Monthly Archives: October 2013

Update on Cyclone Phailin

Rains continue to batter the countryside of India in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin, as hundreds of thousands of families find themselves displaced and without electricity. Recently, a Gospel For Asia Compassion Services team was able to travel to one of the districts in Odisha that was the most affected by the cyclone. They provided relief materials to 440 families.

Pleaser pray for these people who have suffered so much and if you can, pray about helping them with financial offerings. You can check it out at Gospel For Asia Cyclone Phailin.

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

I was very naive when we made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), and so it surprised me how incredibly many things were different from what I was used to.  The small and intricate, basic workings of simple tasks were different, and one that had struck my culture-shocked self right away as unnecessary was the fact that I had been spoiled by the ease with which western medicine was distributed. Of course, there we would receive a huge bill, where as here it is considered a right.

However, it didn’t make sense to me that when I was feeling so ill, first I would have to go to the doctor.  Next, I would have to travel in the other direction to the lab.  Then back across town the other way to do an x-ray.  “Why couldn’t it all be neatly in the same building?” I complained. Thankfully, I now both understand our system and why it is this way, AND have accepted the grace of the light yoke to not complain about these very small inconveniences.

So, this week, although it was physically necessary to take a taxi several times due to lack of any strength, when I could take the bus and train, I did, I noticed something. Some of you who have read these letters over the years may remember me speaking about the ways of mentally handicapped people on the buses.  Mentally handicapped (and otherwise handicapped) people are treated very differently here then in my past experience.  They are mainstreamed (even in the army where possible) and, rather then people looking at them with any measure of pity or embarrassment, they are sort of everyone’s children.

Anyway, I won’t repeat some of the poignant stories right now, but as I got on the bus, a rather raucous man sitting behind the bus driver was bouncing up and down in his seat and saying, “No more news!  Get some nice music on the radio! No more news!”

I smiled as the driver reached up to his radio, smiling in the mirror at the man of about 40 with somewhat exaggerated and unkempt features, continued to direct him and bounce up and down in his seat. “Turn it to GLAGALITZ (army radio)!  Oh, there you go.  That’s nice music!  I don’t want anymore news!” He had picked some quiet music and the driver turned it up loudly for him.  He turned around to smile at everyone in the bus and everyone smiled back at him and assured him that he had chosen very nice music indeed.

Since I had missed a week of work already by this time I had a fresh eye for remembering the specialness of these moments, and it occurred to me: I DON’T SEE THESE PEOPLE ON THE TRAIN. Very rarely do I ever see them there and it hit me: on the train, there is nothing personal and no driver.  Unless they ride with the same people every morning, who will tell them when to get off or take them home if they forget their stop?  On my way to work there is a regular crowd of about 10 or so people who seem to work at the same sheltered job, and I enjoy watching the daily care and interchange.

Continuing on my way to the lab, I was thankful that it is right near the shuk, as our food supply had run low while I lay in bed.  I got off in front of the bakery where I planned to buy bread.  Those of you who have been here have all commented about how blessed we are to have such an abundance of great bakeries, and you are right.  I recently found a tiny place that sells excellent home made 100% rye bread, straight from their stone oven, so I thought I would stop by as it was along my path.  I looked toward it and there was a line in front as the owner was JUST pulling up his metal covering (not a door…just seals off his space).

This seemed odd to me as it was already after 9:30 and they are usually open around 6 or 7am.  I joined the elderly crowd, mostly Russian, and I propped my weak body against the counter listening to the colorful conversation.  As I did I had some time to observe this very unique bakery and to be there in time to witness a rare treat.  This bakery is a Bokhara bakery.  Now here we open a fascinating chapter because there is a Bokhara neighborhood in Jerusalem – a wonderfully mysterious old neighborhood. A very mysterious, colorful history, but I am speaking about the bakery now and if you want to glimpse a bit take a look at here  or here.

