There was a man who firmly believed that access to the Word of God was the only way to bring about real personal and societal change, especially for the poor and disenfranchised. Where he lived there were no Bibles available in his native language, and he was willing to risk everything to get them into people’s hands. His name was Jan Hus, and he was burned at the stake in 1415 for translating the Bible in the Czech language. During Jan’s day, Bibles were only available in Latin, Greek and Hebrew and were the monopoly of the tiniest fraction of the population—church clergy and academics. Back then, making Bibles available to non-elites was a bloody business, and many were brutally executed by religious authorities for attempting to translate any part of the Bible. For the next couple hundred years following Jan’s murder, many brave and deeply committed men paid with their lives for attempting to get Bibles into the hands of everyday people in their own language.
“If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause the boy who drives the plow to know more of the Scripture than the pope does.”
~William Tyndale, burned at the stake in 1536 for translating the Bible into English
Why was there such great resistance to the translation of the Bible, beyond the fact of the clergy wanting to retain its hegemony on power? The answer is this: the Word of God is powerful, and when a believer starts reading the Word daily with the aim of getting to know God, the kingdom of darkness trembles.
Knowing God without reading His Word: Impossible
Five hundred years after those first brave men began risking life and limb to get Bibles translated and into the hands of everyone, the majority of people in the world have the Bible available to them. In the West (including Israel), we not only have multiple versions of the Bible in our native language, we have easy and instant (thanks to smartphones) access to it. According to the American Bible Society, the average American household has 3 Bibles.
With such easy access, one might naturally conclude that there would be very high Bible literacy rates. Sadly, the opposite is true. According to a study by LifeWay Research, over 40% of church attenders in the US read their Bibles only occasionally, once or twice a month, and only 45 % say they read their Bibles more than once a week. If the Word of God is our daily spiritual bread, those statistics mean that two thirds of all believers are spiritually starving. Considering the love, devotion and faith it took those men over five-hundred years ago to risk their lives to give everyone the right to access the Bible, it is heart-breaking to realize how few of us make use of that precious right.
As a pastor, it doesn’t take long to notice the effects of spiritual malnutrition from not reading the Word. We make it a habit to ask people who are seeking council for persistent difficulties in their lives whether they regularly read the Word, and we have discovered that a high percentage of them do not. And they tend to have an anemic prayer life as well.
The only way to experience real change emotionally is to grow spiritually. The only way to grow spiritually is getting to know God. The only way to get to know God is spending time in His Word and in His presence through prayer each day. Period. There are no short-cuts in any relationships, and that includes the incredible relationship with God that we are privilidged to have.
Taste and See!
It can be a real challenge finding the time for prayer and meditation on the Word with busy schedules and the noisy distractions in everyday life. As believers we have access to every kind of worship or the latest message from our favorite preachers, and it is easy to put on worship or listen to a good sermon or teaching while cleaning or cooking or driving to work. However, hearing about Him is not the same as spending time with Him. When all we do is “hear about Him” from others, we will not know Him or His voice. Because this one step is so absolutely integral for believers to start growing, maturing and fulfilling their destinies in God, and because it makes us absolutely dangerous for the kingdom of darkness, the devil spends extra time trying to throw distractions at us to keep us from carving out that time each day.
Here’s a little secret: when you sincerely pray God’s will, He always comes through. If you want it with all your heart, and you ask Him for help, and you don’t give up, even when you’ve fallen off the wagon for a few days or a week, He will give you the grace to push through the initial challenge of making His Word and prayer a daily part of your life. When you do, you are in for a great surprise: spiritual hunger increases when you start feeding it on the Word and the sweetness of His presence. Before you know it, you will miss Him if you skip a day, that’s how satisfying His presence is. Soon enough you will discover the wonderful, constant journey onward and upward in Your relationship with the Creator of the Universe!
If you don’t spend time daily with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word, I want to challenge you to take God at His Word, to taste and see how good He is! Then share your experience with us.
by Tamar Afriat
When Israel went into its first covid lockdown in the beginning of March, we started hearing about people in need who had lost jobs or income due to the crisis. There were others who were unable to get out to get groceries themselves because of being in a high-risk health group. We decided as a congregation to reach out to help those in the community around us: we asked our congregation members to recommend people they knew were in need, and each week we filled grocery bags for families with enough essentials to help get them through the week. Now that Israel is the first country in the world to go into a second lockdown, our team is back to brining groceries to families in need.
