23 April 2015

Coffee and Cake in Nazareth - Part 2

Last month we wrote about our time with Rania Sayegh in Nazareth as she shared about her work in mentoring and discipling the youth in her city. This is part two of that interview:

Rania, an Arab believer who runs a House of Prayer (HOPE) in Nazareth, is not only a General in the Spirit but also a spiritual mother to a vibrant group of young people in her home town. She is also a catalyst for bringing Arab and Jewish believers together for strategic prayer events and building unity in the Land of Israel.

( To read the first part of the interview - CLICK HERE )

As Rania trains these young people in intercession and worship. The Lord has been birthing new gifts of expression in art and dance among the youth. Rania is keen to encourage them and help them grow in their giftings.

"These are the kind of things I want to do for the next year. The dance and the painting. Training the young people in prophetic art and prophetic dance. And of course to continue helping them and training them ... to work on the personalities course. There is another course I would like to do with them about how to discover your own calling and identity in the Lord. These young people have been on a journey of healing from the orphan spirit into understanding and encountering the heart of the Father for them. Breaking down things through the encounters they have had in our meetings. Prophetically and encountering the power of the Holy Spirit...being transformed and delivered and so on. Several of them took us on quite a journey through healing and deliverance in this."

We asked her about the 'orphan spirit' she referred to. She explained that the root goes back to the rejection of being taken out of the father's house three and a half thousand years ago when Abraham sent Ishmael out of the camp. It is a rejection that the people carry and are still experiencing. A fatherless generation crying out for the spirit of adoption. Rania expressed that she had felt personally challenged about being a mother to the next generation.

"...because I have always been focused on being a commander in the Spirit, I am good in giving orders - a warrior in the Spirit. 'Let's go, let's do this, do that.' But then the Lord took me on a journey of understanding his heart ...  to be a mother for this generation. It is something he had to form inside of my heart.  To show me how this generation needs not only commanders but they need mothers and fathers to stand with them and lead them into perfect faith.  That is what kept me going on actually, with the vision for the young people, otherwise it would be very hard to work with young people...but a mother can carry someone - a heart of a mother embraces also in a time of failure and in a time of success.  It is really embracing them and loving them, their weakness and when they mess up and don't know how to do this or that. And when they make me go crazy!" she breaks out into infectious laughter, then gets serious again, "That's how the journey began in 2010 - the journey of the Lord forming that heart in me. It wasn't easy. There were lots of things that he had to impart his heart."

As much as Rania, is being a spiritual mother to these young ones, it is a spiritual General who is mentoring them and they are also learning to be powerful warriors in the Spirit.

"I don't want to make duplicates - I want them to learn the DNA, the calling, but I want them to be released not to be me but to be themselves ... but on the other hand, as a good mother, if I have succeeded in releasing them into their destiny, knowing that they will run faster than me and they will succeed better than me, then I have done the best job. You want your children to be more successful than you. Basically every mother would want to have this."

"In Malachi 4 it says, He will send the spirit of Elijah and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers ... He will do this to not curse the earth ... The key to removing the curse from the land is bringing the generations together. Real fathers and mothers who will lay their lives down for the coming generation. It's not about passing the baton and sitting in our homes - its  about walking together.  It's taking the hand of this young person and saying, 'come and learn and let's work together' and the young generation will submit."

She shared how Amal, one of the young leaders had been challenged recently about the generations working together. Through a testimony shared at a conference, Amal had seen a picture of rebellious youth because their fathers are not there for them, and instead, the youth needed to see what a blessing the older believers could be for them and to walk with them. The older generation have so much depth from years of walking in the Faith and have so much to give to the young. Likewise, the youth have so much energy and life to bring to the older generation. If they turn to each other, and work together, God can do amazing things.

"When the generations are ministering together and the fathers releasing the children, then we see unity rising...We need to walk as a family, not just as a spiritual army. A family that cares for each other. I always share that with the young people. HOPE is called a ministry but basically we are a family. I don't like to only call it a ministry because we are not just an organisation - We have a registered organisation but we are an organism, it's about the people - about the family, about relationship. I can very easily build a structured ministry and then can be very far from the people, and not really loving on the young people. But this is not what God wants. It is about his family, about us standing with this young generation and helping them here. Because those who are fatherless ...how can they be healed if they don't see real mothers and fathers.  Jesus can reveal himself through real mothers and father figures who love them - not just theories and sermons. Young people are rebellious and bitter. We are amazed that they are like this, but its because we have not functioned as the fathers and mothers that God has called us to be."

"I always marvel at one thing when I read about the life of Deborah the prophetess. When she comes to introduce herself, she doesn't say I am a prophetess in Israel. She says, I am a mother in Israel. There is a big difference.  Devorah was a judge, a mighty warrior, a prophetess but she thought of herself as a mother. Isn't that beautiful!"

Rania with Amanda (YPMP) in Nazareth
Pray for Rania and the young people she is mentoring at HOPE. May their foundations grow strong and secure as they grow and mature into mothers and fathers to the next generation.

