Another year of ministry has passed and it goes so fast.
We continue to be thankful to the Lord for all His help, encouragements and His steadfast faithfulness. We have had many opportunities in bringing the Gospel to both Jews and Arabs and others in Israel and the West Bank, as well as in other places like Jordan, Holland , the USA, Romania and Ukraine, and the UK .
We have given out many Bibles and DVD’s and continue to purchase and distribute God’s Word among many of those who have never received or heard the gospel. Many people have their own idea of what Christianity is about, who Jesus was, or what is actually written in the New Testament, so actually getting a Bible into their own hands challenges them to examine what they think or have been taught or heard, and actually read , especially Muslims . What it says is good for them to read for themselves. This is very important.
Tel Aviv Adventures
We have distributed many thousands of new Testaments to the refugees in Tel Aviv from Eritrea and Darfur. Till recently we went four times a week and distributed God’s Word and food, and in the winter many hundreds of blankets. The situation now is a little different and not as acute as last winter, with the border more secure there are fewer refugees entering Israel, creating a somewhat stabilized situation. If things change and there is a need then we will go more. We have moved to a new place on Fridays and distribute lots of New Testaments and Bibles every week to many different nationalities including Israelis . Sometimes we drive around Tel Aviv in the van and distribute lots through the window, we call it this “Drive By”. We have met many different people, not just refugees but secular Israelis, atheists, foreign workers, of all convictions and strips, giving us much opportunity to challenge them to see what the New Testament actually says.
Russian Walking Tours
We continue with our free Russian tours, twice a week and they have good numbers every week, at the end of which we distribute literature and offer a free book on Jerusalem which we deliver to their houses. It is always interesting to see how tradition can be challenged by the actual history and locations of this beloved city of Jerusalem.
Our Jerusalem congregation is small and probably will always be so but it is a family and strong in motivation and service with a keen desire to live and serve Him with joy. We no longer go to Kiriat Gat as the brother who was helping there had to stop, his wife died suddenly leaving him with a new born baby and many responsibilities. After some discussion with the people of the congregation they have decided to join with a Church called Grace and Truth which has a place not far away. It is a good fit and will bless them. The congregation has have a new pastor, David, please pray for him as he has not an easy job.
Our Meetings are going well with all our three weekly messages available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/simonant22 including my testimony.
The Womans house is going well, we have helped a number of women to get on their feet and to become independent. This past year has seen many short term stays with much coming and going and right now we are getting the house ready ( regular maintenance and upkeep) for the next group of women that this New Year will bring. We have one new women coming soon, please pray that He will bring those that He will and we will be able to truly impact lives, even in small ways.
We had are annual passover outreach with advertising in many newspapers and also we had an extra campaign advertising on the radio a film about creation , we did not get to many responses as in previous years . Toward the end of 2012 we focused on Isaiah 53, and we will also have one in 2013, with DVDs and advertising, working with other congregations. It is interesting the taboo this chapter invokes, a wonderful passage which many in Orthodox Judaism frequently describe as the story the suffering of Israel the nation, but how was it interpreted over two thousand years ago? And if you read it without the prejudice of the Christian interpretation as your lens, what would you think it said? It is contested and it deserves to be discussed, and challenging people to think and seek for themselves is all we can do.
In December while working on the I love Isaiah 53 campaign, we distributed many thousands of flyers, I had a I love Isaiah 53 in Hebrew sticker on my van, and its still there, stolen once outside my street, people stop me as I drive around and ask what it means. Pray that people will turn to the passage to see what it’s about and come to knowledge of messiah.
We also went to the Samaritans at their passover and gave out much literature to Jewish observers, and Samaritans and Palestinian Arabs, including Palestinian officials attending the official ceremony. We did have some opposition from some liberal Christians who were not happy that we were sharing our faith in the Gospel, I got to talk to them as they stood in a group. We plan to go back this year, there were many real Christians there but only our group was evangelizing which is really a shame, we are not all looking for opportunities to share our faith. It is not too hard to reach out to a few people, opportunities like this event do not come so often, here we stood watching an event with direct connection to the Bible yet can we not talk of what that lamb slaughtered actually represents? We have many tourists coming to Israel and I ask them if they are Christians and they say yes, so you have been here a week or more, have you spoken to someone about the Lord in this time, usually they say no. Do we only have a tourism mode on holiday? Where is Christian mode, switched off until we go home? We need to be concerned for souls and we should be zealous in reaching the Lost.
We hope to have a number of groups to come over and work with us in 2013 . We plan to go to Turkey and Kurdistan in January, Lord willing. Please pray for the other mission trips we will do and also we need people to participate in these trips, that He will provide the right people and opportunities and wisdom in the planning. We are not going for sightseeing but spread the Gospel and encourage local believers. Lord willing, we have an opportunity to go to Siberia or Ukraine in June for a few weeks to visit villages where there is no gospel witness, pray as we decide and seek His wisdom.
We purchased around 100 MacArthur study Bible for Arab Pastors in Jordan and also in Iraq which will be forwarded by our partners. Thank you for all who contributed towards this, it is a worthy cause as there are few good sound study guides in Arabic and much theological confusion, and for many it is beyond their means.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Be blessed, may this New Year bring you much spiritual blessing.
Antony and Dona Simon and the voice in the wilderness team