18 December 2014

Look At What You've Done!

Through your prayers and generous giving this year,
you have made a difference!

God's Kingdom in Israel has grown as people have come to faith in Yeshua.

People have received basic necessities such as food, blankets, shoes and more, not to mention being hosted at events to bring honour, joy and encouragement for the soul.

Pastors/ministry workers and their families have been financially assisted as they serve their local congregations.

Individuals and groups have been discipled in the Word, in prayer, in outreach and even in hospitality.

Survivors of terror attacks and the Holocaust have been ministered to with love and care, and dignity restored to their lives as they have been empowered to walk forward in healing.
Houses of prayer have grown and expanded and leaders have taken the word of God out from Israel to the nations.

Pastors and leaders from around the Middle East have gathered together to pray for their region, searching the scriptures together and praying into God's word.

Jewish and Arab pastors, congregations, and young people have also met throughout Israel, coming together for prayer, worship, intercession and to hear from the Lord.

On behalf of the Body of Messiah in the Land,
thank you for being a part of what God is doing in Israel!

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11 December 2014

The Gospel According To Hanukah

At the time of the Feast of Dedication, Jesus was in Jerusalem teaching in the outer courts of the Temple. (Gospel of John, Chapter 10.) 

‘Dedication’ is the English translation of the Hebrew word Hanukah. This Feast celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in 164BC (between the Old and New Testaments) The Syrian-Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes had banned the Jews from practising their religion and tried to force them to worship Zeus. He had desecrated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by setting up a pagan altar and in 167BC on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, (Kislev is a winter month occurring in November or December)he used this altar to make a pagan sacrifice, an abomination to the God of Israel. A revolt was initiated by a Jewish Priest named Mattathias and continued under the leadership of his son Judas, nicknamed ‘Maccabeus’ (the hammer). The revolt came to be known as the Maccabean Revolt.
The Maccabees overcame Antiochus’ troops and the Temple was restored and re-dedicated. On the 25th Kislev 164BC, the true sacrifices as God had ordained in the Old Testament, began once again. “At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. There was very great gladness among the people...Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel, determined that every year at that season, the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev.” 1 Maccabees 4:54-59. The 8-day Feast of Hanukah (Dedication) has continued to be celebrated with joy and lighting of lamps/candles since that time.

It was at this Celebration, the Feast of Hanukah, the commemoration of the re-dedication of the Temple, that Jesus chose to teach for the last time

04 December 2014

A Little Russian And A Lot Of Love

Delightful aromas reached our nostrils as we entered an apartment where the hosts of a weekly Shalom Home gathering were preparing a meal for Holocaust Survivors. A 3-course dinner was cooking, the table was set with the attention of a banquet for royalty, and beautiful fresh flowers were arranged in vases down the table. Even a temporary rail was set up complete with coat hangers and the only thing missing was the guests. Soon, the door swung open and in walked 16 or so senior citizens. An excited buzz filled the room as coats were removed and places filled at the table.
Ready for a feast

We were honoured to have been invited to this Shalom Home and to have the opportunity to spend an evening with these special individuals. Each one had been a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust on the German-Russian front. They had been children during the time of the Nazi invasion of the USSR. As the Nazis implemented a plan of mass execution in Jewish villages, these children, sometimes with a parent, sometimes without, had escaped the German troops through various means and survived despite horrendous conditions, near starvation and freezing temperatures. Now in their 70s and 80s, they are living in a land far from their childhood memories, where learning a new language and seeking out a living have created their own stresses and difficulties. These Jewish pensioners look forward to these weekly times to sit and share with others who understand.

Karen & Amanda with Marta and Holocaust Survivors

Marta, one of the hosts, taught us some phrases in Russian so we could help serve the guests in their native language. She explained that before the Shalom Home gatherings existed, many of the Holocaust Survivors felt lonely and isolated. Now, these weekly gatherings are

27 November 2014

King of the Extras Meets King of the Universe

From time to time, we like to share the personal stories of some of the people in the ministries we work with.  Believers in Israel only make up 0.2% of the population, and yet God has established either home groups, prayer centres, or congregations in every city across the Land!