When we first started our outreach in March, we were bringing groceries to around twelve families. But each week, we were hearing of more families in need. In the end, we were providing weekly groceries to twenty-three families. Most of the recipients were non-believers, and all of them expressed sincere gratitude that a community of Messianic Jews wanted to bless them. Abbey, one of Tiferet Yeshua’s members, suggested one of her coworkers for our outreach, a Muslim woman whose family was experiencing financial difficulties because of the lockdown. Associate Pastor Moti Cohen delivered the groceries to Abbey’s coworker who asked him what organization was supporting this outreach. When she understood that it was a congregation of Jewish believers in Yeshua that just wanted to bless her, a Muslim woman, her eyes filled with tears.
Miriam, a woman in our congregation who works with the Israeli pro-life organization, B’ad Chaim, recommended several single mothers for our grocery outreach. These were women whom Miriam had counseled through their decision to keep their babies and supported through their pregnancies. Because the corona lockdown closed all childcare facilities for over two months, forcing parents to stay at home to care for their children, these young mothers had fallen on hard times.
Every week during the lockdown we brought them groceries and diapers. It was so special for Miriam to see these babies whose lives she had a part in bringing into the world, and it was an honor for us to be able to encourage and bless these single mothers who had so bravely chosen life for their children.
When we first started our outreach, we posted pictures of the teams of volunteers shopping and preparing the grocery bags on Tiferet Yeshua’s Hebrew Facebook page in order to share with our congregation members that the congregation was still active despite the lockdown. A single mother of a child with special needs saw our post on Facebook and sent us a message asking if she could be included in our grocery outreach because she also had to be quarantined at home caring for her child.
The second covid lockdown is proving to be a difficult and trying period for everyone here in Israel, especially those who were hit hard by the first lockdown. But, it has been such a blessing for us to be able to help and support those in need around us during that time, to bring the groceries to their homes personally, to let them know that they are not alone, and to see how the love of our Messiah Yeshua in action touches and encourages them.
We would not be able to maintain our giving fund without the help from our friends around the world! Your support allows us to address immediate needs in our community as they arise, like those that are coming to our attention during the ongoing covid crisis. Thank you!
“Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)
In the second temple period, a water libation ceremony during Sukkot had developed which had become tradition by the time of Yeshua. In this ceremony, the priests would draw water from the Pool of Siloam each morning during Sukkot and then carry it up to the Temple on the pilgrim road with festive blasts of the shofar. In the evening, the priests would pour the water onto the alter in a great joyous event. According to the Talmud: “He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life.”
Yeshua’s John 7 Declaration on Sukkot
Naturally Yeshua would have been in Jerusalem celebrating the feast of Sukkot since it is one of the three biblically mandated pilgrimage feast during which the men of Israel are commanded to celebrate the holiday in the Temple in Jerusalem. John 7 describes Yeshua being in Jerusalem on this holiday during which He made a powerful prophetic declaration. In light of the “The Joy of Drawing Water” priestly tradition, it is stirring to imagine Yeshua making this declaration at the height of the celebrations at the end of the feast:
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’” (John 7:37-38)
When the priests were joyously pouring out water on the alter, Yeshua prophesized that He would pour out the Holy Spirit on those who believe in Him, and the Spirit would become rivers of living water flowing in them. God commanded us to be joyful on the feast of Sukkot three separate times, and Yeshua is the joy of our salvation! He paid the price of our sin, cleansed us, and baptizes us with the Holy Spirit who becomes rivers of living water in us –a revelation He made on Sukkot.
Yeshua is returning to establish His kingdom here on earth from Jerusalem, an event which Sukkot points to:
And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one. (Zechariah 14:8-9)
Hallelujah! May the Lord fill you with joy of His Spirit this week of Sukkot and the hope for the ultimate joy of His kingdom literally coming to the earth in the future.
by Moti Cohen
Each week we are on the streets in south Tel Aviv, handing out food and ministering to the poorest of the poor in our nation – drug addicts, those enslaved in the sex industry, and those who have fallen on hard times. Now that Israel is in its second national quarantine and the country’s whole economy is shut down again, people who were in a hard place to begin with are in dire straits. That is why our mercy outreach in these times is so critical.
