29 December 2015

Don't Stand By

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." 

Elie Wiesel
Acceptance speech – The Nobel Peace Prize 1986

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) was established as an international day of remembrance by the governments of 46 countries. The theme of this year's event is 'Don't Stand By'. It is an opportunity to remember atrocities in the past while at the same time looking towards making the future a better, safer place for all people. International Holocaust Memorial Day enables us all to lead the way in resolving not to just 'stand by' when we witness the actions of hatred.

Holocaust survivors and MPs help to launch resources
for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016
In the UK, with over 3,600 local activities taking place to mark HMD, hundreds of thousands of people are able to come together with neighbours and consider their responsibilities to learn from the past in order to create a better future.

The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. In a gradual, subtle way, people groups were marginalized, lied about and de-humanized in such a way that attacks on them were not questioned anymore. Whilst some people actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides to suceed.

- Find out more about the theme of HMD 2016: CLICK HERE

"The theme this year will be forward-looking with a clear call to action in the present: focusing on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and considering our individual responsibilities not to be bystanders to hate crime and prejudice, nor to international threats of genocide. We must ensure that the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides are not forgotten, trivialised or denied.
Vera was saved by a man who refused to stand by,
Sir Nicholas Winton rescued many children from
Nazi persecution - See more at: VERA'S STORY

The central vision of Holocaust Memorial Day is to learn from the past in order to create a safer, better future. HMD 2016 will enable people to learn about the ways in which bystanders created cultures in which genocides were able to take place, and about the rescuers and resisters who challenged this. HMD 2016 will encourage people today to consider the ways in which they can choose not to be bystanders." - Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (UK)
The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because ofthose who look on and do nothing. 
Attributed to Albert Einstein

"We should be aware of ongoing conflicts in the world which risk descending into genocide, or in which genocide is being, or may already have been, committed; with Syria and Iraq at the forefront of our minds. Holocaust Memorial Day should challenge us to consider whether we; individually, nationally, and internationally; through our governments and through NGOs; are doing enough to prevent and combat genocide. We always need to challenge ourselves to ensure we aren’t simply standing by.

Antisemitism, racism and hate crime have not gone away. And every one of us can make a difference in our own communities. We can all challenge prejudice and discrimination if we hear and see it in our schools, workplaces or civic spaces...We can all take action today for HMD 2016:
Don’t stand by."

Your People My People supports projects in Israel that help Holocaust Survivors. If you would like to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day by donating to a project in Israel CLICK HERE

If you are in the UK, and want to get involved in an HMD event in your area, CLICK HERE to find out about activities all around the United Kingdom.

18 December 2015

Yeshua Hits the Headlines in Israel

Jewish followers of Yeshua (Jesus) are a minority in Israel.  In fact, they are such a small minority that they make up only 0.2% of the population! 

At times they are ostracized and even persecuted for their faith.  So it was no small surprise to us when we heard that one of the largest media companies in Israel had approached Messianic ministry, 'One for Israel', with a proposal to present a series of programmes and internet articles about Jewish faith in Yeshua (Jesus). Israeli media giant, Walla! News, had noticed One For Israel's Hebrew language website, featuring professional videos and articles about Jewish believers in Yeshua.

The media company proposed a series of interviews between Messianic Jewish believers and a well-known Israeli actress, together with written articles exploring the topic and links to One For Israel's evangelistic website. The exposure potential was huge and 'One For Israel' jumped at this opportunity to share their faith with such a large audience.

Five episodes were filmed and the first two have already aired on Walla!'s internet media portal. "The interviews and articles about Messianic Judaism that we worked on with the Israeli media company, Walla!, were presented on the front page of their website!", shared One For Israel,

Below is a screenshot of the headline that appeared on Wallas! website. The picture of the bread and wine leads to the article and interview with Dr. Erez Soref, president of One For Israel, explaining what Messianic Jews believe.

"The teaser asks, "Is it possible to believe in both the Jewish Scriptures and the New Testament?"

Of course, our answer is "yes!"

The subheading continues, "They believe in the Jewish Scriptures but also believe that the New Testament is its natural sequel. They are persecuted, yet they are not trying to persuade people to leave their Judaism. Who is Messianic Judaism suitable for and how can we overcome prejudices about it?"

"Incredibly, this opportunity just came to us, with the media company paying for all the production and promotion of the videos and articles. It was posted at key times when there are many readers online, and the article invited people to visit our evangelistic websites with a direct link on the page. This is truly the hand of God at work, wanting Israel to know the truth about his Son."

