Massah 2012 Update
Here are a couple of reports from Melissa Moskowitz, one of the mentors during the Israel phase:
“June 25: I’m thinking about why creative meetings are called brainstorming sessions. They’re also so dependent on exerting faith onto vision. We’re spending some time this morning thinking of new and creative ways we can present the gospel here in Israel. Some things sound exorbitantly faith-full (like you’d need a LARGE amount of faith, i.e., doing Psalm readings or using sports to convey a message); others seem like a combination of fun + creativity (i.e., sidewalk chalk drawings, videotaping interviews). The main thing is to be outstanding – or to stand out – in the middle of a secular, sleepy Israeli society that doesn’t think much about spiritual issues.
“July 7: The week started with the mad dash to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, any way you could get there. Both teams arrived there safely, albeit taking different means of transportation. Our overnight accommodations looked/felt like an underground hideout from the Crusader period. Then on to the CAMELS and dinner/breakfast/night of sleep in a Bedouin tent a la Holiday Inn (well, almost).
“Our days this week were also filled with Hebrew, correspondence, laughter, discussion, a showing of “Waltz With Bashir” (which encouraged more discussion but little laughter). Pre-Shabbat we did evangelism on the Tel Aviv Tayelet and beach. Two of the Massahniks spent a long time talking with a woman who said she had been looking into the New Testament lately; she gave her contact info for further follow-up (pray for Marina).
“By the time Shabbat rolled around, we had moved to new housing (our last before India!). We counted up and have decided we’ve stayed in about 11 different housing situations on the Israel part of this trip. Few complaints, only a few things lost—it all seems like an adventure.”
And the following is from David and Rachel Liebman, who are helping to prepare for the team in India:
“So Delhi is one of the craziest places in the world. The Pharagange (main bazaar) where we stayed can be quite chaotic. It’s hard to know who to trust and you have to be on your guard. On Sunday we took the metro to a different part of Delhi to attend a Vineyard Church that was planted a few years ago by a couple from Phoenix. (The metro was surprisingly easy to use.) The church was very encouraging of what we were doing and it was good to fellowship with other believers.
“There aren’t as many Israelis in Delhi as there are in Manali but we were able to connect with a few. Please pray for Tal, an Israeli woman who has been basically living off and on in India for the last seventeen years. She teaches and studies yoga and is very spiritually open. Rachel was able to give her story and we were able to share a little bit about our faith. Please pray that God will send others into her life to water the seeds we planted. Also pray for the interactions we had with Europeans and local Indians. Thanks again for your prayers.”
First few days in Manali
“So we finally got into Manali after a 16-hour bus ride. The ride itself was a very interesting experience. We were the only foreigners riding with a bunch of Indian families. Initially they looked at us with some mistrust. We had with us little coloring books and crayons and we gave these to a few of the children. When the adults saw us interacting with the kids they really opened up to us and we were able to talk to one of the moms for a short time. She asked us what we were doing in India and we were able to talk to her a little bit about Jesus. We also were able to get even more into the gospel with one of the children’s fathers. It was a very good experience. (In both Delhi and here in Manali we have been interacting and sharing with many Indians.)
“So far it’s been a little difficult connecting with Israelis. The environment in Manali seems to have changed a little bit since the last time we were here. The Israelis seem to be more of a minority than in the past. Israelis are known for hanging out in packs and being somewhat separate from the rest of the backpacking community. Yet, this is more noticeable now that there are more Indians (and also more Europeans) in Old Manali. Yet, we have had about 15 interactions (brief 1-2 minute periods of time where we brought up Jesus/faith/gospel at some level, usually minimal). Though it’s been a little slow, today it seems like we’re making some inroads. I had about an hour conversation (visit) with an Israeli atheist named Gal, which went pretty well.
“We are also noticing that Israelis are both recognizing and engaging with us a bit more. We have heard a little bit from others that for a variety of reasons fewer Israelis are coming here but we’re not sure about this. We know of some other areas that may have more dense populations of Israelis. (We hope to look into this a little more.) Yet there are still a great number of Israelis passing through here. It’s a matter of being patient in building relationships while also positioning ourselves in the right places.
“We’re also trying to think of other creative ways to connect. The other day in New Manali, Rachel and I bought a bunch of art supplies and we are going to try to connect by doing various art projects with Israelis at one of the cafes. Pray that this will work!!! We also talked with one of our believing contacts about a local prison. It’s not uncommon for people to be arrested on drug charges and that could include some Israelis. It may be possible to bring some food and spend some time there; however, that may create some suspicion with the police who might wonder if we are involved with drugs, so we’re not sure about this as of right now.
“One of the great things about doing ministry in Manali is that there seem to be some good connections with the local church that we may be able to develop. They are really open and supportive of what we’re doing. There seems to be a network of small home churches run by locals from Nepal. There is also a YWAM group stationed here as well. We hope to connect with as many local believers and ministries as possible. Hopefully this will serve to create a partnership and maybe even create a heart within the local community for Israeli outreach.
“Rachel and I have also been passing out coloring books any time kids come up and ask for money. As we start to develop deeper friendships we also hope to have Israelis come out with us to pass out coloring books or do something else for the local people.
“Thanks for your prayers for us!
David and Rachel”