The Friends of Israel in Action Sep/Oct 2022
Growing in Australia
The Australian ministry of The Friends of Israel (FOI) has grown remarkably in recent years. Many of you know Deane Woods, our representative in Sydney. God has blessed his 18 years with FOI by giving him amazing fruit. As a result, we’ve seen our team grow from one person to six across the country, all recruited and mentored by Deane.
In June, Deane officially retired. However, his influence continues through the outreaches God used him to establish and the personnel God used him to locate and train. We now have experienced Bible teachers, former college professors, professional musicians, and pastors on our team. And they all seek inroads for teaching the truth about the Messiah and Israel throughout the continent.
Some teach and preach, while others create programs that provide for the needs of Australian Jewish communities. All of our workers share the truth about Jesus and teach that God loves His people Israel and will never cast them aside.
The gospel is forging ahead in Australia, touching a new generation as our teams seek strategic means of engaging the culture. With our new field director, Les Crawford; an increased digital presence through our social media platforms; and new websites (foiaustralia.org and foinz.org), FOI-Australia is expanding beyond our dreams. Our great God is exceeding our expectations.
As one Australian FOI conference attendee commented, “[FOI’s] love of Israel and her people is evident, while grounding everything in Scripture. Jesus could come back sooner than we imagine, and we need to share the gospel message.”
Will you pray with us as FOI-Australia seeks new opportunities to minister? It has taken decades for us to see God position our workers for the current expansion there. And we couldn’t be more excited to see what doors He will open in the future. Our goal is to be among those who bless Israel and are blessed (Gen. 12:3). Pray we continue to experience God’s blessing of growth as we teach, preach, and serve the people of Australia with the Good News of the Messiah.
You can help support our Australian team and other FOI ministries around the world. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.
ORIGINS, Abigail, and Archaeology
Israel, as we all know, is a haven for archaeologists. That’s why Abigail Leavitt goes there. Abigail was part of Dr. Scott Stripling’s archaeological team from Katy, Texas, that made international news recently when it was revealed that a team member spotted a small lead square while wet sifting piles of soil from the excavation at Mount Ebal in Israel. It turns out the object, which measures only 2 x 2 centimeters, is extremely important.
It reads, “Cursed, cursed, cursed—cursed by the God YHW. You will die cursed. Cursed you will surely die. Cursed by YHW—cursed, cursed, cursed.” Today it is called the Ebal Curse Tablet, and it predates the Dead Sea Scrolls.
We’re proud of Abigail at The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOI) because we’re part of the reason she became an archaeologist. She participated in our first ORIGINS tour to Israel, and it changed her life.
FOI launched ORIGINS in 2007. The name is an acronym for “Our Resolve Is Giving Israel Never-Ending Support.” Since then, hundreds of people ages 18 to 28 have traveled to Israel with us to serve the Jewish people and experience the Holy Land through this young-adult volunteer ministry.
Abigail, originally from Idaho, and 17 others spent two weeks volunteering with us at Kibbutz Schiller, not far from Tel Aviv. Others served in nearby Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. There’s no doubt the original ORIGINS team left a lasting legacy of Christ’s love that opened doors for the next 15 years of ministry.
During that first trip, team members participated in the Temple Mount Salvage Operation (today the Temple Mount Sifting Project) under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA used volunteers to sift through soil that had been removed from the Temple Mount in 2004 and dumped in the adjacent Kidron Valley to make way for a new exit from the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The soil was rich with artifacts from the first Temple period (959 to 586 BC), proving a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
On that hot day with ORIGINS in 2007, while sifting through dirt, mud, debris, and countless pottery shards, Abigail discovered her passion for archaeology. Later, she returned to work on archaeological digs at Khirbet el-Maqatir (the biblical city of Ai), Mount Zion, and Tel Shiloh. Today Abigail is pursuing a PhD in archaeology from Ariel University in Israel.
We are thrilled with Abigail Leavitt and the important work she is doing as a Christian and as an archaeologist. And we thank the Lord He used ORIGINS to stir a passion in her to link Israel’s archaeological past with the truth of Scripture.
You can help support ORIGINS and other ministries in North American outreach with The Friends of Israel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.