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Dare to Dream BIG!

This full day at the Feast of Tabernacles was packed with everything from humble prayer, explosively dynamic worship and inspired teachings from the word of God – all in the marvelous city of Jerusalem.

God’s Sovereign Faithfulness and Grace for Israel – Morning Plenary
At the Feast’s first morning plenary, Daniel Yahav gave a message about Israel that only a native of Israel can deliver – consisting of both hope and reality. He referred to Israel’s amazing history through the millennia, “It’s exciting to hear the words that God spoke with Abraham 4,000 years ago, recorded by Moses 3,500 years ago.” The reality is, however, that God has guided the Jewish nation very much in spite of itself, i.e., by grace, and that believers should have God’s sovereign works as their main focus as they rejoice over the miracles performed for Israel. He drove home his message on the sovereignty of the Lord by stating, “God is not waiting, and He is not dependent on the nations or the UN. Our God is God. He created heaven and earth, and He has decided that this land is the inheritance of the people of Israel.”

The Pulse of Israel’s Local Body - Afternoon Seminars
Getting to know local believers and the situation on the ground is important, and the best source for this is to connect directly with the people of the land. That’s why the ICEJ organized a panel discussion with three Messianic leaders from three different cities in Israel: Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ashdod. The open and frank discussion gave examples of how to share faith and show God’s love in direct and practical ways. Praying for healing continues to gather momentum both among believers going out to pray and the ones who are being healed. 

ICEJ Headquarter Tours

Groups of pilgrims made a special visit to the International Christian Embassy headquarters to take a look behind the scenes of the ICEJ. The Headquarters here in Jerusalem is a beautiful and unique historical building tucked in the middle of a Jewish neighbourhood. This is the place God has chosen to do his work through a diverse staff from all around the world to bring His comfort to His people. As the visitors came in the gate, they were greeted by one of the ICEJ staff members and were able to enjoy some refreshments in the succah set up on the property of the Embassy. Many of the visitors came in large groups, so they divided into smaller groups according to their language. ICEJ staff gave tours in many different languages explaining the extraordinary miracles God has done through His ministry here in the land of Israel and around the world.  

A Breakthrough Year for Israel - Evening Celebration
An all-star line-up of speakers and performers from Israel and around the world, set the tone for another festive and insightful night in Jerusalem. On the performance side, the evening opened with the powerful pulses of Eddie James’ young performers, who drew energy from the powerful Bible Scriptures they declared with determination for the promises about Israel. With kicks, powerful pumps and superior rhythm, the dancers and singers had everyone in the audience on their feet before the final crescendo of a loud shout for the Lord as they dropped prostrate on the scene to show their humility. 

They were later followed by the smooth jazzy sounds of Togo’s French-speaking worship team, who got the audience going in a different groove. The Togolese group did their thing so well that the audience joined them by dancing onto the stage with their national flags. 

Do not Limit the Holy One of Israel
Setting stage for the evening’s main speaker was a Nigerian soloist, bursting forth with praise to our God with power and elegance. Her song burst forth in power and grace which transformed the arena into a majestic throne room for God. Preparing the way for Pastor Enoch Adeboye, also from Nigeria, he humbly invoked the Lord’s anointing for the evening with a simple hymn, complementing the majestic with genuine child-like affection for our Creator Father, “Holy One of Israel, we worship you – we bow before You.” He encouraged the crowd to revive their faith in old God-given dreams and exhorted them to work hard for them while under no circumstances offending God or limiting the Holy One of Israel. He also explained that sometimes God doesn't fulfill our dreams, because He has something bigger and better for us. He encouraged that crowd to dream a dream that is so big that can only be possible if God makes it happen. Adeboye testified about his journey of faith and dreaming with God, and said, “You know your dream is from God when people laugh at you. And then you can tell them, just wait and see.” He confidently and humbly stated that, "God is not a joker. Whatever God says he will do...he will do!"


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We Serve a God You Cannot Outdream

The first night in Jerusalem literally started with a blast, as the shofar sounded from the main stage in Pais Arena, calling God’s assembly to attention. The audience was ready to celebrate and each nation was excited to see its particular national flag ascend to the main stage. The loudest collective cheer and shouts sounded when Israel’s flag joined the host of nations, demonstrating the powerhouse of Christian love and support that the ICEJ can draw upon in its work for the Jewish nation.