The first two interviews that have aired already cover the following topics:

(This allowed Erez to set the stage to who they are and why they believe in Yeshua)

(Erez was able to share some of his testimony, and to talk about the beautiful teachings of Yeshua and his message of love)

These interviews were aired on Walla! with links to more information on One For Israel's website. The remaining interviews covered three more topics that are very relevant to modern Israelis:

(Since many Jewish people immediately think of the Inquisition and persecution when they hear the name of Jesus, this helped deal with many of the misconceptions)

(This allowed One For Israel to open the 'Pandora's box' of Messianic prophecies)

(The Jewish writings have some interesting stories about Yeshua, most of which are defamatory. One For Israel was able to challenge the truth of these myths and deal with Jewish objections to Yeshua as Messiah)


Unfortunately there was a huge outcry from factions within the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who see the message of Yeshua the Messiah, as a threat that attempts to steal their very souls. Just like Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, they are zealous to protect what they see as the ‘true faith’. They threatened to sue Walla! News for exposing Israelis to what they see as a heresy.

One For Israel shared that, “After the legal consultants of “Walla! News” explored the issue at depth, they came to the correct conclusion that no law was in fact violated, and they decided to re-release the videos.

“A week later, however, “Walla! News” received additional threats from Rabbinic Ultra-Orthodox representatives, threatening a major consumer boycott on “Walla! News” and its mother corporation. Consequently, “Walla! News” decided to remove the interviews from the site on Friday, the 25th of December.”

Sadly, Walla gave in to pressure from the consumer market, despite the fact that Israel is a democracy that ensures freedom of speech.

“This is a frustrating situation,” continued One For Israel. “At the same time, we are encouraged by the widespread exposure for the name of Yeshua that did take place. It is important to note that we at ONE FOR ISRAEL bear no ill feelings to those who oppose us, and we continually pray for those who attempt to persecute us. Just as the first Messianic Jews refused to keep silent about their Messiah two thousand years ago, at our ministry we do not intend to slow our pace or to silence the public discussion about Yeshua just because of persecution...Please continue to pray with us for the salvation of Israel!”

Despite the setback, we rejoice with One For Israel that two of the interviews did air and many Israelis would have been able to hear about Messianic Jews and their faith in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). We pray that seeds that were planted will bear fruit and that many will be drawn to revisit the evangelistic websites and ask questions.

We pray that many Israelis will receive their Messiah and that  “all Israel will be saved!”

If you would like to support those who are sharing the Gospel in Israel, please click here!

27 November 2015

8 Day Journey Through Hanukkah


“I am the light of the world. 

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, 

but will have the light of life.”  

~ Jesus

For those who dread the cold, dark months of winter, it can be hard to see much to look forward to in this season.  But there is a sparkly silver lining to these sun-shortened days that can bring joy to even the dreariest of souls, and a reminder of the hope  for ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all men’!

Centuries ago, history laid the foundations of age old traditions that many of us still find life and meaning in today, and for Christians, Christmas can be a wonderful opportunity to share our faith with others in creative ways.  The Jewish culture also has a special celebration at this time of year.  As Christians begin to focus on the birth of the Messiah Jesus,  Jewish people are centring their thoughts on a different time in their history - the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees in 165 BC.

The festival is called Hanukkah, from the Hebrew root ‘to dedicate’, and lasts for 8 days, the time which it took to rededicate the Temple after it’s desecration by Antiochus 2 years earlier.  It is a time to remember God’s miracles and restoration,  and part of the rich traditions also involve the lighting of candles in a special ‘Hanukkiah’.

As followers of Jesus/Yeshua, we have all dedicated our lives to seeing God’s Kingdom come into our world today.  So this year, we are inviting you to join us on a journey through the 8 days of Hanukkah!  Each evening, from Sunday 6th through Sunday 13th December,  Jewish families around the world will be lighting candles and turning their thoughts to the miracles God has done for Israel in the past. 

And each day, we have prepared a special message for you, sharing ways you can interact, participate and support what God is doing in Israel right now!  During this historical Feast of Dedication, join us as we engage in God’s miracle working power today!

Sign up to receive a special email each day of Hanukkah:

19 November 2015

The Arising of Deborah

24 women from Europe and North America came.  113 Arab women from all over the nation of Israel came.  They came for one weekend, a special weekend, a special event, a special time for Arab women to come and be part of the Deborah Arising Conference hosted by Rania Sayegh, director of HOPE (House of Prayer and Exploits).  “The 3 days of the conference were packed with many inspiring God moments and breakthroughs,” shared Rania.  “We saw God bringing our past into our future and our future into our past, to restore and heal it. We have seen Him pouring out His Spirit over the women in powerful ways. “

Worship for the event was led by Julie & Walt Meyer and Maurice Sklar, a talented and anointed violinist who came to bless the women and play over them as the Holy Spirit moved.  “The worship with the three of them was incredible,” Rania continued, “as we felt the presence of the Lord. He was so tangible and everyone was engaged.  The exciting part was when the Norwegian women began to dance and the Arab women were pulled in to be a part of the worship celebration. Dancing in a service is not normal for our women. We were so blessed as we experienced the release of His freedom and joy. What an amazing reality to witness!

