Mike Isley is an official born and bred Texan from Amarillo. At an early age, Mike was introduced to the Jewish culture, and quickly developed a great appreciation and respect for his Jewish brothers and sisters. After attending his first Passover in high school, Mike, along with his friends, Vance Esler, Larry Latham, and Robert Bauman, attended their first trip to Israel during college. In May 1985, Mike traveled back to Israel with his church, a journey which ultimately inspired him to learn more about Israel and Jews. This particular adventure made him realize how important Israel is as a whole, and the Bible truly became alive to him. Mike has since traveled all over the world, but always finds himself coming back to Israel.
In 2006, Mike traveled became friends with Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz, Israeli Defense Force soldiers. This began what is known today as Texans for Israel. In his heart, Mike believes these two influential men were the impetus behind the establishment of Texans for Israel. Through this organization, Mike continues to tell the story of Israel, support its people, and stand for the Torah, the instruction, and the word of God.
Larry Latham retired from a family insurance company in 2011, yet has stayed extremely active in several businesses and organizations. His passion is to support and be a part of the army of evangelism to serve humanity, foster people’s relationships with God and encourage others to follow in Christ’s footsteps.
Larry unearthed his love for Israel while attending the University of Texas after taking Bible classes with Dr. Roy Blizzard. This is when Larry vividly realized God gave His one and only son to die for the sins of all people — not just one race or religion. Larry joined, and is now a supporter of Campus Crusades for Christ.
Larry understands and lives from Genesis, knowing not only that God chose His people, but also His land. "Those who bless will be blessed, and those who curse will be cursed" (Genesis 12:3), shows how Larry feels about the land of Israel.
Dr. Vance Esler
Dr. Vance Esler is a medical doctor who specializes in hematology and stem cell transplantation, with a special interest in bleeding and clotting disorders, leukemias and lymphomas. Dr. Esler has served as a director of the American Cancer Society and was a founding director of the Amarillo Care Net Pregnancy Center and the Panhandle Cancer Cure Foundation.
Cindy Curtis was a caring homemaker and mother of five children until they left the nest. She has been a member of Texans for Israel since the beginning. She taught childbirth classes for 23 years, and in the past 5 years has also been working with Betty Swann Ministries and Pennies from Heaven. She is also on the Board of Advisors for Carenet Crisis Pregnancy Center of Amarillo, Texas.
Cindy accepts the Bible as completely true, and that it states God chose Israel as His dwelling place and the Jews as His chosen people, as well as the apple of His eye. She supports the mission statement of Texans for Israel by loving the land, the people, and the word of God.
Cindy believes that it would be beneficial for everyone in the world to look into what God says about Israel, and take it to heart as well as into action.
John Upshaw was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. In the 1950s, his parents moved to the farm where he currently resides. He earned a degree in agriculture from West Texas A&M University and has been flying planes since the 1970s. He now is farming full-time southeast of Amarillo with his wife Alice, who teaches accounting at WTAMU.
John has been a believer in Israel for nearly four decades. He first gained a love for Israel while reading Psalms. The stories of the people and places unfamiliar to him struck a curiosity for knowledge in John. He started reading Genesis 1:1 and began to place more emphasis on the Tanakh in his studies. He learned more about the history of Israel from the Bible, as well as the importance of Israel today and in prophecy.
John is a part of Texans for Israel because his love for his salvation through Israel in Yeshua, and the opportunity to help Israel, God's chosen land, in any way he can.
Josh Wood has been a Managing Partner at Wood Financial, a family owned business, for 10 years. He is happily married to his wife, Careese, and together they have 7 children. He is an author, blogger, and is actively involved with the community.
Josh has always felt a strong tie to the land and the people of Israel, and is honored to serve them in any small way he can. Josh became involved with Texans for Israel thanks to his friend, Mike Isley, in 2008.
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