WMM in Israel: Feb. 4 – 11, 2015
It is always with much prayer and great anticipation that we prepare to minister in Israel, and with our full schedule planned for this trip, we were especially praying for His wisdom and strength. Thank you for praying with us “for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).
Upon arrival Wednesday evening, we went immediately to our first ministry opportunity, teaching at Ohr HaOlam (Light of the World) Messianic congregation in the city of Petah Tikvah. We have known their leader, Shmuel, for many years since he came to faith in Yeshua during our early ministry in the former Soviet Union. Shmuel is doing a wonderful work and continues to have his services in both Russian, for the older members, and Hebrew, for the children and youth. In reaching out to the large Russian community around them, they have reprinted several of Word of Messiah’s tracts to use in their evangelistic endeavors. We were also encouraged to hear that our recently published Hebrew Messianic Discipleship book is being utilized to teach their young people the basics of the faith. Shmuel’s feedback on our visit was encouraging, “We were pleased to welcome you to our service. The Lord has blessed us with good communication, an important spiritual supply, and strengthening trust. Praise the Lord!”
The next morning, Sam gave a six-hour advanced training seminar near Tel Aviv to about 25 congregational planters, all seeking to be a witness in their various neighborhoods and communities throughout Israel. Sam was privileged to teach and lead them in an interactive discussion on “Overcoming Barriers: The Good News’ Witness of Love.” He presented ideas regarding how to start conversations about the Lord and also how to share the relevance of our faith in Yeshua with both Israelis and new immigrants. There was a rich time of fellowship as various creative ways to reach out were shared, along with mutual encouragement to keep preaching the Word both in season and out.
On Friday, we spent the day encouraging congregational planters, Moshe and Batel, who are reaching their community for Yeshua in the city of Karmiel in central Galilee. Sam continues to meet regularly through skype with Moshe to coach him in his role as a planter and assist him as he works to grow the new congregation.
On Friday evening, Sam spoke from Matthew 28 on “Dealing with Doubt,” and focused on how the Lord deals with our doubts. Instead of scolding His doubting disciples, Yeshua spoke His Word of purpose and comfort for their lives, and reassured them that He would be with them always, enabling them to accomplish His will. The response to this message was one of renewed commitment.
On Shabbat morning, we ministered at Kehilat Poriya (Fruitful) MessianicCongregation, located outside Tiberius overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The congregation is led by Eric and Terri, who have been serving in Israel for over 30 years. In 2014, Eric attended Sam’s week-long course on congregational planting at Israel College of the Bible. Eric found the information quite edifying and unusually practical in understanding how to establish and develop Messianic congregations. Terri explained to us that she saw this teaching change Eric’s perspective on congregational planting and leadership, and that he wanted to see this material taught to other leaders in Israel. He especially liked our Messianic Discipleship book in Hebrew. Terri also found this book to be very useful. She had recently led an Israeli woman to the Lord and wanted to disciple her, but was not satisfied with the discipleship materials she found. She was thrilled to find Messianic Discipleship at HaGefen Publishers and has since been using it in discipleship.
In the service, Sam taught on “Yeshua the Messiah is Lord!” At the conclusion of his message, many hearts were moved. One person responded to the salvation invitation, and a number of others indicated their desire to trust in the Lord by committing specific areas of their life to Him. One person said, “As the Word of God was preached, my heart was pierced through and I have been thinking of how God wants to change me.”
Later that Shabbat afternoon and evening, we met with the elders of the congregation as well as some young leaders and their wives. For three hours, Sam taught and led a discussion on essential leadership responsibilities, focusing in on the qualities that God expects from leaders, especially in their home life (1 Timothy 3:5).
The next day, Eric organized a Messianic Leadership Seminar in Haifa for Sam to conduct on the topic of “Handling Un-prayed for Changes in Congregational Life.” The Lord blessed wonderfully, and 23 leaders from seven different congregations in the central Galilee area came for the teaching. At the end, there were comments such as, “I’ve been deeply challenged to reconsider what I had called ‘idealistic,’ though in reality I simply did not trust what the Scriptures teach in these matters.”
On Monday, we met with several Messianic leaders in the land who were in need of personal and ministry counseling.
Our final day opened up several future ministry opportunities. We first met with Maoz Ministries, (a Messianic ministry in Israel) regarding their interest in sponsoring future Word of Messiah Messianic Planters Conferences in Israel. We’ve tentatively scheduled two conferences in the Land for 2016; please pray as we make specific arrangements for them.
We then traveled to meet with David, leader of HaGefen Publishers. HaGefen recently published the Hebrew translation of Messianic Discipleship, and are now being asked by Ethiopian Messianic Jewish leaders in Israel to also publish it in Amharic. When we asked one Messianic leader in Ethiopia what he thought, he exclaimed that this is historic and wants 100 books right away, for there’s never before been any Messianic material in Amharic.
On the way to the airport, Sam was able to share the Good News of Messiah with our Israeli driver, Ami. He seemed curious to consider this faith. The Lord really filled our whole time in Israel from beginning to end with great occasions to exalt the name of Yeshua the Messiah.
Thank you for all your prayers; the Lord has blessed mightily! Now we need even more prayer as we follow-up on all these exciting opportunities!