Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We appreciate all the prayers and support that we have received over the past few weeks. We would like to share with you some of the things that have been happening here in Israel since our last newsletter.
As you know, our father, Antony Simon, had a heart for the gospel seeking to preach to all peoples. This is what motivated him to go to the refugees in Iraq and Athens. He didn’t want only to give aid but he wanted them to receive the true Bread of Life that is our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know that there is only hope in Him. On his last trip in May, he arrived there tired from a long trip but still eager to give aid and the Good News that is the Gospel. When he arrived there, they always invited him to preach in a local congregation. So after a long day of distribution and after preaching he was walking back to the hotel with some other brothers. It was dark and he was hit by a car and passed to be with the Lord.
We as Christians trust in the virtue of Another and believe that He is Sovereign and uses all things for His purpose and for His glory.
It took us two weeks to bring him back to Israel from Iraq. On the day of the burial, the 14th of June, he was buried as a Christian as he so desired. We know that for Antony, to live was Christ and to die was gain, as Paul stated in Philippians. Close to the time when the burial service was ending, Antony and Dona’s 1st grandchild, entered the world and God brought new life into the Simon family. As it is written in the book of Job, “the LORD gives and the LORD takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD.” For we know that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him.
We would like to share with you a post that someone wrote that Antony, our father, met in Israel a few weeks before he went to Iraq. This story represents well what Antony lived for and stood for:
The date was Tuesday May 15, 2017. My wife, Carol, and I were about to visit to the Tower of David museum in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Before entering the museum, we stopped to get caught up on liquids that the hot sun had baked out of us, when we saw a man pulling a rolling suitcase walk up to the post office across the street and start handing out Bibles to passers-by that he pulled from his suitcase. After watching him for a while, I went over to meet him. He introduced himself as Antony Simon. After we got to know each other a bit I had the opportunity to pray for Antony and the ministry God had called him to. As we were about to part ways, he pressed a Hebrew New Testament into my hands and said, “you need to find someone to give this to.” Six days later, on the plane trip from Tel Aviv to JFK, I sat next to a young Jewish man that had recently finished his service in the Israeli Defense Forces. As we talked, this young man told me that he believed the Tanakh (a.k.a. Hebrew Bible, or the Older Testament).
When I asked him if he believed the Brit Hadasha (Hebrew for New Testament), he replied, “I don’t know, I’ve never read it.”
So, then I asked, “if you had one, would you read it?”
He replied thoughtfully, “Yes.”
Then I told him, “I have one for you.”
“In Hebrew?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied and reached into my bag to get the Bible Pastor Antony had given me.
The loss for Voice in the Wilderness is a great one but as we knew Antony, we know that he believed the gospel should be a lifestyle and that the work of our Father in Heaven is of utmost importance. That is why we see the work continuing.
Our church life is continuing as usual, as we have our leaders teaching and undertaking the responsibilities of the church. In the church we had a baptism last week on Thursday performed by Leonid our elder and one of our deacons, Kang, which was a great blessing for us as a church.
As previously mentioned in our last newsletter, the work of our Lord to preach the good news is continuing. There is evangelism in Jerusalem during the week and on Friday night a team travels to Tel Aviv. In the future, we will share with you more stories of what the Lord is doing through this work. There are also evangelistic tours in Jerusalem offered to Russian speakers.
We thank you for your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for the ministry and its future. For we have some ideas of future endeavours inside and outside of Israel.
The Simon Family