Reaching Wandering Israelis after Military Service
Shalom in the peace of the Messiah! Thank you for taking a few moments to read our current issue of the Chosen People Ministries newsletter. Through our newsletters and other publications, we try to keep you up to date with what is happening within the Jewish community, the State of Israel, and with Your Mission to the Jewish People.
Tel Aviv Update
We deeply appreciate your prayers and support. I want to update you on the new Messianic center in Greater Tel Aviv. We continue to work on two tracks. First, we are now in the fifth month of raising funds for this new facility in the greater Tel Aviv area, which is home to about four million Israelis! Second, we have started construction on the build-out of this commercial space in a brand-new building. We have to add walls, floors, heating and air conditioning, and bathrooms . . . well, you get the picture! This new space will house our Bible studies, weekly outreach events, a café, concerts, future congregational activities, and so much more.
We could not be more excited about the future as openness to the gospel, especially among younger Israelis, is moving like an unstoppable wave across the country. We are doing all we can to make our Messiah known and discipling those who come to faith.
Please pray and join us in building a future for the Messianic movement in Israel through your generous support. There is more information about how you can give toward the new facility at the end of the newsletter.
All Roads Lead to Tel Aviv
Over the past few years, we continued to see the common cultural practice among Israelis of traveling the world after serving in the Israeli military. Thousands of young people explore other countries and cultures, and Your Mission to the Jewish People established youth hostels and teams of staff and volunteers to meet these wonderful young people. We show them the love of Jesus the Messiah through hospitality and by creating a home away from home during their travels. We are now meeting thousands of young Israelis outside of Israel and proclaiming the good news to them as they tour. Once back in Israel, we invite them to meet others with similar experiences and spend an evening or attend a reunion event at our current rented center in the greater Tel Aviv area.
We serve this wandering Israeli population in New Zealand, Japan, other parts of Asia, Australia, and the United States. We provide a place for them to stay or connect with Jewish believers in Jesus and Christians who love the Jewish people and invite them into their homes. We proclaim the gospel in both word and deed; and we generally do not say much about the gospel until they ask—which our Israeli guests often do! Of course, we provide Hebrew New Testaments and other resources for them to read if they are curious. We simply offer unconditional love, good food, a listening ear, and prayer as requested.
As you would imagine, while we extend this level of kindness, the younger Israelis want to learn more about our motivation. In a world so filled with anti-Israel (and often antisemitic) activities, we stand out to them because of our love, and they want to know why we care. We tell them about our belief in what the Bible teaches about God’s love for Israel and the Jewish people and, most of all, the love God offers through His Messiah—Jesus!
Stories of God’s Work among Traveling Israelis
Beit Samurai (“House of the Servant”) in Tokyo, Japan, is our newest hostel. Our team there has already received dozens of Israeli visitors and reported several amazing stories. Here is just one of them:
Ori* and a friend of his stayed at Beit Samurai for a few days. He planned to go to New Zealand. He mentioned one of his friends in Israel was Messianic. Sensing his openness, one of our staff invited him to have lunch together before he headed to the airport. As we waited for our food, he suddenly asked, “So, how do you explain ‘Messianic’ and Yeshua to Jewish people?” Our team member was a bit stunned. Not only was he open—he was asking directly to hear the gospel.
After listening to our staff member’s testimony and hearing about encounters with Yeshua within the Messianic faith and community, Ori asked if there was a Messianic congregation he could attend. He also expressed a desire to read the Bible for himself. Our missionary invited him to attend services with him when he comes back to Japan. Since he is going to New Zealand, he also connected him with a Messianic congregation there.
This staff member gave Ori a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained, which he gratefully received. Through our Chosen People Ministries global network, staff put Ori in touch with Yitzhak,* a Messianic leader in Auckland, New Zealand. They connected right away. Ori asked for a copy of the New Testament to read, so Yitzhak gave him a Bible. The following week, Ori came back to Yitzhak with another Israeli. Yitzhak also told him the full gospel of Yeshua. This Israeli also decided to stay with Yitzhak for the next several days.
Our network of hostels and homes welcoming traveling Israelis also expanded to Taiwan in 2020. During the past three years, we have built Beit Simcha (“House of Joy”), a hosting network in ten cities around Taiwan, connecting many families and teams from different churches to participate in the Israeli backpacker ministry. God is wonderfully using the network as His cords and bonds of love to draw Israelis to Messiah (Hosea 11:4). In one home alone, we hosted 140 Israeli backpackers and families. Many continued to visit other Beit Simcha homes and kept hearing the gospel while traveling around Taiwan. We have heard numerous testimonies from Beit Simcha partners.
Planet Zula in New Zealand, however, is one of our oldest and busiest hostels. It is still the center of a vibrant ministry. A few months ago, our staff there sent us this story:
During one of our weekly Monday evening Bible studies, one of our Israeli guests joined us. We always have lively discussions, and he jumped right in and asked amazing questions. Afterward, he and our Israeli volunteer dug deeply into the Hebrew Bible for hours. The next morning, when he came to say goodbye, his face was shining as he told us he now had a completely new understanding of the New Testament. He realized how the Old and New Testaments fit together—and demonstrated by interlocking his hands. He expressed his desire to read the New Testament and took one of the free copies we offer.
Hosting traveling Israelis has proved a fruitful ministry for several years—and shows no signs of slowing down! On the contrary, we plan to continue expanding this hospitality network to other places. Since this effort is so important and dear to us, this newsletter is dedicated to giving you an in-depth look at what happens at our hostels.
Discover a sample itinerary for a week at a ministry guest house. Hear what Israelis thought during their global travels following their military service, and how our staff help them process difficult questions. Along the way, you will read several stories about how God is working through this ministry. It profoundly encourages me—and I am confident it will encourage you as well.
Reaching Israelis with Hospitality
For several years now, we have coordinated a vibrant global ministry to young Israelis as they travel the world after their mandatory army service. Their post-military year is a key transitional time for twenty-something Israeli men and women before they embark on a path to a vocation or university. They are discerning their next steps and are remarkably open to discussing life’s biggest questions.
Your Mission to the Jewish People oversees a global network of hostels and hosts who welcome Israelis to stay with them. Staff and volunteers embody the love of Jesus through hospitality—by cooking meals, organizing tours of local sites, providing games, etc. When appropriate, we broach spiritual conversations.
In this newsletter, you will get an inside look at a few of our hostels and hosts—those in Brazil, Japan, and Bolivia, and discover how Israeli travelers might spend up to a week with us. You will also hear directly from some Israelis we interviewed about their post-military travels. Ultimately, you will see how our hospitality network is meeting the needs of wandering Israelis—both physically and spiritually.