Hovav is a Jewish Israeli, born in 1944 during the time of the British Mandate. His long acting career, both on stage and screen playing comedic and supporting roles, led to a local filmmaker calling him "...the 'King of the Extras' who has appeared in every Israeli film made in the last 30 years."

The 1979 Jesus Movie
It was the opportunity to perform as an extra during the making of an extraordinary movie, that led Hovav to meet the King of Kings.  The 1979 film 'Jesus' was filmed in Israel using many local Israeli actors. Hovav was amazed by the story of the great Rabbi who taught with such wisdom. It was as he watched take after take of the crucifixion scene, that the love of the Saviour who gave his life on the cross touched him deep in his heart. He accepted Yeshua as his promised Messiah and Lord.

With an acting colleague during filming
Hovav has been following the Lord for over 30 years. He is the oldest member of Adonai Roi Messianic Congregation in Tel Aviv - sitting in the front row every Shabbat. This summer, Adonai Roi held a special birthday celebration for his 70th birthday. The congregation sang and prayed for their new septuagenarian as they dined and celebrated together, listening to his many testimonies and stories.

Pray for Hovav as he begins this new season in his life. Pray also for many opportunities for Israelis to hear the Gospel and to meet Immanuel (God with us), the King of the Universe, face to face!

20 November 2014

Will You Walk With Me?

Terror.  It’s not really a topic one prefers to think too much about, particularly at the end of the year when we enjoy focussing on the festive season that highlights peace on earth and goodwill to all humankind.  And yet, in the darkest and most painful of experiences, Your People My People has witnessed the determination of Springs of Hope, as they persist in bringing those who walk in darkness and death, into the glorious light of life and God’s love. 

It is because of their desire to see victims become overcomers, that SOH is organising a second Walk With Me conference in Jerusalem this coming March.  “We are all too familiar with the horror across the world as terrorist groups in nation after nation, battle for supremacy.  Innocent people in many lands are being systematically slaughtered in the most graphic detail,” said the Chairman.  “At Springs of Hope we have dedicated our lives and efforts to bringing aid and comfort to those oppressed by terror.  Together we can stand for decency and good will on earth.”

After having attended the first Walk With Me forum in March 2014, we can certainly recommend this opportunity to hear first hand from a specialist line up of international speakers, including the Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White.  “We encourage you to plan to attend our upcoming conference in Jerusalem, 1-4 March 2015: Walk With Me 2015”, shared SOH Chairman.  “We have gathered some of the most relevant speakers in the world to educate us on what is really going on.  You will go behind the headlines and find out what the real people are doing to combat terrorism...not just talking heads but courageous warriors who fight on the battlefields every day.

“Whether it be Khaled Abu Toameh, a courageous Arab Israeli news reporter, or Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad who has seen his church decimated, you will be on the edge of your seats as you realise the push back from hidden heroes.  A fast moving 3 days of exceptional

13 November 2014

The Power Of One Prayer...The Result Of One Choice...

An old German carpenter prayed daily for the opportunity, before he died, to meet just one Jewish person and introduce them to their Messiah. He had no idea what the answer to that simple heartfelt prayer would lead to.

"It was 1937. Hitler was in power. In a small village in Romania, a German carpenter was spending the remaining years of his old age..." begins the author of the autobiographical book, Christ on the Jewish Road. The carpenter's name was Christian Wölfkes and he had come to faith in Jesus some years earlier at a revival campaign held by an Evangelical Lutheran Church. One day, he became seriously ill, and a Jewish believer in Jesus kept watch over him at his bedside. He recovered, and in gratitude, he longed to be used by the Lord to bring other Jewish people to salvation. Everyday, he begged the Lord to not let him die before he had brought a Jewish person to faith. But there was a problem: "There are no Jews in this neighbourhood, and I am old, sick and poor. I am not able to go and look for them elsewhere," prayed Wölfkes. But his trust in God to resolve this dilemma was absolute.  Seeing as he could not go to find someone, he asked God to bring a Jewish person to him, in his own village!