Each week I encounter people whose stories would break your heart. Each week God touches someone in an amazing way. There is one story I would like to share about a man I met on the street who shares my name: Moti. My experience with Moti deeply impacted me and the volunteers who were there serving with me.
Last Thursday we started our weekly food distribution as usual: covid-usual, that is, which means we cannot be in our soup kitchen facility and instead walk the streets handing out sandwiches and drinks where the addicts end up.
I approached a thin man who was sitting against a building who looked exhausted. I asked him if he wanted something to eat. “Yes,” he replied. “I haven’t eaten in two days.”
I gave him two sandwiches and sat with him while he ate. I asked him his name, and he said, “Moti.” I told him that is my name too and asked him how he is doing.
“If you want to know the truth,” he told me, “I don’t want to live anymore. In fact, I have been asking God to just take me.”
Moti shared with me his story, which, sadly, is the story I have heard from so many who end up on the streets: He had a job, a home, a family, and then he became addicted to drugs. In the clutches of his addiction, he lost everything: his job, his home, all his money. All his possessions. And his family too.
“My family tried to help me. But then I would steal from them to be able to buy more drugs,” he sighed. “I lost everything. Now I’m on the street, and I just want God to take me.”
“So, if you want God to take your life,” I asked him, “why don’t you give your life to God?” I started to share with Moti the message of the gospel when he stopped me: “I’ve heard it before. I know all about Yeshua,” he told me. Somewhat skeptical, I asked him, “Okay, tell me what you know.”
Moti started telling me that the Hebrew prophets spoke of the suffering servant Messiah who would come and give his life for the people, that Yeshua came as the Messiah, lived a perfect righteous life, was crucified and rose again, and that His blood is the atonement for our sins.
He absolutely knew the gospel! I asked him if he wanted to pray and give his life to Yeshua. Moti said yes, but when I asked him to pray after me, he said, “No, I need to pray from my heart.”
At that moment, Moti closed his eyes and started praying: he cried out to God, thanking Him for forgiveness through Yeshua, asking Yeshua to come into his life. I and those who were with me felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as he prayed. It was one of the most powerful moments I have ever experienced in all my years serving on the streets. Moti gave his life to Yeshua there on the street.
We prayed for him, gave him the contact information of drug rehabilitation centers run by believers and encouraged him to go. Please keep Moti in prayer!
During this time that Israel is again in the midst of a health and economic crisis, the situation of the poor and needy is getting worse, and there are many who need our help. Your support enables us to continue being there for them. Thank you!
Many in Israel are feeling anxious, uncertain and isolated right now because of the covid-19 crisis: the question is, are they more or less open to the gospel as a result? Since coming out of our covid lockdown in the end of May here in Israel, we felt the Lord calling us back out onto the streets to witness. God put it on the heart of Kosta, who recently joined our ministry team, to lead a weekly street outreach in Tel Aviv. As a congregation, we encourage a lifestyle of witnessing to friends, families, coworkers and people we come across in our everyday lives. However, there is a special calling and anointing for evangelists who go out onto the streets to share the gospel.
This week Kosta and David, one of Tiferet Yeshua’s most faithful evangelists, hit the streets of Tel Aviv: with them they had New Testaments and Who is the Messiah of Israel? booklets which detail all the Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah. Both Kosta and David have much experience witnessing on the street, and they were both surprised by people’s reactions to them.
More than ever before, people are open to discussing God and the Messiah of Israel. Kosta and David handed out fifteen prophecy booklets, and five people were willing to take New Testaments – which is amazing. Jewish people have ingrained in them that it is forbidden to even touch the New Testament because it is perceived as an anti-Semitic, Christian book. When we witness to people, we share with them that it is a Jewish book, written by Jews, and that is has the gospel of life which was intended to the Jews first and then to the whole world. More and more Jews are willing to find out for themselves whether this forbidden book, the New Testament, is a Jewish book or not.
