The Friends of Israel in Action Jan/Feb 2021
Jerusalem Assembly Makes the Most of YouTube
COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the progress of the gospel in Jerusalem. Our field representative, Meno Kalisher, senior pastor of the Jerusalem Assembly, and his congregation were hard at work sharing the message of Messiah over the Internet. One of their videos,
Five Facts You Didn’t Know About the New Testament, has been viewed almost 1 million times. In June 2020 alone, more than 68,000 people tuned in to watch it. Viewership of Meno’s sermons on YouTube has more than tripled.
Five other videos have garnered a combined viewing of more than 4,075,000. We praise God for the creativity He has given this church.
The Jerusalem Assembly continues to provide extraordinary care for members affected by the coronavirus. Meno described the situation this way:
We are praying for wisdom, so we may be able to think and act fast, “out of the box.” COVID-19 caused many families to lose their incomes. All those who worked in the tourism business are unemployed and in a hard economic situation. As a church, we make sure these families will be able to pay their bills and put food on their tables.
The Jerusalem Assembly also provides leadership on how to extend this type of brotherly love throughout Israel as it networks with other churches that require help meeting their congregations’ needs.
Meet at the Mountain
Imagine introducing Jewish backpackers to the God of their forefathers at a mountain in New Zealand. And imagine sharing the wonderful Good News of the gospel as the majesty of God’s creation stands all around you.
That is the heartbeat of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry’s new initiative in New Zealand called “Meet at the Mountain,” led by our field representative and Bible teacher Simon Lawry. So many Israelis feel the world hates them. We want to show them we love them, as does God.
In March 2020, Simon and his team launched our first pilot program for a backpacker center at the Tongariro Crossing, the mountains famously portrayed as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Amazing was the superlative we heard repeatedly from the young Israelis who stayed with us there. Sadly, our time was cut short due to the coronavirus; but in those two short weeks we hosted almost 40 backpackers.
We transported them to and from the mountain, provided them with comfortable accommodations, and used every opportunity God gave us to share the Good News He has provided in His Word.
From Buddha to Jesus
by Jonathan Craft
I decided one morning to drive to the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas to have my devotions. Our house was filled with ladies attending my wife’s Bible study, so let’s just say I was looking for somewhere a little quieter. The memorial site is solemn, quiet, and has a special place in my heart.
It was built in memory of the more than 400,000 Jewish people whom the Nazis forced into a tiny, 1.3-square-mile area in Warsaw, Poland, during World War II. Some of the stones that once paved the streets of that ghetto rested quietly behind me as I read God’s Word.
Over the past five years, I have volunteered hundreds of hours to clean and repair the memorial and plant flowers to keep it in good shape for visitors. It’s my calling as a follower of Jesus to show love and support to our Jewish friends, and this is one small way I do so.
On this particular day, my devotions were interrupted when the synagogue’s Buddhist janitor appeared. Looking back now, I realize God had other plans for my time that morning. I had met the janitor before. She kindly watered the garden’s roses for me while I was on vacation. I started talking to her, wanting her to know that her service in the synagogue was a blessing to the Jewish people.
Then I turned the conversation toward Jesus. I showed her from Scripture what a blessing the Jewish people are to us Gentiles. Turning to Genesis 12:3, I read, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” I explained that this verse points to the Jewish Messiah, who died as the final sacrifice for our sins. She said she had heard of Jesus but never heard the message of forgiveness and salvation through Him.
As we sat together, I turned to Romans and explained how and why death entered the world (Rom. 5:12), that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9), and that the remedy for sin and death is found in the One who was wounded for our transgressions (Isa. 53:5). I explained why Jesus had to be born of a virgin, that He was sinless, and that it was our sin that killed Him (Rom. 5:18–19). But the good news is Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead because He is God.
As I looked up from my Bible, I saw she was in tears. That morning she gladly accepted Jesus’ payment for her sins and prayed to receive God’s gift of eternal life. The next day I found her again at Temple Beth Sholom and gave her a Bible.
Here I am, a Gentile believer, sharing the good news of the Jewish Messiah with a Buddhist who works at a synagogue and accepts Christ as her Savior. Praise God for His love and faithfulness here in Las Vegas!