Following the parade of nations and celebratory worship, ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler took to the stage to address the Feast Pilgrims. He drove home two powerful points in an expert manner: namely, the amazing reality that God has brought about in Israel and how diverse and multifaceted modern Israel society is today. This was cause for wonder over God and deeper appreciation and understanding of what makes up modern-day Israel.

The Feast’s “Dare to Dream” theme was underscored by reviewing the amazing path that Israel has traveled from a beleaguered pioneer nation to a modern nation state, even to the amazement of those Israelis who have witnessed the nation’s history from its inception 1948. Psalm 126, “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream,” underscores that this is an amazing God-powered reality that has been brought about by the Lord as Israel’s fortunes have been restored. This is a personal encouragement for Christian believers to align their plans with God’s plans and dream dreams that give room for God’s power and faithfulness to be displayed.

Based on Exodus, chapter 28, Dr. Jürgen Bühler then went on to give a profound yet accessible introduction of the mosaic that makes up Israeli society today. Using the priestly breastplate as a model for Israel’s twelve tribes, the audience were introduced to twelve population groups, each unique in their own way and spanning an astonishingly broad spectrum of religious, ethnic and secular groups. He suggested that Christian’s adopt one of these modern-day “tribes” for prayer.

Dr. Jürgen Bühler also mused on the fact that even this nation’s atheists are unique. They do not believe in God, yet in the words of famous author Amoz Oz consider themselves “Atheists of the Book.” They do not believe in the spiritual, yet 40% of Israel’s atheists fast on Yom Kippur – the day of atonement.

In this manner, Dr. Jürgen Bühler caught the audience’s attention and used the Bible and past and contemporary history to give a highly effective lesson on where and what Israel is today.

With a great conclusion to the first night at the Pais Arena, many pilgrims left with a great expectation for what God will continue to speak to them during the rest of the week.


Watch every evening of the Feast of Tabernacles on demand

All the Elements of the Story

Bonds of Brotherly Unity

A fundamental instrument of Christian brotherly unity is the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. Amplified meaning is added when this act takes place at what could have been the historical site of Calvary and when it is officiated by brothers who have overcome their mutual antagonisms. To capture this unity, the communion is officiated jointly by one Jewish Messianic and one Arab believer.

Before the delivery of the morning’s sermon, Birlie Belay, a Jewish Messianic pastor of Ethiopian descent and Naim Khoury, an Arab pastor from Bethlehem, served the crowd of over 2,000 at the Garden Tomb grounds Monday morning. Pastor Belay highlighted God’s faithfulness by recounting the history of the lost tribes of Ethiopia – 2,500 years before returning – “We are here because of God’s word.” On his part Pastor Khoury proclaimed the covenant-keeping God and the covenant He has with His chosen people. 

Heaven-bound and Christ-centered Message
The morning’s preacher, Pastor Hervé Datro of the Ivory Coast, gave his address in French to the excitement of the large delegations from francophone Africa – 300 from the Ivory Coast alone, the nation which currently houses the ICEJ in Jerusalem.
He stirred the crowd by listing the dreams and getting straight to the Word, preaching a key chapter in John, reflecting the power of communion. “Our big dream is of Heaven, not of earth. (…) Without Jesus your dream cannot be accomplished.” Echoing Pastor Khoury’s purposeful declaration of the “God who keeps His covenant with Israel,” Datro pointed out the debt Christians owe the Jewish nation: “I dream of the Heaven. I dream of the restoration of the House of David (…) I am because Israel was.” 

“Because I want to live for the Glory of Jesus” – Juha Ketola
The demand to participate in the services at the garden tomb is so great that a second service is necessary later in the day. The second part of the morning’s double-header involved a declaratory and victorious sermon by Juha Ketola. He managed to achieve a combination of excited joy and humble contemplation as he underscored the choice between living a life in the flesh or in the Spirit. He explained that God has the power to set us free to live the spiritual life of freedom with grateful hearts for the power that lives in us, freeing us from the doomed battle against our own shortcomings and fleshly desires. In conclusion, Juha Ketola instilled his listeners with a new sense of hope and purpose through his own genuine joy and deep understanding of spiritual realities.