“On the second day during the afternoon session, the Lord allowed us to experience the moving of His Spirit of Awakening, graciously uncapped this well in our Land again. He reached into our past, extracting that which is precious, and touched it with His healing power. There was a convergence of the old season with the new, which restored and strengthened us in this present time to be launched into the future. The prophetic declarations that were made empowered these modern day Deborah's to awaken and be ready to move ahead in their Land, bringing Gods healing power through His peace and love.”

The power of the Holy Spirit continued to flow throughout the conference as women received physical and emotional healing, and became impassioned to pray for healing miracles for others.  On the second night, the leaders organised a ‘tunnel of prayer’ for the ladies to walk through and be prayed for.  Rania’s passion for what God is doing among the women was evident as she described the event: “Truly the tunnel was an incredible experience of the outpouring of His Spirit. Several women experienced the manifestation of His presence; such as laughter, shaking, and falling under the power of the Holy Spirit, which was an unusual experience for many.  Many came through the tunnel several times hungry to be touched and filled. Seven women were baptized with the Holy Spirit, being prayed for and touched by no one other than Holy Spirit Himself. “

Times of practical and anointed teachings flowed along with the Holy Spirit all weekend and  Rania spoke of the spirit of unity and love among the women during the conference that was so real. “We have witnessed so much happening in the Spirit that a little booklet would be needed to scribe everything. We have heard dozens of testimonies of how the Lord touched these women and what a  great impact the Conference has been on their lives.  I believe we have seen the Lord birth a new move of the Spirit among the Arab women in the Land, a movement of Deborah's that had heard the trumpet call of awakening to rise as mothers into their destiny and go through the door of HOPE into their future!

Rania also had a special word for those around the world who helped make the Deborah Arising Conference happen:  “On behalf of the HOPE family and the Arab women of the land, I would like to thank each one of you, our International partners and family, who stood with us in intercession and gave financial gifts to make this conference possible!”

Your People My People wholeheartedly supports HOPE in Nazareth and would also like to thank those who gave sacrificially to sponsor the attendance of some of the Arab women.  If you would like to be part of what God is doing through the ministry of HOPE, please click the Donate link at the top of the page!

Testimonies from Deborah Arising Conference:

Worship Leader Julie Meyer:
"I was so blessed to be able to be at Deborah’s Arising.  I saw beautiful Arab women – young and old who came to encounter Jesus.  In times of worship their voices sang strong with many times of joyful dancing would break out with everyone dancing around the room. I saw tender hearts. I saw passion to grow as a believer in Jesus. I saw women after women walk through the prayer line and come through again until she felt the touch of Jesus. I was so blessed and my heart awakened yet again for those beautiful daughters whom Jesus loves so much.  I saw hunger, I saw women asking for prayer to learn to pray more and longer, women wanting prayer to walk in forgiveness. I was wrecked by their passion to love Jesus..I went to Israel to bring teaching and worship praying that each woman would be encountered by the Spirit of the Lord – but I was also the one encountered because the Lord let me see His love and His Good and great destiny for these Arab women.”

Speaker Dotty Schmitt:
"To have participated in this strategic Arab women's conference is a definite highlight in my walk with the Lord. The hunger and receptivity of the women made room for the Holy Spirit to move in power and anointing. The atmosphere became filled with His Presence. The prayer tunnel on Saturday night was especially precious as many of the women entered into a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit! Thanks Rania to you and your team for making this life-changing event possible. We are expecting lavish fruit to be flowing from the lives of all who attended!!"

Speaker Briskilla Zananiri:
"A sincere privilege was experienced when we were invited to join the celebration of "Arab Deborah Arising" conference. During these 2 1/2 days there were so many "God moments" that a little booklet would be necessary to scribe everything fairly.  Truly the beauty of God's daughters is intoxicating! 

Witnessed was the hand of God equipping is by releasing unity, freedom, worship of joy, exhortations, healing, power encounters, renewal of commitments, encouragement, refreshing, confirmations, family advice,  courageous challenges, corporate prophetic decrees, impartations, friendships established, good food with conversations, laughter, and so much more.

Everyone is excited and anticipating further direction from the Lord, for the next corporate step to be taken. We are also excited to see how the Lord will open the doors making room for many more to join this movement of "Arab Deborah's Arising."

