This article originally appeared on FIRM and reposted with permission.
Israeli woman goes into the waters of immersion
The good news is that Yeshua’s gospel is spreading in Tel Aviv. The better news is that there are people who accept the gospel, give their lives to Yeshua, are willing to go through water and Spirit baptism, and dedicate their lives to the Lord!
The Witness of an old Friend
Leah* came to Tiferet Yeshua about three months ago, and she was immersed this week at the Yafo beach. She came together with Miriam, one of our members. When I asked Leah what drew her to the congregation, she said that a few months prior, she met Miriam on the street. Leah and Miriam had known each other for many years, but they hadn’t seen each other in a few years. The reunion with Miriam left a strong impression on Leah. Leah remembered that Miriam had a pretty rough life, and that she had been through more than her fair share of trials. She always saw Miriam as a sad woman who was just trying to survive.
At their reunion, to Leah’s surprise, Miriam was just full of joy. Leah saw a transformed woman. Miriam immediately shared her faith in Yeshua with Leah, and told her how He changed her life completely.
Born 60 years ago in Tel Aviv, Leah’s family left Morocco a few years after Israel’s independence. Moroccan Jews are one of the larger immigrant communities in Israel. She had a very traditional, Jewish family (a family that observes the Jewish holidays and customs, but not to a religious extent). At a very young age, she was already divorced with two children. She had to raise them completely alone. In addition, she was a chronic cigarette smoker, and she was dealing with unceasing coughing and a hole in her lung.
Leah would occasionally come to our congregation’s gatherings in Tel Aviv and she received a lot of love from our congregation members. She saw that her new friends had faith and values that “provoked her to jealousy” and caused her to reexamine the meaning of life. Of course, the teachings in the congregation about destructiveness of sin, forgiveness of such sins, the love of God, repentance and freedom, caused Leah to ask questions.
Miriam was a great help to Leah, as they met several times each week. She taught her about the Lord from the scriptures and watched movies about Yeshua with her. Finally, it all came together for Leah and Miriam prayed with her to surrender her life to Yeshua.
She could be my mother
I was very excited to hear Leah’s testimony. This is a Jewish woman who came from a Sephardic background (Jews who come from Arab countries like Iraq and Yemen), who surrendered to Yeshua. This gave me a lot of hope for my own family. There’s a barrier of blindness subduing the Sephardic ethnic groups. They were exiled to Muslim countries from Spain in the 15th century. They were exiled for not converting to political Catholicism—thus, the false representation of Yeshua left them closed to His true purpose.
When a 60-year-old woman like Leah surrenders her life to Yeshua, it feels as if my own mother is surrendering to Yeshua. Miriam’s testimony gave hope to a lot of people who pray constantly for their families. The kind of hope that says even older people from the Jewish Sephardic groups are capable of accepting the gospel and giving their lives to Yeshua.
Time to get wet!
One day, Leah came to me at the beginning of our weekly meeting and told me that she had a dream. In the dream, she saw herself being immersed in water, and through that dream, she realized that it was her time to go through this action of faith.
We took some time to study the foundations of the faith together and the meaning of water immersion. This week, several of us in the congregation arrived at Jaffa beach. This is the same beach where many Jews were most likely immersed in Acts, chapter nine. Leah grew up in Yafo, and it was very symbolic that she specifically chose to be immersed there and make her declaration of faith. Leah wore white Moroccan clothing, and she was completely filled with happiness and joy—something that had escaped her for so many years. We asked that as she was immersed in water, so would she also be immersed in the Holy Spirit.
Leah went into the water and came out glowing. When I looked at her face and her eyes, I saw a woman who was filled with love for God. We rejoiced, worshiped and thanked God for this moment!
Please continue to pray for Leah, that she would have the strength and power from above to completely stop smoking and receive complete healing for her lungs. Furthermore, dear friends, keep our families in your prayers. So that not only us, but also our entire households would come to believe in the Messiah of Israel. Amen.
*Leah is not her real name
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, November 8, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Moti serves on the pastoral staff at Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv.
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VIDEO: Program prepares young believers for army service
Matan shares about “Hetzim” (Arrows in Hebrew), a pre-military preparatory program for young people before they are drafted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He asks tht we pray for our Messianic soldiers that are soon starting their military service in the IDF.