The first Jewish person to come to Wölfkes's village was a left-wing intellectual and an athiest called Richard Wurmbrand. Wölfkes gave Wurmbrand a Bible and asked him to read it. In the background, the old carpenter and his wife spent hours on their knees, praying for their new acquaintance.  Wurmbrand had read it before but it had not really impressed him. This time though was different, his eyes filled with tears each time he read the stories of Jesus. Determined to give his new friend time to let the Lord work in his heart, Wölfkes waited patiently for a long time before he ventured to ask him what he thought of the Bible. One evening, he asked Wurmbrand for his opinion. 

06 November 2014

A Surprise Gift...

For a group of young Israeli believers eager to share the truth of the Gospel with their peers, the internet provided the perfect tool to begin to reach out to their nation. Joining together from different places, different congregations, different backgrounds - the enthusiastic group of evangelists started 'One For Israel', an internet based, media outreach.  "We had one thing in common," said One For Israel founder, Eitan Bar, "wanting to glorify the name of Yeshua in Israel to Israelis - sharing the Gospel. There are many good ways to bless Israel but we believe that the single, most important way to bless Israel is by introducing them to Yeshua the Messiah. We are using media and internet to bring Yeshua to Israelis."
  • Israel is one of the world leaders when it comes to Hi-Tech. Many of the technologies we use everyday, were developed in Israel and modern Israelis love technology.   
  • 99% of Israeli households are connected to the Internet. Internet access is available at work, school, cafes, shopping centres, beaches, parks, buses and sometimes city-wide. 
  • Israel has the highest person-to-computer ratio in the world.  And is second in the world for smart phone ownership. 
  •  According to one Internet analytics company, Israel leads the world for hourly time spent online (twice the amount of the average American) 
  •  Social media is huge in Israel. 97% of all Israelis between the age of 13-34 have active Facebook accounts. Israel is one of the world-leaders when it comes to time spent on Facebook and YouTube. 
Knowing how much the Israeli population relies on the internet, got Eitan and his colleagues thinking about what the average Israeli would find if they did want to search for information about the Gospel online in Hebrew. "I will share an example," Eitan explains,"you are sitting on a train from Tel Aviv to Haifa and you start talking to another passenger about life and you share your faith with him and you tell him, 'You know, I am a Jewish believer in Yeshua (Jesus) and I read the New Testament'. The guy goes back home and he goes to Google in Hebrew and types 'What are Jewish believers in Yeshua?' or 'The New Testament' and the things that would come up first on Google are the Anti-Missionary websites, and you can just imagine what the Anti-Missionary websites are going to say about Yeshua. That made us realise that we have to do something about it, so we came up with quite a few websites targeting different audiences. For example, one is geared towards Orthodox religious people, one is for the more academic, secular people. That is basically how One For Israel started."

This internet savvy ministry is getting the truth about Yeshua and the Gospel, in the Hebrew language, to the top of Google search lists. Their websites provide life changing information that is usually inaccessible to Jewish Israelis. There is a social stigma associated with the Gospel stemming from

30 October 2014

From Israel to the Nations

“...and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8b

This is where it all started – the baby church that Yeshua began by investing around three and a half years into 12 men, which then exploded onto the streets of the dusty city of Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit blew in, and gradually but consistently spread out into the surrounding local areas. And from there, the good news of Yeshua the Messiah eventually invaded the world.  Today, this very same gospel has come full circle – it has returned to the tiny nation from whence it began, and as a result, the local Body in Israel is growing steadily.

But wait, there’s more!  Not only are there believers in Yeshua now living throughout the whole Land, but Israelis are once again taking the word of the Lord back out to the nations!  Rania Sayegh, the director of HOPE (House of Prayer and Exploits) in Nazareth is one such person whom God has launched out to the nations from Israel, taking the prophetic word of the Lord wherever she goes.

It's such an amazing season for us here in HOPE and a busy one for me personally,” says Rania. “The Lord has been pouring His grace and presence in a powerful way in the House of Prayer among the youth, and also having the privilege to step into opened doors in the nations.”

During the summer, Rania spent time in France to teach at a conference and also connect with a local House of Prayer.  “It was a powerful time of ministry on the joy of the Lord and faith in the Kingdom. The wine of the Spirit was poured out over us during 5 days of worship, prayer & teaching and this School of the Prophets was attended by around 100 people. It was such a special time of teaching and fellowship with the people, and I also had the privilege of leading a prayer watch in the House of Prayer in Toulouse,” shared Rania.