05 November 2015

A Time to Pray

The season here in the UK is changing, and along with the cooler temperatures comes a beautiful display of colour as the autumn foliage turns green to striking oranges, yellows and reds. Sadly, the season in Israel has been turning also and the last few months have seen a reign of terror descend on the population. Even though it has not been widely reported on in the global media, over the 6 weeks following the Jewish New Year in mid September, there have been 778 terror attacks on Israeli civilians. 11 of the victims died. Hundreds of victims, along with young soldiers, have been wounded. The reports from our friends and ministries we work with have been flooding in and the collective heart of the nation is grieving. Please pray!
  • Pray that the spiritual tide of hate, murder and fear will be turned back by the strong right arm of Adonai Elohim Tsevaot - the Lord God of Hosts.
  • Pray that a spiritual tide of peace, reconciliation and love will flood into Israel, invading the hearts and minds of all who dwell in the Land and those who cross her borders.
  • Pray for the Jewish and Arab Believers, that they will be bold and effective as they work together to see their nation come to faith in Yeshua.
We are honoured to work alongside you as we labour together in the Father’s kingdom.  Thank you for standing with the Body of Messiah in Israel 'at such a time as this'!

05 October 2015

ELAV Jerusalem - to Him!

Every year, the ELAV youth conference in Israel brings together young believers from Israeli Arab and Jewish backgrounds, together with other Arab Christians from the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Egypt.

The three day conference inspires participants to go deeper in their walk with God and in relationship with each other. This year, the conference was held in Jerusalem.

These young people, who have grown up in the Middle East, are no strangers to political and religious strife. But, with the growth of ISIS in recent times, the level of tension has dramatically increased. On the first evening of this year's conference, organiser Rick Ridings (from Sukkat Hallel prayer ministry in Jerusalem), read out a flier written in Arabic that had been distributed around Jerusalem by supporters of ISIS threatening death to Christian Arabs in Jerusalem. As a physical act of solidarity the young people stood together in circles of about 10, arms interlocked, as they pledged themselves to each other as brothers and sisters - Messianic Jewish youth with Christian Arab. That when times of trouble come, when persecution spreads, each community would stand with the other. They would not be alone, they would open up their homes to each other, they would pray and support each other as God's family.  In these interlocked groups, the young people earnestly prayed for each other. We do not know what this generation will have to face during their lifetime but here, in the centre of Jerusalem a foundation was laid between these young people from such diverse backgrounds. United by their faith in Jesus, they stood side by side and hand in hand, one family in the Kingdom of God.

"God has been doing something through this conference," shared one Messianic Jewish youth leader, "Every year, we see something new happen. There is something very powerful happening right now because God is preparing us for the days ahead, when we will have to stand with each other in the face of death. It will take the fullness of God's love in our hearts to be able to do that."

"Its not easy to do this...as we are doing it right now," shared one of the Arab youth leaders, "It's Jesus."

A Jewish and Arab youth leader, linked arms and addressed the conference, they got down on their knees still with arms around each other. and declared, "We are going to dedicate our lives for one another, to serve one another, and to be willing to lay down our lives. That we will be willing to say yes, to the end."

These young people are serious. They are on fire for their faith and there is a real sense that God is raising up this generation to go deeper with him. Much of the conference is dedicated to worship and many of the worship sets were led by local young people in Hebrew and Arabic. During these extended times of worship, the majority of the young people

24 September 2015

Rejoicing In Huts

No sooner has the sun gone down on the solemn Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), than the sound of hammers can be heard as families throughout Israel construct temporary shelters for the week long Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew: סוכות sukkot). These flimsy structures are roofed with branches often from the palm tree and decorated with harvest or biblical themes.

According to the book of Leviticus, this temporary hut or sukkah (Hebrew: סוכה‎) commemorates the time God provided for the people of Israel during their 40 years in the wilderness. In building their Sukkah, each family remembers that it is God who is the provider of their daily needs. The sukkah symbolizes the fragility and transience of life and our dependence on God, our provider. During the week of Sukkot (Tabernacles), Jewish people invite friends and neighbours to come and eat with them in their Sukkah, Some even sleep in their booth - the idea is to spend as much time in them as possible.

The Feast is a joyous occasion with much eating and rejoicing. To find out how to make a Sukkah and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles at home CLICK HERE

They come in all shapes and sizes - here are a few examples:

Ready to welcome guests - a Sukkah on a balcony
Children's Sukkah in Tel Aviv

Set up outside a restaurant for customers to eat in

17 September 2015

Are you in a state of Onement-ness?

