NEW LIFE AT THE DEAD SEA
Our dedicated Israel staff member Maxim led a trip to the Dead Sea with a group of over 50 Holocaust survivors. They enjoyed ample time for rest and fellowship, and under Maxim's direction, there was a gentle sharing of the Gospel and prayer. However, the day the group was to return home to Sderot, which is near the border with Gaza, the town was under attack from rocket fire. Maxim called the Israeli Home Front Command, and they advised him to delay the group's return to Sderot. With God's help, they were able to stay for another three nights in the hotel by the Dead Sea - and during that time, an 88-year-old woman opened her heart to Messiah.
SANDY'S RIPPLES REACH EVEN TO ISRAEL
Staff member Justin Kron, who was leading a trip to Israel at the time Hurricane Sandy hit, had the opportunity to meet Deborah* while on a boat off the shores of Eilat in Southern Israel. Deborah had chosen to extend her stay in Israel because her high-rise building in lower Manhattan was without power. Justin writes, "She was alone, and was clearly interested in chatting to pass the time during our four-hour excursion. One topic led to another, and eventually spiritual issues came up. Deborah was very interested in knowing why I thought that Jesus is the Messiah. Before we parted, she asked for more information."
MESSIANIC JEWISH ISRAEL CONFERENCE IN GERMANY BLESSES HUNDREDS
Vladimir Pikman, our Germany Director, reports that the first Messianic Jewish Israel Conference that he and his co-workers organized was a huge blessing. He writes, "It was the first conference that united all the Messianic leaders of Germany in our outreach to German society. We experienced unprecedented unity in the Spirit. Hundreds of participants who joined us for this event were deeply impressed by the love of Yeshua (Jesus) visible there. The conference has not only strengthened the Messianic movement and Jewish outreach, but also was a great testimony of the Messiah."
Vladimir also reports that a Jewish man - a friend of a woman whom Vladimir had led to the Lord only weeks earlier - visited the Messianic congregation. He approached Vladimir after the service and said, "Svetlana,* my colleague, told me about Yeshua. She is so excited about Him. I need Him, too!" He then prayed with Vladimir to receive the Lord.
PLEASE PRAY FOR PORTLAND OUTREACH WORKERS
Chosen People Ministries' volunteer outreach workers in the Portland, Oregon region have been experiencing difficulties bearing witness to the Gospel of Messiah. Security staff has been escorting them out of large events in public parks, even though there is a federal court injunction confirming the right of Chosen People Ministries and other religious speakers to attend such events and distribute literature. Please pray that First Amendment rights would be upheld in Portland and elsewhere, without the need for further litigation.
YOUNG LEADERS GET MUCHAN (READY)
Paris was site of the second Muchan (Hebrew: Ready) Conference for Messianic Young Adults from around the world. Over 160 young adults came from 16 countries to learn together, to praise the Lord and to take daring steps for Him. The speakers from Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Israel and the United States shared stories, Bible teaching and exhorted one another to step out in boldness for the Lord. We pray that the young adult leaders in their communities who came will become even more motivated to share the Gospel. Rachel, one of Chosen People Ministries' gifted young leaders, reflected afterward, "We ate some great croissants and baguettes but most of all, the sweet sound of young people praising the Lord in English, French, Russian and Hebrew will be a lasting memory."
* name changed
Food Recipient at Soup Kitchen Looks Up to Heaven
Every week, over seventy people are treated like royalty at the Netanya Soup Kitchen. Each person is served a home-cooked, sit-down meal and receives packages of beautiful fruits, vegetables and high-quality bread to take home. Every seat is full, as we also bless them with live, comforting, Spirit-filled music during their meal.
We also give out cards with a Scripture verse printed that says either, "That if you confess with your mouth Yeshua (Jesus) as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9), or "...whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). These are written in Hebrew, Russian and English.