The last person Kosta and David talked to left a strong impression on them: he was a young man who had grown up in an orthodox family but had become secular. He told David and Kosta: “You are Messianic Jews? I have been following your teachings and videos! Just yesterday I was watching a teaching by Messianic Jews online.” This man took a New Testament and the booklet with the prophetic messianic scriptures. God is moving and people are open to the gospel like never before. Please pray for us! Just as the Apostle Paul requested prayer to be able to effectively preach the gospel, we need your prayers as well:
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel… Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20
“Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread quickly. Pray that others will honor it just as you did.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
by Mordechai Cohen
Every week, we prepare three hundred hot meals and distribute them in south Tel Aviv – a haven for illegal immigrants and a hotbed of drugs and crime. When Israel went into a stay-at-home quarantine in March, we immediately began seeing the devastating effects it caused here on the rough streets of south Tel Aviv.
We know the faces of those who end up here, those pushed into to a life of poverty, prostitution, homelessness and crime by drug addiction. The situation in the area grows worse every year, and the corona virus, which closed most all of the soup kitchens and halfway houses during the general quarantine in April and May, made the situation even more dire.
The New Face of Need
Since Israel eased corona restrictions at the end of May, we have been seeing new faces at our weekly meal outreaches: these people are not criminals or drug addicted. They are not even homeless. They have simply lost jobs and income due to the corona crisis and find themselves on the edge each week, having to choose between paying their bills and buying food. It is heartbreaking to see an increasing number of people in this situation, but we are thankful that God is giving us the opportunity to serve and minister to them.
More New Faces: Workers for the Harvest!
One of the most exciting things that has been happening recently is the fact that the Lord is sending workers into the harvest. For the last several weeks, more volunteers have been joining us to hand out meals on the street. In particular, a devoted group of on-fire young people from Jerusalem has been coming down to Tel Aviv every week to help distribute meals on the streets.
Long after the rest of us have gone to bed, they are out on the streets until six in the morning, ministering to the neediest people in our country who are unseen and forgotten by society: drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless. They have been sending me pictures of people kneeling on the sidewalks in prayer. God is moving!
Please keep what we are doing in prayer! God is shaking our society and giving us the opportunity to be there to minister to those who are most dramatically affected. Thanks to your faithful support of this ministry, we are able to continue being the hands and feet of the Lord here on the streets in Tel Aviv.
On Our Way to a Second Wave?
On May 20th Israel announced it was loosening corona restrictions, allowing many to go back to work and allowing us at Tiferet Yeshua to hold weekly services of up to fifty people. A week after Israel began relaxing corona restrictions, the infection rate began climbing again, causing concern that we are on our way to a second wave of infections. This week alone Israel had its largest daily infection rate (288 cases) since April.
Everyone has experienced exhaustion with the social distancing and mask wearing in public. Once restrictions on restaurants and pubs were lifted, many young people threw off restraint and gathered for large parties. Possibly for that reason alone Tel Aviv has one of the highest infection rates in Israel at the moment. Schools were also reopened and, not surprisingly, they have been a source of virus outbreaks, with some shutting down not long after students returned. The word from teachers and students is that compliance with health guidelines in the schools is shoddy at best.
On June 8th the Prime Minister addressed the nation, warning that we would go back to a general lock-down if the numbers kept rising and re-emphasizing the three rules people must continue complying with: social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. Some experts are pointing out that the higher number of infections that Israel is seeing right now is partially due to the fact that the state has dramatically increased corona virus testing which naturally leads to an increase in the statistical infection rate. Additionally, the vast majority (99.6%) of those who are testing positive for corona right now are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.
Israel’s Corona Grade So Far
So how has Israel fared with its corona virus response overall? Looking at worldwide statistics, Israel has done fairly well handling the corona virus outbreak. Israel closed the skies early and quickly went into a general lock-down. The death rate from the corona virus in Israel has also been low ( 2% mortality rate) compared to other countries considered in good standing with their corona response, like Germany (5% mortality rate). Currently with the rising numbers of corona infections, the number of serious cases in Israel is still very low (1%) compared to Germany (6%), mainly due to the fact that those who are becoming infected in Israel tend to be younger.
