VIW Newsletter – 2010 Oct
We had a great summer outreach! We had around 9 people who joined us for evangelism, handing out literature in and around Jerusalem. Plus this year we went to Eilat for 2 days. Eilat is the most southern city in Israel bordering both Jordan and Egypt. There are many refugees in Eilat from Sudan and Erithrea and we brought New Testaments to the church in Eilat in the Tigrinian language (which we through the Bible Society had printed), we ended up giving out over 400 NTs in Tigrinian and lots of Arabic and a few Hebrew. While we were in Eilat, five missiles were fired into Eilat by terrorists in Egypt, they landed one mile from us in the Red Sea with 2 unfortunately overshooting the sea and landing in the Jordanian border town of Aqaba killing 1 Jordanian. We went to the place where the Sudanese refugees are staying and we had some work with the children.
This Ramadam, the Muslim holy month of fasting, we were able to give out much literature, ‘gifts for Ramadam’. This is a good way to give them literature. When we offer Muslims literature and they sometimes say, ‘We are Muslims’ and I, in return, say, ’We are Christians and we love Muslims. Please take it as a gift for you,’ and they usually take it gladly. Muslims are just as ignorant about the New Testament as many Jews and have a distorted views on what it actually says. Like Jewish people, it is a forbidden book with no rational reason behind it. It is wonderful to see, when such a person, be he a Muslim or Jew , actually reads the forbidden book, he has to think for himself and can no longer rely on the fairytales and fables he held on to. Who Jesus was is often so distorted that the actual reading of the New Testament is such a shock to many Muslims and Jews.
Friday literature outreach in Tel Aviv
We continue to go to Tel Aviv every Friday and we have noticed a greater number of refugees from Sudan, many from Darfur, Muslims who have escape from Darfur through Egypt for refuge. They are very open and we tell them how that to be Christian, the colour of one’s skin is not important, we are all of the same tribe. Many in Sudan said they were being killed by their Arab neighbours and seen as inferior just because they are black, it is so sad that people think that outward appearance , like skin color or race makes someone less of a person, we are all the same inside . We are also trying to give the literature to the care workers to take into Israeli, Hebrew speaking homes. All together it was a busy and profitable time, we had many good conversations and many discussions, and gave out much literature which we hope will provoke others to ponder and search out the truth. Some of these people, the believers amongst them, are very grateful and very happy to know that we care enough about them to make the effort – a Bible in their own language is a true treasure.
After the outreach we began renovations on my apartment, the first in 15 years. We had to change a few things and I wanted Dona to be more comfortable at home, we are doing it ourselves with the help of volunteers and we are near to completion. It has certainly been an interesting experience and I have learned some do-it-yourself skills I never ever thought of ever needing. We started this just after our summer program and then took a break, a two week holiday in the UK returning to start again, and are just nearing completion. It is something to see the labour of your own hands in completion. The Lord also sent us some wonderful people to help, without their skill and effort which would have made this a lot harder and a much more expensive endeavor.
More Outreach and Fire
Last week was the festival of Succot so we did outreach during this time. On Sunday, we went to an Arts Festival in Acco and did some work with a local church that owns a book shop in the Old City. We handed out lots of Hebrew Literature, mainly the book Betrayed by Stan Telchin, a Hebrew booklet regarding the value of man, and the book More than a Carpenter, in addition to many Arabic NTs and discs. We went there for two days, both were good, however on the second we had a visit from the local authority – the same man that last year gave me a fine and had me taken to the police station (and he had acted violently). This time because we were with the book shop , even though he threatened me again he did not do anything and we continued to hand out our literature. On the Tuesday we went to the Jerusalem March. The Christian embassy march with about 5000 people from all over the world showing their support for Israel and their love for the Jewish people as well as Israeli organizations and big companies . We went to hand out literature, and almost straight away religious Orthodox Jews tried to stop us. Not seeking trouble we moved away and found a good place . I wore my tee shirt “I love Jesus” (many Christians were parading in all sorts of gear) and many Christians responded by saying we love him too, so I gave them books and said give these to your Jewish friends. The marchers for the Christian embassy were told not to hand out literature and one of them defended an Orthodox Jew attacking my son for handing out literature to Jewish people (though they had no problem with non Jews). I gave out my literature and went to get more, the police were already talking to one of our company and told us not to hand anything out. I said it is legal and they said if you continue then we will take you to the police station for several hours to check (they just want no trouble). So again we moved to the very end point of the march, started to hand out literate and then some religious Jews attacked me, I then went to the police and the police took me to the station to hear my complaint, the marchers were shouting as I passed, a few minutes before, ‘God loves you, God is with you’, I told the marchers God is not with them because they are not with Jesus and they need Jesus. The police took me away but not the man who attacked me and I ended up being finger printed, my picture taken, and was banned from the center of Jerusalem for 4 days. I disturbed the peace apparently even though I went to them to make a complaint. I was wondering how this came about when I meet some people from the Anti-Missionary organization in the police station and while I was waiting to be finger-printed spoke to one of them. These people often turn things around and are not afraid of lying or initiating an incident to help their cause. Was it worth the trouble you can ask? I sometime ask myself.
