Looking out to Lebanon
Recently, one of our Israeli staff members was visiting some sites in northern Israel with his friend, Peter.* Peter is of Lebanese-Armenian descent and came to Israel twenty years ago. At the lookout point near the Lebanese border, they met a group of five Israeli men and began talking about the scenery. The men became curious as to why Peter knew so much about the region. Peter explained that he had been an officer in the Lebanese Army fighting alongside Israel from 1980–2000. Some of these men had fought with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in Lebanon, and instantly they were engulfed in stories from “back in the day.” During the course of the conversation, they learned that our staff member was a Messianic Jew and that he and his friend were part of a community of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua. The group parted as longtime friends even after such a brief encounter. There are always opportunities in Israel to talk about Yeshua!
Prayer brings unexpected guest
When miracles happen, they provide strength to preach the gospel. Several years ago, one of our staff members met a couple who were Holocaust survivors and had been atheists all their lives. As soon as they all started talking about God, they said that science proves the opposite. Over time, they began asking questions, and our staff member started to pray with them for their children and grandchildren. After some time passed, the family began to pray themselves. The couple has two granddaughters; one of them is nine years old. As the couple began to pray for their daughter and granddaughters, which they had never done before, the daughter wondered what was happening to them! They tried to explain to their daughter and her family what prayer is. Their granddaughter wanted a dog, but she was not allowed. Almost a year later, when they came home, they found a dog outside the door. They went into the apartment, and the dog followed. They looked for the owners of the dog, with no success, so the dog stayed with them, and the little girl said: “I prayed for almost a year, as my grandmother taught, that God would send us a dog and He would hear me. Now I believe in Him!” A few days ago, our staff met with them and their dog, and all thanked God together. The Lord works in miraculous ways!
Finding Yeshua in the High Holidays
With the coronavirus still impacting worship services, it was anticipated that, with synagogues also being closed, Jewish people might be looking for a place to celebrate the fall holidays. Sure enough, one of our congregations had a visitor on the Sabbath before the Day of Atonement, which we call the Sabbath of Return. The message was all about repentance, turning to the Lord, and how the way of return leads straight to the Messiah. Avi* is an Egyptian Jewish man who has been seeking the truth. As the service started, he was sitting stiffly with his arms crossed in front of him. As the service went on, he became more and more interested and, at the end of the service, after hearing the gospel message clearly, he asked for the link to the online service the following day. He also said that he would be attending our congregational Yom Kippur service. Avi texted our staff member at the start of the virtual erev Yom Kippur service to let him know that he was watching. He also went to the congregation the next morning for services, as he said he would. After hearing the gospel again, our staff member received a message from him later that day saying that he would like to further the conversation. Avi has not placed his faith in Yeshua yet, but we believe, with good reason, that he is very close to the Kingdom!