Dear friend in the Messiah,
We had a wonderful time of celebration in Jerusalem last month—we missed you!
We rejoiced together with more than 600 Chosen People Ministries’ staff, board members, and tour participants in the miracle of Israel’s 70th year of existence as a modern nation. We heard some great Bible messages and exciting stories about what God is doing in Israel and in the 16 other countries where Chosen People Ministries is serving the Lord among the Jewish people.
I continue to be astounded by the ways God is using our staff to reach Israeli travelers and backpackers.
As you probably know, Israel requires mandatory military service: two years for women and three years for men. After these young people serve in the military, they usually take a year to experience life by traveling to other countries. And they go everywhere! Some of the favorite places these young Israelis explore include Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Australia, India, and one of their favorites—New Zealand.
We have been sending short-term mission teams to reach them while they are traveling as they are young and open to new things. They also do not have the pressure of friends, parents, or Israeli society, which is generally not very favorable toward Jesus! They are free to explore new ideas that are foreign to them. And thank God, many are open to talking about the Lord.
This is especially true of the 10,000-plus young Israelis traveling around New Zealand at any given time of the year. These New Zealand trekkers are a very special group of young people who are often more serious about life and spirituality than their peers. Some say that the Israelis who go to India are looking for the answers to life through drugs (and some through Eastern religions), but those who go to New Zealand are looking for God in nature.
Chosen People Ministries has established a ministry in New Zealand, and we own a youth hostel in one of the busiest tourist areas of the South Island where we are able to house up to 50 young people each night. The hostel is called Zula Lodge and is staffed by Chosen People Ministries’ New Zealand workers and by some young Israelis who are strong believers committed to serving the Lord by reaching their fellow Israelis. They often spend 2-3 months in New Zealand, hiking together with the travelers and leading outreach events like “Hummus Nights” and barbecues.
While in Israel this past month, I spent a lot of time with some of the young Israelis who served at Zula Lodge and listened to their stories. I wish you could meet some of them because they are incredible! Staff member Robin B. shares the following story about one of these young Israelis, Neta,* who served at Zula Lodge and shared the gospel with a fellow Israeli!
It began in the kitchen as it often does. While chopping salad for a hummus night, the conversation moved from where we have traveled in New Zealand to more personal life stories. Hadar* told us she grew up with no mention of God in her home. Her family kept the holidays but without even the Biblical meanings behind them. She said that while in the army she began to wonder what it means to be Israeli and even Jewish. Neta began to share her story of growing up secular with a touch of tradition and also how she heard that the God of Israel loves her. We moved through the broad strokes of the story of God’s love for Israel and His love for each of us, and we discussed the reason He sent a Messiah and who that Messiah is. Over the next few days, we hiked with Hadar and shared adventure, laughter, and answered her many questions about Jesus. Hadar and Neta have continued to dialog back in Israel.
Thankfully, we have an excellent staff in Israel who are able to follow up with the new believers and those who are curious about the Messiah.
Isaiah 53 and Israelis
I am happy to say that our Isaiah 53 Explained evangelistic book, which we produced a few years ago, is now translated into 13 different languages, and the Hebrew version is used quite often in Israel and, of course, in New Zealand and in many other countries where Israelis are traveling.
One of our ongoing projects in Israel is a campaign offering this book to Israelis through Facebook ads. Already, thousands of people have been touched by this Isaiah 53 Explained Facebook campaign and have ordered the Isaiah 53 Explained book. To date, more than 300,000 Israelis have visited the Isaiah 53 Hebrew website and viewed 550,000 pages of gospel information.
I hope you do not mind a bit of statistics (see graph on page 4) as they are amazing to me and show how open many Israelis really are to the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah. These results cover the last three years of ministry which we have intensified this last year. Remember, these numbers reflect Israelis who saw the Isaiah 53 Explained book on Facebook and then took the time to order the book and answer a few questions.
I am really amazed that more than 1,000 religious Jewish Israelis ordered Isaiah 53 Explained books and more than 500 of these precious people said that they “did not know” if Jesus was the Messiah. This shows that it is probable that some, who usually seem very difficult to reach, might be more open than we thought. We have found this to be true in our follow-up as we have had a number of good conversations with those who are religious in Israel.
I am also thrilled to see that more than a hundred Muslims are willing to read a book about Jesus as well.
Clearly, secular Israelis are the group who are most willing to read a book about Jesus, and the majority of secular Jewish Israelis who ordered books claim they “don’t know” if Jesus is the Messiah.
One of the great joys of my time in Israel last month was the opportunity to speak to a group of Israelis who had ordered the Isaiah 53 book. We called it a “Meet the Author” event. Of course, you can only imagine that the author I really wanted these folks to meet was not me, and not even Isaiah! The group was open and asked good questions. The younger Israelis seem to be more open than their parents, and so we hope to continue with personal follow-up, smaller events like this, and of course by producing additional ads to find those Israelis whom the Lord is drawing to Himself.
You Can Help Us Reach Israelis
We are now spending $200 per day for Facebook ads. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Thank the Lord He has provided for our needs through some generous gifts and grants, but to continue at this pace we will need your help TODAY. Would you be willing to sponsor a day of Hebrew language Facebook ads so that Israelis might hear about Jesus?
We also need to send the books to Israelis, and this costs a few dollars per book. As you can see, this outreach is very productive, and your support goes a long way in touching the lives of Israelis for Jesus. Your gift of $200 enables us to send Isaiah 53 Explained books in Hebrew to dozens of Israeli seekers who request a copy. This is a great investment in the lives of God’s chosen people in the Holy Land.
We will print the books, design the ads, send them out, and answer the online comments of seekers. We will also make sure that follow-up happens, but we need your prayers and financial support. Would you consider a generous gift this summer to help us reach Israelis through the Isaiah 53 Hebrew campaign?
I am so grateful for your love and partnership.
Have a wonderful rest of the summer and please pray for our ongoing outreach to Israelis in New Zealand, Israel, and across the globe.
Blessings in our Messiah,
P.S. For your gift of $200 or more I will send you our new book entitled, Israel, the Church and the Middle East: A Biblical Response to the Current Conflict. I am sure you will love this book and will learn more about what the Bible says about Israel today!