GLENNVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – A Glennville man stuck in the middle of the Israel-Hamas conflict says he’s not leaving, feeling called to be in Jerusalem by his faith.
“I knew I might not come back from here when I came,” said Trent Sikes, a faith leader and martial arts instructor.
He’s been in Israel for nearly a month.
“I had a feeling something could happen if I came here, and I came anyway,” said Sikes. “I was called to this place, and I meet Christians walking the streets here and they say the same thing.”
Sikes’ trip started as a tour of the Christian Holy Land. He’s staying in Jerusalem which is mostly untouched by the warfare.
He heard the initial assault on the country.
“I didn’t really see any of that, but you could feel the concussion of the blast and it was shaking the windows and stuff like that,” said Sikes.
The city, once filled with music and Jewish holiday celebrations, is now much emptier as flights take off tourists and Israelis young and old suited up for war.
“As the days wore on and the gravity and the magnitude of the situation became clearer and clearer, you would see people crying in the streets,” said Sikes. “Most of them knew somebody that had been affected by it.”
In the days since, he’s been trying to help out by showing foreigners to the airport, escorting those too scared to walk alone, and praying throughout.
“It’s taken a toll on them, but they’re a very resilient people,” said Sikes.
He says he feels safe enough to walk outside. Hearing air raid sirens on the streets one day, he had 60 seconds to find shelter. A young Israeli man called out to him in English to hide with him.
“It just kind of shows that we were all in this together,” said Sikes. “It wouldn’t matter if we were like Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, whatever. These people are shooting rockets indiscriminately. They don’t care who it hits. It could be anybody.”
Sikes plans on staying through his pilgrimage until the end of the month.
“I still don’t know why I’m here. I’m just trying to be a good ambassador for Christ and America and help the people here.”