Because the vision of JCFI is to raise a greater awareness of Israel in the churches of Johnson County, we want to connect you to some of our friends who work to bless Israel.
This month I have an update from
Pastor Eddie Santoro & Ahavat Yeshua
(The Love of Jesus)
As many of you may know, Pastor Eddie Santoro is currently undergoing chemo treatments for cancer. Pastor Eddie and Jackie are humble servants of the Lord, who in the midst of difficult circumstance, continue to reach out to those in need of
Good News. Enjoy this report from Eddie !
Dear Faithful Friend,
Monday was special. And we wanted to share it with you, our dear friends and intercessors.
We sent out a health update a few days ago and there were so many of you who responded in love with very powerful prayers. Thank You!!! I am doing better and the end is in sight with 11 treatments to go! I had a three day break from treatment and Monday was my first day back. I wanted to send out this special report and share with you all that occurred in the waiting room. We have had lots of very good and wonderful experiences over the past year but that day felt special.
On the way in, we spent a few minutes greeting the parking guard. Between the two episodes of cancer, we have connected deeply with this man and the love and witness of Yeshua flows freely between us. Again, I shared with him the power of our prayers as we battle this illness and it was clear that he was touched. I have no doubt that over his many years as a parking attendant, we have been unique in our relationship with him. Please pray for Sammy. He is a fine 74 year old man and we really love him and believe that this love is bearing fruit.
Upon entering the waiting room, I sat down next to a older religious couple that we have gotten to know. The husband went in for his treatment just then and I continued to speak with her. I shared my faith again and I asked her if I could pray for healing for her husband. She said "yes!" I asked her if I could lay my hand on her. She said "yes" again and by God's grace a prayer of love and power flowed from me to her. And the prayer of faith will make the sick well!!!
Pastor Eddie & older religious couple
I then began to speak with a religious man sitting next to us. We had a wonderful and warm conversation about God. He said that since his illness, he has gotten a revelation about how God answers prayers and how much God loves him. We didn't get a chance to talk about our faith before I was called in for my treatment. But I did tell him that I would pray for him and asked him to pray for me. Please pray he would receive ongoing revelation from God whom he loves.
When I finished, I came out and immediately noticed a mother with her daughter in a wheelchair sitting in the room. We had seen them several times before but never felt an opening to talk to them. This time we both walked over, said hello and asked what her daughter was suffering from. Sadly, she said they had recently discovered a brain tumor in her 14 year old daughter and they had come from Moscow just for the treatment at Hadassah Hospital. After some wonderful sharing, I asked the mom if we could pray for Anna. She said "of course" and Anna also agreed. They were a Russian Orthodox family so they welcomed the name of Jesus! Together we boldly placed our hands upon Anna and loosed the healing power of God into her. Please join us in believing for a miraculous healing.
As Jackie continued to speak with the Mom, I noticed an Islamic mother and daughter sitting nearby and the mother was watching us closely. When I finished praying for Anna, I went up to them in humility and love. I quickly discovered that they did not understand Hebrew or English. The mom managed to communicate that the daughter also had a brain tumor. When I asked the mom in sign language if I could pray for her daughter, she lit up and smiled and nodded "yes". Again, I asked her permision to lay hands on the daughter, she nodded again and I touched her with the power of God that by his grace, lives in me. In faith, I stood against the cancer that was attacking this 13 year old girl and beyond any doubt, they were touched in their hearts.
It's a small room and all of the people in it (maybe 10) were watching and listening, including that wonderful religious man we spoke to in the beginning.
It was time to go and so with much love in our hearts, we said goodbye to everyone, thanking God for a most special time. As we walked out, we realized that we as Messianic Jews had just prayed for a religious Jew, a gentile Christian and an Islamic girl. Cancer was the common demoninator in a Jewish hospital in Jerusalem. How incredible! Only God could have set that up! We praised God for his wondrous ways and that he had allowed us to be his vessels of love.
I sensed also in leaving, that as we had prayed for others, God had touched me and I felt far better when I left than I did when I arrived! How God returns to us what we have given to others. We walked to the parking lot, blessed Sammy again and drove off filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.
Keep praying and we will keep you informed.
We send you our love from Zion,
Eddie and Jackie
Pastor Eddie and Congregation Ahavat Yeshua are Bridge of Hope partners with Pastor Rick Douglas and Covenant Church (more info)
For a prayer update on Eddie's health (here)
Jewish Believers Sharing Good News with Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Efraim Goldstein is pastor of Or Ha Galil (Light of the Galilee) and works with CJF Ministries. For months, Efraim has unselfishly traveled to Turkey to minister to Syrian MBBs (Muslim background believers).
ere is an update from Efraim on this important work.
