Help bring Living Water to Israel’s desert
Last week’s training team included six Israelis, two volunteers from the U.S. and a volunteer from Finland. The training included actual outreach on the streets, which was a first for some of the new campaigners. Despite the challenge of having eight people speaking four different languages, everyone learned well. They practiced all different methodologies of campaign evangelism and their "practice" resulted in receiving contact information from fifteen interested Jewish people – and we received another 20 contacts via Internet!
|Our gospel ad in Israel’s “TV Guide”|
This week, the more experienced campaigners joined up with the training team to begin the campaign full steam. On the very first day, an Israeli who saw us phoned our office and prayed to receive the Lord!
In addition to handing out literature and holding up evangelistic banners, we are reaching out via newspaper ads, billboards and Internet social media.
As far as the billboards, we had two large ones with the message “Yeshu = Yeshua = Yeshuah,” which proclaims that Jesus is the bringer of salvation. Within a few hours, one billboard was torn down and the other was defaced by a Hasidic Jewish man who also erased our phone number. A friend of ours witnessed this and was able to take photographs. Unfortunately, we will not be able to replace those billboards. However, we believe in a God who knows the end from the beginning and who knew that this would happen and can still use it for good. Please pray that Israelis who pass the ruined billboard will be provoked to curiosity and go onto the Internet to discover what our slogan means and how to contact us – or perhaps even come across one of our teams as they hold up banners or do sorties (tract-passing expeditions) in their area.
The Israeli version of TV Guide published our ad with a coupon for people to order a free copy of our book, “Yeshua: the Jewish way to say Jesus,” in Hebrew. This is exciting because the media have turned the ad down several times since running it in 2008, when we launched the first Behold Your God Israel campaign.
Campaign leader Oded Cohen said on the third day of the campaign, "Another great day in the Negev! We are very encouraged by what God is doing in this region. I have a wonderful team of dedicated, hardworking servants of the Lord, and we are praising the Lord for an exciting and fruitful day."
|Dan Sered, who leads our Israel work,
training new campaigners
Our Israel director, Dan Sered says to all who are praying, "We may be the people on the ground, but your prayers are the fuel that powers our engines and we truly could not do this without your prayers, support and encouragement.
"We have had several encouraging encounters with the police as several have offered our teams protection and one even wanted to know about Jesus for himself. We know that this is a direct response to your prayers for favor with the authorities.
"On Tuesday, 100 unsaved Jewish people gave us their contact details so that they could learn more about Yeshua their Messiah. We really experienced the power of your prayers. God gave such a bounty to the teams on the street and those calling into people’s homes; you are a major part of that harvest.
"Of course, as God moves powerfully in this region and we begin to take the land for the Lord, the opposition is strengthening against us. We are encountering anti-missionaries more frequently and they have harassed several teams and disturbed several of our sorties."
Here are some highlights from the first two days of the campaign:
|Our billboards proclaimed Jesus as the bringer of salvation|
A young man named David rang into the Jews for Jesus office after seeing one of our teams bannering in Beer Sheva. He had questions about the difference between the Old and New Testaments and was particularly interested in what the New Testament had to say about the law and about the issue of guilt. Leah, our volunteer, explained the gospel. David shared that he had a serious addiction and wasn’t sure if God could forgive him of that as he had tried to break his addiction before, but it felt like it was a magnet pulling him back. Leah assured him that because of what Jesus had done for him on the cross, all sins could be forgiven and that God could conquer his addiction. At this point David prayed to receive Yeshua as his Messiah and Lord. Leah asked him for his phone number, but David was not comfortable giving it as he was afraid of his family’s reaction. Leah encouraged him to call back again with more questions. Please pray for David’s deliverance from his addiction, and that he will call back and be willing to meet with one of the missionaries.