Pray for more spiritual mothers and fathers to be raised up in Israel among both the Arab and Jewish believers. Pray for a turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

If you would like to partner with HOPE as they invest in the next generation. Please click the donate link below:


16 April 2015

The Day I Danced With A 99 Year Old Belarusian

Dancing the two step with David, a 99 year old Belarusian Holocaust Survivor is not something you do every day!  We had just enjoyed a lovely meal with around 15 elderly survivors, hosted by one of the many Shalom Homes supported by Helping Hand Coalition.  After serving them and hearing them share, we were whisked away to another HHC assisted group.  Around 50-70 aging survivors meet every week at a local community centre for their Shalom Club in Netanya, to share a simple meal, listen to music, dance, celebrate birthdays and generally enjoy being alive!

It may seem like stating the obvious, but it really is important to understand just how vital the Shalom Home project is to those who are part.  We all understand the basic need for community and friendship, and those who have always had that can stride through life without really being aware of how many others simply do not fit in so easily.  It may be cultural barriers, language, age or education that prevents us from being ‘one of the norm’. 

For many, it is their traumatic experiences that inhibit their ability to connect and relate on even the most simple of social levels.  Not having suffered intense trauma myself, I only have the stories of others to draw from in my attempt to understand the world they live in.  When I place myself into their stories, into their experiences, I can only imagine what kind of terror, pain and disbelief they felt, that such things should be done by one human being to another.  I put a high value on the sanctity of life, and as I grew up in our world, hearing current news stories and learning distant and recent history, I found it abhorrent that humanity could be so inhumane.  And yet there is hope.  There are survivors of all kinds of terror.  Ones who not only keep breathing despite all odds, but keep living, learning, and above all, keep loving.

People who have suffered great trauma (of various kinds), do not always fit into regular society so well, not at least without some help.  But through the Shalom Home project in Israel, an opportunity has been provided where safe communities can, and are being built.  People of similar culture, language, age and most importantly, experience, have an open door to forge friendships and family with small groups and large across the country.  They fit together.  They understand how it is, and how it’s been.  They empathise and understand each other’s thoughts and feelings, reactions and responses.  There is still pain, there are still memories.  But now they are accepted: by each other, and in time, also by themselves.

And that is how I found myself dancing with David - through a

15 April 2015

Let It Rain

When the landlord refused to renew the lease for Dugit’s Messianic Outreach Centre because of their ‘activities’, he was successful in getting them to close their doors.  He was, however, totally unsuccessful in getting them to close their outreach into Tel Aviv.  With renewed focus and increased determination, Dugit has continued to reach out to Israelis with the good news of their Messiah.  We recently received this good news report from Dan, Dugit’s Outreach Coordinator:

“Shai* is an Israeli man whom I first met at Dugit. I remember him coming into the coffee house and having lots of questions about the New Testament and about what we really believe. He is a native Hebrew speaker, but wanted to study the bible in English. At the time, he had just finished reading the book “Pilgrim’s Progress”  by John Bunyan which had sparked something in him to find out who God really was. During this time, I was able to share some of my personal Faith experiences with Him.  He was interested, so I gave him a bible to read and also invited him to the student bible study that meets every Tuesday evening.

“After a few months of coming to the bible study and also going to a local fellowship, Shai ended up receiving Yeshua as his personal saviour and is now an integral part of the bible study. Shai has even begun to serve by leading us in worship on the guitar.  Let us thank God together for his work in Shai’s life.

“It is for stories like these that I look forward to re-opening our outreach centre/coffee shop.  I have been stopped many times by locals asking ,“What happened to Dugit?”.  I am so thankful for our supporters around the world that are believing with us to reopen this centre for Evangelism.  May many more come to salvation through your love and support!”

Tel Aviv is well known in Israel as a very secular city, but Dugit’s director, Avi Mizrachi knows that the harvest is ready.  He recently had this to say about the unusual weather patterns they have been experiencing across the country:

“Just before the big snow in February, we had a terrible sand storm.  As strong winds blew in from the Sahara, the pollution percentage in Israel rose to 40%!  For 24 hours the government instructed us, “Try not to go outside much because it has been the highest pollution we have had!”  All of Israel was encouraged as the meteorologists said that after 24 hours the winds from the west would come bringing clouds with heavy rain that would clear all of the air.  The weather experts exhorted us to “Please pray that it will come quickly!” and it did!

“Heavy clouds came and poured out rain and snow like we have not had for years.  We all watched closely as all of the Mountains of Israel received snow.  Even in the south in Beersheba!  The rest of the country also benefited from the heavy rains that came and cleared the pollution away.”

The pollution paints a vivid picture of the spiritual atmosphere over the city and the team at Dugit are praying that God will send in the ‘heavy rains’ to bring refreshment, cleansing and clarity to the people of Tel Aviv.   We’d like to encourage you to join them as they pray for their city and continue to share the gospel and bring in the harvest!

“Be glad, people of Zion,

    rejoice in the Lord your God,

for he has given you the autumn rains

    because he is faithful.

He sends you abundant showers,

    both autumn and spring rains, as before.”    Joel 2:23 

*name changed