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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 
Congregation Tehilat Yah 
(Praise of God)

Pastor Michael Yaron and Congregation Tehilat Yah are diligently working in Rishon LeZion, Israel to share the Good News with a diverse population. With unique challenges must come unique solutions. Pastor Michael is a Bridge of Hope partner with Pastor Corey Cornutt and  FBC Grandview.  Enjoy this update & keep them in your prayers.

An International Family

From the beginning, God gave us a vision of unity in diversity and of being an international congregation where people of every color, age, nationality, etc., Jews and non-Jews alike, would be welcome, feel at home and contribute their uniqueness to the life of the congregation -- in other words,  the  one new man. For the past eight years we were a handful of native Israelis (and about 9 Israelis of Ethiopian background, an American, a Korean couple, a few Europeans) and a large majority of Russian speakers, immigrants from different countries of the former Soviet Union. The Russian language was dominant. 

Last year, an American- Canadian family joined Tehilat-Yah. Since the beginning of 2016 in particular, the face of Tehilat-Yah has begun to change, and today the congregation is more balanced with regard to language. With about 20 people added, including a few children, we now have a larger group of native Israelis, English-speakers from America, more mixed Israeli-European couples and more people from South America. We now cover 15 nations and love it! Some of the newcomers are new immigrants or Israelis who returned to Israel, following God's call.  To help these people adjust is a privilege for us.

New Home Groups

With these changes, the Hebrew-speaking home group has grown much, so much so that we will soon have to think about forming two groups out of the one. We just began a new Hebrew-speaking home group in a nearby town and see the need for yet another one in our home for some individuals who don't live in Rishon, or who find it hard to fit in with the existing home groups. And, finally, there is going to be a need for an English-speaking home group. This is formation time, so we are in need of a lot of prayer and appreciate your prayer!
 
Evangelistic Outreach 

We are st ill praying for, planning and in much anticipation towards a first outreach through a tour bus project which targets native Israelis. We've done tour busses for Russian-speakers in the past. They were organized by a known ministry in Israel, but so far there has never been a tour bus for Hebrew-speakers. The plan is to have a Believing Israeli tour guide to show Israelis the places significant to our faith in Yeshua and through it, at the very sites, to share the gospel in a natural way. We are praying to invite neighbors, friends, and work colleagues with who we have shared the gospel. 
 
While we are writing this, another project aimed at Hebrew-speakers is in process. We are participating in a big campaign organized by a ministry located south of Rishon which, with the support of a Finnish ministry, launched an outreach in Rishon and Nes Ziona. At bus stops and through the radio, they advertise a free book printed under two titles, "The Power of Change" and "Exalted Love". People can call a number and order a free copy. We among many others then deliver the  books to them personally and when there is an opportunity, we share about our faith. We prayerfully wait to see how many can be reached through this project. 

May it bear much fruit for God's kingdom!
 
Praise report
  •  
  • We praise God for many new people at Tehilat-Yah. 
  • We thank God for His provision, protection and blessing hand on the Passover weekend in the desert.
  • We thank God for the evangelistic outreach going on these days and weeks.
  • We thank God that the Italian version of "Joy for Ashes" (Michael's story) has been printed and will be available from the beginning of June. 
Prayer requests
  • Please continue to pray with us for new premises. With the growth in number and activity we desperately need a bigger place.
  • Please pray for Michael's health. For the past months he has had health issues that quite affect him and slow him down.
  • Please pray for all the new people who have become part of our family that they would feel at home and be able to understand and use their gifts for the sake of the whole congregation.
  • Please pray for the evangelistic project with the books (going on right now) and the planned bus tour for native Hebrew speakers.
  •  Please pray for more presence & power of the Holy Spirit in our meetings.
The Yaron Family
 
For more about Congregation Tehilat Yaron visit www.tehilat-yah.org

 
A Prophet Without Honor In His Hometown
 
Mark 6:4 tells us that Jesus was not accepted in His own hometown, among His own people. He was Jewish, but in their mind, not the Messiah of Israel. Today, Jewish Believers in Jesus the Messiah are often not received in 
their own "home town," the Jewish Promised Land.  The story below from Bridge of Hope partner Pastor David Lazarus is just one such example. 
Read the article & please pray for this situation and countless hundreds just like it throughout Israel right now.
 