The Scripture cards also have numbers, and we put them into a hat. Our dear guests take turns picking them out, one at a time. The numbers determine the order in which the take-home packages are received. One week, a particular lady was about to put her hand into the hat to pick a number. She first looked up to heaven, said a prayer and pulled out the card with number one. With a huge smile, she said, "Thank you God! Thank you God!" I was able tell her that God is real and that she should always turn to Him and He will hear her prayers. Many people sitting around her witnessed this simple yet powerful event.
Praise the Lord for using these simple tools and acts of love and kindness to open the eyes and hearts of our people to Yeshua and His eternal salvation. Please keep us and our guests at the soup kitchen in your prayers. If you want to take some further steps, come volunteer with us!
Hanukkah at the Netanya Dry Food Distribution Center
We are serving over 300 people with six tons of food every month at our distribution center in the Open Market of Netanya. This is a huge task that takes many hours and many volunteers to get the job done.
Jewish biblical holidays are especially fun for us as a family and in front-line ministry to our Israeli people. The holidays give us the opportunity to point to our Messiah Yeshua. For example, when we lit the Hanukkah candles and had the menorah on our desk for everyone to see, we praised the Lord for sending His Eternal Light into the world to give us salvation in Yeshua. I sit with each person who comes, offering a caring ear to listen as many of them share their difficult situations. As we serve the Lord Yeshua with all our hearts, we do not even have to look for opportunities to share His love, as they come to us automatically - hundreds of them every month.
People often ask us for prayer for their health conditions, their family members, or their financial difficulties. They always leave with a sense that we care for them and love them unconditionally. Most of the time, they also go with a smile on their face, thanking us and thanking God for the bags of food they receive, which cost roughly twenty-five dollars apiece. Recently, several people have also asked us to visit them in their homes. Please pray for all these wonderful opportunities. God is good and always provides for His perfect purposes.
A Day Under Fire in Sderot
It is very scary to be under rocket attack. One particular day, when the siren sounded yet again, we had to drop everything and run for a shelter. Our apartment is not equipped with one, and we couldn't reach a safe place in time. One of the rockets fell not far from our house and the explosion was very powerful, but the Lord kept us safe. We all were very frightened, but we were blessed with the opportunity to witness about God's love to people.
We were able to bring three groups out of the city and away from the rocket attacks. The first group consisted of elderly Holocaust survivors from Sderot. The second was children from Ashkelon, for whom we arranged a vacation in Jerusalem. The third was a group of single mothers with their kids, for whom we organized a nice trip away from the constant sirens. It was a great time to share that God loves them very much. A few of them asked us to pray for them, and one of them made a commitment to read the Bible.
In Ashdod, we contacted the local municipality and offered to provide food packages for those in need. Several times, I have received calls from the deputy mayor's office with a request to deliver packages to needy people's homes. One was a woman with four children, pregnant with the fifth, whose husband had been called up to the army. She was scared to leave the house with the children, and she couldn't leave them with anybody else. Her food supplies ran out quickly and she turned to us - so I brought a food package to their home.
We are grateful to those who were praying and are still praying for us! Praise the Lord!
Yoked Together in Messiah's Ministry
Eugene and Victoria L. were born in different parts of the former Soviet Union and raised in atheistic Jewish families. As a result, they considered Jesus to be nothing more than a Jewish teacher who lived long ago and then died. However, God had a plan for both of them. Eugene immigrated to Israel in the beginning of 1991. On the way to Israel somebody gave him a Bible, which he read to find out more about the history of the Jewish people, carefully avoiding reading from the New Testament. While in Jerusalem, he had a spiritual experience, after which he decided to read the "Christian" part of the Bible. He was surprised to find it was written almost in its entirety by Jews, for Jews, and about the Jewish Messiah. After a few more years of searching, he asked Yeshua to come into his life and guide him as a true disciple.
Victoria, who had lived in Israel since 1993, became a follower of Yeshua while visiting her family back in Belarus. She met and married Eugene after she returned to Israel, when she came to a congregation in Jaffa where Eugene was already serving.
In addition to personal evangelism and leading Bible studies, Eugene serves with Chosen People Ministries in Israel through a wide variety of ministries - including food distribution, congregational work, ministry among Holocaust survivors, and organizing and leading biblical tours for tourists from different churches from around the world. Victoria is not only a loving wife and mother to their three daughters, but is also a faithful ministry partner.