World headlines are focused on the crisis in the Middle East, the Syrian refugees, the barbaric actions of ISIS and the turmoil in Turkey. For me the crisis has a personal aspect.
As a Jew, an Israeli and a believer in Yeshua the Messiah, I believe the situation of the Syrian refugees should not be ignored. The Lord has called the people of Israel to care for the strangers in our midst. We are called to love our enemies. Yeshua calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. These Syrian families are our neighbors.
In the past 10 months, I have made two trips to Turkey to meet and minster to groups of Syrian refugees. Most of the people in these groups are new believers from Moslem background (MBB's - Moslem background believers). From other reliable sources, I understand that this is just the tip of the movement of thousands of Moslems from Syria, Iraq and Africa who are professing Yeshua as Messiah.
These families are very needy and work conditions are extremely difficult in Turkey. Yet somehow they manage to survive and even though their level of subsistence in basic, they don't complain about their financial situation or their status.
In mid-August, Pastor Najeeb from Haifa and I traveled together to Turke y for four days. Together we ministered to this community of MBB's for several days. I had the opportunity to teach the group with a translator. After my message at the Sunday service, a Syrian woman stood up to share a testimony. She told us that all her life she hated and feared Israel and now understood that in Yeshua we can love one another. Such a testimony I will never forget. Others asked for more teaching on God's promises to Israel.
The status of these refugees is such that their needs are immediate and their situation is not stable. Any day the Turkish government could decide to deport these helpless people to another region or back to Syria.
During the recent trip to Turkey, I looked into the situation concerning Bibles for the new believers (MBB's). The situation is more complex than I first realized.
These MBB's are ethnic Syrian Kurds. They speak Kurdish and Arabic, and they read both languages. However, their Arabic language skills vary from university level to grade school.
The problem is deeper as the MBB women for the most part only have a grade school level Arabic and don't read Kurdish. This means they are functionally illiterate. Before they can read and benefit from the Bible, they need to study more Arabic. Therefore, they need Arabic reading lessons for adults and children.
Concerning availability of Bibles, they don't have access to the better Arabic translation (Van Dyke translation) that most Arabic speaking believers prefer. The local pastor said they prefer the Modern translation because it is easier to understand.
We had the opportunity to meet with the Turkey Bible Society General Secretary and she was able to give us an update. They are unable to bring in shipments of Arabic Bibles because the Turkish government considers this missionary activity. However, if Bibles are printed in Turkey that is acceptable and permissible. The General Secretary said that currently attempts are underway to print in Turkey the New Testament in Turkish and Arabic (Van Dyke translation).
In order to effectively meet the needs of these refugees in Turkey, the following must happen:
- Regular contact must be maintained. This requires working together with Arab speakers and people who can translate.
- A continued sense of urgency, since the situation of the refugees is so unstable and their needs immediate.
- Build a prayer support group.
- Develop a network of financial support to meet the current needs.
- Cooperation with Turkish Christians in how to work together.
Please join us in prayer for the many needs of these refugees.
Bridge of Hope Update...
We Are Growing !
One way JCFI raises awareness of Israel's role today is through building a Bridge of Hope (BOH). A Bridge of Hope is a "bridge" built between a Church or organization of Johnson County and a Congregation, Home Group, Faith-Based Organization, or Individual within Israel. At JCFI we currently have 29 Congregational BOH's and 5 Organizational BOHs that are up-and-running with
in the process. The BOH project is blessing people both in Israel and here in Johnson County as it provides connection through fellowship, prayer support, educational exchange, and more. (Click
for more info)
We would love to hook you up! I am Skyping almost weekly with those in the Land who are eager to link up in a "sister" relationship with a congregation or organization in Johnson County. Be in prayer for us as we establish new connections with ministries in Israel that desperately need our support and prayer.
If your church would like to know more about becoming a BOH to a congregation in Israel, click HERE or contact me by phone at 817-556-1061 / by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!
Praise & Prayer for Pastor Liron Shani &
Kehilat HaDerech (The Way)
Pastor Liron and Kehilat HaDerech are Bridge of Hope partners with
Pastor Michael Lehnhardt and Chambers Creek Baptist Church.
Recently, Liron and his congregation have faced some very difficult challenges, but the Lord is faithful.
Please, join them in thanksgiving & prayer!
No Easy Way to the New Home of Kehilat HaDerech
A large percentage of Messianic congregations in Israel meet in rented halls, and sometimes, often on more than one occasion, their leaders and members encounter situations where they have to move, come to grips with the upheaval the change brings and adapt themselves to a new reality; whether it be temporary or permanent.
