Almost exactly three years ago, we received the vision of expanding the tent: renovating and expanding our old and outdated meeting hall. As we began meeting with a gifted architect and designer, people around the world generously responded to our appeal to raise funds for this project. However, at one point, it seemed we had stalled: no more donations were coming in and we still needed to raise a little over 20% of the $450,000 project cost. We now know that God was in those details as well, timing everything perfectly: we were able to get a complete renovation plan together, taking into account all the sound and media updates, without feeling rushed. It also taught us to trust Him, even when things don’t seem clear.
A couple months ago, we had the chance to get to know Pastor Stovall Weems who had a powerful, life-changing Encounter with Yeshua. Pastor Weems graciously invited Ron and Gil to share in two Sunday morning services at his congregation, Celebration Church, in Jacksonville, Florida during which they took up a special offering for Tiferet Yeshua. Gil and Ron were blessed by their generous and warm reception and getting to know Stovall and his wonderful team. Upon returning to Israel, Gil and Ron were then blown away to learn from Pastor Stovall that they had raised all the needed funds to begin our renovations!
We are so grateful to every single person around the world who donated to our Expand the Tent project. Your love and support is an enormous encouragement and blessing, and we thank you for standing with us! A special thank you to Pastor Stovall and the Celebration Church family who, in one fell swoop, got us over the finish line. We’ll be starting the renovations in July and will share our updates as we progress. We can’t wait!
By far our most important investment as a messianic congregation in the Land of Israel is our youth and raising up strong Jewish believers in the Messiah to be a light and a witness in this end time generation. According to most of the statistics in the Body of Messiah, the most critical age for kids growing up in believing families is the teenage years. Why? Because it’s the age when believing teens make decisions that will have profound effects on their walk of faith. It’s the age that they make the decision to either commit to the Lord and ask Him into their lives, while some of them decide to reject their faith altogether. Therefore, the ages between 13 and 18 are the critical years to get know and respond to the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. Why did I write until age 18? Because at the age of 18 teenagers in Israel are conscripted into the army, and we as their spiritual family at the congregation have until then to prepare them for the intense challenges and social pressure they’ll face in the army.
This summer at Tiferet Yeshua we are planning our annual youth trip: youth trips are an instrumental time to strengthen the teens’ relationships with each other (most of them are the only believers in their schools, so social interaction with other believers is so important),to encourage them, to delve into the word of God together, to challenge them to use their gifts. Every youth trip we take, we also find a way to serve the community in some way which opens awesome opportunities for us to share the gospel.
Testimonies from the youth who have participated in our youth trips in the past tell us that the intensive time of spending a few days together is incredibly important for them and contributes much to their spiritual lives. These trips give us more time to learn God’s word together, to worship and pray together, to listen to each other, to get to know them better and give individual attention to them: during the concerted time we spend together, the youth open up more and we’re able speak into their lives.
Every year, Shlomit, our dedicated youth group leader, and I invest time and prayer in planning everything, logistically and spiritually. Please stand with us in prayer for the young Jewish believers we’re raising here in the Land, that the Lord would give us wisdom, insight and grace during this trip, that each one would have a deep encounter with the Lord and His love, that each young person joining the trip would be strengthened in their faith, and that those who haven’t yet made commitments to the Lord would do so.
God has connected Tiferet Yeshua in a special way to a very special place in Germany: the bible school Glaubenszentrum, a place committed to equipping and raising up believers on the whole council of God’s word, and to making a stand for Israel’s place in God’s plan. For several years groups of students have come from Glaubenszentrum to serve and fellowship with us here in Tel Aviv, and Tiferet’s youth group, as well as our leadership and worship teams, have been to Glaubenszentrum to participate in conferences and events. This year we sent a small team led by Shlomit, Tiferet Yeshua’s youth leader, to participate in Glaubenszentrum’s yearly youth camp, JuKuBi. It was an amazing time for all of them. Here are some of their experiences in their own words:
Nava: Being Jewish, it’s hard not to associate images of my people’s suffering in the Holocaust when I think of Germany. However, it was amazing for me to experience so much love from the Germans at the conference: their love for us on the team, their love for Israel, and, above all, their love of God. The Glaubenszentrum team treated us with such overwhelming generosity and we felt surrounded by love. As part of the conference, the youth participants volunteer in the town. We joined a group that went to clean up the local Jewish cemetery: it was badly neglected and overgrown because there isn’t a Jewish community there anymore. For me it was one of the special moments and felt like the closing of a circle.
Yoel: The highlight for me was meeting a bible school student who volunteered to serve at the conference and who is an immigrant to Germany from Iran.
He helped us clean up the local Jewish cemetery. Afterward, on our walk back to the bible school, we talked a lot and bonded immediately. He was so thrilled to be around youth who are loud, friendly and outgoing! He said he misses the warm, middle-eastern culture and found our Israeli character to be more familiar to his culture than the quiet, polite German culture. On another occasion, I had a heated argument about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a youth who was in my small team. After spending time together daily in our group, we became friends. When we were saying good bye, he told me that he made a decision not to blindly accept media reports on Israel as facts, but to search for the truth about Israel.