Testifying of the Resurrection Power of Jesus
The garden was filled with believers from all around the world, but each one carried a dream and testimony of the power of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ in their hearts. Rebecca Smith from Pennsylvania shared, “My dream has come true! The Lord brought me out of prostitution and addiction and has given me the ability to go back to rescue more people just like me. He left the 99 for the 1, so I need to continue to go back for the one. He allowed me to rescue 10,000 and my dream is to create more homes for more people.” A group of close friends from Zimbabwe said, “Our dream is that the Lord will bring a Godly government to Zimbabwe and that he will download a burden for Israel in us in order to take back to our nation. He is coming soon and we want Zimbabwe to be blessed. We want to have an embassy of Zimbabwe in Jerusalem!” Many more dared to dream a new dream with the King of Kings, and we look forward to hearing more about what our God will do this week!

 

 


 

Spiritual Wellspring at the Shores of the Dead Sea

Watch the Latest Recap Video From Ein Gedi!

A Feast of Joy – Happy Birthday, Israel!

Whether you are a Feast veteran or a brand-new arrival in Israel, Ein Gedi is the place to be at the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles. The excitement, expectations and blessing that is part of this modern-day classic is unrivalled. The banners of Christian pilgrims from nearly 100 nations all over the world are raised high, and the chatter of so many of the earth’s languages fills this arid but spectacular setting on the shores of the Dead Sea, supplying a sudden outpouring of spiritual precipitation.

After a day with sunshine, floating in the buoyant waters of Dead Sea and relaxing at the Ein Gedi Spa, pilgrims gathered under the rising full moon that marks the beginning of all the major biblical feasts. The spectacular open-air scenery was the perfect setting for an evening filled with worship, music, prayer, and enjoying the presence of God in fellowship with the global Body of Christ.
Emceed by David Parsons of the ICEJ, this year’s feast was opened by a loud Happy Birthday shout to Israel from the thousands of pilgrims assembled before the Ein Gedi stage.

The Precious Power of Water in the Desert
This year’s musical talent was unique and included artists such as Roy Fields and his 18-year-old daughter Joy, Elihana Eli and her band, complemented by ICEJ’s Serguei Popov playing a powerful violin in combination with a captivating dance performance and solemn reading of the Word of God from Psalm 63, underscoring the contrast between God’s living waters and the “dry and weary land.” This was followed by the offering which was a time of much joy, dancing, and excitement to give back to the Lord! Barry Denison shared about the impact of the ICEJ’s work in the land and commended the pilgrims for coming up to Israel as representatives for the nations and thanked them for their generous offering.

No Greater God Than Our King
For the grand finale of the spectacular night, Daniel Kolenda entered the stage praising our Lord. He led the crowd in declaring the name of Jesus in their own language, and then in Hebrew. A spirit of holy concentration and reverence settled on the crowd as Daniel Kolenda mentioned, “We could not ask for a more beautiful cathedral – full moon and open skies.”
He continued to speak to the audience about the revival of old, God-given dreams, preaching to reclaim them based on God’s faithfulness and what He did for the Jewish people in 1948, when the nation of Israel was revived. He even hearkened back to the return of the first Babylonian exile, illustrating what a fantastic feeling it must have been for those toiling in a land desolated by the Babylonians, when for the first time in 70 years the formations coming over the hills were not enemies but fellow Jews returning home from the Babylonian exile.

In a powerful gesture, he asked the crowd to turn on their cell phone lights as a prophetic symbol to reflect His glorious light to the world. He exhorted the crowd not just to think of their visit to Israel as the place where Jesus once walked, but where He is walking this very day.