  He Who Keeps Israel (Psalm 121)
 
Marina (not her real name) came to the congregation in tears. The teacher in her Ulpan class (Hebrew studies) told her, "You are not Jewish!" That was because she had explained to the teacher that she believed in Yeshua (Jesus). This seventeen-year-old cried because since she was just a little girl she had waited to come to Israel. In Russia her family had lived, suffered and died as Jews. And now as she prepares to serve our people in the Israeli Defense Forces, she is no longer Jewish?
 
Most of her family had escaped to Israel. They came because they were hated for being Jewish. They needed to come back home, to the land where they could live as Jews among Jews.
 
The family had always instilled in Marina, and their other children, a desire to return to the Land of their Fathers. Yet now that she was here, she was unprepared for the stigma of "Goy," a gentile stranger, by those she loved and so longed to be with. Here she was the best student in her Hebrew class, learning the songs and traditions and gaining a deeper appreciation for her Jewish heritage. She worked every night after class from 9pm until 2am cleaning empty offices to help provide for her immigrant family's needs. Now, she is told that she doesn't belong here?
 
What Difference Does it Make?
 
What could Marina say? Why should she even bother? Does being Jewish and living among our people really matter? How can she prove to her people that she does belong? Should she even try?
 
Imagine with me for a moment, how that seasoned, Orthodox Jewish Ulpan teacher must have felt, after learning that her student, the one who knew more about Israel than the others, this dark skinned young girl with such a deep, thoroughbred love for her people and land, the one who already spoke Hebrew as though it were her mother tongue, her favorite student, believes in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). All her life the teacher lived with the misunderstanding that Yeshua and His followers were enemies of the Jewish people.
 
I explained to Marina that in Israel we need to be strong. We must stand up for what we believe, and we cannot allow rejection by our own people to cause us to withdraw. It is our destiny, as the first generation of Jewish followers of Jesus, to demonstrate to our people the real Jesus, Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world. We must resist assimilation and boldly affirm our Jewish heritage as it is fulfilled by faith in Yeshua.
 
I pointed out that while our desire to live as Jews is honorable, it cannot be used as an excuse to avoid being called "stranger" by our people. As followers of Yeshua we will always find ourselves "outside the camp," as He Himself walked. However, if we chose to live as Jews in obedience to God, and if for this we are willing to suffer as Jews in a Gentile world, and as Messianic Jews in a Jewish world, then we can live as Jews for Jesus in Israel. (Being a Messianic Jew can be complicated. I know :)
 
David 



BOH Logo with text
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 24 Congregational BOH's and 5 Organizational BOHs  that are up-and-running with MANY 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  HERE  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 bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.

  Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!

            
              
Prayer & Praise Update for Pastor Eddie Santoro

As you may know, Eddie Santoro (Pastor at Ahavat Yeshua -- Love of Jesus) is currently undergoing chemo and radiation for cancer. The update below will give you prayer points as well as many reasons to Praise the Lord !

Dear Faithful Friend,

First of all Jackie and I want to thank all of you for your support during this most trying time in our lives. We sent out an update entitled; "We Need You" a few weeks ago and the response was overwhelming. The expressions of love that we received through your prayers and personal words of encouragement are truly helping us to perservere. And perservere we will until we see the final healing victory of Yeshua the Messiah in my life!

The treatments began last week. I am currently receiving an intravenous "Bio" chemo drug once a week (another 5 to go) and radiation treatments on my right tonsil and lymph five times every week (another 26 left). It is a bit grueling to have to go to the hospital so often but God is faithful and works all things to the good! We continue to use every opportunity presented to us to be a light shining in a dark place and to bring the love and hope that are in Yeshua to those we meet each time we are in the hospital.

Most recently we had the privilege to speak with and pray for a woman with cancer who was originally from South Africa. She was blessed to receive prayer and we are looking forward to seeing her again in the days to come.

Yesterday, the radiation department was one hour behind in the schedule. Yet God 
tra
Reading Isaiah with Fila
nsformed the long wait into a wonderful opportunity to speak with a couple that was sitting next to us. They were very religous and in the natural it seemed as if it would be impossible to connect with them. But our God is the Lord of the impossible! I smiled and started a conversation with the wife (the husband is very sick with cancer of his esophogus) and all that followed was amazing. Usually an ultraorthodox woman would never speak with a strange man. Yet as we discovered, she was not "usual" and for the next hour, we had a deep and heart felt conversation with her. It was clear she was hoping to show us the error of our ways, but we used it as an opportunity to get to know her better. At one point, I gave her Isaiah 53 to read. (She assured me she would have to speak to her Rabbi about it.) In the end, she shared about her faith and we about ours and love triumphed! There was definitely a heart connection between us and we are looking forward to meeting again as we come for the treatment around the same time. Please pray that the love and faith that she sensed in us would touch her and that the power of God would begin to open doors that no man can shut!

