Coffee and Cake in Nazareth...

An interview with Rania Sayegh, the Director of House of Prayer and Exploits (HOPE) in Nazareth.

It was raining as we drove along Highway 60 towards Nazareth. But rain is always a blessing in Israel. After the long, arid summer months, the land is crying out for refreshment and the country's water reserves are often disconcertingly low. So, we thanked God for the rain and also for the opportunity to be in Nazareth once again. We were visiting with Rania, an Arab believer who 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. Her heart for Israel, for both the Arab and Jewish communities is like the much needed rain that refreshes and nourishes the dry ground.

We sat together in a modern, bistro-style cafe with gorgeous views overlooking Nazareth. "You have to try these cakes," persuaded Rania, "Do you trust me?" She ordered creme brulee and a coffee/chocolate mousse. They were beautifully presented and tasted heavenly!

We asked her how things have been going with the young people she mentors and she told us she has been teaching a course about personality types. They have been meeting together each week at the House of Prayer in Nazareth (HOPE). The course describes the strengths and weaknesses of different personalities and how to deal with them. Rania told us it is helping the youth to not only discover themselves better but also to understand each other so they can work out their differences and interact better as a team.

"Then, we can walk in grace and love each other -  to see the differences in each other in a positive way with a good attitude. It helps the youth to discover themselves, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I struggling in that? Why can't I get on with this person?' The course also gives a parallel description of different personalities in the Bible and how God used that personality type with its strengths and weaknesses, but also about how their calling matched their personality too. The Lord does not ignore your personality - he is the one who puts the desires in your heart."

We asked her to tell us more about the young people she is working with.

"Some I have been working with for years and some are new. Some moved on to university or to other cities. Most are young adults, 19 and above. About 5 of them are 15 and above. One young kid comes every week now. He is 12 years old. Every week, he comes to the House of Prayer and drags along his sister who is 24. He tells her, 'I want to go to the House of Prayer.' He encounters the Lord there. He paints prophetically. He sits in the presence of the Lord for hours. His sister used to come all the time to the House of Prayer and once she brought her brother because there was no babysitter. He came and the Lord touched him. He was weeping and I was worried something had happened to him. I went over to him, hugged him and asked him, Habibi, are you OK? Is everything good? He said, 'Yes, I feel the Holy Spirit, I feel heat on me.' It was really special."

Rania with Amal, one of her young staff members.
Two of the young women Rania has been mentoring for several years have taken on positions of responsibility at HOPE. They lead several prayer watches each week and help with the 24 hours of prayer that HOPE facilitates every month. "I have talented young women, quality." Rania shared, "They are leaders. They will be leaders of leaders. So, I am mentoring them."  Last year, she took them with her to the Isaiah 19 conference in Cyprus. The experience of meeting believers from all over the Middle East and seeing how God is orchestrating his purposes throughout the region was an invaluable experience for them. As well as her young staff, Rania is joined by other local Arab believers who help her with mentoring and training the youth.

She continued to share with us,
"Another young woman, along with others, was trained at HOPE to play the piano. I used to bring a music teacher to train the young people in worship and playing instruments. One girl who was trained in piano, now leads worship in her church and also for one of the prayer watches at HOPE. This is one of the fruits. Investing...It is really bringing young people from scratch, so it takes time to train people...but it is worth it because you raise up from the local people. I am really seeing wonderful fruit coming forth."

Rania teaches prophetic intercession and encourages the youth to express their prayer through drawing and painting. She sees the gifts the Lord is birthing in them and encourages them to step out and grow in understanding. One girl is gifted in prophetic dancing and Rania has invited someone to come and train her further in her gift and to teach her to train others. This is very new for the Arab church, dancing is almost forbidden. But, Rania is a pioneer and she sees these young intercessors as forerunners - breaking down barriers and releasing God's prophetic presence into the local community.

Several of the young men and women are gifted in drawing and during the prayer watches they produce beautiful depictions of what they hear God saying to them. One of the girls has collected all the paintings into an album to be displayed at HOPE as a record of how the Lord has been speaking to them.

"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 ..."
Prophetic paintings from the 24 hour prayer watch - HOPE, Nazareth

Part 2 of this interview is posted here Coffee & Cake in Nazareth-Part 2 Find out what inspired Rania to reach out to equip and mentor young people in her area. 

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