The Friends of Israel in Action Mar/Apr 2021
‘Look! This Is Jesus’
by Jeff and Arlene Berg, serving with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry in Pennsylvania
Nurith had hit rock bottom in her life. Her husband had suffered a severe stroke, and she was dealing with loneliness when we met her through a local pastor. Though born in Israel, she lived most of her life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we minister.
We invited Nurith to our outreach events, where she met Christians who showered her with the love of Jesus. She started asking many questions, searching for answers from God during this difficult time in her life.
Although she was not interested in the gospel, the Lord was drawing her; and our email inbox started filling up with Nurith’s questions and objections to Jesus. We prayed fervently and tried to provide answers. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 31 years of ministry, it’s to practice patience because God’s timing is always better than ours.
Nurith attended a Bible study with us in the home of a Jewish believer. One evening, all the windows were open; and a cool breeze filled the room. Suddenly, Nurith shouted, “Look!” and she pointed to her Bible. The wind had flipped the pages of her Bible to Isaiah 53, the prophecy of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for our sins: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (v. 5).
With tears running down her face, she told us she was sorry she had not accepted her Messiah earlier. All her arguments against Jesus crumbled, and we prayed and encouraged her newfound faith.
Nurith was soon diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer, but that didn’t stop the Spirit of God from transforming her and giving her such genuine peace during the time she had left that her children hardly recognized her.
Shortly before she died, her son visited her in the nursing home. They were looking at “get well” cards she had received, one of which bore the famous “footprints in the sand” scene. Nurith exclaimed to her son, “Look! This is Jesus carrying your mother!”
For her remaining time on Earth, Nurith was like a torch for Jesus, a testimony of God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). At the funeral, Arlene and I participated in the most striking part of a Jewish funeral: filling the grave with dirt. It was heartwarming for us to stand by her family to fulfill this solemn task.
The sun setting by the graveside was a symbol for us that Nurith’s chapter on Earth had come to a close. But we have peace that passes all understanding, knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). To God be the glory!
Give today to support the Bergs’ ministry and those serving in North American outreach with The Friends of Israel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.
Patience Pays Off
Have you ever prayed tenaciously for people for years and seen them come to faith? Deane Woods, our field representative in Sydney, Australia, recently shared the story of a friend who came to Christ in Los Angeles, California, after Deane prayed for him for decades. Whenever Deane’s ministry brought him to California, he made it a point to visit this man. After years of patience and prayer, Deane saw him receive Christ as his personal Savior.
Deane and his wife, Margaret, haven’t let quarantine, social distancing, or closed borders slow them down. Their ministry, even through quarantine, has been as personal and relational as ever—albeit through face masks. When opportunities to speak to large crowds disappeared because of government restrictions, God gave them a vibrant, personal ministry to both Jews and Gentiles who want to hear the Good News of Messiah Jesus. He even opened doors for Margaret to speak to her doctors and nurses when she was in the hospital for surgery—a great reminder that He always provides opportunities to tell others about Him.
Give today to support the Woods’ ministry and those serving in Australia with The Friends of Israel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.
Ukrainian Ministry Grows
Ukraine is our newest open door for ministry to the Jewish people of Eastern Europe. Our Ukrainian team regularly shares the Messiah’s love with people throughout the country and gives food, medicine, and other basic supplies to those who are struggling. Tetyana, our intern who lives in the capital city of Kiev, has a fantastic ministry sharing Jesus and providing Passover gift baskets.
Similarly, our ministry to Ukrainian teens in Warsaw, Poland, has grown beyond all our expectations. Many have come to faith through Bible studies and other youth events led by our Ukrainian and Polish workers. An estimated 2 million Ukrainians have moved from Ukraine to Poland due to political upheaval. Pray with us as we minister to these displaced teenagers.
Give today to support the ministry of our workers in Eastern Europe. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.