Few congregations in the country actually purchase the properties in which they hold their activities.
Kehilat HaDerech in Karmiel
is included in a large group of Messianic congregations that meet in a hired venue. In the last two months, most of Kehilat HaDerech's 160 members have had no choice but to wander and have resorted to meeting in parks and also meeting in the building owned by
(Harvest of Asher) congregation in Akko.
Kehilat HaDerech has been able to rent a spacious venue which will accommodate the growth rate and variety of activities and demographics of the community, especially their 50 children, but they struggled to find this suitable property before the end of the lease of the previous property where they have met for the last 11 years. As a result, there is an overlap and the new meeting place is not ready for them to move in yet.
Liron Shani, one of Kehilat HaDerech's pastors explains:
"In the past two years we have invested great effort in the search for a building we could purchase, but we had difficulty in raising the necessary funds to do so. So we started looking for a suitable property to rent. Availability of buildings in Karmiel is limited and one of the companies which owns many properties, refused to work with us because we are Messianic. Finally we found a building that is under construction and the owner signed a long-term contract with us. The date of the end of the lease on the old building was the end of May 2016. As the new building will only be ready this fall, we tried to extend the lease at the previous building by a few months. Unfortunately, the owner had already rented out the building to someone else and the new lessee would have let us stay in the building on the condition that we signed for an entire year. Seeing as we could not afford to pay rent twice and we could not persuade him to rent it to us for a shorter period of time, we left the building at the end of May."
In the meantime, Kehilat HaDerech finds itself homeless.
"Since the beginning of June, we have been practically nomadic; a wandering and homeless community. Congregation Katzir Asher in Akko approached us and offered us the use of their building for our gatherings. Since our service times are different, there has been no time-conflict between the two communities meeting at the same place. We are grateful to God for Guy Cohen, the pastor of Katzir Asher congregation and its members for opening their homes, hearts and wallets to support us in such a generous way and providing us with a true oasis in the time of our wandering. In the past two months we have split up our meetings; having 2 to 3 meetings each month in the Akko congregational building, one monthly gathering in one of the parks in Karmiel and one monthly gathering in small groups in different congregation members' homes."
It's no simple thing when it comes to a long-established congregation, with many members and multiple activities. How does it affect the life of the congregation?
"The wandering has not been easy. Although there are challenging experiences and an atmosphere of adventure that comes with them, it is evident that it is tiring and making it difficult for people to attend meetings. When we meet in Akko, we hire a bus to transport people; and many members of the congregation who have a car volunteer to transport their friends. The traveling makes it difficult especially for the older congregants and families with toddlers, who often prefer to avoid long road trips. However, we are witnessing a joint cooperation of the congregants, showing mutual care and concern for each other, helping each other out and it gladdens our hearts. The meetings in the park require a lot more logistic organization. It also requires a compromise, since it's harder to keep an eye on children and we cannot use sound amplification. Also air conditioning in the park is not very effective in the month of August," he adds with a smile.
Despite the complexity and difficulties, the congregational leaders offer words of encouragement saying:
"The small groups meeting in homes are very special and enable a different kind of bonding and fellowship, which greatly contributes to the life of the congregation."
Are fewer people coming to the main services?
"Indeed there is a noticeable decline reflected in the number of people attending every Shabbat due to the traveling. We are in contact with most members of the congregation and attentive to their different needs and thank God for this opportunity and look forward to entering our new premises soon."
What do you do about congregational activities during the week?
"Activities of the congregation during the week remain almost unchanged. Congregational staff members have been working from home; various staff meetings have taken place as usual in one of the pastor's homes, prayer meetings and house group meetings have continued to take place on a regular basis. The office has been moved to the home of two members of the congregational staff, and in fact work has continued quite normally by the grace of God."
Why did you want to move to another building anyway?
"We started meeting in our previous congregation building in 2005 with a long-term contract. The building was a source of true blessing for our congregation and we enjoyed it very much for 11 years. Over time, our community grew substantially and we felt that the place was no longer meeting all our needs. The assembly hall was getting a little crowded, there were not enough Shabbat School classes and we didn't have enough office space during the week either; also, there was no "Safe room" in case of emergency which is demanded by law; but, the biggest drawback was the lack of a playground for children. The building itself was on a busy street and we had concerns about the premises being so close to the road."