On Our Way Back to Quarantine?
This week Israel Finance Minister Israel Katz told the media that Israel will put a break on the loosening of overall restrictions but it will not go back to a general shutdown. Instead of a general closure, the plan is to deal with outbreaks in “pinpoint manner with enforcement and quarantine”.
What about flying to and from Israel?
Currently anyone coming into Israel must go into a 14-day quarantine. Netanyahu and top government ministers met with their Greek and Cypriot counterparts this last week to discuss the possibility of removing the quarantine requirement between Israel, Greece and Cyprus on August 1st. The message for Israel’s tourism industry, which is large, is not a good one.
Increasingly experts are saying that the corona virus will most likely be with us for another year or two and that our societies must find ways of living with it in the meantime. The world has changed for good. As we continue our small meetings in Tiferet Yeshua, our prayer is that God would protect His people from the virus and that He would continue using us to be a light and blessing to our nation during this difficult time!
When Israel went into lockdown in mid-March, we started hearing about people in need who had lost jobs or income due to the crisis. As a congregation, we decided to reach out to help those in the community around us: we asked Tiferet Yeshua members to recommend people they knew who were in need, and each week we filled grocery bags for families with enough essentials to help get them through the week.
When we first started out in March, we were bringing groceries to around twelve families. Each week, we were hearing of more families in need so that in the end, we were providing weekly groceries to twenty-three families. Most of the recipients were non-believers, and all of them expressed sincere gratitude that a community of Messianic Jews wanted to bless them. Tiferet Yeshua Elder Moti Cohen who helped organize the grocery delivery shared that a Muslim woman who received groceries asked him what organization was supporting this outreach; when he explained to her that it was a congregation of Jewish believers in Yeshua that just wanted to bless her, her eyes filled with tears.
Miriam, a woman in our congregation who works with the Israeli pro-life organization, B’ad Chaim, recommended several single mothers for our grocery outreach. These were women whom Miriam had counseled through their decision to keep their babies and supported through their pregnancies. Because the corona lockdown closed all childcare facilities for over two months, forcing parents to stay at home to care for their children, these young mothers had fallen on hard times. Every week during the lockdown we brought them groceries and diapers. It was so special for Miriam to be able to be a part of supporting these single mothers, to see the babies whose lives she had a part in bringing into the world. For us it was an honor to be able to encourage and bless these single mothers who had chosen life for their children.
When we first started our outreach, we posted pictures of the teams of volunteers shopping and preparing the grocery bags on Tiferet Yeshua’s Hebrew Facebook page in order to share with our members that the congregation was still active despite the lockdown. A non-believer and single mother of a child with special needs saw our post on Facebook and sent us a message asking if she could be included in our grocery outreach because she also had to be quarantined at home caring for her child. Praise God we could help her!
Overall, we provided groceries for the two and a half months that Israel was in quarantine lockdown. It was a difficult and trying period for everyone. But, it was such a blessing for us to be able to help and support those in need around us during that time, to bring the groceries to their homes personally and to see how it touched and encouraged them.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
We would not be able to maintain our giving fund without the help from our friends around the world! Your support allows us to respond to immediate needs as they arise, like those that came to our attention during the corona crisis, and to be a blessing to the people of Israel. Thank you!
(Tzipi is a mature woman of God and has been an integral part of Tiferet Yeshua congregation for years. She shared this powerful testimony with us while we were still in quarantine, and it was a great encouragement to us. We pray it encourages you too.)
Dina (not her real name) and I have been friends over 15 years. We worked closely together in a kindergarten for a long time. When we first became friends, I never talked to her about my faith. At first it was because of the school setting where we worked. Being around the children and their parents made it difficult to have an open discussion about faith (in Israel it is illegal to knowingly “expose” anyone under the age of eighteen to the gospel). When you are building a relationship with someone, and you don’t share about your faith at the outset, it becomes harder to do it as time goes on. Fear creeps in. The fear of losing the friendship.
