took me 70 hours to put together. And then, you know, 60 hours, 50 hours, I did 10 weeks in a row while we're on sabbatical. And it was a really great experience, you know, it's it's called Israel video project, you can check out the israelvideoproject.com if you want to see the episodes, but we did. We were working on 3rd season right now, I just released a video last week, third episode of the third season. So we have 10 episodes in the first season that follow the Torah Portion, which is the weekly liturgical readings that the Jews follow on, at their synagogues. Right. So I did one Torah Portion per week. The next season, we started off on the Mount of Transfiguration, which I believe is Mount Hermon in the north, which is you know, a snow covered ski hill. And so that that episode ended with me snowboarding on the Mount of Transfiguration, but we went from there, and we follow the road to Jerusalem. It's called the road to Jerusalem. But as Jesus resolutely set his face towards Jerusalem and the cross after being transfigured, we kind of follow those stories down, we get to, to Jerusalem right at Easter, Passover. And, and then then we stay there through Pentecost and, and so on. And this last one we, because I was coming to Hiway, to Hiway Church, and we I thought it would be fun to do a little series based on the highways in Israel. So I take one of the stories that would have taken place on the highway or like the road to Emmaus or so on. And then I go from there. So anyway, it's it's been, it's been a lot of fun doing that. And, and when I, so we didn't go to Israel, we ended up coming to Barrie. And, and they, you know, understood that I also do this Israel Video Project as a church. And so they said, yeah, we love that we want you to do that, and lead us as, as our pastor. So I get to do everything I want to do, right, I get to pastor preach, teach, lead a team, and I get to do these Israel Video Projects. And, you know, just invest in that as well. So it's been, it's been a really great season, and we're enjoying, it's a great church. About 400, 500 people, and, you know, COVID has been a very interesting season. It's hard to track anything at this point. But, you know, it's it's 100 year old Pentecostal church, and they're responsible for planting pretty much all the Pentecostal churches in the area. And they have a great heritage. And they're, you know, they have, they've been through seasons and exciting season to be with them right now. And, and, and see, see how it goes. Great team, great atmosphere, very welcoming, and very international, too. I mean, that's, that's interesting, too. And just being having the Israeli side of me, I can relate to a lot of immigrants and all that. So we have I think 28 nations represented at the church. And it's, it's, I think it's really healthy, multi generational. It's been a it's been a fun, fun chapter so far.

Jeff Futers:

That's great. Two questions. One is about the third season of the Israel Video Project. I'm kind of curious, maybe it's a surprise, you know, how do you pull that off remotely?

Jess Cantelon:

Oh, okay. That's a good question. Well, what I did is I, every time I go to Israel, I try to record at least a few episodes. And and then I have to, you know, edit them. So these are recorded, I guess, a year ago, just

Jeff Futers:

Okay, great.

Jess Cantelon:

Last November. And then I just edit them and, and put them out there. So

Jeff Futers:

I wish I had had the, I wish I had had the forethought to do that.

Jess Cantelon:

I only have I only have one more to do I think one more, you know episodes worth but then I have to get back there to do some more. But

Jeff Futers:

Yeah, yeah. Well, we are in faith, actually, my, my wife, my assistant, who is my wife also is working right now on on booking some flights for April. We're just gonna, I said to her, I've got to plan something. And so I've been trying to get in touch with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism to figure out, you know, what guidelines would be and what they're thinking about for the future, but hoping and praying that those numbers come down, and we can actually get back there because it's been over a year, and I'm getting a little antsy. But

Jess Cantelon:

It's tough to have an Israel ministry without access, you know, and

Jeff Futers:

No, for sure.

Jess Cantelon:

Especially when we want to, you know, I mean, we have a very similar thing I, you know, I want to connect the church with Israel and Israel with the church, you know, and so and you want to, that's very similar to you to what you feel called to do, especially connecting the church with Israel part. And that's, you know, it's hard to do that. Right. If you can't get them there. You can't be there with the people, you know it's tough.

Jeff Futers:

Yep. So we're hoping. Hey, last thing, because I know, I want to respect the time here, not just for you, but for our listeners as well. But last thing. You're, you're pastoring a church now here in Canada. And you know, you grew up in Israel. So it's a little different for you though, the pull, the pull to Israel is is very different for you than it is for a lot of people. But what do you say to, you know, to most Christians say to a Christian who, like I was would say, Well, yeah, I don't know if I really need to go to Israel. I'm not sure what the value would be in all of that. What's the connection between well, Israel and the church as you put it, and why should it be important for Christians to to consider having this experience?