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Christians and Holocaust survivors celebrate 25 years of partnership
On October 24, 2017, the All-Israeli Association of Concentration Camps and Ghetto Survivors celebrated their 25th anniversary. Co-founder and current chairman, Gita Koifman, invited hundreds of Holocaust Survivors and their respected community leaders from thirty-four cities in Israel to come together in celebration of the work that has been accomplished over the years and to honor those who have dedicated their time and resources to the cause. CBN Israel and our partner volunteers were among those present in the ceremony.
The association was founded in 1992 for the purposes of protecting the rights and interests of former prisoners of Nazism, preserving the memory of the Holocaust victims and to establish constructive relations with foreign organizations- namely evangelical Christians. Representatives from the organizations who have helped the association reach their goals each took the stage and gave their speech.
“We greatly appreciate the Christian organizations that support us”, said Lilia Glauser. “We have visited with them and have seen for ourselves that their care for us is real.”
German Christian, Harold Heckert, stated in his video that caring for Holocaust Survivors in support of this association was one of the most meaningful things he has done in his life. He followed with the scripture from Isaiah 40:1- “‘Comfort, o comfort My people’, says your God.”
Town organizer, Rita, from Petach Tikva shared, “we really appreciate Christians because they not only give us material support, but also spiritual and emotional (support).”
One of the most impressionable speeches was given by Mr. Cord Muller – a representative from the Consul of Germany in Israel. “We, all of us Germans, brought unbelievable guilt upon us. We as a country will not forget what happened in the Nazi times. We are facing our obligations derived from the Holocaust by telling every new generation of Germans about the horrible crimes that were committed by teaching them to strive for peace and respect towards others and for friendship with Israel.”
After hearing many meaningful speeches, awards were presented to the thirty-four association leaders who work directly with the Survivors in their local areas. Among those who received awards were two of CBN Israel’s partners, Jenny and Inessa.
The meeting closed with songs of celebration in Yiddish, Russian and Hebrew, performed by national artist, Daniel Pruzhansky.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, October 25, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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‘Hetzim’ prepares young Messianic Israelis for army — and for life
Before entering the army, 13 believers underwent a powerful and transformative experience through Hetzim [Arrows in Hebrew], a pre-military preparatory program for young people before they are drafted into the Israel Defense Forces.
Just as an arrow is sharpened before it is released to reach its target, the Hetzim program, run by Netivah, aims to sharpen participants and prepare them for challenges they may face in the military.
Military service, while physically, mentally and spiritually demanding, also provides opportunities for Messianic soldiers to share their faith, demonstrate brotherhood and shine God’s light, which may happen less frequently in civilian life. Arrows aims to equip Messianic youth with the necessary tools for the survival of their faith during army service and also helps them excel in areas of morality, leadership, responsibility, knowledge and love of the land.
The second class of Hetzim graduated in a ceremony held at the Biblical Garden in Yad Hashmona after the Feast of Tabernacles. KNI has reported about the program here, but the following is a firsthand account from two trainees, Hadas and Amelia, about their experiences in Hetzim.
KNI: Tell me a bit about your daily routine in Hetzim.
Amelia: We often did our physical workout as early as 6 a.m. Afterwards we had an hour of personal time, which included prayer, reading the Bible and worship. We prepared all morning and evening meals ourselves. On a typical day, we focused on a variety of topics such as being a Messianic soldier, legacy, discipleship, etc. There were lessons that we prepared and taught ourselves, for example the entire subject of apologetics. We received leading questions, and, after independent research, we presented the subject to the group. Subjects we taught on included, for example: Is God moral? Is there an absolute truth? etc. We also conducted an evangelism workshop in which we were given the task of adapting to the lifestyle of certain populations such as people who live in Tel Aviv, religious Jews, etc.
Hadas: Each one of us had to prepare at least two lectures on a variety of topics —important figures from the past, Israel’s wars and more. I personally gave a lecture on Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela, accompanied by a presentation. Once every two or three days, we discussed subjects that were very relevant to the army and to life, such as the death penalty, possession of weapons, and more. Regarding theological content, I learned the most from the apologetics lessons that we had to prepare ourselves. I struggled with my beliefs and with questions that I didn’t have answers for, such as “Where was God during the Holocaust?” The opportunity to delve into these unresolved questions gave me a lot of confidence in my faith and tools to deal with questions non-believers may ask me in the future.