Rania has been discipling the young people of Nazareth over many years, and during the autumn this year was able to take a couple of them with her to a special conference in Cyprus.  Attended by leaders from all over the Middle East, the conference focused on the scriptures in Isaiah 19 that declares, “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria.  The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria.  The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.  In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.  The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.””

Rania continued to share, “The trip to the Isaiah 19 Conference in Cyprus was a wonderful time to connect with Houses of Prayer from around the Middle East. Also it was the first time two of my spiritual daughters (who work with me at HOPE) have

20 October 2014

From Death To Life: A Testimony.

Rivka* grew up in an Ultra- Orthodox Jewish family in the heart of Jerusalem's religious neighbourhood. Tucked away in the middle of the city is an area where time seems to have stood still. The residents look like characters out of a previous century, the men wearing black suits and wide brimmed hats and the women in long skirts, high necklines and covered heads, leading broods of similarly dressed children. This is Mea Shearim, a community of Ultra-Orthodox Jews who separate themselves from modern society in the pursuit of Torah study, prayer and family. Here you will find no TVs, internet or movies, no secular books or magazines. The only newspapers are printed by the community without the distraction of photos or references to modern living. This ghetto-like neighbourhood has its own religiously approved education system, medical services, welfare institutions and economies.

Rivka's family maintained the strict rules of  Jewish Orthodox religious life, just like all the other families in their neighbourhood. The children were taught how to live according the expectations of their community but within her family there was not much love. As expected, an arranged marriage was organised for Rivka, as soon as she was old enough and she began a new life as an Ultra-Orthodox wife - keeping all the rules and regulations of a Kosher Orthodox home. Soon after her marriage, she discovered her new husband was a cruel man and he physically and emotionally abused her. She begged her family to let her come home but in this very conservative society, divorce is forbidden and Rivka was expected to make the best of it. Her life became unbearable. She was trapped and had no one to turn to. She became more and more depressed. Eventually, desperate, she ran away. This was a disgrace for her family and they managed to find her and arranged to send her to America to an uncle who was an Orthodox Rabbi. They hoped he would be able to 'sort her out'.

09 October 2014

Bringing The Old Testament To Life

A Personal Reflection On Experiencing The Feasts Of Israel

Living in Israel for a number of years was amazing, inspiring, stretching, and so much more, in so many ways and I thank God for the privilege of that adventure. 

One of the unique experiences of spending extended times in this nation was the opportunity to see the Old Testament Feasts lived out in normal everyday life. God intrinsically flowing through the yearly rhythm of life: preparing, guiding, fulfilling. His very presence at the centre of each seasonal celebration. It is almost impossible to live in Israel without the subject of God coming up because he is still, even today, the focus of so much of the culture and of every traditional family get together. On Friday evenings, in many Jewish homes the grown up children return home for Mama’s cooking as they join together to welcome the beginning of the Sabbath. Even in secular homes, everyone knows the biblical origins of the Shabbat. Toddlers in Kindergarten act out the traditional lighting of candles and bless and share out the sweet, plaited Shabbat bread. God is woven into every aspect of the culture. Nowhere else in the world, can you witness a whole nation coming to a standstill to honour a Holy day as happens on Yom Kipur (The Day of Atonement). Not one car moves on the street, no TV, no radio, all the shops shut, and the would be silence is broken only by the excited shrieks of children enjoying the freedom of a car- free city. The Feast of Tabernacles, a harvest festival (Ingathering) at the end of the farming year, demonstrates not only God’s provision of food but also of shelter as home-made ‘tabernacles’ are built to remember the journey from Egypt through the desert - when God miraculously provided for all the needs of a whole nation. Passover, probably the most well known Feast of the Lord, tells the spectacular story of the deliverance from slavery to freedom and the significance of the Passover Lamb. The whole script is acted out by the entire family centred around a family meal. The celebrations are mostly fun, loud and enthusiastically celebrated. 

The Weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) Table
I have often found there is a great chasm between reading about something and experiencing it for yourself. The complicated instruction manual that comes with some flat pack furniture can make a simple table look like a kitset house! It is only as you follow the instructions step by step that in the midst of doing, it all begins to makes sense. I had of course, read about the Feasts of the Lord in the Bible, but in their Old Testament framework they seem ancient and strange. I had even read up on the expressions of these feast in modern Judaism, when I first prepared to go to live in Israel, but the explanations were complicated and confusing. It was only as I lived through them and experienced the traditions in their normal family settings that I realised they were not complicated at all and the ancientness of their institution was a beautiful thread that flowed through history, linking the past to the present and reminding each generation of their roots in the Almighty God’s ancient plan for the salvation of mankind. 

Passover Celebration
Celebrating with Messianic Jews who have found their Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth, these time-honoured celebrations take on a new dimension

18 September 2014

The Lord of the Harvest

Campsite bomb shelter
Just as several youth were responding to an altar call, an air raid siren suddenly cut into the intimate moment. With only 15 seconds to get to safety, the youth raced to the camp's bomb shelter. Before they were all safely inside, a loud explosion was heard that shook the ground. 

Praise God, no one was injured, but far from home, many of the kids were afraid and upset. The youth leaders reminded them that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.' (Psalm 46:1). Crammed together in the bomb shelter, the fear began to lift as the youth started to pray and ended up having a powerful time of worship. "We really see how in all this, God has turned a situation of fear and despair into one of encouragement, peace and unity." said one of the counselors.

This all took place during 'Katzir,' a 10 day summer camp for Israeli Messianic youth that was held in the north of Israel. Katzir is the Hebrew word for Harvest. Many of the youth counsellors have grown up attending the Katzir camps and are now discipling the younger attendees. With an emphasis on personal spiritual growth and developing good and supportive friendships, Katzir is preparing the next generation of believers in Israel.

11 September 2014

"The Middle East is not too difficult for our God!"

It is not the easiest thing, even under normal circumstances, to put on a conference for Israeli Jewish and Arab young people together with Arab Christians from Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.  But with a backdrop of kidnappings, murders, riots and a developing war with Gaza - racial tensions were at boiling point.

Undeterred, the organisers of  ELAV, an annual youth and young adult conference held in Israel, trusted the Lord to move in powerful ways and break-through despite the obstacles.  "These young people came carrying a lot of hurt because of all the recent violence here in Israel," said Rick Ridings, the Director of ELAV. "Many of them thought they had dealt with these feelings, but because of the kidnappings and killings they are in pain, on both sides."

Around 900 young people descended on the city of Haifa, to attend ELAV, which means 'Unto Him' in Hebrew.  About 500 Israeli Jewish believers, 300 Arab Christians from Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan and 100 from other nations. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they had one important thing in common: they were passionate about God and expectant to meet with him during the 3 day conference.

Rick Ridings (centre) with a Jewish and Arab Pastor praying
before sharing the Lord's Supper together. 
Instead of opening the event with the usual exuberant time of worship, Rick and his team, felt it was important to begin by sharing the Lord's Supper together. Addressing the gathered young believers, Rick declared, "You, through the Lord, are the answer to the difficulties we are having right now. It is us, the Body of Christ that God uses...God looks for someone who will stand in the gap, the hole in the wall. To build up the wall of protection again. I felt the Lord speak to my heart through a verse in Isaiah 28:6 "God will be...a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate." You are the ones God has called together to turn back the battle at the gate. More than ever before there needs to be the grace for Jewish, Arab, Palestinians and internationals to come together with one heart...We believe first of all, the Lord wants us to take the Lord's supper together and through that to declare into the heavenlies that Jesus is the answer. That we proclaim together that it is his blood, his cross, that has broken down the middle wall of hatred. (Ephesians 2:14) As we take the Lord's supper together we are not just proclaiming it to each other, we are proclaiming it into the heavenlies that Jesus has already won this battle...he has paid the price to heal every wound in our hearts. If you felt a lot of difficult emotions coming up this week, He will bring healing right now as we take his covenant meal together...it is not about us. It is all about him..."