As mentioned already, members of Kehilat HaDerech considered purchasing a property, but for financial reasons have not been able to attain this goal. Liron goes on to describe:
"Indeed we have considered and are still considering purchasing a permanent place and we would very much like to do so, but it is not economically viable at this stage. The new lease is long-term, but there is an agreement where every few years, we have the possibility of ending the contract sooner without incurring penalties; in the event that we will be able to purchase a building suitable for our needs. Ultimately, the congregation consists of people and not bricks and despite the many advantages that a permanent structure provides, we have learned over the years to rely on God and trust Him to provide what we really need, and indeed, in all the years of our existence as a community, we have never been disappointed. So, we are happy to keep wandering, following after the Lord wherever He leads us ..."
Liron also makes it clear that the relationship with the owner of the building where they spent over a decade has always been good, and remains so, despite everything.
(article in Kehilat News Israel sent to me by Pastor Liron)
Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !
2000-YEAR-OLD SYNAGOGUE UNEARTHED IN NORTHERN ISRAEL
The remains of an unusual structure that served as a synagogue during the Second Temple era have been unearthed at an archaeological excavation in the heart of the Nahal Tavor Nature Reserve in the lower Galilee. It is one of only eight synagogues discovered in Israel dating back to that era, said Dr. Motti Aviam, a senior researcher at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Kinneret College. "This is the first synagogue discovered in the rural part of the Galilee and it confirms historical information we have about the New Testament, which says that Jesus, [Yeshua] preached at synagogues in Galilean villages," Aviam said. In the first century A.D. a large farm was built on the tel (a hill comprising layers of archaeological remains). The farm buildings include one structure containing a large room that measures 26 feet by 29.5 feet. The walls of the room are lined with benches constructed from skillfully hewn limestone. The professor said that pottery fragments found at the site have been dated to the first century A.D. and that the lack of pig bones is in contrast with neighboring, non-Jewish settlements. The benches that line the walls, similar to those seen in Sephardic synagogues, provide evidence that the structure was a synagogue, he said. (i24/Algemeiner)
Scripture says of Israel that God's people take pleasure in her very stones and favor even the dust, (Ps. 102:14). Such words are confirmed as archaeological excavations continue to unearth layers of history beneath the earth and stones of the Jewish nation. Ongoing discoveries tell us of life in the ancient past and in many cases bear out the truth of Biblical accounts, to the delight of those who believe in them, to the annoyance of those who are skeptics.
This month JCFI encourages you to get a copy of:
by Alfred Edersheim (One of the best known and important references on the life of Christ)
As we work to build a greater awareness of Israel in Johnson County and continue to connect to Believers and Jews in the Land,
we are often ask, "What does that word mean?". So, each month at JCFI we will ad to a glossary of terms to help broaden our Hebrew vocabulary. Please, enjoy this Hebrew Help and
with any definitions you think we should ad.
This month's Hebrew Help definition is:
Hebrew word used to mean both "hello" and "good-bye"; literally, it means "peace." Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the related word shelem means to pay for, and shulam means to be fully paid.
Previous Month's Definition is
An informal slang term that refers to any Israeli Jew born on Israeli territory. The term first appeared in the 1930s, referring to Jews who had been born in Land of Israel.
The term alludes to a tenacious, thorny desert plant, known in English as
prickly pear, with a thick skin that conceals a sweet, softer interior. The cactus is compared to
Israeli Jews, who are supposedly tough on the outside, but delicate and sweet on the inside.
o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!
A Life of Shalom!
HOW CAN I STAND FOR ISRAEL?
Since the Banquet, many have ask me, "What can I do for Israel?" While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are a few suggestions I hope you find useful:
1. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psa.122:6)
"For Zion's Sake I Will Not Be Silent" by Rebecca Brimmer is an excellent guide on
prayer for Israel. Click HERE for more info.
2. Learn more about Israel-related ministries
There are wonderful Israel-related ministries doing a great work to support Israel. Click HERE to learn more about a few of them.
3. Learn more about the Hebraic Roots to Christianity
The Bible often takes on deeper meaning in the context of its Hebraic Roots. The
Ancient Hebrew Scroll project at the CHF is a testimony to this fact. There are
numerous writings about Hebraic Roots. A good place to start is the book by
D. Thomas Lancaster entitled Grafted In.
4. Take a trip to Israel I've been blessed to travel to Israel many times. It has
changed my life. I baptized my daughter, Lauren, in the Sea of Galilee during my trip
there in 2011. She had accepted Jesus as her Savior 3 days before we left. This
should be at the top of any bucket list!
5. Be an Israel contact person for your church
The vision at JCFI is to increase the awareness of Israel within the churches of
Johnson County. Maybe you could support your pastor by volunteering to be the
church's Israel contact person for JCFI.
6. Build a Bridge of Hope
Speak with your Pastor / Church Leaders about building a BOH. Feel free to