Healing and Freedom to Dream Again
Daniel concluded the evening with an alter call and a time of healing. Looking around many had raised their hands in need of healing, so Daniel prayed for many to be healed from all sicknesses in Jesus’ name! Then asking the crowd to test out their healing, many were rejoicing in their newfound freedom and healing. One particular older woman in the crowd began picking up her feet and set them down, and bend down to see if she still had pain in her legs and back. Amazement enveloped her face, as she turned to the people standing by telling them that she was healed! Ms Astri from Norway explained, “This is my 60th time to Israel, and I knew it would be my last. My legs and back have been in pain for several years, but God just healed me!” Many others were healed, delivered, set free, and filled with a new hope to not give up on their God-given dreams. Thus, the first night of FOT 2018 completed with new experiences, fresh spiritual input, an outpouring of blessing in healing and dreams coming alive again.

Read the Latest Word From Jerusalem Magazine

I WANT TO READ THIS MAGAZINE!

We invite you on a grand journey through each page of the September/October edition of the Word From Jerusalem.

The path Israel has traveled over 70 years is one of the greatest miracle stories of our time. Dr. Jürgen Bühler demonstrates some of the deeper, surprising regional trends in the Middle East and how Israel's standing is changing for the better (pp. 4-6).

Israel is a strong nation with a strong economy, so one might ask, “Why should Christians still give to bless Israel?” Barry Denison addresses this question by taking us through the word of God to explain the biblical importance of supporting the Jewish people. (pp. 8)

The road to reach Jerusalem for the remainder of Ethiopia’s Jewish community has been a long and hard-fought effort. The ICEJ’s TV Department ventured out to capture and share unique moments of insight and background into the journey of Aliyah for the Jewish community in Ethiopia today. Read more about this moving documentary called "Journey of Dreams." (pp. 14-15)

Explore many more topics ranging from Gaza troubles (16-17), updates on the Haifa Home (18-19), the Arise Summer Tour (10), instability on the northern border of Israel (23), and much more. Enjoy the journey as you read each of these articles displaying God's hand moving powerfully here in Israel and in the nations.  

I WANT TO READ THIS MAGAZINE!

A Fresh Start in South Africa

In early December, when summer begins in South Africa, I made my first overseas trip as ICEJ’s VP for International Affairs. My purpose there was to strengthen the local team and meet with many old friends of the Embassy. South Africans were among the founding members of the ICEJ and the country has always played a key role within the ICEJ by supporting our work and sending people to work in Jerusalem and volunteer at the Feast.

In recent months, we had to make some changes in the South African ICEJ branch, so I decided to go to answer any questions in this regard. I introduced the new team, led by the National Director Vivienne Myburgh, daughter of the late Johann Greef and former head of the South African branch. Meetings were organised in Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit and Pretoria. There was a lot of goodwill, healing, willingness to move forward, and a friendly time of fellowship after the meetings. One of the highlights was a lunch for all former board members and founding members, including the first Executive Director of ICEJ Jerusalem, Johann Luckhoff. It was a good time of restoration.

We also met with local representatives of the Jewish Zionist Federation and with the Israeli ambassador. I appreciated the level of trust and cooperation our people had with these organisations. The Jewish community in Cape Town even organises an event specifically for their Christian friends. It was there that we witnessed the historic declaration of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The visit marked a new beginning for the branch by establishing many new contacts in different segments of South Africa’s diverse population. I have no doubt that the new team will be able to quickly restart the work and bring back South Africa to the place it deserves, as one of the strongest supporters of Jerusalem.

I Regret Nothing

God is bringing the Jewish people up from their lands of slavery and bringing them to their promised land of Israel. Aliyah is a dream for many Jews around the world, and yet living out that dream brings many trials that need to be overcome. An essential and efficient way to full immersion into Israeli society is through absorption centres. This is where the ICEJ steps in to help support these new Jewish immigrants.

On February 14th, ICEJ AID led a group of 30 visitors from ICEJ Germany to the Ye’elim Absorption Centre in Beersheba, where they heard powerful testimonies from new immigrants. One impactful story was that of a young Russian Jewish father, who within one year of moving from Russia to Israel with his young pregnant wife, became a father, learned English and Hebrew, was trained in IT and received an offer to work at an IT firm in Israel. He explained, “My family and I would not be where we are today without all of the help and support from this programme. What can I say? I regret nothing.”

