Israel Missions

Comforting Those Who Mourn - December 2007 - Part 2

Shalom all,

Wintery greetings from Pittsburgh!
Attached is a report on the Jerusalem mis.sion work which God blessed us to share in, and praise be to The Lord for all that He used us for!

Also, God blessed me to finish the Informational CD-ROM 2, and I’d like to you mail you one so that you can see how The Lord used your prayers and gifts to touch the hurting people there in Rus.sia. There are prayer profiles on families who lost loved ones in the attack, lots of pictures of the kids and families that I know, basic language learning sheets in and Os.set.ian, all the tunes from the CD Yah blessed me to finish in September, and more! Please send me your full mailing address, and I’ll send the CD-ROM out your way!

Jesus never fails,


For I Am YHWH your God, Who upholds your right hand,

Who says to you, " ˜Don’t fear " “ I’ll help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13)

I greatly thank and praise YHWH for the blessing to have been in Jerusalem for a few weeks, and I want to again thank each one of you for all of your prayers and support which made the trip possible. I hadn’t been to Jerusalem since August of 2005, and I really thank The Lord for the opportunity to return " “ He once again fueled the fire of love for the Jews in my own heart, and that’s a fire which all believers ought to have burning within them. Yes, Gentiles have been grafted into the tree of faith, but God is not " ˜done with the Jews’ " “ He has promised to restore their fortunes before their very eyes, and what God has spoken, so shall He do.

Most of my time there was spent serving Calvary Chapel Jerusalem (CCJ)/For Zion’s Sake (FZS) Ministries, and it was such a blessing to see old friends as well as make new ones. I pass on their greetings to you, and their appreciation for your love for them and for all His chosen people, the Jews. (And Pastor Bradley asked me to pass on a specific greeting to the saints in Pittsburgh, so here’s a big hello to all of yinzes!) The Lord mostly had me serving in the FZS office, and I was blessed to help in translating back and forth between the English and Russian speakers there. It was very special for me, personally, in that I can now talk with many of the Russian immigrants in their mother tongue. Praise be to Yah, for that opportunity! The drawback was that though God has been helping me with Russian, I forgot almost all the Hebrew and Arabic I had previously known! L

I love Jerusalem, and especially the Old City area " “ all in walking distance are the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Garden Tomb, the City of David, and more. Biblical places begin to come more alive to you, and it’s amazing to consider that our Lord Jesus Himself walked through this same area many years ago. But that’s not all" ¦ check out Zechariah 14 " “ The Lord’s coming back to Jerusalem as well! One day before leaving Israel, I went down to the City of David to see some of the ruins and things there, and Yah blessed me with an opportunity to tell a young IDF soldier that we love them. I shared how I believe in Yeshua (Jesus), and testified to him that this land is theirs, given to them by God Himself. O how I wish our leaders would quit all their nonsense about a " ˜palestinian state!’ The LORD God Almighty gave this land to Israel " “ who are we to try and change the inheritance that God Himself gave to His people? Let’s think of it this way: imagine you found out that the house you had given to your son was in danger of being divided up by neighbors claiming that it wasn’t fair that they didn’t have a share in that house. I think you would be hotly angry with those neighbors, wouldn’t you? After all, it was your house, and you gave it to your son" ¦ how dare the neighbors try and pressure the son to give up even an inch of that house! And so, I shudder to think of how God views our leaders trying to pressure Israel to surrender land that He gave to them.

One thing that has been very interesting for me to witness is the connection between Be_sl_an (written as " ˜Bsln’ to avoid coming up on all the internet search engines) and Jerusalem/Israel in general. Israel showed a ton of support and helped out in many ways after the Bsln terrorist attack, and there are some similarities between the plight of the Jews and the plight of the Os.set.ians. The people are the dominant ethnic group in Bsln, and for the most part, they are simple people who mind their own business and want peace between people. They are, at least in name, a Christian people. Contrast this to the neighboring republic of; the majority there are muslim, and many there teach their children that the Os.set.ians are their enemies and that they ought to be killed. (Very similar to how many palestinian muslims teach their children that the Jews are their enemies and that they ought to be killed.) And as a result of the school massacre in Bsln, the Os.set.ians have become more sympathetic to Israelis and their suffering. And so while I was in Jerusalem, the saints there demonstrated deep-hearted sympathy for the (and other people groups) in Bsln, and their youth gave me a very pleasant surprise. They made bracelets, necklaces, and decorated dreidels to give to the kids in Bsln, with notes telling the kids to keep their eyes on Jesus! (See attached photo.) As many of you know as well, I was initially serving at CCJ/FZS back in 2005 when Pastor Bradley asked me to join him on a trip to Bsln. The Lord blessed us with a great time of ministry there, and God gave me the desire to return to that hurting community. So for me personally, it’s extra special to have gone to Bsln through the Jerusalem connection, and then be able to Lord willing return to Bsln this coming January with gifts for the kids there, made by children in Jerusalem. God Is Good! (If you or any in you fellowship would be interested in making cards or small crafts, writing letters, or sending gifts to kids in Bsln, please let me know. God willing I’ll still be in Pittsburgh until around the beginning of January, and it’d be more cost effective to get those things to me before then so I can take them with me than it would be for you to mail them to Bsln.)