|Our banners proclaim the same message of Jesus|
"As we held up our banner at a busy intersection many people rolled down their car windows to ask questions or take literature. One lady asked who we were and what was going on. I explained that we are a team of people from Israel, Ukraine, England and America who had come to talk with Israeli people about Jesus. She responded, ‘You mean these people came from Europe and the USA with this message? I am very impressed that they would come and do this especially in this area. It is a pretty tense area, security wise.’ I also met a Jewish man who was a little upset as he pointed to the sign and asked me why we had to bring it to this place and talk about Yeshu (the false name that Israelis use for Jesus, which is also a curse), since he was not the Messiah. I then asked him, ‘So who is the Messiah?’ He said, ‘I don’t know who the Messiah is!’ I asked, ‘So, why are you telling me Yeshua isn’t the Messiah when you don’t know who is?’ I encouraged him to go home and read the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Habakkuk and see what they said about the Messiah. I suggested that after reading what the prophets said, he could ring the Jews for Jesus office to talk about whether Yeshua was the Messiah. By this point, he had calmed down and was quite open to consider whether Yeshua really was the Jewish Messiah."
"I want to give a praise report on how God has been taking good care of my physical health. [Micha has Huntington’s disease.] Usually at home in the mornings I have problems carrying things. But since I have been on campaign I have had no issues with carrying in the morning and have been able to hold up our banner."
|Two billboards were destroyed the
second day of campaign
"We were doing surveys and I approached a lady, Adi, and asked her if I she would answer some questions about security and peace, including inner peace. Adi said, ‘These questions go a little bit deeper than ordinary surveys. Where are you from?’ I said, ‘I represent Jews for Jesus.’ She asked me, ‘Are you Messianic Jews?’ When I said, ‘Yes,’ she began laughing and told me her mother was a Messianic Jew. I shared my story about my mum also becoming a believer and that was how I had discovered the connection between the Tenach and the New Testament. Adi said she had gone a different way, but by the end of the conversation I had really challenged her to rethink her mother’s beliefs.
"Later, I talked with Marina, who told me she was an atheist. Again we talked about inner peace and I shared the gospel with her. She told me that other people in her life had been trying to talk to her about Yeshua and she agreed with me that that it wasn’t a coincidence we had met. She gave me her contact details so that she could learn more about Yeshua.
"While we were bannering at Beer Sheva we noticed an Orthodox lady who wasn’t very happy with us and was fidgeting with a phone. It turned out that she had called the police, who came and asked if we had a permit. After I explained the gospel to him I also explained that we were a legal entity in Israel and showed him a copy of a lawyer’s letter I had affirming this. He asked for a copy of the letter to check with their legal team. After this the two policemen sat in their car for a long time as we were still standing with the banner. Anyone who wasn’t happy with us couldn’t do anything about it because the police were there!
“When it was time for us to leave, the policemen told me to wait because they were still checking with the legal team. Though they were fairly confident everything was above board, they just wanted the final go ahead to let us go. They were very polite about it all. Then a plainclothes policeman came up and asked what was going on and it turned out that he was their boss! He also wanted to know what was going on and I explained again what we were all about and gave him the gospel message. He asked me if he should phone the number on the banner if he wanted to know more. I said I could also send him free material if he wanted it and he said he did. I asked him if he was asking for it as a policeman or as an individual, and he told me that he wanted the information because he was personally interested! So he gave me his contact details and said that if there were any problems with opposition I could call him. We have his personal cell phone number so that we can coordinate with him and if there are any problems he can take care of us!
"Later in the day we went to a pedestrian mall and I talked with several people who were very open, including a young couple. I talked with the woman first and shared the gospel message with her. Her husband then joined us and was also very open; they both wanted more information. I said we would pray that God would open their eyes to see that Yeshua is the Messiah. The husband, Asaf, then asked me to pray for his dad who is sick. I replied, ‘I will pray right now for him.’ Asaf’s wife said, ‘Can you talk with God now?’ ‘Yes,’ I responded, ‘and you too can talk to God, through Jesus the Messiah.’ So I prayed and they both said, ‘Amen.’ Then the woman asked, ‘Once I get the book (‘Call Him Yeshua’), can I share it with my mum, too?’ What an encouraging interaction!"
