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