Onement - no not a typo!  Did you know that in the early 16th Century, the word ‘one’ was used as a verb?  The closest we might come in common usage to that today is perhaps the concept of ‘oneness’, being ‘at one’ with others.  As you might correctly have guessed, it was a word used to describe the concept of unity, influenced by the Latin adunamentum.   In today’s verbiage, we recognise the word ‘atonement’, very much like the original ‘at one-ment’, and used primarily to describe our reconciliation to God through the ‘atoning’ work that Jesus did when he was crucified and resurrected.  In simple terms, it describes how we can be in unity with God after being cut off from His holiness by sin.  Atonement, being at one with God.

The evening of 22nd September this year marks the beginning of the Day of Atonement in the Hebrew calendar.  It is considered to be the most holy of all the holy days, the day historical Israel was given the opportunity of having all their sins taken away so that they could be in unity with God again, at one-ment with Him.  In Leviticus 16, the original Hebrew word used is ‘kipur’, meaning literally ‘to cover’.  In the context of Yom Kipur (the Day of Atonement), concepts such as appeasement, cleansing, forgiving, being merciful, pacify, pardon, purge, put off, and reconciliation all come into focus, giving a beautiful overview of all that was in the Father’s heart when he gave instructions for this event.

Most of the Hebrew calendar events God instituted are known as Feasts, days of celebration, rest from work, and definitely lots of food!  Yom Kipur however is different.  It is not a feast day but a fast day.  Instead of celebration and rest there is much repentance and soul searching as the individual seeks at one-ment with God, forgiven, cleansed and reconciled.

For followers of Jesus today, the New Testament letter to the Hebrews is a wonderful guide to explaining some of the ceremonies of Yom Kipur as a pattern of the atoning, unifying work He carried out on our behalf.  Instead of a High Priest, we have Yeshua, the Son of God.  Instead of the blood of animal sacrifices, we have the very blood of our Messiah and Saviour.  Instead of entering the Tabernacle’s Holy of Holies to be in God’s presence, Yeshua entered God’s very throne room, as Paul affirms in Romans, “Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

The Day of Atonement is a poignant time in God’s calendar.  Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to stop and take stock of our own lives, bringing into the light things that we need forgiveness for and giving pause for our hearts to come back into alignment and unity with the heart of Jesus, but it is also one time of year when Jewish people world over pack into their synagogues and prayer houses.  In the same way that many ‘secular Christian’s will pack into churches for Easter and Christmas, Yom Kipur is the day that many secular Jewish people will attend their synagogue services.  Please pray for them, that as they seek at one-ment with God, they will have a revelation of Yeshua,  their High Priest and Messiah!

10 September 2015

5776 Straight A-head!

“On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”   Numbers 29:1

 "The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of Sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.  Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”  Lev 23:23-25

Got your shofar ready?  Rosh HaShanah is coming, and along with it are food celebrations, shofar blasts, white clothes and a public holiday - not to mention a new calendar year!

Now you may note that the verses above clearly say this important Feast is on the first day of the seventh month - the month of Tishrei in Hebrew.  So how can it be a new calendar year?  Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question.  Jewish tradition calls this day ‘the head of the year’, or ‘Rosh Hashanah’ in Hebrew, and was thought to refer to the beginning of the agricultural growing season, or arable calendar.  In Jewish tradition, it is also thought to be the day Adam and Eve were created, the day The Flood waters dried up, Enoch was taken by God, the day Sarah, Rachel and Hannah conceived and the day Joseph was freed from prison by Pharaoh.   Some have suggested God marked this day as a representative of the Shabbat/Sabbath, being the 7th month so sacred to God like the 7th day.  Although the beginnings of the tradition to celebrate this Feast as a new year began in the first century, the reason why this developed is not known for sure.  Various teachers have various opinions and scriptures to back up their points of view, but history does not record exactly when or why it became the new Jewish calendar year, only that it is the day the numbers roll over.

So what’s it all about?

Firstly, it’s a sacred day, a holi-day, a Shabbat where no regular work is done.  It is the first of day of the ’10 Days of Awe’, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the coming of Yom Kipur/Day of Atonement.  The bible only gives one day for this Feast, but tradition holds that one day is not enough for all the searching of the heart that is called for and in modern culture the Shabbat continues for two days.

Another key element to this sacred day is to do with the sounding of the shofar, an animal horn used to produce blasts as on a trumpet, and in English, we refer to this date as ‘The Feast of Trumpets’.  The original Hebrew in Leviticus says ‘zikhron t’ruah’ (זִכְרֹ֥ון תְּרוּעָ֖ה), literally translating as ‘memorial fanfare’.  Tradition dictates the shofar is blown with a variety of long and short, multiple blasts, being a summons to become alert and awake, to enter this period of reflection and repentance with the seriousness such introspection requires.  It is also customary to wear white at this time, to symbolise purity and a desire to be close to God, as it says in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

Although a sacred day, Rosh HaShanah, or Feast of Trumpets, is not a time of fasting.   And as with several other Jewish commemorations, there are plenty of good things to choose from!  Apples and honey are a favourite of all, the apple to express hope that the coming year will be fruitful, and the honey, that the coming year will be a sweet one.   The pomegranate has usually come into season at this time and is eaten to remind us of God’s commands and the desire to fulfil them.  Often a fish head is present on the family table during the meal, accompanied by a blessing from Deuteronomy 28:13 saying “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never

03 September 2015

Who Would Have Thought!