A Jewish Pastor blessed the bread and an Arab Pastor blessed the wine. Together they declared Yeshua/Jesus' victory: The power to break down barriers that divide and to transform fear and hatred into unconditional love. They prayed healing and peace not only for those at the conference, but also that they would bring healing to all around them, and be a channel of Yeshua's life to push back the power of death in the land. "As hundreds of young people came for communion," shared Rick Ridings, "we proclaimed that we would not allow the tensions of the past weeks to pull us apart, but instead demonstrate that:

04 September 2014

Sandwiches in the Park

Your People My People have worked in partnership with Dugit Messianic Outreach Centre in Tel Aviv for many years.  As we have shared before, Dugit has had to temporarily close the Coffee Outreach Centre and put their belongings in storage. This unfortunate action was due to the unwillingness of their landlord to continue their lease because he did not approve of their “activities” - in plain language, he did not approve of his premises being used to share the Gospel!  Closing the doors on the Outreach Centre could have been understood as a hopeless situation, but for the staff, they saw it as an opportunity from God to strengthen and increase their street outreaches.

During the recent conflicts, the staff have looked for creative ways to continue their passion of sharing the love of Yeshua to the citizens of Tel Aviv.  Here is a recent report of how they’ve been getting on:

“Dan, our outreach director, took initiative and began to give food to those who are homeless, spending their daily lives on the streets in the south of Tel Aviv. With the help of some faithful volunteers, fifty sandwiches were lovingly made and prepared for distribution. Afterwards, Dan took these sandwiches out to people who were drunk, high on drugs, or sleeping on the curb side. The sandwiches were well received along with the message that God is love, and Yeshua is the Saviour of Israel! Here is what Dan had to say:

03 September 2014

The Good Samaritan: Arab Style

A group of Jewish and Arab believers in Jesus gathered together on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem recently, to worship, fellowship and encourage each other in their faith - "so in Messiah we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."  (Romans 12:5)

One of the Arab pastors shared about his church's decision "to be the Good Samaritan." They had decided as a congregation to find practical, tangible ways to love the ones that society said they should not love. They started by searching the internet for online arguments that were full of hatred, in places like Facebook and other social networking sites. Wherever they found hatred, they started to "sow seeds of peace". As they commented with loving words on the angry social media arguments, they noticed that the conversations often became more kind and less aggressive.

"So then we decided to take it up a level! We need to live up here," explained the Pastor, raising his hands to heaven, "not down here on earth." The church members decided to collect gifts and toys and visit Jewish families living in Sderot, a city in the south of Israel near the border with Gaza that has been under constant rocket fire. “There are Arabs who love you and want to bless you because of Jesus,” they explained to the families they visited. “Who are these Arabs, and where are they?” asked a single mother, who had not realised who her visitors were. “I’m an Arab!" the Pastor told her. She was amazed. This simple gesture of one community visiting another community with love rather than hatred, so inspired this woman that later, she visited a local Congregation, curious to know about this Jesus who made Arabs love the Jewish people.

Two days later, Arab and Jewish Congregations gathered

21 August 2014

Bicycle Helmets for Rockets

A social worker, paying a routine visit to an elderly couple, was shocked to find them huddled together on a sofa - terrified and wearing bicycle helmets.

The couple were Holocaust Survivors living in the seaside town of Ashkelon in Israel. At the time, over 100 rockets had been fired on the town from Gaza in one week. A few days earlier, the couple had assured the same social worker that they were doing fine and didn't need any help. But the reality was that the trauma of relentless air raid sirens had triggered memories from their childhood in the Holocaust and had left them desperate to do something to protect themselves. Physically unable to run down to the public bomb shelter, they had bought bicycle helmets in the vain hope it would protect them from a rocket attack.