A First-Hand Report from Israel
Dear friend in the Messiah,
I just got back from Israel, where I spent an exciting week encouraging our staff and working on our Israel-based Isaiah 53 Campaign.
We already have the Isaiah 53 Explained book translated into both Hebrew and Russian, which is critical as so many of the open-hearted Jewish Israelis are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. I am thankful to God that Your Mission to the Jewish People has been on the cutting edge of Russian Jewish ministries in Israel!
Thank you for your prayers and support so this can become a reality.
The great prophecy in Ezekiel 36-37 teaches that in the last days Jewish people will return to the Land of Promise in unbelief - and then, once in the Land, the "dry bones will be clothed with flesh" and the Spirit of God will animate the bones with His life!
I believe we are witnessing the beginning of this movement in Israel today. Please allow me to share a few ways your support has helped to "prepare the way."
- We have been serving the Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel by starting congregations where they can grow in their faith.
- We have also ministered to elderly Russian Jewish Holocaust survivors by providing food staples and hot meals, taking them on trips, and leading Bible studies.
- We have ministered to the next generation of Russian Israelis through children's ministry; hundreds of these kids have participated in our camps and dozens have come to the Lord.
- We have also ministered to some who are really "down and out" in our drug rehabilitation programs through our Tel Aviv Messianic Center. It is wonderful to see God at work in these mostly young people's lives - many have been saved, baptized, and are now part of our growing congregations in Tel Aviv and Ashkelon.
It might be best for you to hear this story of God's power and grace unleashed in Israel directly from one of the Russian Jewish believers who was brought back to the Land of Israel by the hand of God and raised to new life by the Holy Spirit. His name is Maxim, and he is no stranger to the hardships of life. Born with a physical disability that made it impossible for him to walk until the age of nine, Maxim is a beautiful example of how, through faith in Messiah, suffering can be transformed into compassionate service.
Maxim's Ministry to Holocaust Survivors
Here is Maxim's first-hand account of one of his missionary journeys:
"We had the opportunity to take a group of 56 people living in the town of Sderot for a time of refreshment away from the threat of bombs being launched from nearby Gaza. These were elderly people who had survived the Holocaust. During our time together, we had lovely conversations, sang songs, read the Bible, and shared our testimonies. Many of the people in the group were seeking answers to deep spiritual questions and asking for prayer for themselves and their loved ones who had remained in the city. Each of our beloved guests was presented with a Bible, and some of them immediately began to read and share their experiences. The greatest gift was an 88-year-old woman who opened her heart to receive Yeshua (Jesus). She had already participated in various events we organized in the past and on this trip, she made the most important decision of her life!"
Your Prayers and Support Will Fuel a Movement!
Thanks for your faithful and generous support and for your prayers for this growing movement of God! The Lord is doing amazing things among these precious, formerly atheistic Jewish people. It is nothing short of a miracle to see tens of thousands coming to faith in Jesus during these last days. I could not have been more encouraged by my trip to Israel!
There are so many more stories of ministry being carried out by those who are at the heart of this great ministry, but I do not have space to tell them all. I can only ask you to please pray for the following:
- For the preparations for the Isaiah 53 Campaign in Israel - in Hebrew and Russian
- For the growing Russian-language congregations in both Tel Aviv and Ashkelon
- For the many poor and elderly Russian Jewish Holocaust survivors to come to faith and become not only Ezekiel 36, but also Ezekiel 37 people!
- For the $10,000 we need each month to pay for the rent and operations of our Center in Tel Aviv, and for other costs that are needed to continue this great and prophetic work in Israel
Ministry to Holocaust survivors
We Live in Exciting Days
We have only seen the beginning of the fulfillment of these end-time promises - so we should not be surprised that the Jewish people are back in the Promised Land or that their return has been in unbelief. God has preserved His people and has brought them back to the Land. As His word is always true, we must believe that the spiritual and then physical restoration promised by Ezekiel is in the wings.