Halel: During the conference, I observed that our Israeli youth received a deeper understanding about the God-created love among nations.
This led to interesting discussions amongst ourselves about our role as the Jewish people.
We were also blessed and encouraged to see youth who love the Lord so passionately! I was touched to see the passion of the staff and youth for prayer and taking time in prayer for each other.
I passed by some groups who were praying for each other, and when I walked by them later on, they were still there in prayer!
I know that I would have been in chit-chat mode at that point… Their commitment and passion made a big impression on me.
Shlomit: The bible-school leadership has decided to highlight Israel as a theme dear to God’s heart. With a desire to let the participants of the conference get to know some Israelis in person, and of course to bless us, we had the privilege to travel as a youth group to the conference and take part in the program. I was personally challenged to ask myself, “How dear to me are the things the Bible says are dear to God?”
On the last day of the conference, I got the opportunity to share a bit from my testimony: about growing up with no clue about the relevance of the New Testament to me personally and to the Jewish people. Afterward, one of youth leaders explained God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel in Genesis 12:3, and the youth gathered around and prayed for us. One of the staff members, who happened to be a famous rap-star, and whose voice is highly respected by the youth, shared a picture he saw in the Spirit of two rope bonds: one was for Germany and the other for Israel. The hand of the Lord took these two ends and wrapped them together. Later, a teacher from the bible school shared with me that He saw in the Spirit that the youth are each taking a part of that bond back to their families and congregations. For me it was a highlight because the rapper’s clear voice declaring this vision and praying for Israel was like the blowing of a shofar. It was a great blessing for me!
For two months now we’ve been reaching our goal of making 1,000 meals for the poor and needy every month through our project Feed Tel Aviv. Additionally, we cook these meals fresh and bring them directly to the outreach center. There are other organizations which send food which is often day old and past its prime. The food we’re preparing is fresh, homemade and nutritious, and the people we’re serving it to express their gratitude for the quality and come back for seconds and thirds.
So, who exactly are these needy individuals in Tel Aviv we’re reaching out to? To answer that, I’ll make use of a cliché: they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the picture above that I took at our outreach kitchen in south Tel Aviv tells it all:
The man standing in the foreground dressed in black is ultra-orthodox of Sephardic descent. Next to him in line is a secular, Ashkenazi Jewish man, and next to him is an Arab Muslim man. Finally, the man at the head of the line is a Sudanese refugee. From the picture you can see that we’re serving a very diverse cross section of the Israeli population!
There are also women who come to us for food who are working in prostitution, as well as the homeless and drug addicted. What these people all have in common is that they are hungry. We’ve discovered is that these people aren’t just hungry for food. Their souls are hungry for the Word of Truth; after they’ve sat and satisfied their physical hunger, some of them begin asking spiritual questions. Therefore, whenever we serve the immediate physical hunger of the needy, we also end up sharing the gospel, giving witness to what Yeshua has done in our lives and talking about the biblical prophesies which tell about who Israel’s Messiah is.
Just recently we shared with two drug addicted women who are involved in a lesbian lifestyle and living on the street. They were so open and hungry for the gospel, and we ended up praying for them. While we prayed for them, one of them began weeping for a half an hour. She repented for her lifestyle and said that she needs nothing short of the almighty hand of God to pull her out of her lifestyle (which involves highly addictive drugs).
Please continue to pray for these two ladies who come back every week, who are open and hungry for the truth, and in desperate need for a powerful encounter with God’s love to pull them out of the darkness, and that they would be willing to enroll in one of the drug treatment facilities run by believers that we’re involved with. Please pray that God gives us grace and wisdom and uses us in a mighty way to help the desprately lost and suffering we encounter every week.
All of this important work that we’re doing is thanks to your generous support, and therefore I want to say “thank you” with my whole heart in the name of all of those who receive food from us every week, both physical and spiritual food. Please continue to keep the Feed Tel Aviv project in your prayers. We know that the Lord has called us to support the poor and needy in our city, Tel Aviv, and you’re helping us fulfill that call.
When renovations commenced in July, everything looked devastated as walls were torn down and everything was rebuilt from scratch. Just in the last couple weeks since there’s wallboard, paint, new flooring, and lighting, it’s starting to look amazing! God has blessed us with an amazing general contractor who’s exceeded our hopes with his work ethic, reliability, flexibility and amiability—which has made it so much easier for Gil to manage this project.
Cramped but anointed!
During construction we’ve been meeting in our small prayer hall, and it’s been cramped, to say the least. The AC has been overtaxed with so many people packed in there and we’ve had to come up with some creative solutions. While it’s not the most comfortable arrangement, we’ve been experiencing especially powerful times of worship and ministry: we feel like the Lord is pouring out a new anointing on us, that the “renovation” we’re undergoing is not just physical but spiritual as well.
Also, our amazing members have been stepping up to serve during the entire service on our second floor where we’ve been providing special activities for the kids from 16:00 to 18:00 (we wouldn’t have been able to fit all the families plus children into the prayer hall).