But back to the tiny bakery which consists of a kiln oven in the wall, a Persian Uzbekistani painting on the rest of the wall, and perhaps a 5 feet long counter and a table.  The whole space is probably 5 feet by 10 feet.  As I watched, the man cracked open the oven and I looked inside at a rounded clay oven perhaps 5 feet high, 4 feet wide and 8 feet deep.  Wood fueled flames licked up the sides between clay bricks, and the man threw cup after cup of water into the oven, on to the breads as well, all around putting out the fire and sending up clouds of steam. I saw my rye breads between bricks (no pans needed, the bricks are the pans) but before he deftly pulled them out with towels, he got a long wooden pallet as I had seen used in other stone ovens and the pita ovens, and, and he scooped the unusually shaped breads from all across the walls and ceiling, where the dough had been placed the night before.  He put my hot rye bread in a bag and I handed him my 10 shekels, well spent.  Come and visit and I will take you to this shop.  Even as I was in pain and weak, I was thankful to have caught such a moment.

You know, the Lord is just so incredibly GOOD. I was lying there in a great deal of pain and there was temptation to be discouraged. Yes, I gave in and had a pity party for awhile and then repented, but some of the things that I remembered and thanked Him for were rare moments that I have had that He made to delight my heart.

I know that you have had them too, and sometimes, we miss them, so perhaps it’s good to be reminded to look for them. I have always loved animals and He has spoken to me much through His creation. Over the years He has allowed me to watch the rare entry into the bay of a pod of killer whales on the hunt, to have a bald eagle hover by my window just a few feet from my face, to watch Alaska grizzly brown bears up close as they scavenged and played in our local dump, to pet a totally startled wild hyena, which I mistook for a strange looking huge dog while walking to work at dawn on a cloudy morning, to watch herds of elk and caribou up close and mountain rams fight on a mountain top, to live under the northern lights, to have a pony and ducks and run with wild dogs in the hills, and well,  the list went on. I was soon weeping with thanksgiving, that a God, MY GOD, Who knows me so intimately, cared enough to bless me with all of these- well hundreds of spontaneous blessings − small details that He KNEW would delight my particular heart.

And now I can add watching Bokhara bread appear from a stone oven as a token of love from God Who comforts us all along the way.

This is the very same God Who knows we need housing, and will open and provide the way and the same God Who knows of your most secret need.

I have also been hearing the rumblings of planes as I lay at home sleepless.  Several nights ago the planes continued to fly overhead for at least 10 minutes without stopping.  They are preparedness flights, not the real thing.  There has been much scoffing at our Prime Minister’s insistence to stand firm concerning Persia.  He’s been called a paranoid warmonger and told that the world is tired of hearing him.  Our Knesset just opened the winter session and I listened to the opening speeches.  The opposition leader (Shelly Yakamovich of Labor for those who follow) mocked him and repeated the worldview to his face. “You have isolated us!  We are just a small country and you are making us the fools in the eyes of the world. Everyone else is wrong, and only WE are right,” she mocked him.

I have caught just a glimpse of understanding the heart of God concerning COVENANT.  It is not hard to understand, but WE BREAK THEM ALL THE TIME.  HIS idea of Covenant is so far above my understanding that I can only bow to it. I have read through my Bible for the past few years with a notebook, particularly for making note of every promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the inheritance of their descendants to the land of Israel. I knew there were many, but I just didn’t expect to fill a notebook with promises.

My ray of light came during one reading of Gen 24:3-6.  This is where Abraham has his servant put his hand under his master’s thigh and swear to find a wife for Isaac among his own people, the descendants of Shem (Noah’s son) and NOT to have him marry a wife from the people of the land of promise, namely from the Canaanites the sons of Noah’s son Ham. This was the son whom Noah cursed  (Gen 9:25)  Ishmael (AND Esau, by the way) took wives of the sons of Ham.  GOD had chosen a seed and the enemy will do everything to rob that seed.  GOD had a plan.  The enemy had a plan.  God still has a plan to work out and so does His (and our) enemy, and the challenge for me is STILL to always take His side and His view and His path, no matter HOW wrong it looks in the sight of the world.

Lord knows I could never do that on my own as the enemy would be oh so quick and happy to take advantage of my imaginative and sometimes extreme fleshly nature.  God forbid that I would formulate opinions without the guidance of The Holy Spirit in these deceptive times.  HOWEVER, JACOB, WHO HAD HIS PROMISES AND HIS COVENANT, LOOKED WITH HIS FLESH for the expected results when his sons stood up, not in a very compassionate manner, for the Covenant and plan of God.

And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.

But that was NOT the result.