KNI: What sort of volunteering activities did you do during the course?
Amelia: We volunteered in many places. One was a community center in Petach Tikva, where people donate clothes, toys and other things for families in need. We organized the items and also participated in activities for children and youth. We also helped prepare the center that hosted the national youth conference “Walking on Water.” Then, we volunteered with the Arab population in Shefar’am, watering vineyards and olive trees, planting plants and nurturing the environment.
Hadas: The most powerful experience for me was volunteering at Red Carpet, a shelter in southern Tel Aviv for women who work in prostitution, most of whom are also drug addicts. We merely helped with sorting materials and sang for the women who were there, but my exposure to these women whose lives were so different from mine was dramatic. I was accustomed to my comfortable and blessed life and had little awareness of others’ needs. This was the first time I had encountered such difficult scenes of people who inject themselves with drugs. This experience made me first of all grateful for what God has given me in life, but also made me consider where and who God would want me to serve later on in my life.
Another objective of Hetzim is to expose us to different populations and opinions in our country. Visiting the settlements and meeting with a believer who lives there was also a milestone for me in learning to understand people who are different than me.
KNI: What was your most memorable experience from the program?
Amelia: We celebrated Yom Kippur [the Day of Atonement] together. We fasted and prayed all day long. It was my first time fasting, and I managed to fast until the end of it. This whole day was meaningful. We prepared a special room that we could use during the day to pray and we prayed about various topics together at night. It was very special for me to devote the entire day to prayer.
Hadas: Without a doubt, the most memorable experience for me was the survival workshop! We were divided into three groups, equipped with maps, walkie-talkies and backpacks that weighed 7 to 8 kg. each holding food, water and everything needed for survival in the “wild” for two days. In the evening, we read the entire letter to the Philippians and sang hymns. Through the night, each member took turns guarding our campsite for an hour and a half.
KNI: How would you sum up your experience in the “Hetzim” program?
Amelia: My relationship with God was greatly strengthened. Reading the Bible every day was not something I have done before, and now it has become a blessed habit. I am more excited to know, explore, delve deeper into the Word of God and look for answers to questions.
Hadas: First of all, the subject of being a Messianic soldier gave me so many practical tools. I also learned how to make decisions, how to maintain a stable relationship with God. We delved into the subject of our identity as Jews, as believers and as individual people each whom God has given unique gifts. I learned a lot about myself, what qualities I need to work on and what I’m good at. This program doesn’t only prepare you for the army, but also for life.
KNI: What would you tell someone debating whether to do this program before enlisting in the IDF?
Amelia: There’s nothing to debate! This summer I was supposed to travel abroad with my congregation’s worship team in order to perform. Obviously, I really wanted to travel and even hesitated, but when I look back, I know I made the right choice. This program is mandatory for every believer who is about to join the IDF. Not to mention the fact that I have made friends for life, and we will keep in touch and encourage each other when we enlist. I know that there is someone who will support, help and pray for me.
Hadas: It was worth every minute. I did not believe that it was possible to go through so many experiences at different levels in only two months. The exposure and experience of the things you are about to face in the army provides a good boost to the recruitment process — guard duty, living in a room with 10 girls, taking care of food and logistics and getting along with people even when conditions are tough. I feel that I have undergone a process of personal development and self-awareness. However, the greatest value for me is that today I have the knowledge and the tools to defend my faith, to preserve holiness and to stand firm in the things I believe in.
Amelia and Hadas’ enthusiasm is convincing: believers should participate in Hetzim before enlisting in the IDF. Having the tools, preparation and guidance can help young soldiers avoid the regrets that many believing soldiers have experienced during their army service, whether lost opportunities to share the gospel or defend their faith.
Netivah and Hetzim coordinator, Matan Ohana, had the vision to turn these regrets into advantages and opportunities for young believers joining the army.