"Just before we left for the souk (marketplace) in Arad, I called the local congregation to let them know we were coming. They thought our timing was perfect because they had been fasting and praying that day for us, and for the people of Arad. We had a great sortie there.
"Avigail’s team went to Beer Sheva’s old city, which is a difficult place for evangelism, and one of the elders from the local Messianic congregation came with the team. He had a great time and the team got contact information from eight people. It was a real help to have someone local with us. The leader of the Messianic congregation where one of our team attends is hoping to join us for outreach as well. It is very encouraging that the local congregations are praying for us and supportive of all we are doing in the region."
|Photo sent by a local believer who saw
the vandalism take place
"Many of us find phoning the most difficult outreach to do, but it’s also really effective. Today we attempted to make 300 phone calls and spoke to over 150 people, thirteen of whom were willing to give us their contact details. When we are bannering, we are having fun holding up a message and inviting people to come speak to us or phone us. However, when we call, we are going directly to people, as fishers of men and women. Though it can often be challenging, it is very fruitful and a very important part of the campaign."
"While using our survey in Beer Sheva I met a man, Moshe, who was in the process of becoming religious. I said it sounded like he was at a crossroads and asked had he ever considered Jesus? Moshe told me that Jesus was not for the Jews and I said, ‘Who told you that?’ Initially he wasn’t interested, but when I challenged him to think for himself, he changed his mind and gave me his contact details. I gave him the Yeshua book and the New Testament and then a religious man came up to us and told him that we were missionaries. Amazingly Moshe defended me. What a change of heart!"
"I was able to share the gospel as well as my story with some Russian-speaking Jews. One of the men wanted the New Testament and a lady, Musa, also wanted it, but I had to stand very close to her and shout so she could hear me! I felt that I should pray for her ears so I did. After praying I took five paces back from her and said, ‘Musa, can you hear me?’ She was so surprised because she could – and her hearing was so much better. I told her that this was God’s power! Musa was happy to give me her contact details and I told her to pray to God to show her the way. It was my birthday and that was the best birthday present God could have given me!"
|New staff member, David Minsky|
"We were doing questionnaires in Beer Sheva and I saw a teammate struggling to understand a man who was talking really fast (in Hebrew), so I thought I would help out. The man was called Ali and he was a Bedouin. He introduced himself as a Muslim who was looking for the truth and challenged me to prove the truth of Jesus being the Messiah. He wanted to debate history by using the Koran to contradict the historicity of the New Testament, but I kept focusing the conversation on atonement. Finally I said, ‘Look this is what God did for you. Jesus died for you on the cross so that your sins could be atoned for and this is true and a real gift that God is offering you.’ He was speechless at that, but then he invited me to have coffee with him at a later time so we could talk more. Please pray for Ali."
Your prayers can help bring Yeshua, the Living Water, to this dry land.
Please pray for God to grant:
- David, the new believer, courage and strength for his new faith and also to overcome his addiction through the power of the Holy Spirit
- continued interest on the part of those who gave us their contact info to hear more about Jesus
- wisdom and strength to team leaders Oded and Tzachi, and to Reggie, our chief steward
- boldness and protection for the entire team as this region is home to a particularly volatile faction of ultra-Orthodox people, and there is also an anti-missionary organization that is very active
- good health for all the campaigners and stewards as some are starting to feel fatigued and/or experience back pain
- confusion for our opposition (to prevent them from hindering our gospel proclamation), and that some will be moved to consider Jesus
- open hearts for the everyday Jews and Arabs we encounter
- effective outreach through our ads and social media
- encouragement and edification of the local believers, both Arab and Jewish, and a special blessing for those who are standing with us
- effective follow-up
|Our Behold Your God Negev team, in high spirits!|