I told myself that I was waiting for the right moment to have the conversation with her, but the right moment never seemed to come. I wanted so much to share my faith with her, but fear was holding me back. Over the years, as our relationship grew, Dina and I became like sisters. We had family gatherings together. We celebrated holidays together. She became like family, which made the fact that I had never shared my faith with her so unbelievable: I knew my dear friend could not really know me because she did not know about Yeshua (Jesus), the most important part of my life. Beyond that, how could I not share the most precious gift I know of with my friend?
Cancer: a wake-up call!
About three years ago Dina got sick with cancer, which made the pressure to witness to her greater than ever. But I just wasn’t able to do it. During that time, my daughter kept telling me, “How will you be able to look yourself in the mirror if something happens to her? You have to share Yeshua with her. It’s wrong not to tell her, she’s your friend!” I knew she was right.
“Soon. I’ll do it soon,” I would tell her. But I never did.
Corona Changed Everything
A couple weeks into Israel’s quarantine lockdown, Dina called to tell me that she was having a hard time financially because of the situation. I had been volunteering at Tiferet Yeshua to help out with the grocery outreach for the needy that we organized every week during the corona lockdown. I told her that I was volunteering with a project that provided groceries to people in need during corona and that I would be happy to include her in the outreach.
That day when I was bringing the groceries to her house, I felt God saying, “This is it. This is the moment that you are going to witness to her.” The whole way there I was praying, asking Him to give me the words. It wasn’t going to be easy…I had been putting this off for fifteen years!
When I got to her house, I gave her the groceries and told her, “I know that all these years you have questions for me about what I believe.” She waved me off saying, “Yes, yes, I know, you are into the Reform thing (Reform Judaism).” I had always talked openly about God, about going to conferences, but I had never specifically mentioned Yeshua.
I told her, “No, it’s not that. Bring me the Bible (Hebrew scriptures)”. When I witness to people, I prefer that they bring their own bibles so that they don’t think I’m reading something to them out of a different Bible because everyone is always so surprised when they read the prophetic messianic scriptures for the first time.
Dina brought me her Bible and handed it to me. I don’t know how I did it—it was like strength from above was filling me. I started at the beginning, in Genesis. I showed her how it is written that God created man using the plural pronoun, saying, “…let us make man in our image and in our likeness”. Then I went to the story of Abraham and the three “angels”, one of whom is described as the LORD (YHVH). I wanted to show her that God reveals Himself to man in the Hebrew scriptures as a physical person.
Finally, I got to Yeshua. When I said His name, Dina just looked at me. After a moment she said, “Tzipi, I want to tell you something. When I was little, someone put a flier in our mailbox that offered these books. The information in the flier fascinated me, and I wanted to find out more about it. Without telling anyone, I returned the flier in the mail to get the books. The books came in the mail, without anyone noticing. I hid them in my room and started secretly reading them. One day my father caught me. What a beating he gave me over those books! He yelled at me, ‘Do you know what this is? It’s Christianity!'”
A Family Secret
Dina then told me something she had kept to herself for years. Dina’s mother had been sent into hiding in a Christian convent during the Second World War because her parents were afraid that the Nazis would take control of Algeria where they were living. All her life, Dina remembered her mother crossing herself. When she would do it, Dina would ask her, “Mom, what are you doing? We are Jews!” One day, Dina’s mother told her, “You don’t know this, but there are Christians who you think are Christians, but they’re actually Jews.”
I looked at Dina in shock and said, “Your mother knew about Messianic Jews!”
That day, we sat together for over four hours, going through the Word together and talking. I had no idea how the time was flying! In the end I told her, “I don’t want you to take my word for it. Search it out for yourself. It’s all here in our Bible.”
On my way home, I called my Mom to tell her. My Mom is a believer, and she was so happy to hear that I had finally witnessed to my dear friend. She and I both prayed for Dina there on the phone, that she would continue reading the Word and that Yeshua would reveal Himself to her.
That evening Dina called me: it was like our four-hour conversation from earlier that day hadn’t been enough. I told her, “Maybe it’s not the best idea for you to talk to your family about this right now. Search it out for yourself first before you share it with your family. They might get worried and start driving you crazy about it.”
“That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about!” Dina said. “I already told my brother. He’s intrigued and wants to find out more too.”
Since then, Dina and I talk every day. She is so hungry for God! It’s a miracle.