Elderly Israelis run for cover during air raid siren
About 400 Holocaust Survivors live in Ashkelon, which is located about 13km/8 miles from the border with Gaza. Your People My People visited with some of them a couple of years ago and even then, when the rocket attacks were less frequent, they shared with us about the fear they experience whenever there is an air raid siren. "I thought I had escaped from the Holocaust to somewhere safe," said one elderly lady, "but now we experience it all over again." Living under the constant threat of rocket attacks is stressful for even the most able-bodied, but if you are elderly and unable to run to a shelter within the necessary 15 to 30 seconds, it is terrifying. If you are out on the streets and unable to find cover, the Home Front's recommendation is to throw yourself to the ground with your hands over your head  - obviously

14 August 2014

Jews And Arabs Refuse To Be Enemies

In the midst of the recent conflict, Abulafia, a popular Arab bakery frequented by Jewish and Arab customers, changed their employees uniforms to a T-Shirt that read  “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies.”  On the back of the T-Shirt were symbols of the Cross, Crescent and Star of David. Abulafia has been baking bread since 1879 in the ancient port of Jaffa (biblical Joppa), a multi-cultural town where Muslims, Christians and Jews continue to live side by side. “We have been around long enough,” said Abulafia Bakery, “to know that nothing but co-existence is the solution to this conflict!”

During times of war and conflict it is easy to put up walls and to become polarized in our opinions for, or against a particular people group. But it is especially during these trying times that we need to look beyond the politics, to pray and work towards unity and peace. We know that our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers of darkness that are attacking this land and people, both Arabs and Jews as one.

As the war progressed, a group of Jewish and Arab Pastors from the Galilee came together in unity to pray for the situation and declare their faith in God and his plans for their people.

From a Messianic Jewish Pastor:

"Last Tuesday we had a joint prayer meeting for all Galilee congregations (Jew and Arab). We were supposed to have a one and a half hour prayer meeting about the situation and go back to our businesses …The meeting lasted four intensively blessed hours of joint prayers, worship, tears and union! The Lord's presence was strongly felt and we had a sweet taste of what true peace feels like! We prayed for all sides involved. It was especially heart-warming to see how an Arab led the prayer for the salvation of the Jews, and a Jew led the prayer for the salvation of the Arabs. Halleluiah!

"We wish to thank you for all your love, support and prayers at this difficult time!"

From an Arab Christian Pastor:

"On July 15, 2014, several Palestinian Christian Leaders went to a prayer meeting in a Messianic Congregation in Carmiel. On the same day, many Israeli soldiers are part of bombarding Gaza and many Palestinians are shooting rockets at Israel. No doubt, we have different political views as well as different theological perceptions. We have different languages and different cultural values yet we both belong to the body of the Messiah. Focusing on the Messiah is no doubt the best way for us to be together. This was the main spirit of the meeting. At the entrance of the church there was a verse written on the wall. It says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). It was written in Arabic and Hebrew.

"The meeting started with repentance and a sincere cry for a spiritual awakening in the country. I was truly impressed by the sincere prayers seeking the forgiveness of God not only at the level of the individual but also at the level of the whole nation. People cried out before God as sinners seeking divine mercies. I was quickly able to identity myself as a sinner. This united us. We are a group of sinners in the presence of a Holy God. We can only compete in our confessions instead of claiming moral superiority. Our confessional prayers were followed by prayers for the salvation of both Jews and Palestinians. We prayed for Israeli leaders and for Palestinian leaders. We asked God to grant them wisdom and the ability to spread peace, not war.

"Admittedly, there were a few

24 July 2014

Strong Nations in Jerusalem

“ Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the Lord.”
Zechariah 8:22

Nestled in the hills between the Carmel mountain range and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), is the city of Nazareth.  What may once have been a village, is now a warren of busy streets, shops and markets, full of Jewish and Arab residents and businesses, churches, tourist buses and holy sites to visit.  Nazareth is also where you will find HOPE!  House of Prayer and Exploits is run by Arab believer Rania Sayegh, a woman that Your People My People has come to respect as a pioneer for prayer and reconciliation in Israel.  She is a gifted international speaker who shares about God’s passion for her nation, Israel, how the Arab and Jewish believers are coming together, and some of the prophetic prayer strategies she believes God has given for this time in Israel.

Here is some of the recent news Rania has shared with us:

Women of prayer
“The Lord has sent us during April to a very strategic prayer assignment in the Land for 20 days travelling around the land to pray over borders and strategic places to decree prophetically what The Lord was sharing with us. We had 4 women joining me in this, 2 American and 2 Chinese. It was profound and significant revelations The Lord was releasing to us to pray for the nations and for the land of Israel in such crucial season. 

