Dear faithful friend,
Shalom in the wonderful name of Jesus our Messiah. My wife Zhava and I, and the entire global staff of Your Mission to the Jewish People, wish you a happy New Year and pray 2024 will be a joy-filled and fruitful year of service for you and your family.
We cannot thank you enough for your generous prayers and support over the past year.
I just returned from a week’s ministry in Israel. It was difficult but also a privilege to hear about the burdens and suffering of our staff and the many Israelis who needed to evacuate their homes. There are still more than 200,000 displaced Israelis who could not remain near the southern and northern borders because of the constant bombardment of rockets fired from Gaza and Lebanon.
Our staff has been active 24/7. They are bringing food to hungry Holocaust survivors, initiating children’s programs for those kids unable to attend school in person, and meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of Israelis.
I spent quite a bit of time praying with our staff for the hostages and their friends and family, elderly Holocaust survivors, young adults, and soldiers. We especially prayed for those with friends and family who lost their lives or were seriously injured on and since October 7.
After spending a week talking to Israelis on the ground, I am more convinced than before my trip they are now looking toward heaven more than ever before for the answers to life’s deepest problems and for the comfort they seek.
The Future of the Hamas-Israel War
We know the conflict will continue but expect it will de-intensify over the next few months, though some say the overall operation might take as long as a year. These precious Israelis, especially the younger people, will now face many years of difficult recovery. It might be decades—if not longer—before they will feel like they can trust the Israeli government, military and intelligence services, and their next-door neighbors. If there is one common theme uniting Israelis today, from young adults to elderly Holocaust survivors, it is the overwhelming sense of insecurity. They cannot overcome their now-apparent vulnerability!
Israelis do not really know where to turn to regain the sense of stability they felt before October 7. In some ways, I feel the same way about October 7, 2023, as I do about September 11, 2001! That day changed my life and transformed an entire generation of Americans. As someone who lived and ministered through this tragedy, I met many in Israel, including members of our staff, who felt like life would never be the same after October 7. I imagine it is similar to how I cannot look up at the New York City skies when I hear the roar of a plane without feeling just a little twinge of anxiety in the depths of my soul. For me, the skies were friendly and New York City skyscrapers, including the Twin Towers, were signs of America’s strength, not weakness. Yet, planes flying gracefully over Manhattan remind me how easily a seemingly harmless event can turn into an attack in a matter of seconds.
God did bring healing to our country, and I believe He will do the same for Israel! I know the sting of defeat and death will grow slightly dimmer as time goes by, and many Israelis will return to a somewhat tenuous normal. They will return to work, go to school, celebrate the holidays, get married, have babies, and improve their lives. It will take time, but it will happen, as God made our people so very resilient.
We hope, pray, and strive to introduce Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Comforter to Israelis as they persevere through this challenging future. Therefore, we are taking four significant steps in the days ahead. We have our eyes on the future of ministry in Israel.
- We are increasing our staff in Israel as the events of October 7 have caused some younger Israeli believers to make serving Jesus more of a priority than ever before.
- We are continuing to build out and furnish our new Tel Aviv Messianic Center and hope to have it done in the next six months, as God provides the funding and labor!
- We are placing more online ads than ever before, and you can see at the end of this letter some examples of our Hebrew Facebook campaign through which we are connecting with hundreds of hurting Israelis looking for answers.
- We are nurturing our staff families by providing counseling opportunities, family retreats, and much more to help them develop coping skills for themselves and for helping others.
Please pray for and support these efforts. Especially pray for our beloved staff in Israel during the difficult days of healing ahead, as well as for those innocent among the people of Gaza who are suffering because of the actions of Hamas.
One Hundred and Thirty Years and Counting!
By the way, did you know Your Mission to the Jewish People is entering our 130th year of ministry? Hallelujah! I often meet believers who think Chosen People Ministries started within the last few decades. A few months ago, I was even introduced as the founder of Chosen People Ministries. I told the group I was a “well-preserved” founder!
Actually, I am the seventh leader of this great mission to Jewish people, and I am privileged to continue our founder Rabbi Leopold Cohn’s vision of reaching God’s chosen people with the gospel.
Remembering God’s hand throughout our history gives us strength in tough times.
Chosen People Ministries persevered through two world wars, the Great Depression, the Holocaust, the wars following Israel’s establishment as a modern nation, the fall of the Soviet Union, and many more life-changing events. We not only survived hard times but thrived! Why? Because God is faithful to His people and always keeps His promises. God Himself wants Jewish people to come to know Him through Jesus! We will endure the war with Gaza and the terrible events of October 7, 2023, but we will need your prayers and support to do it!
Since the founding of our Mission in 1894, our love for Jesus and our theology have not changed, nor have we veered off course from our mission to reach Jewish people with the gospel. We continue to field new missionaries, plant new congregations, establish centers for outreach, and we now have ministries in twenty countries around the globe.
What a thrill to be part of God’s covenant faithfulness to Jewish people!
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 1:16, written by the apostle Paul. I like to remind our greater Chosen People Ministries family—including you!—of this passage every January. We begin the new year by rededicating ourselves to the task of bringing the message of Jesus to Jewish people first, and also to the Gentiles. As the apostle wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16).
I am excited and optimistic during these difficult days because the Lord uses times like these to open the hearts of Jewish people. We cannot and must not slow down or reduce our ministry because times are hard.
We must press forward, with hearts resting in His grace and filled with His Spirit. Through Him, we will continue this great work of reaching His chosen people for His Son in Israel and around the globe.
Light Shines Brightest in Darkness
Thank you so much for being part of Chosen People Ministries through your prayers and financial support. As the Lord promised, He has been faithful to His chosen people. Just think—we are still less than a century past the horrific decimation of the Jewish people in the Holocaust. But as God promised in the Scriptures, Jewish people survived, and over the last several decades, tens of thousands have come to know Jesus as their Messiah.
Praise God—Chosen People Ministries staff members are praying with many Jewish people each year to receive the Lord! I believe the future is bright because the promises of God are true! So, rejoice with me as you see your prayers answered, and please continue to pray for and partner with Your Mission to the Jewish People as we look toward advancing the future of evangelism to God’s chosen people.
Would you also consider giving a generous gift this month to help us kick off our 130th year of missionary service among Jewish people?
Thanks for being part of Chosen People Ministries and for praying for the peace of Jerusalem.