From the short time I was able to know them, I learned that both of my grandfather’s were good people.  Kind, God fearing men, taking care of their families and others in need that crossed their paths from time to time.  But what would you do if you found out that your grandfather had been a sadistic murderer, or a malicious torturer, or someone who just stood idly by while acts of hatred and brutality were committed in front of him?  God willing this will not be your experience, but for a group of young Germans, it was!

March of Life give flowers to Holocaust Survivors
Around 30 young people from the March for Life group in Tubingen, Germany, came to Israel this summer.  Their purpose was to show support and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people, and through the organisation of Helping Hand Coalition, they were given opportunities to meet with elderly Holocaust Survivors around the country.

The March for Life group came to Israel on a voyage of reconciliation, spending much of their time interacting with the survivors and visiting with them at their Shalom House meetings.  They shared meals together, and the young German believers sang songs and performed Jewish dances for their elderly hosts.  They also expressed great sorrow for the actions of the generations that had come before them, asking for forgiveness for the persecution of the Jewish people and their culture, which they now embraced.  The Survivors were deeply touched.  “We have travelled in Israel and seen many things, but we have never been to touched and so encouraged.”  “Because of their faith in God, we see that these young Germans have the right mind regarding us as Jews.”  Who would have thought!

Sharing a meal
Two of the young Germans in particular, shared how they learned of the evil actions their great grandfathers had committed during World War II, and how they themselves, were the first members of their family that had come to ask the Jewish people for forgiveness.  These were not easy things to express to people who had lost families and homes as children, and some that had even spent time in the Concentration Camps.  But at the end of the evening, the leader of the Shalom Home declared, “We survivors have met together for 21 years, and this is the first time we have experienced such a touching meeting and had such a time of rejoicing together.  We’d like you to come back again!”

13 August 2015

Masters of Reconcilliation

Your People My People is always encouraged to hear good news stories of what God is doing in Israel, and when we heard about 13 Arab and 11 Jewish pastors, all graduating their Masters degree together, we are excited to share it with you too!

Arab & Jewish MA Graduates

The graduation ceremony at Israel College of the Bible this year was particularly special, marking 25 years  since it was founded in the coastal city of Netanya.   Dr. Erez Soref, President of the College, who gave the formal address to the graduates wrote:  “This past week we had the final week-long course of the first-ever senior pastors' MA.  In this unique program we served and trained 24 of the leading pastors in Israel - 13 Arab evangelical brothers and 11 Messianic Jewish brothers. Throughout this year, it has been incredible to experience the blessing in getting to know each other, and tasting heaven in the love and unity among these precious brothers. We were able to discuss difficult and painful issues in a spirit of love and forgiveness. We learned to be transparent with each other in challenging and personal issues, sharing hearts. While all this was a wonderful, inspiring, and very meaningful secondary gain, the main thing has been a fantastic opportunity for renewal, and a positive spiritual, ministerial and academic challenge and encouragement for all participants. We have concluded this year with a few days of discussing various leadership issues, praying for each one, washing each other's feet, and taking the Lord's supper.”

Graduate Address
In our Western society, someone who wants to become a pastor, vicar, or church leader, will normally go into formal study and training first, and emerge ordained for the ministry.  Not usually so in Israel!  Very often a mature believer will find that younger followers of Yeshua have gathered around to learn and be discipled, and they are already pastoring a small congregation before they know it.  The fact that Israeli pastors are seeking more formal opportunities for Bible study and learning is a testament to their hunger for the things of God and their desire to grow and mature into strong and wise leaders.

Is it possible that this kind of study can be made more widely available to Israeli Congregational leaders?  Is it possible that Jews and Arabs can study in the same classroom together with a common purpose?  Is it possible that Arab and Jewish Israelis can live in unity and peace with each other, serving Yeshua/Jesus as One New Man?  “With God all things are possible!”

Your People My People loves to invest in discipling and training up pastors and leaders in Israel.  Would you like to join us in this important venture, to help see the Body of Messiah grow and mature?  If so, click one of the Donate options at the top left of this page ~ thank you for being a part of what God is doing in Israel!