Jess Cantelon:

Yeah, well, it's a long answer, but I mean, it's kind of like having a baby. And before you have a baby, you don't know how amazing it is to have a baby. Right? You think? Yeah, whatever I could have. I could be a dad maybe someday I don't know. Then you have a baby, and it changes your life. You can't imagine a life before that and you know, going to Israel is similar in that what it does is, is it shows you that your faith is not just something made up in your imagination. It's not just something you sense with, you know, the goosebumps, or whatever it is you get when you're worshiping. And there's something practical, meaty attached to our faith, right? When Jesus comes back, he's not returning to Manhattan, he's returning to Jerusalem. And so that when you go to Israel, you suddenly encounter with the, with the geographical reality, the historical reality, the eschatological reality. And that matters. The geography suddenly makes sense, you realize that God is, is, has worked his salvation out geographically, throughout history. And suddenly all these things will come together, and you'll realize, Hey, wait a second, this is a lot more real than than I had ever imagined. And, you know, and and that too, also, I would say that, theologically, you, you your view of the story changes and realizing that, you know, God is faithful, we know that God is faithful today, because he has been faithful. Right. He was faithful to Abraham, he made a promise to Abraham and kept us he renewed that promise with the sons with Moses with David, Jesus also gave a promise, which fulfilled all those promises. And, and God will be faithful to see those promises through to the end, you know, because not not every promises has been, you know, completely accomplished. And, and so we know that, you know, and seeing Israel and seeing that the Lord is doing something there, you see that he's been that he will continue to be faithful to us, here in North America. He's being faithful today still in Israel, and he will be faithful to us as well. So I mean, for me, it just everything for like I said, geography, history, eschatology, theology, has all been impacted by my going to Israel. And I think, if you're watching, you should go too, and I think it, it'll change your life.

Jeff Futers:

Yeah, yeah. Well, that's kind of the thing I try and draw out of everybody that we talk to is, is, you know, this, this experience made a change in me and in my life. And I know that everybody that we have taken, has said almost exactly the same thing. You know, that that some point in the journey, some part of the experience, has impacted them forever, you know, and it's, it's just one of those things that it's hard to put a finger on in a lot of ways. I love how you talk about, you know, the the history, the geography, the eschatology, the theology, those, all of those are such critical points in terms of helping us to understand the Bible from beginning to end. And too often as the church we take and, and North American-ize and contextualize all of those promises Old Testament and New for ourselves. Which, you know, I say to people, it's okay, if you want to apply some of those some of those promises to Israel to to us as the church we have been grafted into Israel, but not at the expense of Israel, you know, not at the expense of of what God meant for Israel and for the Jewish people. And so that's amazing. I appreciate you so much for taking this time today. And, and recording this podcast with us. Thanks for being with us. And any last thoughts you want to share?

Jess Cantelon:

I'm just grateful that you had me on the show. I mean, it's awesome. I think it's great that you're doing this and I think that, you know, you're ah, this whole season of ministry that you're entering into now with, with Clyde, you know, being honored as and stepping back a little it's, it's exciting for you. And I think it's, you know, you're carrying on a great, great heritage. This has been a huge, this, this ministry has big impact and difference. So looking forward to our relationship in the future, too.

Jeff Futers:

Yeah, well, thank you very much, just and we only hope that we can lead as well into the future as as things have been led to this point and we are praying and believing that the impact will grow. You know, my my vision and heart is that is that we grow our ministry so that more ministries in Israel can be helped and equipped to do the work that God has called them to do there on the ground in the land. So thanks so much again. And God bless.

Jess Cantelon:

Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Futers:

Hey, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Jess Cantelon today. It's so great to hear from someone who spent part of his childhood in Israel went back as an adult to serve there at King of Kings Community for seven or so years and still really has a passion and carries the vision for our connection to the land of Israel. The Israel Video Project that he mentioned is the ministry that he is involved in right now while being lead pastor in the city of Barrie, Ontario, Canada. And so I encourage you to check out the Israel Video Project. That's Israelvideoproject.com. And you will want to see some of those teaching videos that Jess does on location in the land of Israel. Just wanted to mention a couple of, I guess, commercial items for First Century Foundations. We remind you, of course, always that we are a ministry, and a charity that helps other ministries in the land of Israel. We are involved in very many special projects, humanitarian aid projects, practical projects for congregations, and so many other things that are helping Christians, helping Messianic believers, they're in the land of Israel to do the work of the ministry that God has called them to do. I want to let you know that Giving Tuesday is coming up, we're going to be talking about Giving Tuesday on our social media and web campaigns over the next month or so. And Giving Tuesday is December the first. If you could mark your calendars for that, we would encourage you to be ready on December the first after, you know Black Friday, and Cyber Monday to be ready to do something generous and do something good for someone else in the world. And we encourage you to consider helping ministries in Israel on Giving Tuesday this year. And then also Christmas is coming. And our Miraculous Victories of Israel documentary series is available. It's there on our website, miraculousvictories com. And so I encourage you to go check that out. And there are three episodes that are completed. The other three will be completed soon. And we just encourage you to pick those up. Maybe you want to use them as a Christmas gift for someone who loves Israel, loves biblical history and archaeology. These are incredible documentaries that outline God's intervention on behalf of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel over the centuries since Biblical times until now and so we encourage you to check that out. So great to have you tuning in with us today. And remember, as Christians we stand with Israel.