And guess what?  That is just what the opposition is saying to Netanyahu. This is what the world is saying to Netanyahu.  This is what Netanyahu has to stand against.  We know that he believes the Old Testament (the Tenach and the Prophets) and studies it both alone, with Knesset members, family members and receives many believers (local and foreign) and values their advice as well.  We continue to pray for Him to come through to receiving Messiah.  But I’m seeing the responsibility that this man has to take that COVENANT before God and find out how to STAND in opposition to the entire world – mockery from within and without. May we see clearly to stand also with God’s Word by His Spirit.

Until next time, I send much love,

your sis J

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Prayer for the Persecuted Church

 

“My life in prison was not in vain,” said Pastor Samuel who was imprisoned for eight years for preaching the gospel in India. Could you or I say the same after such a long separation from our families? We may never find out, but the persecuted church suffers such tragedies everyday.

On November 3 (or any Sunday in November), join churches across the nation in lifting up the persecuted through unified prayer.

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Cyclone Phailin Wreaks Havoc in India

 

If you have time, check out the above less than three minute video or go here to read the facts about destruction caused by Cyclone Phailin. The storm has affected 9 million people. They need our prayers now…and if you can, please consider giving a financial offering, of which 100% will be used for the people who have suffered in this storm.

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Yesterday I was a witness to something that I must grow in my understanding of, but it was a unique window into a part of the Jewish world that many of you pray for: the ultra orthodox.  The 93 year old spiritual leader of Israel’s Shas political party died.  He had also been the Chief Sephardic Rabbi for many years.  His name was Ovadia (meaning, servant of God) Yosef.   

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9)

“My father! My father!” were the cries that went up as passionate grief and sometimes hysteria rippled its way through gathering throngs of people.  Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was a colorful, controversial figure considered by many to be a great Torah sage, perhaps the greatest of our generation, in spite of the fact that he was often mocked by the media for saying politically incorrect things and questionable statements. His words were constantly picked apart and quoted out of context, but now he was appearing bigger then life in his death.

He entered the hospital about a month ago with deteriorating health. Huge prayer meetings were called on his behalf as his health went up and down.  He rallied several days ago, but yesterday he suddenly lapsed and family was called.  The president of Israel was at his side when he died in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. At the time, the halls and area of the hospital were jammed with his followers. 

Although I was watching the events unfold while at work on ynet internet news, I was not prepared for what happened next.  It was a cultural departure from my westernized Jewish upbringing.  He died around 1:30 and I went home at about 2:30.  At 4:30 I heard lots of sirens and helicopters. I thought, it’s either a bomb (pigua) or Rabbi Ovadia’s funeral starting, so switched on the TV to see.  I saw live coverage on every channel of the masses of mourners gathering and the footnotes said that the funeral would begin at 6 PM.

According to Jewish law, the funeral is to take place the same day, before sundown when possible.  The bodies are not buried in coffins here, but in shrouds. 

I had an appointment downtown at 6 PM so decided to leave early. However when I arrived at the train station I was surprised to see throngs of people walking silently but swiftly along the tracks, in the streets and sidewalks toward the center of town.  I remembered former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral following his assassination, but this was totally spontaneous.  A flashing sign at the station told me that train service was discontinued due to the expected crowds. It was soon obvious that there were also no buses getting through.  Very shortly, neither were cars.  

I went home and turned on the TV to get an overview of what was happening.  At that point ½ million people were expected for the funeral and the security forces were gearing up for crowd control, but even they weren’t prepared for what happened.  Now, you have to understand that our total population is 8,012,400 of which about 20% are Arab and at least 40% are children, so half a million pouring down the narrow ancient streets of Jerusalem to attend a funeral is a LOT of people.  

It turned out that this was an underestimate. Soon the highway coming up into Jerusalem was completely blocked with walkers as people abandoned their cars on the sides of the road and began walking from many miles away.  Inter city buses were stranded along with all commuters.  EVERYTHING ground to a halt.  Ambulances became hospitals as crushed or injured people were being treated in ambulances that could not get through to a hospital.

It is estimated today that upwards of 850,000 people packed the area around the cemetery.  There are no estimates on how many failed to make it that far. Although the funeral was to take place at 6 PM, the body could not be moved through the crowd to its final resting place until 11:30 PM. There was a human surge, the likes of which I have never witnessed before in Jerusalem.  I encourage you to examine some of the links and get an idea through photos or video. You can see them here, here and here.

Even these do not convey the intensity of the event.