The director of the Ye’elim Absorption Centre, Morris Cohen, shared his gratefulness to the ICEJ for continued partnership in helping thousands of new immigrants, “Thank you to the ICEJ. It’s because of your generosity that we can carry out many different programmes for the immigrants from all around the world.” The IT training for new immigrants is funded by the ICEJ, and amazingly the success rate has been 100%. We have helped train approximately 30 IT programmers every year for the past five years, and every single one of these new immigrants has a job!

God is continuing to move powerfully in bringing the Jewish people to their promised land of Israel. It is our joy and honour to be a part of what He is doing, and we invite you to join us in this beautiful work by helping these new immigrants fully integrate into their new homeland!

To support this powerful work of immigrant assistance, please visit: int.icej.org/aid/immigrant-assistance

ICEJ Prayer 2.0

A wave to travel the world!
In recent years, God placed a vision in my heart that never left me but returned again and again. I saw in my spirit the globe with its different continents. As the earth rotated and the sun rose on the different continents, I saw the border between day and night like a wave of fire circling the earth. Wherever the sun was rising, people were waking up, seeking the Lord. I saw a wave of prayer that circled the earth every day: 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I saw a prayer movement that rises in the morning, prays for Israel, prays for revival and prays for their own community and their own needs. It was a wave of prayer that circled the world at every new dawn, and which grew into a powerful tsunami of prayer. I get excited whenever I think about it.
 
 
A blessing for Israel at 70!
I do believe there is no better date to launch this initiative than when Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary. The prayer wave will be our birthday gift to Israel, and it can be your birthday gift to Israel, as well! Imagine thousands of people around the world standing with Israel every day in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful support you can give to Israel, so please consider joining us.
 
 
A new focus on prayer
In the past seven years, God has been directing our attention more and more to the power of prayer. In 2011, we started what became the Isaiah 62 prayer initiative. It started with our staff’s Monday morning devotion on January 3rd, 2011. I drove to the office prepared with what I thought to be an inspiring New Year’s message, when I felt God telling me, “Forget your sermon, you need to pray.” I will never forget this prayer meeting. God’s spirit was directing us to pray for the Arab world, so we prayed for revival in every Arab country and for God to remove the mask from Islam to reveal its true face. God’s presence felt so tangible in that meeting, and we experienced touching upon something special. We called upon our branches to join us to pray and fast for the rest of January. As the weeks passed, we saw news emerging in the Arab world and saw pictures of demonstrations on Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt, which soon swept over the entire Middle East. I don’t want to infer in any way that all this started just because of our prayers alone. We know that millions of Christians prayed decades before us for the Arab world, but I did feel that God was telling us, “I am going to do something in the Middle East, and I want you to be part of it.” God gave us the incredible privilege to actively participate in what He was doing in the world.
 
 
Over the years, we have seen many direct results of our prayers. Two years ago, Ethiopian Aliyah was in a deadlock and government experts told us that it would take years for the government to allow the Ethiopian Jews to come home. We felt led to pray according to Isaiah 43:6. In faith we spoke to the south, “Do not keep them back!” Within less than a month, the breakthrough came and the green light was given for the remaining 9,000 Ethiopian Jews to return home to Israel. A government official told me: “It is a miracle. I never thought this would be possible!” But our God is a prayer-answering God.
 
 
God’s healing touch
In past years, our senior leadership has faced major health challenges. Danny Meka from India not only survived a gas explosion, but God answered our prayers and within weeks he was miraculously restored from severe body burns to complete health. Our UK director suffered a major aneurism, and his wife was told to bid him farewell. But God answered our prayers, and David Elms is alive and back in ministry. Whenever he comes to the hospital for a check-up, the doctors welcome him saying, “Here comes the miracle man!” I also experienced my own miracle when doctors gave up on me. The Lord gave me my life back through an operation that surgeons in Israel told me was impossible to carry out.
 
 
Just a few weeks ago, we prayed for a public matter in Israel, and the answer came in a news report during our prayer meeting.
 
 
Through many more experiences, we have learned that God is a prayer-answering God and that nothing is impossible for Him. We just need to connect with Him in faith, in prayer and in trusting Him for the impossible.
Many before us have experienced the same.
 