Praying at the borders
Prayer watches at HOPE
Also I have been gathering pastors and leaders in HOPE for strategic time of prayer and sharing, urging the body of Christ in the Land to get together to build closer relationships and learning to be family. I have been in the core team planning the gathering that is going to take place in November this year where thousands are going to gather to seek The Lord in Jerusalem.  It's called 822 Call, from Zachariah 8:22. The gathering is going to take place from 10th -13th, with Arab pastors who adopted the vision to come together as we unite with our Jewish brethren to seek The Lord with the nations of the earth in Jerusalem. 

21 July 2014

War News from the Believers

As you will have heard by now, there has been much media concerning  Israel's response to the great escalation in the daily rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.  At YPMP, our heart is to connect you with the local believers in the Land, so we want to share some of the reports and requests we have been receiving from throughout the country:

"Thank you for your prayers. I am up north at Katzir, a youth camp with over 120 young people, very close to the border with Lebanon  So far it is a safe area but this morning (Fri 11th Jul) there were rockets from Lebanon . Please pray that the situation does not escalate to include Hezballah in Lebanon. We might have to stop the camp and send people home . Also my wife is home in Tel-Aviv with 3 small children, one of them a new born. Please pray for their safety and for the innocent people on both sides. 
~ Pastor Shmuel Salway - Galilee

Please remember to keep our children in prayer as this war by Hamas and the Islamic Jihadists continues to escalate. Pray for their safety as they continue going to schools, daycare and some even to summer camps as the rockets continue to fall. Pray for wisdom and peace for each one of their parents at this time to know how to continue leading their children in the ways of God. As our secretary of Dugit was today getting prepared to leave for work, an air raid siren was sounded. She and her children ran to the bomb shelter just as the booms were heard. As she looked around to make sure everyone was there she noticed her 8 year old boy quite shaken, still with his toothbrush in his mouth in the middle of brushing his teeth. She explained to him and the rest of her children that their trust should only be in the God of Israel and nothing else."
~ Dugit Outreach Centre - Tel Aviv

"Due to a huge barrage of hundreds of rockets from Gaza, Chaim and many other reserve soldiers have been called up to defend this country and help restore security.  Please God restore peace so our husbands, brothers and fathers can stay home with their families!"  
~ Deanna M - Tel Aviv

"Due to a huge barrage of hundreds of rockets from Gaza, Luke and many other reserve soldiers have been called up today to defend Israel. Please God restore peace so all of them can be safe back home soon with their families!"  
~ Andre G - Ceasarea

"Sirens going off and 3 or 4 booms heard. I took the photo from our balcony. Small white area is where the rocket was intercepted.  It may have landed in the sea but maybe the Jaffa port area if not shot down. 
~ Pam H - Jaffa

"Dear praying friends, Please join us in prayer and fasting as we stand in alert for the sake of our land. Let's be aware not to take sides, but only God's side. The Lord wants Jews and Arabs living together in love in this land. We were born to be one family under His banner of love.  Let's declare that all evil schemes of the enemy to stir murder, hatred and war and accelerate and escalate the situation between both sides will be cancelled! Pray protection over Palestinian and Jewish homes from death and destruction!"
~ Rania Sayegh, HOPE - Nazareth

"Things continue to escalate in the land, and in the past few days, sirens (red code alerts) were heard over most parts of Israel, the north included. In Gaza life has become unbearable for the citizens as well.  
We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude as we see God's protecting hand over Israel, when hundreds of rockets were shot (aimed at our cities), killing none, and leaving only a handful of physically injured civilians! That is a true miracle. However, many do suffer from stress and post trauma symptoms.
We would like to ask you to join us in prayer, as we will hold a joint prayer and intercession meeting at our congregation. The meeting will be for all Galilee congregations both Jew and Arab! Our prayer is that God will fill the place with His reconciling presence and glorify His name through the one new man in Him!"
~ Congregation in the Galilee

We have not heard any first hand reports from the believers in Gaza at this time, but in the past, such times of turmoil have sometimes intensified the persecution against them.  Please pray for their protection, for the protection of innocent lives in Israel and in Gaza.  

Please pray that 'what man intends for evil, God will turn about for good, and for the salvation of many lives'!  (Gen 50:20)