“To see 13 young people, Messianic Jews, before their army service, at the end of a hard and challenging intensive preparatory program … with a sense of mission that they are going to do the military service for God and God alone, simply moved me and filled my heart with thanks to God,“ Ohana said at the graduation. “The training team and I pray that the students will implement what they learned in the preparatory program into their military service. We pray that they will be a testimony, a light and salt wherever they are in the army and later on in their lives. We thank God … that we can hold a Messianic pre-military preparatory program in the nation of Israel for the next generation of believers in the body of the Messiah, and prepare them for their military service, and life.”
And with this recent graduation, a second quiver of sharpened arrows was released into the world. We pray that Netivah may continue this program every year.
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Pray for Streams in the Desert: Serving widows and orphans in Israel
God is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” (Psalm 68:5) Director of Streams in the Desert, Marianna Gol, believes their ministry is called to represent the Father heart of God to the to under-privileged in Israel.
She does not want to leave the responsibility of widows and orphans up to the government only, but believes that biblically the body of believers is called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and a voice to the brokenhearted saying:
“Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold your God will come with vengeance; He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:3-4
Streams in the Desert is a ministry in the Negev on behalf of widows and orphans and single-parent families. They provide both practical help and spiritual assistance, partnering with God to fill the dry places of women’s and children’s lives with provision and with the love and power of the Holy Spirit. Streams in the Desert strives to bring restoration to families at risk, “the brokenhearted of Israel”, through the power of the Gospel and acts of service.
Their vision comes straight out of scripture:
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans
and widows in their trouble…” James 1:27
They endeavor to be a voice for the poor, a catalyst for reconciliation and healing, and to bring the Lord’s presence into our society. Some practical areas of service provided by Streams in the Desert: vocational and small business development for families, discipleship and camps (see video below), youth work activities, inter-congregational and community center events, aid to immigrants, refugees and those in economic need.
Streams in the Desert labors for the Land of Israel and the Body of Messiah to be prepared for the Lord Yeshua’s return. As they minister out of the Lord’s overflow of love, they see the cleansing and healing power of God flooding into the dry and barren places of people’s lives, filling them with hope and a vision for the future. Lives are changed, and new possibilities blossom.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
This ministry began with a vision to help single mothers, but they quickly discovered that effective ministry to single mothers also involves working with their children. Thus, this ministry evolved with a dual vision and purpose to help and strengthen whole families. They have intentional and excellent children’s outreaches and teen camps to provide a sense of community for orphans and single-parent children in the Land.
- Protection and Wisdom for Leadership and Counselors
- Healing for Brokenhearted Single-mothers
- Hope and Healing for Children and Teens
- Families finding Yeshua as Messiah
- Financial Provision for Ministry and Families
SON RETURNING TO THE LORD
A widow living in a small Negev town had lost two husbands. When she first connected with Streams in the Desert, she was out of work and had just had surgery. Streams in the Desert supplied the family with food twice a month and had it delivered to the home. The woman’s older son had walked away from the Lord, because he was angry about the loss of his father and about their continual struggles. Seeing the love of the Lord made manifest through the generosity and care of the Body of Messiah, the son rededicated his life to the Lord. He is now in the army, and continues walking with the Lord.
CHILD ABUSE STOPPED
Oxana, a behavioral psychologist who works with Streams in the Desert, was sent to counsel a single mother who struggled with anger to the degree that she beat her young children. Oxana worked one-on-one with the mother to help her to overcome her anger issues and also provided training in child-rearing and discipline. No violent incidents have erupted in the family for more than a year. Consistent help and accountability have transformed the dynamics of this family, and the lives of all have been changed.
GOD GIVES SECOND CHANCES
A battered woman with a partner who was a drug addict was forced into a life of prostitution. One day he tried to kill her, but she fainted, and when she woke up, he was gone. While he was hitting her, the woman heard a voice telling her that she needed to run out with her kids and get help. She found a shelter for battered women, where she met some of the other women that receive help from Streams in the Desert and reached out. She has a sense that God has given her a second chance. Through aid from our ministry, she studies psychology at the Open University in Beer Sheva, and her mother moved here from Russia to help her with her two children.
Both of her daughters are ranked in the top 15% of extraordinarily gifted children. The older daughter, age 15, was accepted last year into a special NASA training for teens. Our organization raised the $3500 needed to help send her to the program in the U.S. where she did extremely well. Because she excelled in the program, she was then accepted into the program in Beer Sheva for free.
FIRM (Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries) is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.