Edan* was an Israeli traveler staying at the Homestead—one of Chosen People Ministries’ Israeli backpacker accommodations in Dunedin, New Zealand—around Christmastime last year. As the Israelis and our staff celebrated the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), one of our staff members asked Edan if he would light the candles and say the prayers. “No!” he said emphatically. “I used to be religious, but I’ve given up!” So our staff member found another volunteer to light the candles, but he decided to follow up with Edan later in the evening. Edan was not raised religious, but he and his older brother chose to become religious because they were looking for God. “But all we found was religion!” Edan said, and so, he had given up.
Our staff member started asking Edan more questions, and the evening’s conversation began! As they continued, our staff member read to Edan the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s birth, including Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,” and Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
“You mean it’s real?” was all Edan could say. When our staff member got up at 6:30 the next morning, he found Edan in the lounge talking on the phone with his brother in Israel and reading the New Testament to him! As we once again celebrate the Light of the World and the birth of the Messiah of Israel, may Edan’s story remind us to pray that Jesus, Almighty God, would be revealed in the hearts of the precious Israeli travelers who have heard this glorious good news!