 
Praying men of God
John Knox, the Scottish reformer, famously prayed, “Give me Scotland, or I die.” His prayers were seen as so effectual that the Queen of Scotland reportedly said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the armies of England.”
 
 
George Mueller, father of over a thousand orphans in Bristol, experienced over his entire lifetime the supernatural provision of God. When facing a financial challenge, he would not tell anybody except God. He trusted God to be a faithful provider and father for the orphans. He left behind a legacy that inspired millions of Christians around the world.
 
 
Rees Howells, a child of the Welsh revival, saw countless answers to prayer during his ministry. His school in Swansea was particularly used by God during WWII, through interceding strategically for Europe, which then seemed lost to Hitler’s Blitzkrieg.
 
 
John Hyde, the ‘Apostle of Prayer’, saw amazing breakthroughs in India, where he served during his short life. The late British Bible teacher, Derek Prince, reports in his book, “Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting”, how he experienced prayer to impact historic events like WWII in North Africa, the establishment of Israel 70 years ago and the struggle for independence in Kenya. Prayer is a powerful force. 
 
 
James, the brother of Jesus, says: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Of James himself, Church history informs us that he had thick-skinned knees, “like a camel”, because of the many hours he daily spent on his knees in prayer.
 
 
The next level of Isaiah 62
Fervent prayer has become a dynamic part of our weekly staff routine, and since we started the Isaiah62 Prayer initiative in 2011, prayer has become an important global component of our work. Today we have prayer warriors, individuals and groups in over 120 nations who pray with us around the world. Even in nations that are hostile to Israel, people are interceding with us. In countries like Germany and the USA alone, we have over 100 prayer groups in each country. In China, we are privileged to be part of a huge nationwide prayer network. Only God knows how many people pray with us around the world. Today, by the grace of God, we are virtually represented in every time zone of the world by prayer partners standing with us.
 
 
Now, we feel the Lord is leading us to take this initiative to the next level. We feel God wants us to move from a monthly initiative to a daily prayer force. Therefore, we want to ask you to join us. I believe this will not only bless Israel, but it will also bless your life, family and ministry. You are invited to join us either through a daily or a weekly commitment.
 
 
Our vision is to cover the world with a wave of focused prayer that circles the globe every day. We will specifically be praying for Israel and the nations, and it will be like a wave bringing a new level of blessing to Israel, to the nations and to your life!
 
 
Every morning, as the sun rises, an army of prayer warriors will rise to seek God regarding His purposes in the world and for Israel. We will give God no rest day and night, until He establishes Jerusalem as a praise on the earth. This is a noble cause to be involved with, so please prayerfully consider joining us in prayer wherever you are.
 
 
Here is how it works:
We have chosen a two-hour window for prayer in each time zone of the world. This time window is between 5 - 7 am every morning, no matter the season. During this time, we ask you to commit to pray with us for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to one hour or more. These are the options:
 
 
YOUR COMMITMENT
 
A) DAILY PRAYER PARTNER: You (and your prayer partner/group) commit to pray daily with us for 30 mins or more at any given time between 5 - 7 am your local time.
 
B) WEEKLY PRAYER PARTNER: You (and your prayer partner/group) commit to pray once a week or several days a week with us for 30 mins or more at any given time between 5 -7 am your local time.
If you want to join this global prayer wave, please send an email to: prayerwave@icej.org or sign up at: www.icejprayerwave.com
 
 
When you join this prayer movement, the ICEJ will provide you with weekly “Prayer Wave Updates” from Jerusalem. The prayer requests will be strategic prayer points on how to pray for Israel, both for matters regarding national importance and for the local body of Christ. In addition, we will pray strategically for nations around the world as the Lord leads, and we will also ask you from time to time to pray for matters related to our work in Israel.
 
 
For this purpose, we have commissioned a special, full-time person here in Jerusalem, who will coordinate the global prayer agenda with his team, and his name is Joshua Gooding. Joshua has served as the "ICEJ prayer coordinator" since March, and he is working closely with me and the senior leadership team. Please keep him in your prayers together with the entire ICEJ team here in Jerusalem.
 