Graduate Class

06 August 2015

The Singing Daughters of Zion

Springs of Hope has been reaching into their local community for over ten years, assisting and giving hope to families and individuals who have been irrevocably changed by a terrorist act.  Many of these families have lost loved ones.  Others have been fortunate to survive yet carry the great scars such encounters leave behind, both physical and emotional.

Last month we had the opportunity to catch up with Ahuva*, the founder and director of this amazing work and she shared the wonderful things God is doing, particularly among the women she has faithfully served:

“We recently had a leisurely Jerusalem Day brunch with 15 of the widows and bereaved Mothers, sitting in a restaurant perched above the city, green, and quiet, with tablecloths and rosemary in pots and tubs on and around the table. It was a hot day, the desert wind blowing in yet the ladies were chilled and relaxed despite the heat. Some of them began to sing songs about Jerusalem, it was one of those ‘Roni, Roni , Bat Zion’ moments ( Rejoice oh daughter of Zion, shout in triumph)! The Middle East is in turmoil but here they were in a place of peace and joy, delighting in their beloved city and in life. A sense of peace and serenity despite the turmoil all around. Healing is part of their life experience.”

A few weeks before, Ahuva had taken a humanitarian trip into Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). This journey back into Abraham’s land had an deep impact as she witnessed the enormity of the fallout from the incredible degrees of terror experienced by the Yazidi and Christian people fleeing ISIS.  Ahuva also met other people who had suffered for years under the regime of Saddam Hussein:

Yazidi Refugees
Iraqi Refugee Camp
“It was incredible to share of this journey with the ladies as we ate. As I shared and showed some photographs, I was able to tell them that it is because of them and on their behalf I was able to go to this region. They became excited. Four of them came from Iraq, one from one of the towns gassed by Saddam Hussein which I had visited. One came from a northern town close to the Syrian border, where we had been in the Yazidi camps, another from a town, very close to the camp from where the Yazidis had recently fled when the massacre began, another from Baghdad. They began pouring their stories out, stories of their families and community. They were in tears that we are able to return there and offer help. Around the table on this hot dry morning they began to say prayers of blessing and thanks.

“This is a joint journey,” continued Ahuva.  “I am able to physically go there, but I carry them. Not as dead corpses exiting Iraq but as women to whom the breath of life has been given and now want to return that life to the land and former neighbours so very dear to them.  When I mentioned the very vague and still dim possibility of one day them meeting the Yazidi women in a safe place outside Israel, they were like little kids, ready to pack their bags and go. Who knows, maybe the “one day” will become reality!”

Your People My People has worked with Springs of Hope for several years and endorse Ahuva’s closing thoughts to us, “I hope that you will continue to be part of this exciting journey.  We so value all the kindness that you have shown over the years. The help, the aid, the prayer, the care, carrying us so that we can carry others. You have shown the true meaning of redemptive love.  We welcome you to join us, and the singing daughters of Zion as our journey continues back the way many of them came.”

If you would like to financially bless the work of Springs of Hope, please use the Donate options at the top left of this page, and note your gift is for ‘Springs’.

09 July 2015

Faithful Servants

With the help of supporters like yourselves, we are able to assist Israeli believers who are reaching out to their nation with the love of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah.  Your People My People has had the honour of working with Shmuel and Suzie Salway for many years as they have been pastoring young people and adults alike through their ministry roles as Assistant Pastor in Adonai Roi Congregation and Staff Manager of Dugit Outreach Centre.

The beautiful Salway family
Shmuel & Suzie are also involved in mentoring and discipling youth at a national level.  Co-managing Katzir, a youth discipleship camp run 3 times a year during the school holidays, they host around 150 young people, training their leaders and managing the camp.  The youth come together from all over Israel, hungry for worship, to learn from the Scriptures and encourage one another in their faith.  And at the end of the last camp, they also had the joy of immersing one of the young people that wanted to affirm their desire to follow Yeshua!

Bar Mitvah Torah reading

Purim fun!
Congregational life has kept them busy over the spring with Bar Mitzvahs and baby dedications.  It takes several months to prepare a young boy or girl for their Bar Mitzvah and Shmuel was able to meet regularly with those coming of age, to study the weekly portion of the Torah together that they would be asked to read out at the ceremony.  Alongside their regular services, Israeli Congregations love to embrace the different festivals in the Hebrew calendar.  A particularly fun event is the annual Purim celebration.  Everyone came in fancy dress and Shmuel shared about 'Finding God in the Esther Story'.  Shmuel and Suzie are currently planning a trip for the Congregation to spend a weekend away together in the Gilboa area. 