What I watched were people grieving, beating their chests, and crying, “Abba! Why did you leave us alone?” My heart was wrenched and grieved for a people following mortal man as if he were a god.  Many of the prayers had been prayed for this man’s life were prayed on the graves of the patriarchs or prophets or other idolized rabbis. As I watched, I prayed for the day to come when they will, with even deeper passion, weep for Him Who was pierced for them.

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 12:10)

In THAT day their weeping will be turned to joy and they will no longer be left alone, just as you and I are not.

Yes, it was a powerfully emotional event we witnessed yesterday,  the result of my people seeking for Truth in the darkness and finding the death which can not rend the grave. 

Until next time, I send much love,

your sis J
 

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What are the Three Deadliest Words in the World?

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The UN estimates there are 200 million missing females in the world because of gendercide carried out through abortions, infanticides, murders, and the abandoning of female children.  One of the nations with the worst record on the gendercide issue is the world’s largest democracy, India, which comprises almost a third of the total population of Asia.

In India, 50,000 females are aborted each month just for having XX chromosomes. The reason is simple: it’s a family business decision. For a poor family, children are a major drain on family income. What was barely enough money for a husband and wife to live on becomes strained even more when a child arrives. A baby boy has the potential of providing future income to the family, but baby girls have little potential of helping the family. Thus, baby girls are aborted to save the costs of feeding and raising them.

Almost 10 million girls, between the ages of 4 and 11 years old are abandoned by parents on the streets of India. Over a million of these end up in prostitution rings. Others are coerced into being a part of the 50 million children from ages 4 and up who labor from morning until night to survive. Many beg. Many steal. Many die.

Question: What are the three deadliest words in the world?

Answer: It’s a girl.

Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope turns these situations around for good. Children are educated and nurtured. Families experience Christ’s love. More than 60,000 children have been helped so far and thousands of families have found faith in Christ as a result.

If you’re interested in learning more about Bridge of Hope, click here.

 

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Racism: Who’s in the Right? And Who’s in the Wrong? (Part 18)

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By this all men will know that You are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4:21)

There are three Greek words translated into the English word love in the Bible: eros, philia, and agape. Eros is a sensual love such as the love between a man and a woman. Philia is brotherly love between believers or friends. Agape is John 3:16 love, or God’s love.

For eros and philia love to work properly, it takes at least two people to agree on the love and respond accordingly toward each other.

But for agape love to work properly, it only takes one person to demonstrate it and walk in it. It matters not how others respond to that person because agape love is an extension of God to others. It can be accepted or rejected, but it is still agape love.

A person filled with agape love never compares his level of loving to others, but always compares his love to Jesus and His word.

Who’s in the right on racism? Brothers and sisters who walk in agape love like Jesus commands us to do and enjoy the uniqueness of God’s creation of mankind, knowing Jesus loves each individual and so must we.

Who’s in the wrong on racism? Brothers and sisters who hate their brothers and, by doing so, are considered murderers by scripture.

There are no gradations, stages, or degrees  between agape loving the brethren or hating them. It’s either one or the other and each chooses how he will walk. It’s not up to our pastors, our political leaders, our family, our friends, our neighbors, or our culture and race; it’s up to each of us.

This is what I foresee will soon happen in America:

The decades of anger and hatred which have not been dealt with by either white Americans or blacks will soon explode into guerrilla warfare in America’s inner cities and then spill over into the suburbs. It will resemble the warfare fought in Northern Ireland of the 1970’s to 1990’s.

The anger and hatred will be fueled by America’s enemies in the Middle East and Russia. Guns and ammunition will be supplied from those sources and also from cartels in Mexico.

The initial onslaught will catch America leaders off guard. They will fritter away precious time, hoping for political solutions, but while they dawdle, numerous white Americans will be killed. White Americans will then assemble militias to fight the black forces, forcing them to retreat into the inner cities.

It will be a bloody mess.

The Lord has already prepared His own army of men, mainly whites,  who will invade the inner cities during the darkest days, preaching the gospel and crying out to God for His mercy. These men have been specifically chosen because they will not love their lives even when faced with death. It will be their demonstration of God’s love which will determine the outcome of the racial wars.

Out of this turmoil, the inner cities will be transformed by the power of God from islands of hate and hopelessness into modern Goshens filled with love, peace, and God’s presence.

(Conclusion)

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