 
My prayer is that by the end of the year this prayer wave will be 24/7 and that it in the years to come becomes a powerful and unstoppable tsunami of prayer that sees many answers to prayer and brings forth God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven”.
 
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 

Jürgen Bühler
 

Gather Around the Table

Gather around the table to hear about this special Passover Seder meal, Ethiopian style! The ICEJ helped 1,308 Ethiopian Jews return to Israel this past year, and it was our great joy to help them celebrate their very first Passover Seder meal here in the land of Israel. The Charuv Absorption Center in Beersheba held a pre-Seder meal for the new Ethiopian immigrants to teach them how to celebrate the biblical feast of Passover. The ceremony was not just a part of the absorption centre classes but was also a time to celebrate the fact that the dream of living in Israel had finally come true.

Entering the room dressed in their traditional Ethiopian clothing, the new Ethiopian immigrants excitedly sat down at the tables that were already prepared with the Passover Seder elements. Several guests and sponsors expressed their joy for these new immigrants. Rabbi Menachem Waldman explained, “As you saw in Gondor last year, still 8,500 Ethiopian Jews are waiting, but be sure that all of them will come. Why do I say this? Because it isn’t a decision of the prime minister or government ministers, it is a decision of God. God’s voice comes to the ears of the Jewish people wherever they are and to whomever is listening, and they come to Israel.” ICEJ’s VP of Operations Barry Denison also encouraged these new immigrants by saying, “The ICEJ has been praying for you to return to Israel, and seeing you here today celebrating your first Passover in Israel is an answer to our prayers.”

The Ethiopian children also had a special Passover celebration, which allowed them to interact and learn more about Passover. They enjoyed tasting each of the Passover elements, singing the songs, dancing and playing games.

After the ceremony, an Ethiopian family invited us to their home for a real taste of Ethiopia. Their hospitality was astounding as the women prepared and served us fresh Ethiopian coffee that was roasted, ground, brewed and poured right before our eyes. They also prepared homemade popcorn and injera (a type of flatbread). It is beautiful to see that the Ethiopian immigrants are learning Hebrew and integrating into the Israeli culture while not losing sight of their Ethiopian roots, which add to the unique flavour of Israeli society.

The ICEJ is honoured to be a part of not only helping the Ethiopian Jews return to the land of Israel, but also helping them integrate into their new home. A young father and recent Ethiopian immigrant said, “It is amazing to see that such big organisations care about us, notice us and want to help us.” Thanks to your generosity we were able to bless well beyond a thousand new immigrants with meals to help them gather around their very own Passover Seder table for the first time here in Israel!
 

Fire of God in India

India is a vast subcontinent with a population of more than one billion. Our branch was established about four years ago with Pastor Dany at the head. Many have heard about the miracle restoration he experienced after a gas explosion in his home. The blast totally demolished the building, and it is a wonder that he and his family escaped alive. Nevertheless, he suffered severe burns all over his body. When he lay in pain in the hospital bed, he had a vision of Jesus who asked him, “What do you want me to do?” Pastor Dany started with a small request to be able to move his finger. Contrary to doctors’ predictions, he walked out of the hospital just nine days later with his skin completely restored. Dany wrote a book about his healing, which made him well- known all over India. Thus, what Satan meant for destruction, Jesus turned into life and blessing.

The work in India is flourishing. Dany has built a network of over 120 volunteers in 25 of the 29 Indian states, with regional representatives who are mostly pastors. For my visit, he organised meetings in six states for more than 550 pastors. In addition, there was a meeting for Indian leaders, including a former member of the central government, a deputy speaker of the parliament and other politicians.

Even though India's Evangelical Christians only make up a few percent of the population, they still number between 30 and 50 million born-again believers. One city on the shores of the Bay of Bengal is a testimony to the long Christian tradition in that area. The Apostle Thomas is said to have reached India, and his tomb can be visited today in the city of Chennai. The famous words of Thomas, “My Lord, my God”, are inscribed in large letters for everyone to see.

Pastor Dany is building a stable branch with great potential, so no wonder the devil wanted to kill him. Let us continue to pray for a revival in India. May the fire of God, not that of the enemy, descend on these precious people and turn their hearts to the God of Israel.

 

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