When this couple left, we had the blessing of speaking with an older man, originally from France who
Speaking of Daniel w/ Charles

had been listening to our conversation with the religious woman and who happened to be reading the Book of Daniel! He was friendly, warm and open and we spoke about the predictions of the coming of the Messiah that Daniel wrote about. Please pray for more opportunities with him as we meet in the waiting room.
  
We continue to have special times with our neighbor, Rafi and his wife whom we had also met in the waiting room of the hospital around a month ago. We have shared numerous cups of coffee at each other's homes since then and there is a flow of love developing between us. Both he and his wife know that we are there supporting them and praying for them. Join us in praying for healing for Rafi and that he would know God is with him!

The reality is that we have shared the Good News of the love of Yeshua with more people in this past year than we have in many years! Truly God works all things to the good for those that love him and are called according to his purpose!

Here are a few additional specific prayer needs:
  • Pray for the succesful removal of ALL cancer from my body.
  • Pray that my brain continues to be completely free of cancer and that the cancer will never come back. Please pray for restoration of some memory loss due to radiation and surgery.
  • The doctors all agree that the current cancer in my throat is very treatable. Pray that their words are a confirmation of the healing power of God.
  • The doctors also say that as my radiation treatments continue, the condtion of my throat, mouth, taste buds and salivary glands could be impaired. Please join us in praying that the effects, apart from destroying the cancer will be minimal.
  • Pray that God will continue to use our trips to the hospital to witness and to pray for those that we meet. Join us in praying that the healing power of God will touch and set free those that we pray for. We are getting to know many people in the hospital, not just patients but social workers, various doctors and many nurses. We can feel God's hand as we move in his love towards these special ones.
Thank you again for praying for us. What we wrote last time is still true: We Need You! And not just in battling disease but in sharing the Gospel, loving those that we meet and sheperding those in our congregation. Apart from God's grace, we can do nothing and your prayers are instrumental in loosing His power in our lives. And also be assured that we also lift you before heaven and ask for God's might, his power, his love, his provision and everything else that you could possibly need to be poured forth into your life. Together we are filled with the glory and love of our God and that abundance overflows into the world that surrounds us.

With send you our Love from Zion, 
Eddie and Jackie

Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !


INDIAN 'LOST JEWS' HAVE GENETIC EVIDENCE OF JEWISH ROOTS

A scientific study has found genetic evidence of claims that the Bene Israel, a community in western India, has Jewish roots. The study from Tel Aviv University, which was published in late March 2016 analyzed the genomes of 18 Bene Israel community members. It found that the Bene Israel had significant Jewish and Indian ancestry. According to Bene Israel tradition, the community descended from a handful of Jewish shipwreck survivors on the Indian coast up to 2,000 years ago. The Bene Israel live in Konkan, a region on India's west coast. Only a few thousand remain in India today from a community that once numbered as many as 20,000. Many community members have immigrated to Israel since its establishment in 1948. "Beyond vague oral history and speculations, there has been no independent support for Bene Israel claims of Jewish ancestry, claims that have remained shrouded in legend," said Yedael Waldman, the study's first author, according to a news release 10 May 2016. "We found that while Bene Israel individuals genetically resemble local Indian populations, they constitute a clearly separated and unique population in India." The study was based on data from the Jewish HapMap project at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which studies the genetic history of Jewish Diaspora communities. (Arutz-7)

HERE for more information about Lost Tribes.

Recom Reading List Logomended Reading

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)


Hebrew Helps
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 contact us with any definitions you think we should ad.


This month's Hebrew Help definition is:
 
Sabra (sah-bruh)
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.

Previous Month's Definition is

Parashah  (pah-rah-shaw) plural parashot
a portion of the Torah chanted or read each week in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Jewish people world-wide read the same portion of the Tanach (Hebrew scriptures or Old Testament) each week and have been for centuries.

Click  HERE  t o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!   


Read this month's 
FEATURED ARTICLE

A Rabbi Looks at the Lost Tribes of Israel



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
    contact me for more info by phone at 817-556-1061 or by email  at                                 bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.


Kevin Bentley, JCFI Director
2 North Caddo Street, Cleburne, Tx 76031
817-556-1061