From Israel to Africa
Here at Your People My People, we are always excited when we hear from Israeli believers reaching out to their communities with the love of God and the good news of their Messiah. Although they are just a small minority within their nation (0.2%!), we know the Kingdom of God can make a big impact, so it is even more encouraging when we hear from those who are also going out from Israel into the nations to share the message of Yeshua.
When we heard from Carrie last year about her upcoming trip to Tanzania with a small team to help in an orphanage and share the Gospel with visiting Israelis taking time out after their military service, we were able to help support her trip financially and pray for her journey and time there. Here’s her story…
“Some good friends had invited me to join them to work with an orphanage that they support in Tanzania and to witness to the many Israelis that come through Tanzania on their "after-army" trips. This is EXACTLY what I am studying! I am currently working on getting my BA in International Relations & Education for this very purpose: To be able to work with children in undeveloped countries and share God's love with them. The second half of the trip I would be able to join them in sharing in churches in Tanzania about how to witness to Israelis, and witnessing to the Israelis that we meet. This is an area that I would love for God to develop - to be able to witness to Israelis more effectively - and for Him to use me while I was there.
“Firstly, the team held a seminar for local pastors and elders and their wives. A bit more than 200 people attended. I shared about Israel and why God chose Israel, and how it shows God's character in His patience with Israel. The people were really receptive and welcomed us. And in the afternoon session 4 people came forward to rededicate their lives to the Lord!
“Later that week we went to the orphanage for the first time and met the children. They had prepared a program of songs, and all the kids came and welcomed us one by one with "Good afternoon" and whatever English they had learned. They are so sweet and were so excited to come meet us. They had been praying for the team for the past few weeks and while we were there they prayed over each of us again, for our preaching the next day. I was so touched to see children aged 4-17 praying with all their hearts for us foreigners. Some of them had even volunteered to stay late that evening to intercede.
“On Sunday, each team member shared in a different church. I shared about the Lord's Prayer and Israel in a small church that includes both missionaries and Tanzanian nationals. I felt quite nervous preaching to missionaries, especially since I have had no formal Bible training,. But thank God he was able to use me. Several people came up to thank me afterwards and I was asked to share at the second service too!
“The Tanzanian nationals had a lot of questions about Israel - they pray for Israel, since that is what it says in the Bible, but have virtually no concept of Israel today. They were asking what are the religions in Israel, are there still sacrifices to false gods, how do we cooperate with our Muslim neighbours etc. I was really glad to have a translator that studied in Europe, so I was able to answer their many questions and help give some understanding.
“The next week we drove to a village in the south to do an outreach, pastor's seminar and preach. The pastor came to pick us up and we drove about 30-45 min along dirt roads through tropical areas, past both brick and mud huts, skinny cows along the side of the road, banana trees and more, until we stopped at a house where we would hold the outreach. These were not smooth dirt roads but bumpy and rock-filled with dust that blows everywhere as we drive by. “The choir came behind us, all piled with the sound system into an open truck (kind of like the ones you see cattle in) so I can imagine how much dust was in their faces!!
“Once set up, the choir began singing and dancing and people started gathering. We gave the people Bibles in Swahili and they were so happy to receive them! The next day we held a seminar for local pastors. About 30-50 people came, and really appreciated the teaching, so much so that in the question time at the end, the first question was "will you come back next year?" Usually I was asked to share how they can pray for Israel, particularly as most of the believers in Tanzania already have a heart to pray for our nation.
“We also returned to the Orphan Centre again, doing a painting project with the kids, cleaning, planting beans, and just spending time with the kids. I taught them a Hebrew song, Hodu l'Adonai (Give thanks to the Lord) and we shared with them about the countries we are from and then they prayed for each country. These kids know how to pray! We were asked to teach the little ones (4-6 years old) about hygiene, so we taught them the importance of washing their hands with soap. I guess it stuck because the next day, 2 little boys excitedly told the translator that they had washed their hands that day with soap! Another day we just had fun reading with them and taught them hand-motions to "Jesus loves me" and they taught us how to say "I love Jesus" in Swahili. :)
“For two days, we joined with local believers to do door-to-door evangelism. We went out in groups of 3. My group started sharing with people walking in the alleys between the houses and huts. I was amazed to see how open people were to stop and talk about God. The Tanzanian lady with me started sharing with those we met, about Jesus and salvation, and several ladies prayed to accept the Lord. Others said they were Christians and asked for prayer, so we stopped and prayed for people in the streets. When someone wanted to accept the Lord we would to come to their homes and pray with them there. In total 87 people prayed to accept the Lord over those two days!!
“Please continue to pray for their growth in the Lord. It was great to partner with local believers, inviting the new believers to their own congregations and keeping in touch and helping the people we visited. We also heard that they were so encouraged, they want to do another outreach again! Praise the Lord! Please also pray also for Salome and her son. Salome lives near the Orphan Centre and said she would accept the Lord sometime but not that day. Please pray for God to work in her heart and remind her of her promise and remove anything that is preventing her from accepting the Lord.
“One morning when we arrived at a church to do a seminar about Jewish evangelism, we were greeted by the nursery children who ran up and started hugging and touching us. I almost got knocked over! But they were so sweet and just want to sit with us and hug us and say hi. In every service we are always invited to lunch, and treated with honour as the visiting guests. The people everywhere in Tanzania are so hospitable - they had even bought new plates for us to use, and always try their best to make us comfortable (with silverware and sodas and things they would not normally have).
“Thank you so much for the prayers and support! It has been so awesome to meet the believers here in Tanzania and I would love to come back. So I'll just have to trust God to show me when!”