Later on that evening I went to the Ozi Osborne concert to help with outreach and I and met the same anti missionary man there, and was able to give him some literature. He was spying out the land and I thought he may as well do some research. The Word is powerful even if we try to move against it. I wore my tee shirt and people came up to me to take literature. Many people too but I would have to say that many people took and then threw away as well (as cleaning up showed). Was it worth it you can ask? Well, I do believe God uses many different ways to reach people, for some the journey starts with a Bible or tract handed to them, for others, long hours of conversation. A recent book published by a former Muslim tells of his journey starting with being given an Arabic Bible by a stranger he met in the street, and reading it. For me, words of Scripture were spoken to me, words that prompted me to actually read the New Testament and investigate, though as a Jew, I was unfamiliar with the Bible, and reading it opened up so many questions seeking answers.
In Israel the New Testament is a taboo book, any liberal book is game, any religion game, yet a New Testament brings out the worst passions and anger, it is an irrational fear. For me, sharing the Gospel is not a method, it is life lived and every opportunity is a door, whether that is giving out a Bible or having a long discussion. It is God working in us to do his will and we being open to be used in whatever manner that comes, and it may not always be comfortable.
Next week we are off to Egypt until Thursday, please remember our trip in prayer. We hope it will be a useful time though we expect it to be quite tiring. Following our return and a day’s rest, we have a group coming from the U.K for a week to do some outreach and see the work here.
The Christian embassy has a week-long conference and also has many booths set up during the festival. One of the booths was run by a woman who printed many thousands of New Testaments. I ended up getting offered 2000 of them, so I went to pick them up and next door were Jewish people who had some booths selling various items, so when I was loading my car with my Bibles, I asked them if someone spoke to them about Jesus here, Who He was and so on, there were over 5000 Christians, and they answered no, I was able to give some of the people some books. The place was like a tee shirts shop , we went there and the girl who works there is a believer and we struck up a conversation with her, she responded by saying that we were the first Christians in all her years of working there who had spoken to her of Jesus. That was sad to hear. We have so many Christians passing through but very few are sharing their faith in the Gospel.
In the next few weeks we hope to start meetings on Sunday evenings mainly for students, an idea we have considered for some time now. We need a place to meet and we have approached one place but they have refused, because too many people are more interested in promoting the flesh than the glory of God. One of the deacons who does not like me gave many excuses but not one was a valid one and some were outright lies. It disappointed me but knowing this man I should have expected this. Pray for this deacon that the Lord will soften his heart. Meanwhile we search His Face and seek His wisdom in how to proceed.
Meanwhile our Jerusalem congregation is going through a transition, people are coming and some are moving; sands are shifting. Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom and direct and guide us.
Joshua has finally finished the army and has had a short holiday in the UK, pray for him as he searches out his future. Rachel is now in basic training, and our youngest still at school. I would appreciate your prayers for all of them, that the Lord would guide them.
Thank you for all your prayers and support, may He also encourage you. Be Blessed.
Antony and Dona
Items for Prayer request
1. Egypt trip.
2. Van; that it will run well.
3. Literature in Nepalese, Hindi and Malyalum and Tagalog.
4. New place for the Sunday meeting.
5. Volunteers; Vicki is pregnant and going through a difficult time.
6. For all the literature we gave out that the Lord will bless it.
7. Rachel’s visa and return to Israel.