When we last talked with Shmuel he shared with us about a young Israeli man he was discipling:  “Immanuel* is a successful business man who owns a bar in a trendy part of town. He had an American girlfriend but one day, she told him she could not be his girlfriend anymore because she was a follower of Yeshua and shouldn't date non-believers. She also left Israel to go back to America. He was very shocked and wanted to know why and find out about her faith. He met some believers who shared the Gospel with him. He came to faith and was immersed. His girlfriend had started attending Adonai Roi Congregation before she went back to the USA, so Immanuel decided to come to Adonai Roi to learn more.

"I have been discipling him," Shmuel continued, "and we meet regularly in my office to study the bible.  One day, his sister asked him about his new faith and he brought her with him to our discipleship study. She had many questions but was very curious. She had problems in her life so I asked if we could pray in Yeshua's (Jesus') name. She said yes and let me pray for her. I also gave her a bible and asked her to read it. I am continuing to meet with her and her brother and she is very close to accepting the Lord as her saviour. Please keep praying for both Immanuel and his sister. Thank you for supporting and praying for us - we really appreciate you standing with us.”

Shmuel and Suzie have other news that they are excited about,  “A special event in our life was the 1st birthday of our 3rd child, a boy we named Sela.  Praise God for this precious life!  Our family of five is blessed to be able to build our own house in a village in the Judean hills. The house is progressing well and the exterior structure is standing. We continue to pray for God's provision for the funds required.  With God’s help, the house will be complete in December 2015.”

Please pray for this precious young family as they serve with the Leadership and help lead the Congregation forward into all the Lord has for them!  If you would like to financially bless Shmuel & Suzie, please click the Donate button at the top left and note your gift is for ‘Pastors’.  Thank you!

Adonai Roi Congregation

*name changed

26 June 2015

Handel's Messiah for Holocaust Survivors

During the Passover holiday this year, over 250 Holocaust Survivors from across Israel came to hear a special performance of Handel's Messiah in the town of Or Akiva. The reason this particular rendition of the famous oratorio was so special was because it was being sung in Hebrew.

Handel's original musical masterpiece is sung in English and traces the story of the Messiah through the Old Testament prophecies to the New Testament fulfillment. Translating the Messiah was the idea of Irene Levy, a Jerusalemite in her 90s, who carried the vision for over 30 years. "I heard a choir here singing once from Norway, all the time they were singing it I was hearing it in Hebrew," She said.

David Loden, whose choirs "Kamti" and "Liturgi-Kal" have now performed the Messiah several times in the Hebrew language, said: "The work has been performed a number of times in Israel in English. Each time it is presented Israelis from every strata of society come to the performances. For many years, there has been a desire to see this work presented in Hebrew so that it would be even more accessible to the Israeli public. In 2007, a pilot hearing of this work was given and the work was performed for the first time in Hebrew. “Kamti” and “Liturgi-Kal” have continued after that historic event to present this great work on a professional level ... All were received with great appreciation by the Israeli audiences. Since then, the Liturgi-Kal Concert Choir has performed this masterpiece in Hebrew every year. It is rapidly becoming a traditional event."

"We made a choice to try and maintain as much as possible the original Hebrew renditions of those particular scriptures," explains Loden,  "We hear the responses after the performances in Hebrew and they are amazed to hear how much really for the first time they understand what is the spirit and the message of what Handel and the Bible is saying. I sat there on the platform and watched as they heard this music, which they love, and understood it for the first time. They were sitting with their mouths open. Some were weeping. The tenor soloist had brought his mother, who has probably been to every concert that Israel has to offer, and she was weeping.”

Several of the organisers of this year's event for Holocaust Survivors commented on how moving it was to see these precious, elderly men and women who had known so much darkness and cruelty in their own lives, sitting captivated by the beautiful music as the words of hope and salvation from their own ancient scriptures could be heard in their original tongue.

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed...", sang the choir from the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

"When you know the meaning of the words in another language it's not the same as when hearing in your own language," said music conductor Monika Vasques. "It touches much more the heart."

As they left the auditorium and joined the waiting buses, their smiling faces and expressions of thanks said it all. The music had been balm for their souls. Here are some of the responses:

“This brought much joy into our lives for those of us that have nothing but trials since childhood.”

“Physical bread is important, but what you gave us tonight was like bread for our soul.”

“I felt like this was like a fresh water experience; like going under the waters of the Jordan and coming up refreshed.”

“What you did for us was more than beseder (good), it was a Mitzvah Gdolah (Great Deed).”

Each person took away with them the program containing all the words from the performance. We pray that as they remember the music and look again at the program, the words of hope and comfort will touch even the most hardened heart and bring life and truth.

In the concluding words of Handel's Messiah:
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.

If you would like to hear some clips of Handel's Messiah sung in Hebrew, check out this video from an earlier performance:

CLICK HERE  The clip begins with the awesome Hallelujah Chorus!