I told her that I never talked to her about my faith because I was afraid of losing her as a friend. Her answer to me was, “It’s a shame you didn’t tell me sooner.”
***Thanks to your support, we are able to continue special projects like our corona grocery bag outreach which became an open door for Tzipi to share the gospel with her friend***
We’d like you to get to know a very special person. Halel is one of the most amazing people we know, and we are incredibly blessed to have her leading Tiferet Yeshua’s youth group. She is on fire for the Lord, has boundless energy, a huge heart, and is devoted to helping those in need.
At the beginning of the corona crisis here in Israel, Halel got a call from a young man, saying that there were many families of African migrants in south Tel Aviv who had lost their jobs due to the crisis – they had no food, no diapers for their children. Halel asked how on earth he got her number: it turns out this young man got to know believers at a conference here in Israel, and when he contacted them about getting immediate help for his community, they gave them Halel’s number.
“Hello, my name is Halel Goldman and I am twenty-two. At age sixteen when I started becoming more serious about relationship with God, I would go with two of my sisters to the only youth group we knew about in Tel Aviv (my family had started going to congregation Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv).
To get to these youth meetings we had a long way to go from where we lived at the time in Caesarea (a town in north-central Israel): we had to take a train, buses and then walk for about a mile from the central bus station in south Tel Aviv which is one of the worst areas not just in Tel Aviv, but in all Israel. Walking to youth group each week I ended up seeing many lost, suffering people. The poverty and suffering I saw deeply affected me, and I started to pray about what I could do to help. Sometimes I would bring food with me to give people I saw along the way. I would sit and talk with people and pray for them. God gave me a burden for the people I saw there, and over time it would continue to grow.
Over the years, I began finding different ways to reach out to the people of south Tel Aviv. When I was serving in the army, I decided to start a project that would allow youth from different congregations along with youth who weren’t believers to volunteer with me to go out and serve the homeless in south Tel Aviv. Youth groups from various congregations joined us to learn how to become involved in outreach in a way that would forever change the way they view the needs of those around them.
Last year my dad left his job in the tourism industry to take over leadership of a ministry here in Israel called “Hands of Mercy”. As a humanitarian outreach organization, we realized that it made sense for me to join him in their ministry by adding my project to reach people in desperate situations on the street. We also run a ministry house in Jerusalem that provides a place for disenfranchised youth who have left the ultra-orthodox background who need a warm meal and home atmosphere (this ministry home was continually attacked and vandalized by extreme ultra-orthodox groups at the beginning of this year).
I continue to go out on the streets two to three times a week. I still see very difficult things, and over time I have gotten to know and develop a relationship with most of the people on the streets in south Tel Aviv: those same alleyways filled with drugs that shocked me when I was sixteen now almost feel like home. My heart goes out to each and every person there. Today when the see us coming with our cart of food, hot drinks (in the winter months), and clothes, they all run up to us, sometimes just for food, sometimes to receive prayer.
Our vision is to help people get off the streets, and we have succeeded in getting scores of people into rehabilitation programs here in Israel. There is still a great need out there on the streets: one need in particular that has become apparent to me is that there is no Hebrew-speaking rehabilitation center for women run by believers here in Israel. It has been my hope and prayer that we will one day be able to open a rehabilitation center for Hebrew-speaking women from the street. Amazingly, through the crisis of the corona virus, God has opened the door for us to useour ministry house as a place for women in crisis, which is an amazing answer to prayer!
With God’s grace, we have been able to continue to provide food and support to many people in several cities in Israel while time training volunteers, believers and non-believers, to serve in love and patience. We also want our volunteers who go out on the street have first aid certification: so many people on the street needlessly suffer injuries from simple cuts and scrapes that become infected, so it is a great help when volunteers are professionally trained to know how to safely disinfect and dress simple wounds.
We would be so grateful for your prayers right now as we are still experiencing persecution and financial difficulties. We would be happy to have you join us sometime on one of our trips out to streets to see what God does when you follow Him to serve the poor and needy. Blessings from Israel!”
Because of your support, we are able to respond quickly to needs on the ground here in Israel, like supporting Halel’s project to help the Nigerian families in need in south Tel Aviv. Thank you for standing with us!