Thanks again for your love and generosity that enable us to do the Lord's work among Jewish people now living in the Holy Land - and all around the world!
Warmly in our Messiah,
P.S. It costs us about $300 per day to run the Tel Aviv Center. Would you consider taking on one day's expense as a personal, family or even home group project? You can click here to give a gift online. Whatever part you can play in joining hands with us and with the Lord Himself in these last days will be deeply appreciated!
Shalom - I hope your New Year has started well!
I don't know about you, but watching the news and reading first-hand accounts from our staff members in Israel makes me believe that we are very close to the Lord's return! The world is ready... you and I are ready, and our hearts cry out, Maranatha - come Lord Jesus!
But until He comes, we have work to do! May I take a quick moment and let you know what your Mission to the Jewish people, Chosen People Ministries, plans on doing this year? Over the next few months, I will tell you more of what God is doing specifically around the Jewish world - but for now, allow me to focus on two critical areas which are currently home to the majority of the Jewish population: New York City and Israel.
Ministries in the Greater New York Area
We are getting very close to completing the renovation of the 14,000-square-foot building God has given us in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn. As I have mentioned in the past, the Center will house both our ongoing work in Brooklyn as well as our Feinberg training program. We still need some additional funding, especially to outfit the building with good educational technology, sound systems, furniture for the dormitories, classroom space, etc. I will send more information about these opportunities in the near future.
I do want to let you know that we will be dedicating the new Charles Feinberg Center during the entire week of the Festival of Tabernacles in 2013. King Solomon dedicated the Temple at this same time, and we thought it would be a wonderful season to dedicate this new facility for God's holy purposes.
The dedication celebration will begin on Wednesday, September 18, with the formal dedication scheduled for Sunday afternoon, September 22. Further dedication activities will continue until September 25.
We plan to hold evangelistic outreach concerts, a biblical art show, and a variety of public lectures on subjects like The Gospel in the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah Chapter 53, The Future of Israel According to the Scriptures, and many other important topics.
It is our hope that many Christians from around the country will join us and that we will have many opportunities together to express the love of God through the Messiah Jesus to our religious Jewish neighbors. I will send you more details as we get closer to the date.
We are also continuing to serve many Russian Jews whose lives were shattered by Hurricane Sandy in New York City, especially those who lived near the waterfront in Brooklyn and Staten Island. I have never seen such devastation in New York City, and I'm glad we are able to help many of these Russian Jewish folks put their lives back together.
Ministries in Israel
In a few days, I will be going to Israel to encourage our staff - especially because many of them were living between their homes and the nearest bomb shelter only a short time ago. Life is always stressful for Israelis, including our staff, because of the constant threat of terrorism.
I will also be meeting with those who are going to help us with the Isaiah 53 Campaign in Israel. We have translated the evangelistic book I wrote, Isaiah 53 Explained, into both Hebrew and Russian, and the campaign will be conducted in both languages. I am looking into various media outlets in Israel and searching for the best ways to let Israelis know that this great prophecy in our Hebrew Scriptures has been fulfilled.
I will be visiting several of our Messianic Centers in Israel, including our center in Jerusalem and our rented center in Tel Aviv. I will also visit Sderot, where hundreds of missiles from Gaza terrified many of the elderly Russian Jewish immigrants and Holocaust survivors living there. We continue to have a very effective ministry of practical aid and Gospel outreach in that small city.
Thank you so much for your prayers and generous support of the work that your Mission to the Jewish people is doing around the world - especially in Israel and New York. At this moment, we are praying that the Lord will provide the funds we need to support our centers in both places.
As I look at our budget for 2013, we need a few hundred thousand dollars to complete the renovation project in Brooklyn. I know that the Lord will provide!
Additionally, we provide close to $10,000 each month to maintain our centers in Israel - I cannot do this without your sacrificial support!
I know that we all have tried to be as generous as possible during the month of December, but I am praying that the Lord will lead you to help us continue doing His work in these difficult places - the time is short!
P.S. Your prayers, support and encouragement remind us of His desire for Israel to be saved!