At CCJ/FZS, we got to meet many believers who were traveling through the land during the time I was there " “ some came and helped out at the ministry, while others joined us for services, and it was neat meeting other Christians who love Jesus and have a heart for the Jews. One of the highlights for me was meeting Dub, a CA believer who shares Christ through rap music. He even shared some of his music at the beginning of one of our services, and the connection with the youth was instant and amazing. It was a great reminder of the power of music. We all have certain styles of music we love, and other styles that we could really do without " “ and that’s fine! Just as we each have different tastes regarding the food that we like, so it is with the music that we listen to. I’m addressing the styles of music in writing this" ¦ some like rap, some don’t, and that’s all fine and good. I personally love rap, but only so far as it’s being used to glorify Christ. As we all know, rap music as a whole " “ like almost every other form of music " “ generally conveys very ungodly messages. But rap in and of itself is neither good nor bad" ¦ it’s like fire in a sense. Is fire good or bad? Well, it depends on what you do with it. If you have a fire going in your fireplace, that’s a good thing, because it’s keeping your family warm. But if you use fire to burn down your neighbor’s house, that’s not so good. But the fire in and of itself is simply fire " “ and I think music is like that, too. I personally don’t like country all that much, but when I hear a country singer praising Jesus, I love and appreciate what they’re doing and I can even be moved to tears by hearing them sing of the greatness of our God. So much love and respect to Dub and the other brothers and sisters representing Christ and preaching Jesus through rap music. And since I love rap and hip-hop, it’s so awesome to see believers use this tool to preach Jesus Christ! Dub also shared some of his testimony, and as I mentioned, the youth in particular were immediately tuned in to all that he was sharing.

Mike from CC Bible College Jerusalem asked me to share one morning during their devotions, and The Lord blessed me to talk about the ministry in Bsln and the subject of having true faith. I highlighted the Totiev families; you may recall their story. Two brothers, both Baptist pastors, lost several children in the terrorist attack; one lost two children, the other lost four. But these men and their wives and their families have true faith " “ that is, they serve God because of Who He Is and because of all that Jesus Christ did for them. Period. From an earthly perspective, their lives will never really change nor improve after having lost so many of their children in the Bsln school massacre. But they’re not in this race to claim Cadillacs in the name of " ˜faith,’ nor are they pursuing Jesus so that their earthly lives will be all peachy and cush. They are not perfect people, but they are real people of faith. And so I ask myself, as I asked the group there at the morning devotion" ¦ and I ask you as well: are we serving The Lord simply for a better life here on earth, or because of what He did for us on the cross? I must love and serve God because of Who He Is and because of all that Jesus did for me on the cross, and not look at Christianity as " ˜a means of accomplishing the American dream.’ God may give me the American dream, or He may allow me to be martyred for my faith as almost all of Jesus’ disciples were. That is His choice, and that is His business. I’m called to follow Jesus " “ period. A great example of this kind of topic can be found in John 21:17-23 " “ check it out!

All in all, it was a very blessed time there in Jerusalem, and I praise YHWH for the opportunity to have been there. Thank you again for your prayers and support as you shared in the labor there, and I honestly pass on to you the appreciation and thankfulness that the Jerusalem saints have towards you. I can’t imagine what a blessing it must be to them, when they see that basically all the world hates them; and yet, they also see fellow brothers and sisters in Christ praying for them, loving them, and desiring to stand with them in support. Praise be to The God of Israel for such a blessed opportunity that He gives unto us! Lord willing, I’m returning to Bsln in January for a few months, and later hope to go to Jerusalem again to serve and help out there for a short time.

Please pray for

  • God’s will to be done in my life, and for His guidance and provision for the work ahead;
  • CCJ/FZS " “ their ministry van is old and has many problems with it, and they’re praying and hoping to get a better vehicle;
  • The Lord to send forth more laborers there, and that He would supply them with more translators (during a CCJ service there can be 4 languages going on " “ English, Russian, Hebrew, & Spanish);
  • God to send them more English tutors, and pray also for Lena who will be taking her medical exams sometime in February.

All glory be to The Holy One Of Israel!

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For I Am YHWH your God, Who upholds your right hand,

Who says to you, " ˜Don’t fear " “ I’ll help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13)